Lee Groves

10: Most notable St. Louis title fights

 

These days, at least in sports terms, St. Louis is best known for the Cardinals (the defending World Series champions) and the Rams (whose last Super Bowl title came 12 years ago by way of “The Greatest Show on Turf”). Devoted NHL fans are familiar with the Blues while old-timers fondly recall that the Hawks that currently call Atlanta home were based in St. Louis from 1955-1968.

But “The Mound City” also boasts deep roots in boxing. Henry Armstrong — high on every expert’s all-time pound-for-pound list — was born there, as was Hall of Famer Michael Spinks, former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, bantamweight titlist Eddie Cook and featherweight king Freddie Norwood among others. Despite being born in Benoit, Mississippi, the nomadic Archie Moore felt a deep kinship with the city’s hard-scrabble, blue-color persona while Sonny Liston, a native of Johnson Township, Arkansas, also called it home.

In decades past St. Louis played host to a number of championship contests – bantamweight champion Harry Forbes risked his belt four times there between November 1901 and May 1902, going 3-0-1 (2 knockouts).

Following decades of dormancy, the world-class successes of Cory Spinks ignited a fistic renaissance of sorts in the city. On Saturday, one of its favorite sons, former two-belt junior welterweight titlist Devon Alexander, will engage in a welterweight crossroads battle against Argentine power-hitter Marcos Maidana at the Scottrade Center, which has played host to a string of important fights as of late.

In honor of Alexander and the lineage his hometown boasts, the following is a top-10 list detailing the most notable boxing events ever held in St. Louis. (Editor’s note: the defending champion is positioned first in the fights that feature side-by-side photos of the participants.)  

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