Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Boxing
Inducted: 1979
Country: United States
Born: December 23, 1909 in New York, New York
January 17, 1967

U.S. Marine Ross, second from left, with featherweight champion Willie Pep, in suit.

Barney Ross was the World Lightweight and Junior Welterweight Champion from 1933 to 1935 and World Welterweight Champion in 1934 and 1935 to 1938. He was the first professional boxer to hold the Lightweight and Welterweight crowns simultaneously and the first boxer to hold three World titles at the same time.

Ross beat Tony Canzoneri for the World Lightweight and World Junior Welterweight titles on June 23, 1933. On May 28, 1934, he defeated Jimmy McLarnin for the World Welterweight crown, giving him his third World Championship belt.

Three months later, Ross lost the Welterweight title to McLarnin. He re­linquished his World Lightweight crown in April 1935, but barely a month later, regained the World Welterweight title from McLarnin. He then gave up his Junior Welterweight title. Ross held on to the Welterweight crown until May 31, 1938, when he lost it to Henry Armstrong.

Barney Ross was not the picture perfect teenager. The Rosofskys moved to Chicago when young Beryl was a schoolboy, and at age 14, his father was shot to death in a petty holdup. Angry and bitter, Beryl became a street tough, scratching and scraping for his family’s living as well as his own turf. Luckily, he found the prize ring, and although an amateur for some 250 bouts, he sold his medals and trophies for enough cash to support his family. After Beryl’s first few professional fights, his managers changed his name to Barney Ross.

Restless for action after retiring from the ring, Ross joined the U.S. Marines in 1942 and found himself a hero in the storied World War II battle of Guadalcanal. Barney was awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action” and received the Distinguished Service Cross and Presidential Unit Citation from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The Hollywood version of his battleground heroism was portrayed in the motion picture Monkey on My Back. A personal account of that chilling chapter in Ross’ life is found in his autobiography, No Man Stands Alone.

Including his extraordinary amateur boxing career, Ross fought 329 bouts, 81 of them as a professional. His pro record: won 74 (22 KOs), lost 4 (all by decision), drew 3.

Ross was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1956 and to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

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