Inducted on November 12, 1998
For most of his 18-year storied boxing career, Bobby Czyz has been on a rollercoaster ride. Needless to say, the 36-year-old fighter has seen more than his share of dramatic ups and downs.
Early in 1980 and after eight years as an amateur, Czyz made the United States Boxing Team that was scheduled in April to meet opponents in Italy and Poland and also to participate in the 1980 Summer Olympics. He did not make the April trip, however, due to Cl broken nose suffered in a car accident. Ironically, the plane crashed, killing all aboard, including the entire U.S. team. Moreover, the U.S. boycott of the 1980 games prevented his chance to fight for the gold medal. Thus Czyz, 18- years-old and still in high school, decided to turn pro. An exceptional student finishing sixth in his graduated class, Czyz was offered numerous college academic scholarships all of which he turned down. Boxing was in his blood and he felt driven to become world champion.
Czyz began his professional career with 20 consecutive wins as a middleweight, fighting primarily near his home in Wanaque, N.J., and displaying all the qualities of which stars are made: an engaging personality, matinee idol looks and an entertaining aggressive style.
Fight number 21, however, threw a monkey wrench into his title plans L…- ifi.>-~
when crafty veteran Mustafa Hamsho dealt Czyz his first defeat, a demoralizing loss on national television during which he also broke his hand. As if the ring setback wasn’t a tough enough pill to swallow, Bobby’s father took his own life shortly thereafter. Beset with physical and mental anguish, Czyz’s once bright future was now darkened by an ominous cloud.
As befitting his character, Czyz returned to the ring less than a year later and proceeded to reel of eight victories without a loss. When opportunity knocked in the form of an IBF light Heavyweight title match, Czyz responded with a fifthround knockout of then-champion Siobodan Kacar in September 1986. Kacar was the 1980 Olympic gold medalist. Successful defenses against David Sears, Willie Edwards and Jim MacDonald followed with Czyz again riding the ebb of his great popularity. “Prince” Charles Williams ended his reign when the challenger knocked out Czyz in October 1987. Czyz hit the comeback trail once more and on March 4, 1989 he found himself staring across the ring at WBA title holder Virgil Hill. Czyz fell short in that endeavor, dropping a 12-round decision. He engaged “Prince” Charles in a return match two months later, only to suffer a 10th round knockout, after which he announced his retirement. Retirement would last only six months. Czyz eventually succumbed to his hunger for boxing and stepped back into the ring in March 1990, earning a 10-round decision over highly ranked Uriah Grant. Thus, the slate was set for Czyz’s next test, 1988 Olympian Andrew Maynard, at the time an undefeated, well-regarded contender. like a true warrior, Czyz rose to the occasion on June 24, 1990 to score a seventh round knockout. Responding to the trumpets of battle once again Czyz took on WBA Junior Heavyweight champion Robert Daniels. As the two pounded each other for 12 rounds, Czyz scored a decision that brought him his second world title belt. His successful title defense against Bash Ali on August 9, 1991 put him in position for an attractive bout and hefty payday against Danny Lalonde. On May 8, 1992 Czyz won a 12-round decision over Lalonde in las Vegas.
After his victory over lalonde, Czyz was hit by a car and was forced to take time off to recuperate. During his twoyear hiatus from the ring, he not only vacated the world title he held for over a year, but started a brand new career in television. Because of his well-publicized intelligence and his eloquence before the TV cameras, he became a popular member of Showtime’s Boxing Broadcasting team, a position he still holds today. In 1995, he came out of retirement and moved up the ranks of Super Cruiserweight, winning the WBU World Championship with a win over Ricky Jackson. He was rewarded for his effort with an opportunity to fight two-time World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield. Though he lost, he gave Holyfield all he could handle.
From the inception of his career, Czyz was dubbed by the press as the “Matinee Idol”. Reporters described him as “White, bright and polite,” but wondered “Can he really fight?” Ranking in the Top Ten in six different weight classes and winning world championships in three, has proven that Czyz is a legitimate boxing talent.
Today he is recognized internationally as a top boxing analyst and is a permanent fixture on all Showtime and SET (Showtime Event Television) boxing broadcasts. He is also in the process of negotiating his own nationally syndicated radio show. He plans to retire from the ring sometime in 1998 after vowing to take “one more shot” in the heavyweight division. Czyz, who is a member of “Mensa,” the international “High 10 Society”, has recently negotiated the rights to have his life story made into a feature motion picture.
Bobby Czyz was a member of the U.S. Amateur Boxing Team that perished in a plane crash in Poland in 1980. An injury from an auto accident one week before the flight prevented Czyz from making the trip. He had an amateur record of 24-2.
For nearly a decade, Czyz was a commentator for Showtime Championship Boxing.
- Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
- New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame inductee.
- Czyz is a member of Mensa, an organization for people whose I.Q. is in the top 2% of the population.
Boxing Record: click