Born March 3, 1937 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Perkins and his family moved to Chicago when he was just a year old. Perkins' interest in boxing was fostered by backyard battles with neighborhood friends. He soon found himself in a Chicago gym owned by Joe Louis and compiled a 26-10 amateur record and the Windy City lightweight title.
He turned pro in 1956 and boxed primarily in Chicago early in his career. Under the careful managerial eye of bantamweight legend Johnny Coulon, Perkins developed a crafty boxer / puncher style and soon became a globetrotting fighter, traveling to over 20 countries to box. Although a highly ranked lightweight, Perkins was unable to secure a title shot and moved up to junior welterweight. A win over Venezuela's Carlos Hernandez was soon followed by a trilogy with Italy's Duilio Loi in Milan, Italy that saw Perkins draw, win and lose in junior welterweight title bouts from 1961 to 1962. In 1963 he regained the title with a 15-round win over the Philippines' Roberto Cruz in front of 32,000 fans in Manila. The slick-boxing champion defended his title in Japan and Jamaica before losing it to Carlos Hernandez in Caracas, Venezuela in a bout that saw referee Henry Armstrong award Perkins the fight, while the two South American judges voted for the local pugilist.
Although he would not challenge for a world title again, Perkins continued to meet the top junior welterweight and welterweights including Jose Napoles (L 10), Kenny Lane (W 12), Adolph Pruitt (W 10), Nicolino Locche (L 10), Clyde Gray (W 10), Angel Espada (W 10) and Armando Muniz (W12) among others before retiring in 1975 with a 74-20-2 , 2 NC (21 KOs) record.
Born: March 3, 1937
Died: May 10, 2012