44 Consecutive Knockouts! The Lamar Clark Story

27.01.09 - By Paul McCreath - If you were to look at page 1056 of The Ring Record Book and Boxing Encyclopaedia of 1986-87 you would find there a listing of the fighters with the most consecutive KOs in the history of boxing. All those with 20 or more in a row are listed. You would naturally expect to find many famous names there and you would indeed find them. Carlos Zarate, Aaron Pryor, Jesus Pimentel, Wilfredo Gomez and Tom Sharkey are all on the list. Unless you are over 60 years of age you would probably never guess who tops that list. It is Lamar Clark with 44 KOs in succession..

You are probably inclined to ask at this time just who is this guy? Why is he not in the hall of fame? Why have I never heard of him? The following is his very unique story.

Lamar Clark was born in Cedar City Utah in December of 1934. He attended Cedar City High School where he excelled at baseball, football and basketball. After graduation he became a chicken farmer and then later a boxer. As an amateur he was among the top 10 in America. Standing 5 foot 10 inches and weighing around 185 pounds he was just slightly smaller than most heavyweights in those days. After winning several local tournaments he won the regional Golden Gloves heavyweight title in Las Vegas in 1957. He also reached the quarter finals of the national AAU championships in Boston. The AP in 1958 said he finished up with a 25-2 record before turning pro. There is some dispute about this. There were reports of two pro bouts in 1955, both 8 rounders, a draw and a decision win. This seems unlikely since he was fighting as an amateur in 1957 but you never know. Record keeping in those days was pretty sketchy and the administration of the amateur game not all that good either.

In January of 1958 Lamar turned pro as part of the well known Marv Jensen stable of fighters. Marv managed middleweight champion Gene Fuller as well as his two brothers Don and Jay who were also good boxers. The top 10 heavyweight slugger Rex Layne was also one of Jensen's men.

Clark's first bout was against another man making his pro debut,a fellow named John Hicks. Lamar won a close 6 round decision over Hicks and that would be the only time in his career that one of his fights would go the distance. He would go on from there to win his next 44 bouts all by knockout. Hicks fought only one more time when he was stopped two weeks later by Clark in 3 rounds.

After bringing his record to 12-0 Lamar really got serious about rolling up a record number of quick victories. On October 13 still in 1958 he KO'd 2 men in the same night. On November 10 he stopped all 3 opponents. On the 28th he added two more. Finally he hit his peak. On December 1 he stopped 6 opponents in one night, five in the first round and one in the second. This concluded his first year of pro boxing with 30 wins, the last 29 by KO.

You must be wondering if this guy was some kind of a superman. Actually he wasn't. He was always fit and he could punch. He was described as a rugged brawler. The secret of his success was his opposition. By the time he reached 25-0 only one of his victims had ever won a fight. That was Dynamite Jackson who was 1-5. He went in the first round like many of the others. Lamar fought all over Utah including at his old high school several times. His opponents were obviously not truly pro fighters but rather local toughs or not so toughs who somehow managed to get a pro license. In the end 40 of Lamar's victims during his streak had never won a fight. Pro boxing was not tightly controlled in Utah in those days.

On December 15 Clark travelled to Cleveland Ohio where he dispatched two more victims. One named Cornell Butler had a 2-9 record. Lamar was stepping up. The next March he went out to Palm Springs California with his streak still intact and met perhaps his toughest test up until that time. Tony Burton was 3-2 according to Boxrec and he lasted until the 4th round. Burton claimed as many as 12 wins but again who really knows?

Finally in March of 1960 Clark made his try at the big time. He was matched in Ogden Utah with Bartolo Soni a 12-2 -2 fighter. The bout was nationally televised and I can still remember it to this day. I must admit the memory is a bit foggy but as I recall Lamar did rather well in the early rounds before fading and being stopped in the 9th round.It was quite an exciting fight. The 44 fight KO streak was over but Lamar was not finished yet. In June he met the former Olympic heavyweight champion Pete Rademacher. Pete was famous for challenging for the world title against Floyd Patterson in his very first pro bout. He knocked Patterson down before being stopped himself later. Pete entered the bout at 6-3-1 and stopped Clark in 10.

There was one more meaningless win and then his final match against the young and undefeated Cassius Clay in just his 6th pro fight. Clay stopped Clark in 2 and went on in later years under the name Muhammad Ali to become one of the all time greats.

Lamar Clark was not a great fighter but his record still stands. I should mention that his record according to Boxrec does not quite agree with The Ring Record Book. Boxrec credit him with 43 wins in total. The Ring lists those two fights in 1955. I guess we will never know for sure. Lamar Clark died in November of 2006 at the age of 71. The next time you hear about some young unknown fighter with a whole pile of KO wins you might think about Lamar and ask yourself what it really means.

Records are not always what they seem to be.

Article posted on 27.01.2009

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