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Bob Baker (boxer)
Robert ("The Grinder", "Big Bob", or "Belt'em") Baker (October 26 1926 – April 23 2002) was a bulky heavyweight boxer whose professional career spanned from 1949 until 1960. Baker was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and originally fought out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was also bodybuilder.
Big Bob Baker had very impressive amateur career. He only lost one amateur fight and won the 1949 New York Golden Gloves & Intercity Golden Gloves championships in the heavyweight division. He also won 2 other major tournaments. He started his professional career with twenty-six consecutive wins. However, his winning streak came to an end when he was defeated by another leading contender, Clarence Henry, in 1954. In his previous fight, only days before, he drew with bulky Kid Riviera. He also lost to Bob Satterfield, Archie Moore and other contenders during this era. After his defeat to Archie Moore in 1954, he never lost by a knockout or TKO again. There was talk of Baker facing heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano between January 4 and February 3 1956. From April 1955 until February 1956, Big Bob was nr.1, logical heavyweight contender for Rocky Marciano's title. However, even though Baker defeated Nino Valdez on December 7 1955, the championship bout with Rocky never materialized. Baker had excellent results against shorter opponents & had very fast hands. The bout against Valdez was a rematch of a bout fought in May of 1953 and both were won by Baker by unanimous decisions.
Before losing unfair split decision to Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson on Friday February 3 1956, (day Rocky was supposed to fight Baker (45-5) who won thirteen straight bouts aka Baker's dozen). The February fight should have been drawn. Baker fought well, avoided most of the punches, he returned punches back hard. After defeating another leading contender, John Holman, in Miami Beach Auditorium, Florida, on May 9 1956, he lost a rematch with Jackson on September 26 1956. Again it was a split decision. A majority of the ringside press felt Baker won, although the Associated Press scored it for Jackson. That fight was won by Baker but he got screwed. He bet his entire purse of 33 000$ on himself.
After 1957, his fighting skills diminished, although Baker defeated George Chuvalo, multiple Canadian champion and multiple world heavyweight title contender in the 1960s and 1970s, by unanimous decision, on September 9 1957, in Canada.
Baker served 3 years in the Navy prior to becoming a boxer. He was an only child and had only one child himself, Robert Baker, Jr.
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