ONE OF the greatest light heavyweight champions in history, Bob Foster was a dangerous puncher with either hand. He so dominated the 175-pound division that he sought greater challenges from heavyweights. In fact, Foster lost to just one light heavyweight in his prime, Mauro Mina, a contender from Peru.
Foster turned pro in 1961 and faced his first major opponent the following year in his 10th pro fight. He met perennial contender Doug Jones who by then was a ranking heavyweight. The result was a second-round knockout and Foster's first loss.
In 1968, Foster challenged for the light heavyweight title and knocked out Dick Tiger in the fourth round at Madison Square Garden. He proceeded to dominate the division until he retired in 1974. Along the way he scored knockout victories over Frankie DePaula, Andy Kendall, Hal Carroll, Tommy Hicks, Vicente Rondon, Mike Quarry and Chris Finnegan.
Foster found that his most serious challenges and biggest paydays were in the heavyweight division. And while he gamely fought top heavyweights, the results were disappointing. Heavyweight champion Joe Frazier knocked him out in two rounds in 1970 and former champion Muhammad Ali stopped him in eight rounds in a bout billed for the NABF heavyweight title.
Foster announced his retirement from the ring after Jorge Ahumada fought him to a controversial draw in 1974. He returned to the ring, won five straight fights, but retired for good after suffering a knockout loss in 1978.
Born: Dec. 15, 1938