Jump to content

Forgotten Champions: Bruce Seldon


Recommended Posts

Called "Atlantic City Express", Bruce Seldon justified his fighting alias; he was one of physically most perfect fighters ever to step into the ring, with his thickly yet beautifully muscled body, with punching power so impressive it garnered him 36 knockouts in 40 victories and a stamina to boot. However, his appetite for the wild life led his career astray and it cut it short, making him retire while still in prime, aged 30. He would make a comeback later on but it was largely unsuccessful. This is the story of Bruce Seldon.


As his nickname alludes, Seldon was born in Atlantic City, 30 January 1967. Being born in one of boxing's capitals, it was almost inevitable he would end up as a prizefighter. He had a short amateur career but won the New Jersey Golden Gloves. His record here is 20-4. He had his first professional fight on 4 October '88, winning by TKO1 against Joel McGraw. Early on, his most notabe victories were a UD8 over Ossie Ocasio (former IBF cruiserweight champion) and a TKO10 over David Bey, both in 1990. Seldon stood almost 6'2 and never weighed much above 220 early in his career. Early in 1991, he had a memorable fight against the 6'5 Cuban Jose Ribalta; Ribalta floored him with the very first punch he threw, a left hook, after only a few seconds. Seldon at first looked like he wouldn't make the count, but then he suddenly jumped up. This would become his trademark. He then bounced back and gave Ribalta a beating, eventually flooring him in the third round before Ribalta retired in his corner after it ended. After defeating Percell Davis by TKO1, Seldon was now 18-0 with 15 ko's and ready for the bigger fights. He was matched against Oliver McCall, back then considered a fringe contender with a record of 15-4, but later a world champion and a world class fighter. It was 18 April at Trump Taj Mahal and a very hotly contested fight. Seldon was ahead going into round 9, when he was put down three times by right hands from McCall and stopped. It was a bad blow to his career and esteem as a fighter, but worse was just to come.


In his next fight on 9 August, he was matched against the Olympic silver medallist and one of the hottest new prospects, Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe. Seldon went all out at once and threw wide-swinging punches at the bigger Bowe. He landed some good, clean shots, but Bowe had a good chin and shook them off. After 74 seconds, Bowe landed a right and then a left hook which put Seldon down. Once again, Seldon appeared seriously hurt before suddenly jumping up like a tiger. Only seconds after that however, he was hit by another big left hook and went down again. He tried to get up, but his right leg wouldn't listen and so he was counted out, after 1 minute and 48 seconds. He got back on track by stopping former contender Jesse Ferguson by corner retirement in 5 in January '92. He then beat some minor fighters before losing a decision to Tony "TNT" Tubbs, who also knocked him down once, in October that year. He then defeated the 10-0 Alexander Popov by corner retirement in 2, after knocking him down twice. He thus won the minor IBF Inter-Continental title. He defended it against Greg Page, a former WBA champion who had since then greatly deteriorated. Seldon won by TKO9 in a fight in Puerto Rico in August '93. He finally got to fight for the WBA title, which had been stripped from George Foreman after he won it from Michael Moorer. It was 8 April '95 at Caesars Palace and his opponent was Tony Tucker, also known as "TNT". Tucker was a very big (6'5 and 243 pounds) and capable fighter, but aging at 36. Foreman was stripped for ducking him. He had 52 wins and only 2 losses, to Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. He was therefore considered a favorite to win here, but Seldon proved the odds wrong and gave Tucker a beating, which was so severe that the fight had to be stopped after 7 rounds, due to extensive facial damage. Tucker's orbital rim and nose were fractured and dr. Flip Homansky rightfully stopped the fight. Seldon was ahead on the scorecards by 68-65 and 67-66 twice, although these two scorecards were likely incorrect as the fight was not as close as that. And so, the Atlantic City Express could finally bring a world title to Atlantic City.


His first and only successful title defense was against Joe Hipp, the only notable Native American heavyweight in history. Hipp was known as a very strong and tough guy, so it took a little longer to stop him. Seldon jabbed and punched Hipp into submission, despite the fight being relatively competitive, and finally stopped him in round 10, after swelling his right eye shut and giving him a big cut under the left eye. Richard Steele stopped it at 1:47. Seldon had signed with Don King in 1993, so his purse was 700 K. This fight was however overshadowed by Mike Tyson's return to the ring against Peter McNeeley. After Tyson relieved Frank Bruno of the WBC title, a showdown against Seldon was inevitable. It was originally scheduled for 13 July of 1996 but Tyson was suffering from bronchitis and so it was pushed to 7 September. The fight became more known for what happened afterwards and outside the ring, than during and in it. Seldon came out fast as he always did and jabbed. Tyson landed a left hand on top of his head and Seldon went down. He got up but looked discouraged. Right after that, he was hit by a left hook to the head and went down again. He got up, but then staggered backwards and the fight was waved off, after 1 minute 49 seconds. There were accusations of fixing in the papers following the fight but what really made the headlines was the incident involving rapper and actor Tupac Shakur, who got into a scuffle with a member of a rival gang in the premises. Shakur was of course shot later that same evening. Seldon got 5 million for the fight, but it was a beginning of a downtour for him.


On 26 June 1998, Seldon was sentenced to five years probation and 364 days in jail for smoking marijuana and having sex with a 15-yearold girl. Seldon pleaded guilty and got away with one year in jail, because he was also charged for weapons possession and a drug charge which altogether could have gotten him five years behind bars. The disgraced ex-champion returned to the ring in March 2004 and knocked out journeyman Otis Tisdale in 3, showing his power was still there. After winning one more easy fight by TKO2 against Lenzie Morgan, he was matched against 22-0 Gerald Nobles, 15 May at Mandalay Bay. Even though he put Nobles down in the second round, he was eventually worn down and stopped by TKO in round 9. He then had a year off from the ring before returning on 28 October 2005 against the humongous 6'8 Tye Fields and being knocked out in 2 rounds. After another year-long layoff, he came back in February 2007 and scored three knockouts before again being stopped against Kevin "Kingpin" Johnson in 5 rounds, in May 2008. He finally retired in 2009, after losing his last fight by KO9 to Fres Oquendo on 24 July. His record is 40 wins, 36 by ko, and 8 losses. He now devotes his time to training his son Isiah Seldon, a super middleweight who currently has a record of 12-1-1.


Bruce Seldon was a fine fighter in his own right, but there was just something that he lacked, that little extra, to become a great or outstanding fighter. Perhaps he was a bit too aggressive and reckless for his own good, for he got caught and knocked out too often, even though it was mostly by world class fighters, in his prime anyway. He was one of the unspectacular but solid heavyweights who filled that chasm left by Tyson, between 1992 and 1995. His loss to Tyson has a big question mark over it also. He was obviously at the peak of his career when he lost to him, even though he hadn't fought for a year before that. Whatever the truth, Bruce Seldon deserves to be mentioned when talking about the notable heavyweights of the 90's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...