Simon Brown, who ruled the world at both 147 and 154 pounds, was some tough, skilled, and courageous fighter. Fighting at a time when the 147-pound division was full of killer fighters – you could call it a modern-day Murderer’s Row – Brown fought as many big fights as he could. The Jamaican warrior engaged in fierce battles with Marlon Starling, Tyrone Trice (twice), Maurice Blocker, and Buddy McGirt.
Brown was able to defeat Trice (twice) and Blocker, but he fell short against “Magic Man” Starling, and he was also outpointed by McGirt. Brown then moved up to 154, and sensationally KO’d Terry Norris to become a two-weight champ. Norris lost the return with Norris and was then beaten in hard fights with both Vincent Pettway and Aaron Davis, but he bounced back to defeat Glenwood Brown.
Brown even challenged middleweight great Bernard Hopkins, the stoppage loss being his last big fight. Brown retired with a fine 47-11(34) record in 2000. One of the best fighters of the mid to late 1980s and early to mid-1990s, Brown remains a fan favorite today.
Recently, the 57-year-old who now trains fighters was kind enough to look back on some of his key fights:
On his first pro defeat, to Starling:
“Marlon Starling was definitely a tough guy to fight. He had a great defence, and he used that to throw me off in the fight. I did manage to come on strong late in that fight, but by then, it was too late. But I wasn’t discouraged; I managed to come back. Even after that loss, it was always on my mind and in my heart to become champion of the world. I never stopped believing.”
On his two hard fights with Trice:
“Tyrone Trice was yet another tough guy in an era filled with them. Trice took a great shot! Trice had a lot of heart, and he actually put me down before I beat him to become [IBF] champion. I wound up fighting him again, and believe it or not, he was even tougher the second time, even though I managed to stop him quicker than in the fistfight (this time in the 10th, the first fight in the 14th round). Trice was tall, and he was rangy, definitely one of the best I ever fought. I was in great shape for both fights; I had to be.”
On his unification battle with Blocker:
“Blocker, yet another great fighter. He had never been stopped; in fact, he had only lost to Lloyd Honeyghan. That fight, that win was me at my peak, I think. I had had enough at 147 by then, though. I had worked so hard to make the welterweight limit, and I moved up to fight [Terry] Norris (after losing the welterweight belts to McGirt). Also, I fought so often; it seemed like a fight a month. McGirt, he just never stopped moving in our fight, and I just couldn’t get my thing going. I couldn’t hit him the way I wanted to hit him.”
On some welterweights he wished he’d fought:
“I wish I could have got two fights – one with Mark Breland, and one with Julio Cesar Chavez. Breland would have been a big-money fight for me, but it never happened. I would have knocked him out. I know he would not have been able to take my power. And Chavez, who I was hoping would move up and challenge me for my [welterweight] title; I would have beaten him too. Chavez wouldn’t have been able to do anything to me.”
On his massive upset win over Norris:
“Nobody gave me a chance in that fight. But I just went right through him. I do think I was a better fighter up at 154. I shocked the world the night I took out Norris!”
On his brutal KO loss to Pettway:
“That was a hard left hook he got me with. But any fighter can get caught by a punch like that. The mistake I made was, I got too relaxed in that fight. Also, I stopped listening to my guys in the corner. Yeah, he caught me.”
On today’s best welterweights:
“It’s just a different era today. We had 15 rounds, that’s maybe the biggest difference. Also, there were only three titles, and even then, that was too many! Today, it’s easier to become a champion. My only regret looking back is, I wish I’d got those big, big money fights with Chavez and Breland. I’d have beaten them both.”