In sad news, it has been reported how former WBC 140 pound champ Saoul Mamby – who once, famously, boxed as a 60 year old – has passed away age 72.
Mamby, a truly underrated fighter, could be called the king of the old men of boxing. For though Mamby, born in The Bronx in 1947, lost his final fight, on points to a 6-27-1 guy named Anthony Osbourne, who Mamby fought at the age of 60 years and nine months in 2008, he won a number of big fights at an advanced age.
A quite remarkable fighter, person, life story, Mamby really did do it all; yet he is only known to hardcore fight fans. A soldier in Vietnam, Mamby fell in love with boxing in Jamaica (his father was Jamaican, his mother Spanish) and compiled a decent 25-5 record as an amateur. Going pro in 1969, Mamby, slick, tough and full of heart and desire, fought a vast number of good and great fighters, including:
Edwin Viruet, Roberto Duran, Antonio Cervantes, Saensak Muangsurin, Esteban De Jesus, Maurice “Termite” Watkins, Monroe Brooks, Ronnie Shields, Billy Costello, James “Buddy” McGirt, Jorge Vaca, Glenwood Brown, Maurice Blocker, Javier Castillejo and Derrel Coley.
Only Coley, who fought a 46 year old Mamby, managed to stop him. Truly amazing. As is the fact that, when in his 40s, Mamby picked up an upset win over an unbeaten “Real Beast” Brown, in June of 1988. Mamby at this time was also competitive in fights with the likes of McGirt, John Meekins, Brown in a return and Blocker. Mamby the 40-something also managed upset wins over Reyes Antonio Cruz and Larry Barnes. Mamby sure learned all the tricks in the book in compiling his astonishing yet deceptive 45-34-6(18) pro record.
A world champ from 1980 to 1982, beating Sang Hyun Kim to take the WBC 140 pound title, retaining it five times, included here a stoppage win over De Jesus, and losing it to Leroy Haley by split decision, Mamby was never fussy about where he fought. A fearless warrior, Mamby packed his bags and fought in countries such as South Korea, Nigeria, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand. A true road warrior, Mamby had seemingly done it all by the time of his two decision defeats in 1999/2000.
Yet Mamby still had the urge to train, and to fight. And in 2008, Mamby lost at age 60, as had to be expected (Osbourne being his junior by almost 30 years), but the mere fact that he still had the fortitude to get in there and fight is truly remarkable.
Mamby should be remembered as a total legend, no doubt about it. And for a time he did seem to be pretty close to ageless. Our condolences go out to Mamby’s friends and family.