Few men have displayed the bravery of Barney Ross. Whether he was fighting at Madison Square Garden or on the beaches of Guadalcanal, Ross wore his courage on his sleeve.
Ross became just the third boxer in history to win world titles in three weight classes -- lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight. In earning to of those titles he had to defeat fellow Hall of Famers Tony Canzoneri and Jimmy McLarnin.
Ross turned pro in Chicago in 1929 to help support his family after gunmen shot down his father, who worked as a grocer. He was a gifted boxer who was often compared favorably with Benny Leonard. Perhaps one of his best assets was his chin. He was not knocked out in 81 pro bouts, quite an accomplishment considering the quality of his competition.
In 1933, Ross earning a split decision over Canzoneri to win the world lightweight and junior welterweight titles. Less than three months later he retained both titles on another split decision in a rematch with Canzoneri and then relinquished the lightweight title.
His third crown would come a year later when Ross copped a split decision over welterweight titleholder McLarnin. In a rematch four months later, McLarnin took his title back. But it was Ross who won the rubber match in 1935, scoring a unanimous decision over McLarnin at the Polo Grounds in New York.
Ross made successful welterweight title defenses against Izzy Jannazzo and Ceferino Garcia in 1936 and 1937. Then in 1938, he lost the welterweight title to all-time great Henry Armstrong -- then the reigning featherweight champion. Ross retired after the fight.
Upon the outbreak of World War Ii, Ross joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was wounded at Guadalcanal and awarded the Silver Star.
Born: Dec. 23, 1909
Died: Jan. 17, 1967