Thursday, June 23, 2016

On This Day: Remembering Eddie Cotton: The Uncrowned Light Heavyweight Champion of the World

By Peter Silkov

Eddie Cotton was a slick boxer, with great technical ability, who could also punch when he needed, and he was a top contender at 175 pounds from the mid 50’s to the late 60s.  Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, on June 15, 1926, Cotton turned professional in 1947, at the age of 21.  During his career, Cotton would fight top names such as Rusty Payne, Henry Hall, Dave Whitlock, Archie Moore, Sonny Ray, Hank Casey, Rory Calhoun, Sixto Rodriguez, Harold Johnson, Von Clay, Mauro Mina, Chic Calderwood, Henry Hank, Johnny Persol, Wayne Thornton, Roger Rouse, Jose Torres, and Bob Foster.

Cotton had to wait until 1961 before he finally received a shot at the World light-heavyweight title, when he challenged Harold Johnson on August 29, 1961, for the NBA version of the World light-heavyweight title.  Cotton lost on a split decision to Johnson after a hard fought contest between two excellent technicians.  After their contest, Johnson, himself recognized as one of the best ring mechanics of that time, said of Cotton, ‘He’s one of the smartest boxers I’ve met.’

On October 29, 1963, Cotton out-pointed Henry Hank over 15 rounds, to win the Michigan version of the World light-heavyweight title, after the state of Michigan went into dispute with the WBA.  Cotton did not gain general recognition as world champion with the Michigan title, and never defended the title.

Cotton received a final shot at the World light-heavyweight title on August 15, 1966, when at the age of 40, he challenged the 30 year old champion, Jose Torres, but found himself losing a controversial point’s decision after 15 rounds, with many spectators believing he had done enough to win the title against Torres.  The Ring magazine voted this match the fight of the year for 1966.

Cotton carried on fighting until 1967, but his hopes of another shot at the world title were finally ended on May 8, 1967, when future world champion, Bob Foster, knocked him out in the 3rd round.  After one more fight, on August 2, 1967, after he knocked out Ernie Gipson in the 1st round, Cotton retired with a final record of 56(33koes)-23-2.

After he retired from boxing, Cotton would open a restaurant on East Madison street in Seattle, which was also was named after him. He also worked for Boeing Aircraft Company and was a member of the Washington State Boxing Commission.

Eddie Cotton died on June 24, 1990, aged 64, after succumbing to an infection, following a 2nd liver transplant.  

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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