Lee Groves

10: Presidential-boxer pairings

9. George Washington (1789-1797) and Adolpho Washington (1989-2001, 31-9-2 with 17 knockouts)

More than two centuries after his death, Washington is still considered by many as the greatest president who has yet lived. Besides being the “father of the country,” he rallied from early military failures to become an exceptional leader and presided over the constitutional convention that eventually yielded the U.S. Constitution. Along with Lincoln, Washington is considered a model of integrity and like Lincoln his likeness is on two pieces of currency (the quarter and the dollar bill).

How can Adolpho Washington compare to all that? No one could, but the cruiserweight titleholder, who was born in Lexington, Ky. — a city named for the site of a famous colonial battle in Massachusetts — could lay claim to extraordinary persistence. Like Washington, he ultimately prevailed after suffering his share of setbacks. His first challenge against WBA light heavyweight champion Virgil Hill ended under bizarre circumstances as he suffered a gash after bumping his head against a ringside TV camera during the 11th round. He then fell short in two cruiserweight title fights against Anaclet Wamba (D 12) and Orlin Norris (L 12) before finally breaking through in his fourth attempt against Torsten May for the vacant IBF title (W 12). Yes, he lost it to Uriah Grant in his first defense, but the fact that he reigned at all was worthy of recognition.

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