Boxing's most glamorous punch - by Terry Pettifer
The uppercut has been called boxing's most "glamorous" punch and while specialist exponents for the blow have been relatively scarce, those who did manage to perfect the weapon left a telling effect on the sport.
Internationally there's been volumes written about the likes of former world middleweight champion Billy Papke, who briefly ruled the 160 pound roost in 1908 and made the uppercut his signature punch. Then too, the likes of Welsh featherweight wizard Jim Rascally, former heavyweight monarchs Jack Johnson and Joe Lewis, Sugar Ray Robinson, as well as Cuba's Kid Gavilan wielded their uppercuts with outstanding results.
Later day stars such as Larry Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard also placed a great deal of emphasis on the uppercut, which in certain contests provided pivotal to their success.
While Kid Gavilan popularized the "bolo" punch (a sweeping uppercut delivered from below the waist) it was in fact Cheerio Garcia of the Philippines who invented the blow, which he modeled in accordance with the same sweeping motion that Islanders used to cut sugar can with their "bolo" knives.
Over the years, South Africa has produced a fair number of uppercut specialists, perhaps none more effective than former three-time world champion Dingaan Thobela. Nicknamed "The Rose of Soweto", this wonderfully talented fighter squandered much of his talent but when the mood moved him and his uppercuts were firing, he was a lethal finisher, as witnessed in his come-from-behind destruction of WBA super middleweight champion Glen Catley in the final seconds of their world title bout in South Africa.
Another expert at delivering the uppercut was erstwhile national welterweight champion of the late-forties, Don Carr. A dark-haired boxer with a jarring repertoire of punches, Carr fancied the uppercut above all else and in 1948 it played a decisive role in his title-winning bout against Alf James in Durban.
Former world bantamweight title-holder Vic Toweel (1950) was another uppercut specialist and so too was Arnold Taylor who's better remembered for the shattering overhand right he landed on Romeo Anaya's jaw to lift the bantamweight title on November 3, 1973.
Former national super middleweight champion Andre Thysse is noted for his uppercuts and the punch has laid the foundation for most of his victories in a career that he's still pursuing at the age of 41.
Among the beef-cake brigade, no local heavyweight had a deadlier uppercut than former world heavyweight contender Kallie Knoetze, though most observers mistakenly referred to his over-hand as his "bolo", no doubt associating the over-arm motion with that of a fast bowler. In effect Knoetze perfected the bolo that Ceferino Garcia had invented back in the 1930's and which led to the Filipino winning the world middleweight title.
Indeed the splintering force of Knoetze's bolo was so powerful that it lifted the 260 pound Mike "The Tank" Schutte clear off the canvas on the night of their much publicized contest at the Wembley Stadium during the late 1970's.