Retired heavyweight warrior Ray Mercer celebrates his 59th birthday today. The tougher than tough former WBO heavyweight champ, who also captured Olympic gold at the Seoul Games in 1988, engaged in a number of wars during his exciting career, yet thankfully the former army sergeant is in fine health, his faculties intact.
Possessing an incredibly reliable chin – Mercer stopped just twice in over 40 bouts, both times when he was past his best; Shannon Briggs and Wladimir Klitschko meeting a 40-plus Mercer – the man known as “Merciless” could also bang with the best of them, as he showed a number of times.
Here are Mercer’s Greatest Hits: Mercer at his most Merciless:
KO5 Tommy Morrison, October 1991.
This ending was simply brutal. And a whole lot of disturbing to watch. A suddenly depleted Morrison, who had hit Mercer with everything, was stuck on the ropes and quickly a helpless and inviting target in round five. Mercer blasted away at his sitting duck of an opponent, being allowed to do so by the referee. Slowly, his eyes shut, his brain punched into oblivion, Morrison slid to the canvas. Ten out of ten for gruesomeness.
KO9 Francesco Damiani, January 1991.
Trailing behind on the cards, having been outboxed by the quick and effective Italian, Mercer needed something big to save his unbeaten record. Having been practicing on his left hook/left uppercut punch in the gym, Mercer brought it out in the ninth. Catching Damiani on the tip of the nose, Mercer sent his man down. At first, it was tough to see what had happened, but Mercer had caught Damiani with a nasty punch, one that shattered the Italian’s nose. And left the ring splattered with blood.
W12 Bert Cooper, August 1990.
Only Cooper’s sheer toughness and desire – the latter often lacking in his fights but not on this night – stopped Mercer from getting a stoppage win. For 12 great all-action rounds, these two traded leather. Both men were marked up, and both men were later stitched up in the same hospital room. Mercer, showing great stamina, hit “Smoke” with everything and won a wide decision. But the score-cards fail to tell the full story behind this heavyweight classic.
L10 Lennox Lewis, May 1996.
Mercer is adamant to this day that he won this fight. Many fans and a good number of experts agree with him. Lewis himself goes as far as to say this was the single toughest fight of his career. For 30 minutes, the two determined, well-conditioned former champions and current contenders banged away, not letting up. It was mesmerizing stuff. Perhaps a draw would have been the fairest result at the end of this war.
KO1 Tim Sylvia, June 2009.
Making a splash in the MMA arena, Ray Mercer, now aged 48, scored a devastating and very quick – and in nine-seconds quick – one-punch KO over former UFC champ Sylvia. Jumping right on his inviting target, Mercer cracked the towering Sylvia with a smashing overhand right to the jaw. Going down in slow-motion, Sylvia literally did not know what had hit him. A veteran version of “Merciless” Ray Mercer proved he was still a dangerous man.