Six Of The Best: Famous Boxing Father And Son Duos

Boxing’s sons have enjoyed mixed fortunes inside the ring
06:55, 23 Sep 2021

Campbell Hatton faces Sonni Martinez this weekend in his fourth professional fight. While the Manchester boxer is a novice in ring terms, unreasonable expectations have been placed upon him due to his famous surname. Campbell is the son of Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton, one of Britain’s most popular former world champions. This connection has seen Campbell skip the small hall shows and fight on major cards, with his outing at the weekend coming at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk undercard. 

A famous father is no guarantee of boxing success, nor is it necessarily a path to disappointment. Boxing’s sons have enjoyed mixed fortunes inside the ring, here are some of the more high-profile examples.


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 back to ‘The Greatest’ in a rematch, and never hit such heights again, losing further title bouts to Larry Holmes and cruiserweight king Dwight Muhammad Qawi. He retired in 1995 with a record of 26-17-3.

While not enjoying the fame his father got by defeating history’s most famous boxer, Cory Spinks actually surpassed Leon’s fight career in terms of achievement. ‘The Next Generation’ captured the undisputed welterweight championship, defeating Ricardo Mayorga in 2003. He successfully defended the crown against Zab Judah before losing to ‘Super’ in a rematch. Moving up in weight, Spinks reigned as a two-time IBF light middleweight champion, and took undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor the distance in defeat. 

This famous boxing family is completed by Leon’s brother Michael Spinks, who reigned as undisputed light heavyweight champion and defeated Larry Holmes for the heavyweight championship. He is unfairly most-remembered for Mike Tyson knocking him out in 91 seconds in his final fight.


Joe and Marvis Frazier


‘Smokin’’ Joe Frazier is rightfully considered one of the greatest heavyweights to ever wear the gloves. His dominant championship reign included nine wins, seven knockouts, and a decision over Muhammad Ali in one of history’s greatest fights. The pair would run it back twice more, and while Frazier lost both rematches, the trilogy is considered one of boxing’s sacred texts.

All this gave his son Marvis a lot to live up to, and the weight of matching the legacy of an all-time great was too much to bear. In truth, the younger Frazier was a decent heavyweight by mid-80s standards. His ledger boasts solid wins over Joe Bugner, James ‘Quick’ Tillis and former world champion James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith. However, when Marvis stepped up to elite level he was swiftly and brutally found out. Both Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes both stopped Frazier in the first round of world title fights.


Julio Cesar Chavez Sr and Jr


One is a 107-6-2 six-time world champion, the other lost his last bout to a 46-year-old former MMA fighter who had only boxed twice. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr could not be more different.

In fairness to the younger man, most people on this list have had to follow in the footsteps of great champions, Chavez Jr has had to follow a Mexican national hero. Few fighters have ever captured a nation’s hearts and minds like Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, and his son has sometimes wilted in that same spotlight.

Chavez Jr enjoyed a purple patch in the early part of the last decade, winning the WBC middleweight title, which he defended three times before losing to Sergio Martinez. He has gone 6-5 since, reaching his nadir in his last fight, a loss to aging former UFC star Anderson Silva.


Floyd Mayweather Sr and Jr


The polar opposite of a fighter being defined by his father’s career, Floyd Mayweather Sr’s ring achievements are usually only brought up in discussions about his son. The elder man enjoyed a decent career at welterweight, but fell short of world class, and his most famous fight was a loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978.

The legacy of Floyd Mayweather is well known, but bears repeating. ‘Money’ reigned as champion in five weight classes, amassing 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, Roger Mayweather being the most successful, reigning as a two-weight world champion.


Chris Eubank Sr and Jr


The arrogant but brilliant Eubank Sr called himself ‘Simply The Best’ for a reason, as he captured middleweight and super-middleweight titles during an era where Britain dominated those weights. A fixture of the backpages when boxing in this country was at its commercial zenith, Eubank Sr is a genuine national icon.

While his son has not traversed these heights of popularity, he remains a world-ranked contender with some impressive wins on his record. Starting his career as a cocksure mirror-image of his father, a humbling loss to Billy Joe Saunders brought the Sussex fighter back down to Earth with a bang. Since then he has mixed in excellent company, owning wins over James DeGale and Arthur Abraham. He continues to chase a world title, having lost to George Groves in a 2018 WBA championship tilt.


Nigel and Conor Benn


From Chris Eubank to his greatest rival, Nigel Benn. The two shared a deeply personal rivalry during the 1990s, as the UK’s two premiere middleweights took their conflict 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 unbeaten, his record standing at 19-0 with 12 knockouts. At 24, it is too early to tell whether he will be a cautionary tale or the second coming of the Benn legacy. But he can stand as proof to fighters like Campbell Hatton that it is possible to make your way in the world as the son of a famous fighter. 

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