Dick Richardson (tied for 198)
Newport, Wales, United Kingdom
June 1, 1934 – July 15, 1999
6’3” / 193½-209½ lbs
31-14-2-0(24) from 9/15/1954 to 3/26/1963 (8y6m)
0-6-0-0(0) against the top ten
1-1-0-0(0) against linear champions
1-2-0-0(0) against hall-of-famers
no fights for the linear championship
Top ten opponents: L-UD-10 Willie Pastrano, L-UD-10 Joe Erskine, L-UD-10, L-DQ-8 Mike DeJohn, L-KO-8 Ingemar Johansson, L-KO-5 Henry Cooper
-4 total score (0 + -6 + 0 + 2)
Dick Richardson isn’t a household name now. But in the late 50s and early 60s, he was one of the “big four” talented British heavyweights that contended at the World level. Richardson took on each of the other three (Henry Cooper, Joe Erskine, and Brian London), as well as a host of other big names. in the division.
He turned pro in 1954, when Rocky Marciano was the world champion, and the old guard of the war years was fading out, gradually being replaced by a new era of fighters – bigger, stronger, and faster than their counterparts of past decades.
Richardson lost a 6 round decision in his pro debut, against another fellow novice, and drew in his third fight. But he rebounded from there, winning mostly by knockout as he developed. After his first year-and-a-half, he sported a record of 17-2-1(15), and was ready to take on first real test, undefeated British prospect Joe Erskine. The smaller, more experienced Erskine managed to win a 10 round decision.
Richardson rebounded quickly, scoring two knockout wins just two months later, leading to an October 1956 bout against the legendary Ezzard Charles. By this point, Charles had faded from world contention, but was still a tricky and vastly experienced fighter. The old master didn’t seem to have it anymore, however, and was disqualified against Richardson after just 2 rounds due to “persistent holding.” Not the most satisfying way to pick up a win against a name, but it was still an achievement.
Richardson’s win gave him a shot with recent contender Nino Valdes, who had been seen as on the decline at that point. Valdes was too crafty and strong for Richardson, though, and forced an eigth-round stoppage, to drop Richardson’s record to 20-4-1(17).
A pair of wins over regional contenders sandwiched a 15 round draw against Joe Bygraves. These three fights led to a pair of decision losses against meaningful contenders – Willie Pastrano and Bob Baker.
He would be disqualified against Cleveland Williams for excessive headbutting, then a couple fights later, surprised Bob Baker with a solid decision win in a mild upset. After that victory, his record would be mixed, beating clubfighters with ease, but generally losing when stepping up the competition. Over the next two years, he would lose by stoppage against Henry Cooper, a decision against Joe Erskine, and a pair of losses to Mike DeJohn. The DeJohn fights were frustrating, as Richardson arguably deserved the decision in their first fight, and then fouled continuously in the second to earn another disqualification loss.
In August of 1960, Richardson managed an upset win over Brian London, earning an 8th round stoppage due to a nasty gash over London’s eye. Richardson would remain inconsistent, losing an upset decision to Howard King two fights later, and would then follow up with a big 1st round knockout win over Karl Mildenberger.
In June of 1962, Richardson got a crack at recently deposed heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson. Richardson would lose his European title (won against Brian London almost 2 years prior) to the big Swede, being knocked unconscious by a huge right hand in the 8th.
Richardson would return to the ring one more time 9 months later, taking on old rival Henry Cooper, in a major British domestic matchup. It appeared that the 28 year old Richardson may have reached the end of the road, as he was knocked out in five rounds by Cooper.
Richardson retired afterward, fighting professionally for just a little over 8 years. He packed 47 fights into that time, though. He was an active fighter, often a little dirty, and usually exciting. He fought world-class opposition from the start, and while he rarely beat the best, he usually gave them a good fight. He wasn’t an all-time great by any means, but he was able to be an important part of the heavyweight scene during his era.