Boxing in the 1930s

Boxing in the 1930s was affected by one of the biggest economic struggles in the history of the United States: the depression era. Because of the suffering American economy, many boxers were offered lower purses, causing them to decline matches, being unsatisfied with their pay. When the decade began, the world Heavyweight title had been vacant for three years. There was a world Middleweight champion, Mickey Walker, but he was more interested in pursuing fights with the best Heavyweight contenders, instead of facing his own contenders down at the Middleweight division.

The Heavyweight division, from 1930 to 1937 in particular, could be compared to the Heavyweight division of the 1980s. Six champions were crowned before Joe Louis began his legendary run as Heavyweight champion in 1937. He retired in 1949, still holding the title of World Heavyweight Champion.

Boxing began expanding into Latin America in the 1930s: Sixto Escobar became the first world champion from Puerto Rico by defeating Baby Casanova, who had also been crowned at the start of the decade. Baby Arizmendi conquered the first world title for Mexico in 1934. For his part, Kid Chocolate became the first world champion from Cuba.

Three world champions won world titles in three different divisions, a feat no single fighter had accomplished since 1903; Tony Canzoneri, Barney Ross and Henry Armstrong cemented their place in boxing history by achieving this feat; Armstrong was the first, and will be the only, world champion to reign in three divisions at the same time: modern boxing rules ban boxers from reigning in more than one division at a time.

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