Monday, August 14, 2017

On This Day Johnny 'Honey Boy' Bratton Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Johnny ‘Honey Boy’ Bratton was a very game box-fighter, who could go toe-to-toe and fight like a tiger, as well as box beautifully. Bratton became well-known for his incredible fighting heart, that saw him in many crowd-pleasing wars, and made him one of the favourites of the fight crowds.

Born on September 9, 1927, in Little Rock, Arkansas, Bratton reached the final of the Chicago Golden Gloves championship in 1944, before turning professional that same year. During his career, Bratton would fight a veritable whose-who of the top fighters of the 1940s and 50s era, from the lightweight, to the middleweight divisions.

Bratton was already mixing it with the top contenders within 2 years of turning professional, Bratton fought regularly and seldom faced an ‘easy touch.’

The top fighters that Bratton faced is an impressive list, including men such as Chalky Wright, Ike Williams, Freddie Dawson, Willie Joyce, Sammy Angott, Gene Burton, Beau Jack, Frankie Abrams, Joe Brown, Chester Rico, Gene Hairston, Holly Mims, Johnny Cesario, Bobby Dykes, Charlie Fusari, Kid Gavilan, Rocky Castellani, Del Flanagan, Joe Miceli, Ralph ‘Tiger’ Jones, Laurent Dauthuille, Pierre Langlois, Danny Womber and Johnny Saxton.

On March 15, 1951, Bratton won the vacant NBA World welterweight championship, after beating Charlie Fusari on points over 15 rounds. Two months later, Bratton lost the title to Kid Gavilan, when he was beaten on points in a furious and brutal fight. Bratton lasted the distance in this fight despite suffering a broken jaw in the early rounds, and taking tremendous punishment throughout. Bratton’s performance was one of the bravest ever seen in a ring during modern times.

On November 11, 1953, Bratton tried to regain the World welterweight title from Kid Gavilan, but was again beaten on points, after another bloody and brutal clash. This fight seemed to finish Bratton as a fighter, and he fought just 3 more times, losing each fight. Bratton's final contest was on March 17, 1955, when he was stopped in 9 rounds by Del Flanagan. Bratton retired with a final record of 60(34koes)-24-3.

Sadly Bratton's post-boxing life was not a happy one, he suffered from health problems, and was at one point reduced to living in a car. For all his talent and bravery Bratton became another example of how boxing can ask a terrible price from its bravest warriors. 

Watch Kid Gavilan Vs. Johnny Bratton:

Copyright © 2017 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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1 comment:

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