Sung Kil Moon, 1987-1993, 20-2, (16 KOs)
Titles: WBA bantamweight (August 14, 1988-July 9, 1989), WBC super flyweight (January 20, 1990-November 13, 1993)
First Full Year of IBHOF Eligibility: 1999
Moon was one of South Korea’s most decorated amateurs (219-22, 164 KOs) but his dreams of Olympic gold at the 1984 Los Angeles games were snuffed out when a butt-induced cut stopped his third-round fight with Dominican Pedro Nolasco in the first round – just days after stopping American Robert Shannon in three. Moon turned pro under considerable fanfare in 1987 and his intense, all-action style allowed him to rocket up the world rankings. Once Moon got his chance to grab the brass ring (or the golden belt) he not only won but he managed to remain at the elite level for the remainder of his career.
Points in His Favor: Moon captured the WBA bantamweight title in just his seventh pro fight by decisioning Khaokor Galaxy, the twin brother of Hall of Famer Khaosai. He stopped angular southpaw Edgar Monserrat in seven and Chiaki Kobayashi in five before losing the belt back to Galaxy. But Moon’s next move built the foundation for his candidacy – dropping down in weight to pursue a second title, getting it and keeping it for more than three years.
In his second fight at 115, Moon lifted the WBC belt in a memorable war with Nana Konadu that saw them score five combined knockdowns in the fight’s first 10 minutes before a butt-created cut forced the fight to the scorecards. Due to his enormous volume and physical strength, Moon registered nine defenses – fourth all-time behind Galaxy, Roman and Watanabe. His best victories came against Roman (KO 9), Konadu again (KO 4), ex-bantamweight titlist Greg Richardson (KO 10), a comebacking Hilario Zapata (KO 1) and future WBO flyweight belt-holder Carlos Salazar.
What Hurts His Cause: Twenty-two fights is a very small sample, especially when he’s competing with fighters who logged three times as many contests. One counter argument is that Moon stuffed in plenty in his relatively brief pro career; 15 of his 22 fights – or 68 percent – were for major titles and he went 14-2 (8). Additionally, Roman, Zapata and Richardson were past their best days when they met Moon, which somewhat diminishes his accomplishments. Finally, the lopsided nature of Moon’s loss to Jose Luis Bueno was not a good way to end his career.