6. Kid Gavilan
(108-30-5, 28 KO)
“The Cuban Hawk” was a worker on a sugar plantation. The swinging motion used to chop canes with a machete was forged to create his signature punch, the bolo punch, a looping uppercut which many opponents avoided in the ring–if they could.
Kid Gavilan went pro in 1943 in Cuba winning the Cuban lightweight title in 1945. By 1947, Gavilan had crossed over, becoming a notable welterweight contender. Gavilan faced a lot of contenders and Hall of Famers such as Ike Williams, Beau Jack, Paddy Young, Tommy Bell, Billy Graham and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Gavilan had his first shot at the title against Sugar Ray Robinson in 1949 which was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until 1951 that Gavilan won the welterweight title from Johnny Bratton. He went on to defend it seven times, once against Carmen Basilio.
He also attempted a Middleweight title shot against Bobo Olson which he lost by decision. That marked the beginning of the end for Gavilan as he lost the welterweight title to Johnny Saxton. Through his last 30 fights he won only 13. His welterweight run was an epic one, which saw him face six Hall of Fame pugilists multiple times, and beating all but two, Robinson and Olson.