Even knowledgeable fight fans have trouble recalling Harold "Hercules" Johnson, even though it wasn’t that long ago that he was in the ring. It’s a shame because from the 1950s through the early 1960s, he was one of the best middleweights and light heavyweights.
He had an admirable career record but just 32 KOs, which is probably the reason he isn’t better remembered today.
Johnson lost four of five fights with the great Archie Moore, but went the distance each time until he lost via TKO in the 14th round in 1954, his final bout with Moore. Johnson didn’t get a chance to fight for a title until 1961, when he was 33, and stopped Jesse Bowdry in nine rounds to become light heavyweight champ.
He held the belt for two years when, at 35, he lost a razor-thin 15-round split-decision to Willie Pastrano. He also won a 10-round decision over heavyweight contender Eddie Machen in a non-title bout.
Here’s a gem for boxing trivia buffs: Both Harold and his father, Phil, fought and lost to the same man, future heavyweight champ, Jersey Joe Walcott.