Stan “Kitten” Hayward: One Of The Toughest Fighters To Come Out Of Philadelphia

29.11.06 – By Jim Amato: Stan “Kitten” Hayward was just one of the many tough welterweights and middleweights that came out of Philadelphia in the 1960’s and 70’s. He battled the best his hometown had to offer and several other world contenders too. Hayward began his pro career in 1959. He won sixteen of his first eighteen matches. In 1963 he dropped a ten rounder to welterweight contender Jose Stable.. Later in the year, he stopped Percy Manning . In 1964 and 1965, Hayward made great strides up the ladder. First, he halted future welterweight champion Curtis Cokes in four brutal rounds. In 1965, he beat Vince Shomo, Tito Marshall and “Bad” Bennie Briscoe.

In 1966, Hayward suffered a setback when he lost in seven rounds to the talented Gypsy Joe Harris. Stan came right back in 1967, beating Fate Davis, Pete Toro and battling to a draw with Jean Josselin. In 1968, he drew with rugged Joe Shaw and then in October, he won possibly the biggest fight of his career. Stan scored an upset ten round decision over former world champion Emile Griffith.

The win over Griffith put Hayward in line for a title shot. On March 17, 1969, he met Freddie Little for the vacant WBA and WBC versions of the junior middleweight title. The bout took place in Las Vegas and Little outscored Stan over fifteen rounds.

The loss to Little started Hayward’s career on a downward spiral. Over his next fourteen fights, he would go 5-8-1. He finished 1969 losing a decision in a rematch with Griffith. In 1970, he was defeated by Jean Claude Bouttier and Juan Carlos Duran. In 1971, he dropped a points verdict to Alvin Phillips. Stan’s career really took a nose dive when he was blitzed in one round by the savage punching Eugene “Cyclone” Hart.

As his career was winding down, Stan was kayoed in seven by Willie “The Worm” Monroe in 1974. In 1975, Stan lost a rematch to Bennie Briscoe. In his final fight taking place in 1977, Stan was taken out in four rounds by Larry Davis.

Hayward amassed 48 fights in his respectable career, finishing with a 32-12-4 ledger while meeting some of the best boxers of his era between the 147 and 160 pound weight classes.