• Lea Worrall

Pride of Jamaica: Simon Brown

Updated: Jul 10


Born in Clarendon, Jamaica as Ceseford Brown on 15th August 1963, Simon Brown compiled an amateur record of 63-2. He turned professional at Atlantic City's Tropicana Hotel and Casino against Ricky Williams in February 1982, winning a four-round decision. 


He fought predominantly in Atlantic City, compiling a record of 21-0 (15 KO's) when he challenged USBA welterweight champion Marlon Starling on 22nd November 1985 at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Starling was vastly experienced and a few classes above the faded veterans and club fighters Brown had been facing as a pro.


Starling had a record of 97-13 in the amateurs and reached the 1977 AAU welterweight semi-final, losing to Mike McCallum. In 1975 and '79 he lost both New England Golden Gloves welterweight finals to Robbie Sims. He turned pro in July 1979 and amassed an unbeaten run of 25-0 before losing his USBA welterweight title to NABF counterpart, Donald Curry by a split decision in October 1982.  


Starling won his next two and received a shot for the vacant NABF and USBA welterweight championships against Kevin Howard. Starling unanimously outscored Howard for the domestic titles and went on to get a shot at IBF and WBA welterweight king, Donald Curry. Starling took the champion the full fifteen rounds, dropping a unanimous decision. 


Two months later in April 1984, Starling defended both American welterweight titles against Lupe Aquino. In June he lost his NABF crown by a majority decision to Pedro Vilella and successfully defended his USBA welterweight crown against Floyd Mayweather Snr in April 1985. He managed a non-title fight, outscoring Reggie Miller in a ten rounder, before facing Simon Brown.


The twenty-seven-year-old champion employed a peek-a-boo defence and dominated the first half of the contest. Brown fired back, as the champion used his experience to keep the challenger at bay. Brown pushed him all the way, losing by split decision. 


The Jamaican then took on Kevin Howard in March 1986. Howard had been a pro since October 1978 and dropped to 18-3-1 (10 KO's) when he contested the vacant NABF and USBA welterweight titles against Marlon Starling in April 1983. In May 1984, Howard found himself in the ring with the come-backing 'Sugar' Ray Leonard. An upset looked like being on the cards when Howard floored Leonard in the fourth. However, the ex-world champion regrouped and stopped Howard in the ninth, inflicting the fifth defeat on Howard's resume.


Howard's career had stalled somewhat by the time he faced Brown and the Jamaican ended the contest in the seventh round. Howard never boxed again, retiring from the sport with a record of 21-8-1 (12KO's). 


Next up for Brown was the 1984 Olympic silver light-middleweight medallist, Shawn O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan represented Canada in the Los Angeles Games and compiled an unbeaten streak of eleven with eight stoppages in the paid ranks. Though O'Sullivan was two years older than Brown, his chance against the Jamaican came too soon, suffering a third-round TKO defeat.


Brown stayed out of the ring until September 1987, with a rare appearance in Jamaica, stopping Dexter Smith in the sixth round, to improve to 24-1 (18 KO's). In April 1988 he found himself in France against the 28-1 (23 KO's) Tyrone Trice for the vacant IBF welterweight belt.


The IBF stripped Lloyd Honeyghan of their title as he faced Jorge Vaca in a twelve round bout, instead of their mandated fifteen. Brown was put to the canvas in round two and put Trice down three times in round twelve. The fight was nicely poised going into the fourteenth round with two judges siding with Trice, 123-122, and 124-123 whilst the third judge favoured Brown, 126-122.


However, Brown made the scoring redundant when he floored and stopped Trice in the penultimate round to claim the title. He made his first defence against Jorge Vaca, downing him once in the first and four times in the second, in July 1988, before flooring him for the count in round three.


He defended his crown a further six times, defeating Luis Santana and a rematch with Trice, before stepping in the ring with a good friend and WBC counterpart Maurice Blocker. Blocker started his pro career in February 1982 and stayed unbeaten until he challenged Lloyd Honeyghan for the WBC and IBF welterweight titles. The champion kept his belts with a unanimous decision whilst the challenger dropped to 24-1 (13 KO's).


Blocker won his next seven and on 19 August 1990, he outpointed WBC welterweight champion Marlon Starling. After the majority defeat, Starling hung up his gloves and Blocker made the first defence of his title against IBF champion, Simon Brown in March 1991.


Promoter Don King, who fell out with IBF president Bob Lee for not stripping James'Buster' Douglas of their heavyweight belt, made any charge of his holding that title to relinquish it. Brown and Blocker, who were good friends, battled it out for ten, entertaining rounds until Brown cancelled out Blocker's slight lead at the two-minutes 10 seconds mark of the tenth.


With Brown dropping his IBF title, he made the first defence of the WBC welterweight crown against James 'Buddy' McGirt. The challenger turned pro in March 1982 and amassed a 28-0-1 (25 KO's) until he was outpointed by Frankie Warren in July 1986. Nine wins later he was once again facing Warren for the vacant IBF light-welterweight belt in February 1988.


McGirt was dominating the contest and Warren succumbed in the twelfth round, losing his unbeaten record as McGirt gained revenge and a world championship. After knocking out Howard Davis Jnr in his first defence, McGirt put his belt on the line against the unbeaten featherweight 1984 Olympic champion, Meldrick Taylor.


Taylor capped off a dominating display with a twelfth round TKO when McGirt's manager rushed through the ropes to save his man from further punishment. McGirt returned to action in early 1989 as a welterweight, winning sixteen in a row, before challenging Brown on 29th November 1991.


The defending champion, considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters at the time, endured a tenth round knockdown, surrendering his newly acquired WBC belt by scores of 119-108 and two cards of 117-110, dropping to 34-2 (26 KO's) as the new champion improved to 55-2-1 (43 KO's).


Brown returned to the ring in June 1992, winning five in a row before challenging WBC light-middleweight king, Terry Norris in December 1993. The defending champion from Texas was enjoying a lengthy reign, first demolishing John Mugabi in the first round to capture his belt in March 1990. He easily outpointed Sugar Ray Leonard in his second defence and picked off Don Curry, Meldrick Taylor, Maurice Blocker, and Troy Waters, all by stoppage.


Against Brown, Norris was making the twelfth defence of his crown and was looking forward to a big payday against the unbeaten Mexican, Julio Cesar Chavez, who kept a hold of his light-welterweight title with a fifth round retirement of Liverpool's Andy Holligan on the same bill.


The Jamaican stunned the audience when he put Norris down towards the end of the first round with a stiff jab. He continued his success in the second, staggering the champion with an overhand right. Norris was also wobbled in the third, though he managed to cut the challenger's lower lip in the process.


Brown ended the fight in the fourth, putting Norris down for the count with his dangerous right. In January 1994 Brown made the first defence of his title by outpointing the Australian Troy Waters. In May he faced former champ, Norris again. 


This time Norris boxed perfectly, outscoring the Jamaican by scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 118-109, becoming a two-time WBC light-middleweight champion. Brown came back in September and December 1994 as a middleweight, only to drop down weight in an attempt to lift the IBF title from Vincent Pettway, losing by a sixth-round knockout to drop to 43-4 (31 KO's).  


Brown lost his next bout to Aaron Davis but wins over Mike Bryan and Glenwood Brown got him a crack at WBO middleweight champion Lonnie Bradley. The champion defeated David Mendez for the vacant belt in May 1995. He unanimously outscored Brown to make his fourth successful defence in August 1996.


Brown had two wins under his belt in 1997 to get a shot at IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins in January 1998. Hopkins lost his pro debut in October 1988 but won twenty-one in a row to get a shot at the vacant IBF middleweight title against Roy Jones Jnr, dropping a unanimous decision.


Hopkins got another shot at the same belt against Segundo Mercado in December 1994. The bout ended in a draw, leaving the belt still vacant. The pair met again four months later, with Hopkins making it third time lucky with a seventh-round TKO to finally become a world champion. 


The champion was looking to add Brown's name to the list of victims in his title defences, including the unbeaten Joe Lipsey, former light-middleweight champ John David Jackson and undefeated Jamaican Glen Johnson.


Hopkins never lost a round, capping his dominant display against Brown with a sixth-round TKO. The Jamaican lost his next contest to future WBA light-middleweight champion David Reid in June 1998. He then lost a unanimous decision to WBC International light-middleweight champion Quirino Garcia.


Brown lost his next three bouts, finishing his career with an eight rounds points defeat to Omar Sheika in January 2000. Brown's final record stands at 47-12 with thirty-four kayos. 


All the best fight fans 


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