Simon Brown, 1982-2000, 47-12 (34 KOs)
Titles: IBF welterweight (April 23, 1988-March 18, 1991, vacated), WBC welterweight (March 18, 1991-November 29, 1991), WBC super welterweight (December 18, 1993-May 7, 1994)
First Full Year of IBHOF Eligibility: 2003
Like Pintor, Brown’s overall record is deceptive because all but three of his 12 defeats occurred in his final 16 fights. But when one examines his best years one can say Brown made a genuine effort to live up to the high bar set by Jose Napoles, the original “Mantequilla” of the welterweight division.
Brown, a native of Jamaica who relocated to the Washington, D.C. area, ran off 21 straight wins before losing a split decision to top contender (and future title counterpart) Marlon Starling. Three straight wins – including a nationally televised three-round knockout over then-unbeaten Canadian Olympic silver medalist Sean O’Sullivan in Toronto – earned Brown a crack at the IBF title stripped from Lloyd Honeyghan. In what was arguably the greatest welterweight title fight of the last 25 years, Brown scored an off-the-floor 14th round TKO over Tyrone Trice. That scintillating effort was a launching pad for the triumphs that would come over the next six-plus years.
Points in His Favor: Brown notched eight defenses of the IBF title, which compares favorably with other 147-pound champs in the Hall like Kid Gavilan (seven), Emile Griffith (seven in three reigns), Carlos Palomino (seven), Curtis Cokes (five), Sugar Ray Leonard (four in two reigns) and Carmen Basilio (two in two reigns).
Not only do the raw numbers stack up, Brown also has quality wins. At welterweight, he knocked down the normally iron-chinned ex-champ Jorge Vaca five times before destroying him in three rounds and other good wins include the 33-0 Mauro Martelli (W 12), dangerous bomber Jorge Maysonet (KO 3), future titlist Luis Santana (W 12) and Trice again (KO 10). Besides the first Trice victory, Brown’s signature victory at 147 was his title unification triumph over WBC counterpart – and best friend – Maurice Blocker. Their 10-round slugfest was one of 1991’s top fights and the fact it took place on the Mike Tyson-Razor Ruddock PPV undercard enhanced Brown’s pound-for-pound credentials.
Brown further amplified his reputation in December 1993 with an earth-shaking four-round knockout of longtime WBC super welterweight titlist and top-three pound-for-pounder Terry Norris. Brown’s triumph was deemed Upset of the Year by THE RING but Brown consolidated that victory with a 12-round decision over Troy Waters.
What Hurts His Cause: Brown’s soft-spoken, all-business persona was overshadowed by the brashness of Starling and Honeyghan as well as the star power of Mark Breland. His high-risk, low-reward ratio was the pivotal roadblock in preventing a big-money title unification rematch between Brown and Starling, which for a time was the best fight that boxing could have made.
Also, Buddy McGirt dominated a weight-weakened Brown before dethroning him by decision, Norris boxed his way to a lopsided points victory in their second fight and Vincent Pettway scored a come-from-behind, one-punch KO over Brown in six rounds. An aging Brown also lost two middleweight title shots against the WBO’s Lonnie Bradley (L 12) and IBF king Bernard Hopkins (KO by 6).