On this day in 1943, 1970s middleweight contender Bennie Briscoe was born Augusta, Georgia. But as a fighter, Briscoe will forever be associated with the “City of Brotherly Love.” A star graduate of the legendary “Philie Gym Wars,” Briscoe was the quintessential “Philadelphia Fighter,” technically skilled, tough as nails and unafraid to face all comers.
Briscoe compiled a stellar amateur record 70-3 before turning professional in 1962, at age 19. He fought often over the next few years, while developing into a contender. He recorded a major win in December 1966, when he beat George Benton. May 1967 saw one of the greatest moments of Briscoe’s career, when he fought to a draw with Carlos Monzon in Monzon’s native Buenos Aires. Monzon would go on to become one of the top five middleweights in history.
Bennie Briscoe is one of the best fighters of all time who never won a world title. He came up short in three attempts, losing a 1972 rematch with Monzon and in two challenges against Rodrigo Valdez in 1974 and 1977. Briscoe lost to Emile Griffith, one of the great fighters of his generation, by majority decision in 1974 and fought Griffith to a draw in 1976.
Briscoe lost decisions to future world champions Vito Antuofermo and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Among the fighters he beat were Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Tony Mundine and Art Hernandez.
Briscoe compiled a career record of 66-24-5 with 53 KOs. In 2003, he was named to The Ring’s 100 Greatest Punchers of All Time. In 96 bouts, he was stopped just once.
Briscoe was known as a punishing fighter and HBO’s Harold Lederman called him “The meanest man I ever saw in the ring.” Yet, according to an article on Doghouse Boxing, in Briscoe’s last fight, a unanimous decision loss to 10-7-1 Jimmie Sykes in December 1982, Briscoe pounded the lightly regarded club fighter and former sparring partner for two rounds, before telling his corner he just didn’t want to hurt Sykes anymore. He proceeded to carry him for the final eight rounds.
Bennie Briscoe died at age 67, in December 2010. In my opinion, his absence from the Hall of Fame is a regrettable oversight.