James Broad (tied for 191)
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
January 27, 1958 – November 20, 2001
6’4” / 210-313 lbs
23-10-0-0(15) from 8/11/1981 to 8/20/1993 (12y0m)
0-3-0-0(0) against the top ten
0-0-0-0(0) against linear champions
0-0-0-0(0) against hall-of-famers
no fights for the linear championship
Top ten opponents: L–KO-2 Tim Witherspoon, L-UD-12 Tony Tucker, L-TKO-1 Donovan Ruddock
-3 total score (0 + -3 + 0 + 0)
My initial database of fighters for this project started with over 1,000. I gradually whittled the list down to just fighters who had been ranked in the top 10 by the Ring (although I had to estimate for fighters before 1924). Most of the fighters I ended up ranking had at least one win over a top ten opponent. A few hadn’t quite made it over that hump, but still had enough quality wins to merit inclusion in the top 200, based on my math.
As I’ve mentioned in other boxer profiles, the math I used is a bit of a compromise. Total number of wins against top ten opponents is the primary criteria used, and weighted by far the heaviest. The rest of the formula is designed to take win-loss ratio somewhat into account, as well as other accomplishments (title wins, wins over hall-of-famers and linear champs). For the fighters ranked higher – especially in the top 100 – I think the formula works well, and provides a good approximation of deserved “greatest heavyweight” rankings. But below 140 or so, limitations of the formula start to show. I can definitely see how some of the bottom 60 can be reshuffled, and how certain fighters may be under or overrated. So when I have someone like James Broad being ranked over the arguably more accomplished Dick Richardson, I mean it not as completely definitive. Even using math, the ranking is still subjective, and since the formula was designed by me, it is certainly possible that it is flawed.
All that said, I don’t want to slight James Broad or tarnish his memory. He was a good fighter, and generally held his own against more accomplished opposition. It must be said that he also never really realized his potential.
Broad was an accomplished amateur, and had actually qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but the US ended up boycotting that year, and he never made it.
Broad turned pro in August 1981, and started 12-0(7), before dropping a decision to his old amateur nemesis, Marvis Frazier. But he rebounded, winning five straight, including a knockout win over then-undefeated prospect Eddie Gregg.
Broad’s waistline was becoming a problem, however. Weighing in the 230-240 range for the first few years of his career, it started creeping up. When he met his first serious contender in April 1985, he weighed in at a doughy 261 pounds. It’s possible that even in shape, James Broad never beats Tim Witherspoon, but he didn’t give himself a chance to be competitive. Witherspoon blew Broad away in 2 short rounds.
Broad took a few months off, and came back in 1986 in better shape, winning three straight fights by knockout, albeit against marginal opposition. He would get his next shot at the world level in September 1986, facing off against rising star Tony Tucker. Broad came in to the fight in much better shape than against Witherspoon, and he lasted the distance, but would still lose a wide 12 round decision.
His weight would begin to balloon again, and he lost a 10 round nod to up-and-comer Francesco Damiani, and then lost narrowly to Greg Page. He gave Page a good fight, and even scored a knockdown in the 10th, but couldn’t quite get it done.
Two fights later, Broad was wrecked in 4 rounds by South African prospect Johnny Du Plooy, and then smashed in just 1 round by future contender Razor Ruddock.
Broad took almost three years off after the Ruddock loss, returning in 1991 for a brief 5 fight comeback, winning just twice. He finally retired from competition for good in 1993.
Broad had a good reputation throughout the 80s as a sparring partner, and was one of Mike Tyson’s most reliable sparring opponents. His amateur pedigree and gym skills never quite translated to a long a notable career. Nonetheless, he was a player in the mid 1980s, and could fight well when he was in shape.
Sadly, after boxing, his life fell apart, and Broad spent some time homeless in Las Vegas, and eventually died in his hometown in North Carolina at just 43.