Joe Kahut (tied for 175)
Woodburn, Oregon, USA
June 22, 1923 – October 4, 1990
5’10” / 145-189 lbs
58-27-7-1(38) from 01/17/1941 to 01/28/1954 (13y0m)
1-5-0-0(0) against the top ten
0-1-0-0(0) against linear champions
1-3-0-0(0) against hall-of-famers
No fights for the linear championship
Top ten opponents: W-SD-15 Joey Maxim, L-UD-10 Joey Maxim, L-UD-12 Rex Layne, L-KO-8 Ezzard Charles, L-UD-10 Cesar Brion, L-KO-2 Earl Walls
-1 total score (1 + -4+ 0 + 2)
The pride of Woodburn, Oregon started his career as a tall, lanky welterweight in 1941 at just 17 years old. He fought seven times over 6 months, scoring six wins and a draw, before taking 18 months off. Kahut returned in December 1942 fighting between middleweight and light heavyweight. He wouldn’t lose until his 26th fight, against the great Lloyd Marshall, at light heavyweight.
Fighting primarily in Portland, Oregon, Kahut would make his heavyweight debut in March 1945, knocking out a solid club fighter in Jack Huber, just 3 rounds into the contest. The formerly lanky boxer had filled out to a solid 180 pounds. He spent most of the year at heavyweight, but his final fight of 1945 occurred in a good win against Fitzie Fitzpatrick at light heavy, securing himself a top ten rating at 175.
Kahut was scheduled to face light heavyweight champion Gus Lesnevich in January 1946, but Kahut was struggling to make weight, and the fight was eventually changed to a non-title heavyweight bout. Lesnevich landed a good right hand early that shook Kahut, and he overwhelmed and stopped the Oregonian in the first round.
Kahut bounced back quickly, however, and would fight 9 more times that year, against both heavyweights and light heavyweights. He would beat Fitzie Fitzpatrick twice more, as well as fighting to a draw against him. He would lose for a second time against Costello Cruz. And Kahut would outpoint the much larger heavyweight former contender Freddie Schott.
Hovering around 180 pounds allowed Kahut to switch between the two largest divisions, but once 1947 started, he seemed to settle in as a smallish heavyweight for good. He would lose a close one against Bobby Zander, in 1947, then sit out until 1947, where he would lose to Bill Peterson and the great Joey Maxim. But Kahut would also knock Zander out in a return bout, and beat Roy Hawkins, Jerry McSwain, and even controversially edge Maxim in a rematch. The Maxim win was unpopular, but it did give Kahut his first top ten heavyweight scalp.
After that, Kahut would mostly face fringe contenders and regional favorites, usually in Portland. In 1950, Kahut would barely drop a decision to former contender Rusty Payne. He would also lose to Rex Layne, get beat up in a no-decision against Payne again, and lose decisions to Frank Buford, Ron Whittle, and Pat Comiskey, the last of which had been a contender years prior.
Kahut would settle into gatekeeper status from there. He would beat journeymen like Billy Carter (three times), and Bernie Reynolds, lose to greats like Ezzard Charles and good contenders like Cesar Brion and Freddie Beshore.
Kahut would fight on to 1954, where he ended his career losing three straight – a decision to Bill Boatsman, a quick knockout against Earl Walls, and a 9th round knockout to clubfighter Jimmy Byrne.
Kahut was never a great fighter, but he was a skilled boxer who was good enough to contend in two weight classes. As he aged, he provided a solid test for great fighters, and acted as a gatekeeper against those not good enough to reach contender status.