Like father, like son: The mixed fortunes of boxing paternal couples


Campbell Hatton returns to the ring this Saturday in Abu Dhabi. The 21-year-old will face 9-5 Denis Bartos on the undercard of Dmitry Bivol’s WBA 175-pound title defense against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. Hatton is currently 8-0, but his career has come under more scrutiny than that of a typical prospect. The reason? His famous surname. Campbell is the son of two-weight world champion Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton.

A well-known nickname can open doors for a young fighter, but it comes with high expectations. As these six father-son combinations prove, only the best descendants of boxers truly reach the elite level. Campbell should not take into account the mixed fate of these fighting fathers and sons.

Leon and Cory Spinks

Leon Spinks shocked the world when he beat Muhammad Ali to capture the world heavyweight championship in just his ninth fight. He would drop it in ‘The Greatest’ in a rematch, and never reached such heights again, losing further title fights to Larry Holmes and heavyweight king Dwight Muhammad Qawi. He retired in 1995 with a record of 26-17-3.

Although he didn’t enjoy the fame his father gained by defeating the most famous boxer in history, Cory Spinks actually surpassed Leon’s fighting career in terms of accomplishments. ‘The Next Generation’ won the undisputed welterweight championship, beating Ricardo Mayorga in 2003. He successfully defended the crown against Zab Judah before losing to ‘Super’ in a rematch. Gaining weight, Spinks reigned as a two-time IBF light middleweight champion and took undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor the distance in defeat.

This famous family of boxers is completed by Leon’s brother, Michael Spinks, who reigned as the undisputed light heavyweight champion and defeated Larry Holmes for the heavyweight championship. He is unfairly best known for Mike Tyson who knocked him out in 91 seconds in his last fight.

Joe and Marvis Frazier

“Smokin” Joe Frazier is rightly considered one of the greatest heavyweights to ever wear the gloves. His dominating championship reign included nine wins, seven knockouts and a ruling on Muhammad Ali in one of the greatest fights in history. The pair would rerun it twice more, and although Frazier lost both rematches, the trilogy is considered one of boxing‘s hallowed texts.

It all gave a lot to his son Marvis, and the weight of matching the legacy of an all-time great was too much to bear. In truth, young Frazier was a decent heavyweight by mid-’80s standards. His ledger has solid wins over Joe Bugner, James “Quick” Tillis and former world champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith. However, when Marvis rose to the elite level, he was quickly and brutally discovered. Both mike tyson and larry holmes the two stopped Frazier in the first round of the world title fights.

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Julio Cesar Chavez father and son

One is a six-time 107-6-2 world champion, the other lost to a 46-year-old MMA veteran who had only boxed twice. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr couldn’t be more different.

To be fair to the youngster, most people on this list had to follow in the footsteps of great champions, Chavez Jr had to follow a Mexican national hero. Few fighters have ever captured the hearts and minds of a nation like Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, and his son has sometimes faded under that same spotlight.

Chavez Jr had a purple smudge early in the last decade, winning the WBC middleweight title, which he defended three times before losing to Sergio Martinez. He’s gone 6-6 since, reaching his nadir with a loss to recent Jake Paul victim Anderson Silva.

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Floyd Mayweather father and son

The polar opposite of a fighter defined by his father’s career, Floyd Mayweather Sr’s in-ring accomplishments are usually only brought up in discussions of his son. The older man had a decent career at welterweight but didn’t make it to world class, and his most famous fight was a loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978.

Floyd Mayweather’s legacy is well known, but bears repeating. “Money” reigned as champion in five weight classes, racking up a 50-0 record while beating generational fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

His uncles (and Sr’s brothers) also boxed, with Roger Mayweather being the most successful, reigning as the two-weight world champion.

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Chris Eubank father and son

The arrogant but brilliant Eubank Sr was called ‘Simply The Best’ for a reason, as he won the middleweight and super middleweight titles at a time when Great Britain dominated those weights. A staple of the back pages when boxing in this country was at its commercial zenith, Eubank Sr is a true national icon.

Although his son hasn’t reached those heights of popularity, he remains a world-class contender with some impressive wins to his name. Starting his career as a mirror image of his father, a humiliating loss to Billy Joe Saunders brought the Sussex fighter back down to earth with a bang. Since then, he’s mixed in great company, holding victories over James DeGale and Arthur Abraham. He continues to aim for a world title, having lost to George Groves in a WBA championship match in 2018.

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Nigel and Conor Benn

From Chris Eubank to his biggest rival, Nigel Benn. The two shared a deeply personal rivalry in the 1990s, as the UK’s top two middleweights took their contention all the way to world titles. ‘The Dark Destroyer’, like his nemesis, is a former two-weight world champion and left an indelible mark on British boxing.

His son is currently undefeated, his record being 21-0 with 14 knockouts. But his career hit a low point recently, when a fight with Eubank Jr had to be scrapped when Benn failed a pre-fight doping test. His next fight will be his toughest yet, as he tries to clear his name.

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