Lee Groves

10: Presidential-boxer pairings

2. James Buchanan (1857-1861) and Ken Buchanan (1965-1982, 61-8 with 27 knockouts)

The only president from Pennsylvania was no stranger to controversy. His machinations regarding the Dred Scott case (which said blacks brought to the U.S. as slaves and their descendants were not protected by the Constitution) was highly criticized by eventual successor Abraham Lincoln among others, he lost a political power struggle regarding Kansas statehood and he is consistently ranked by historians as among the worst presidents because he failed to act in the face of secession.

Ken Buchanan’s greatest controversy surrounded the ending of the Roberto Duran fight in June 1972. After the 13th round bell, Duran struck Buchanan with an obvious low blow and instead of being given an injury time-out he was forced to surrender his lightweight title on the stool following the one-minute break.

That episode, however, shouldn’t overshadow this Hall of Famer’s greatness. The Scot was one of history’s best pure boxers and his calling card was the extraordinary successes he achieved away from home. He dethroned lightweight champion Ismael Laguna in San Juan, upended Donato Paduano, Carlos Ortiz, Chang Kil Lee and Laguna a second time in New York and beat Ruben Navarro in Los Angeles, Andries Steyn in South Africa, Frankie Otero in Miami and Toronto as well as Giancarlo Usai in Italy. Moreover, while he scored his share of stoppage wins, he didn’t have the benefit of one-punch power.

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