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Johnny Saxton (“The Fighting Orphan”), was born on July 4, 1930, in Newark, New Jersey. He was managed by Frank “Blinky” Palermo.
Saxton turned professional on May 9, 1949 with a third round K.O. over Jimmy Swan, in Philadelphia. He ran off six more wins before the year was out. 1950 was a busy year for Saxton, as he fought ten more times, all victories. That year he beat some tough pros such as Aldo Minelli, Joe Miceli, Bert Linam and Tony Pellone. Saxton kept up his busy pace while keeping his undefeated record intact throught 1951 and 1952, beating such fighters as Virgil Akins, and Ralph “Tiger” Jones.
As 1953 began, Saxton was already considered to be one of the top fighters in the world. He defeated Wallace “Bud” Smith, Charley Williams, and Joey Giardello. He lost for the first time against Gil Turner and again to Del Flanagan, both ten round decisions. He already had forty victories before that first loss.
He came back in 1954 by beating Johnny Bratton and then fought a ten round draw against Johnny Lombardo. His next fight was the big one, against Kid Gavilan, for the welterweight championship of the world. Saxton won by fifteen round decision.
The following year he lost his title to Tony DeMarco, in a great fight, and then picked up four more wins before getting another title opportunity. This time it was against the great Carmen Basilio, who had beaten DeMarco. Saxton again won the title with a decision victory over Basilio.
He lost the title in a rematch with Basilio in 1957. he called it a career the following year after back to back losses to Denny Moyer and Willie Green. His final record stands at 55-9-2, with 21 K.O.’s. He is a strong candidate for the boxing hall of fame and hopefully will soon take his place among the ring’s immortals.