R.I.P Matthew Saad Muhammad – 1954-2014
In sad news, it has been reported how Matthew Saad Muhammad, the former light-heavyweight king from the 1980s, yesterday passed away in hospital in his hometown of Philadelphia from unknown causes. Saad was just 59-years-old.
An absolute warrior in every sense of the word, Saad – born Matthew Franklin but changing his name for religious reasons in the ‘80’s – was known for taking unbelievable punishment in fights and somehow coming back to win. Turning pro in January of 1974 at the Spectrum in Philly, Saad would go on to capture the NABF 175-pound title with a 1977 stoppage win over Marvin Johnson (these two would meet again). In April of 1979, in Indianapolis, Saad TKO’d Johnson in the 8th to win the WBC crown. A number of thrillers already on his resume, Matthew would engage in plenty more.
His wars with Johnson, Yaqui Lopez and Dwight Muhammad Qawi are legendary, even if Saad was past his best a by the time of his first rumble with Qawi. Losing the WBC title to Qawi after having made eight retentions, Saad wasn’t ready to quit. Sadly boxing on way too long, losing a return to Qawi, again by stoppage, Matthew would lose 11 further bouts before finally hanging ‘em up at the age of 47 in 1992. Nothing can ever take away from Muhammad’s epic battles however.
A Hall of Famer (inducted in 1998), Muhammad gave fight fans a number of Fights of The Year.
His final record reads 49-16-3(35) and the notable fighters Matthew fought include: Mate Parlov, Marvin Camel, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Marvin Johnson, Yaqui Lopez, John Conteh, Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Murray Sutherland.
In the opinion of many boxing historians of a certain age, it is a tossup between Arturo Gatti and Muhammad when it comes to the most unbelievably exciting modern day warrior. Those who saw Matthew Saad Muhammad fight will never forget him.