The Late, Great László Papp Revisited

— The late, great László Papp, amazingly he was with us unto the ripe age of 77 before passing in 2003, easily ranks among the most underrated middleweights due to his career being cut short beyond his circumstances. He was arguably the best amateur boxer ever with 3 consecutive Olympic Gold Medals, and most certainly the best all time ama up to his era, plus he had a claim to be the best southpaw boxer ever until Manny Pacquiao came along.

Hungarian Rhapsody

Hungarian Rhapsody

Only standing 5-5 or so and scaling in the mid 150s, in modern boxing terms, he’d probably start with titles in the welter division and work his way up as a 3 division title holder at middleweight. He was trapped in the cold war politics of his era and never got a professional world title shot although he was at the threshold of such before he was recalled permanently by his communist Hungarian overseers.

His final pro record of 27-0-2, 15 KO can never tell us his whole story, but perhaps the year of 1962 can illuminate what kind of fighter he was in his best year. He started with Ralph “Tiger” Jones who had already mounted the scalps of Hall of Famers Sugar Ray Robinson, Kid Gavilan, and Joey Giardella for his trophy collection and was willing to travel to Austria for the Papp scalp. Alas, Tiger, who was only stopped once early in his career on cuts, was knocked down 3x, the last coming in the 10th and last round that he was only just able to hear the final bell. Then Papp picked up the EBU title and defended in France against an undefeated Frenchman with the coolest name, Hippolyte Annex, 28-0-5 and younger than the 32 yr old Papp as was Jones.

Long before there was 24/7 and such, there was this uniquely styled French video clip that played in theaters the month before the fight. Annex is as cool as his name, very verbal, cheery, loving a good fight and clearly in training he’s a superwhiz at rope skipping and lightning fast. The video also has clips of the fight action tacked on which doesn’t do justice to the fighters, but wow, what a finish that sums up the fight perfectly, László Papp was the goods, no doubt, R.I.P.


One response to “The Late, Great László Papp Revisited

  1. — Sorry about the italics, but this software is acting out and won’t allow me to correct just as it has made a shambles of my Category by Archives. Maybe at a later date I will be able to correct…over and out for now…Mac


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