Harry Wills, born on May 15, 1889, was a heavyweight boxer from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. He is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time and was also known as the "Black Panther". Wills had a professional career that spanned from 1911 to 1932, during which he compiled a record of 131 wins, 14 losses, 2 draws, and 2 no-contests, with 50 of those wins coming by knockout.
Wills was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and started boxing professionally in 1911. He fought his first professional fight against Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world, but lost the fight by a knockout in the third round. Despite the loss, Wills continued to fight and eventually became one of the top contenders for the heavyweight title.
Wills was known for his exceptional skills in the ring, particularly his speed, agility, and powerful punching ability. He was also known for his excellent defense and ability to take a punch. Wills was often compared to Jack Johnson and was considered by many to be his successor as the top black heavyweight boxer.
Wills' biggest fight was against Jack Dempsey, the heavyweight champion of the world at the time, in 1926. Despite being the top contender, Wills was not given the opportunity to fight for the title due to racial discrimination. The fight between Wills and Dempsey was unofficial, and Wills was defeated by a decision after 15 rounds.
Throughout his career, Wills faced many challenges due to racial discrimination. He was often denied the opportunity to fight for the heavyweight title because of his race, and he was not given the same recognition as white boxers. However, Wills continued to fight and inspire others, and he remains a significant figure in boxing history.
After retiring from boxing in 1932, Wills continued to be involved in the sport as a trainer and promoter. He died on December 21, 1958, in New York City, at the age of 69.
In recognition of his achievements, Wills was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992. He is remembered as one of the greatest boxers of all time and a trailblazer for black boxers in the sport.