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Fallen heroes: Ten top fighters who died in the ring
There's no sport more brutal or unforgiving than professional boxing. With approximately two thousand deaths directly attributed to in-ring battle since the adopting of the Marquis of Queensberry rules, boxing has established itself as the most dangerous sport in the world.
Here's a list of the 10 most recognizable fighters who literally gave the sport their all. Forgive any omissions and, please, feel free to honor other fallen heroes in the comment section of this article:
Benny "Kid" Paret (35-12-3, 10 KOs) (1937-1962)
Former world welterweight champ, Paret, lost his life in the third installment of his brutal trilogy with Emile Griffith at Madison Square Garden. Paret's TKO 12 loss resulted in the Cuban star falling into a coma and dying 10 days later without ever regaining consciousness.
Davey Moore (59-7-1, 30 KOs) (1933-1963)
The former featherweight champ died from injuries sustained in a bout with "Sugar" Ramos in 1963 when his neck and brain stem suffered damage, hitting the bottom rope during a knockdown. The incident inspired the Bob Dylan song, "Who Killed Davey Moore?"
Johnny Owen (25-2-1, 11 KOs) (1956-1980)
Welshman Owen died after being knocked out by Lupe Pintor in a bid for Pintor's WBC bantamweight title. Owen would slip into a coma and eventually die from a respiratory infection related to his life support apparatus.
Deuk-Koo Kim (17-2-1, 8 KOs) (1959-1982)
South Korea's Kim lost his life after being stopped in the 14th round of a brutal war with Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini as he challenged for Mancini's WBA lightweight title. The nationally-televised death inspired the move to reduce the number of rounds in championship fights from 15 to 12.
Leavander Johnson (34-5-2, 26 KOs) (1969-2005)
Former lightweight champ, Johnson, would collapse in his dressing room following his TKO 11 loss to Jesus Chavez on HBO. He was placed into a medically-induced coma, but passed away five days later.
Jimmy Doyle (43-7-3, 14 KOs) (1924-1947)
Doyle lost his life in an attempt to take the world welterweight title from defending champ, "Sugar" Ray Robinson. A year prior to the TKO 8 loss to Robinson, Doyle had suffered head injuries against Artie Levine that were considered, "career threatening."
Yo-Sam Choi (32-5, 19 KOs) (1972-2008)
South Korea's Choi, a former world jr. flyweight champ who moved up to capture the WBO Inter-Continental flyweight title, died from injuries sustained in his successful title defense over Heri Amol. After the bout, Choi collapsed in the ring and was rushed to the hospital, never to regain consciousness. He was removed from life support eight days later.
Jimmy Garcia (35-5, 25 KOs) (1971-1995)
Two-time world title challenger, Garcia lost his life against defending super featherweight champion, Gabriel Ruelas, on the Oscar De la Hoya-Rafael Ruelas pay-per-view undercard. Garcia would collapse in his corner at the end of the 10th round and pass away from a brain injury 13 days later.
Pedro Alcazar (25-1-1, 14 KOs) (1975-2002)
Alcazar, a single parent of two, would collapse and pass away in his Las Vegas Hotel room 36 hours after his TKO 6 loss to Fernando Montiel in a failed bid to defend his WBO super flyweight title.
Willie Classen (16-7-2, 9 KOs) (1950-1979)
Former New York Golden Gloves winner, Classen, lost his life from a brain injury after a 10-round KO loss to top middleweight contender, Wilford Scypion at the Felt Forum in NY.
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