Lee Groves

10: Presidential-boxer pairings

6. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) and Jimmy Carter (1946-1960, 81-31-9 with 32 knockouts)

The onetime Naval officer, peanut farmer and Georgia governor vaulted to the presidency from relative obscurity, surely benefiting from Gerald Ford’s pardoning of the Watergate-plagued Richard Nixon, among other factors. Carter often is regarded as a far better person than he was a president, for his tenure was belabored by the Iran hostage crisis, the energy crisis, and, according to many, a crisis of leadership skills. On the other hand, Carter was hailed for his role in bringing about the historic peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, proving there are two sides to every coin.

Similarly, Jimmy Carter the fighter was riddled with inconsistency, even during his three reigns as lightweight champion. Carter first won the belt with a stunning 14th round TKO of Hall of Famer Ike Williams in May 1951 and though he amassed a 9-1 record in non-title engagements he lost the belt in his second defense to Lauro Salas. After regaining the title from Salas, he did much better in title fights (3-0) than non-title engagements (4-3-1) before losing the crown to Paddy DeMarco via decision. Four fights later he regained the title a second time from the man who beat him (W 15 over DeMarco) yet went 1-1-1 in non-title fights before losing the title for good to Wallace “Bud” Smith (L 15).

Honorable mentions: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Johnny “Dancing Machine” Carter, Al “Earthquake” Carter.

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