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Dave Hilton Jr: Black Eyed Heart


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Hilton family was a fighting family with a very long tradition in the sport of boxing. However, it wasn't until the 1980's that two of them would become famous and one of them won the world title: Matthew, in 1987. Matthew and his big brother Dave were both world champions for a short while, but Dave would not win a title until 2000. There also was a third brother, or by the birth order, the second: Alex. Alex however fell short of achieving the same success and would end his ring career with a record consisting of 11 losses. They were all trained by their father Dave sr, himself a semi-famous former pro. While Matthew pretty much retreated to live in anonimity (except for one silly episode where he tried to rob a donut shop), his brothers were a different tale. Alex became infamous for punching out a brother in law and was constantly having brushes with the law, while Dave jr aka Davey became even more infamous after a revelation he had sexually abused his own daughters. This thread is about him, first and foremost.

All 3 brothers were born in different places but all grew up in Montreal, despite not being French-Canadian. Dave Sr had a long career as a boxer, but failed to get a world title shot and instead had to settle for being the Canadian feather and super welter champion. He would not give up his dream of having a Hilton as a world champion however and he sired 5 sons (along with one daughter he gave up to be raised with her grandparents), of whom 4 turned pro. Stewart, the 4th, tragically died in a car accident after fighting only 4 pro fights. Eldest of the sons, Dave Jr, turned pro in 1981. He was a technically gifted fighter who also had the punch, which he proved by knocking out Mario Cusson in 1 round to win the Canadian welter title; Cusson only had one loss previously and 27 wins. "Davey", as he is affectionately known, put him away in only 29 seconds, 25 March 1983 at the Forum in Montreal. The two had previously fought once but the fight ended a technical draw after a headbutt ended it in round 3. 

In his next fight on 10 July next year, Dave also won the WBC Americas title by stopping Denis Sigouin by TKO 10. He defended it twice, both times by stoppage, before vacating it. After going 28-0 and looking like he was headed for a world title bout, he surprisingly lost to Alain Bonnamie by SD 10, after getting dropped with a body punch in the 6th. That happened 25 October 1990 and derailed his journey towards a world title fight. He won his next 6 fights before fighting Bonnamie again on 17 December 1996 and drawing against him. On 27 November 1998, he had a famous and infamous fight against his national rival Stephane Ouellet, who was ranked at no.1 by WBC, in a fight for the Canadian middle title. Ouellet was the defending champion and after 11 rounds, Ouellet was well ahead on the scorecards, when Hilton pulled off an incredible upset by trapping Ouellet in a corner and punishing him before the ref jumped in and stopped it-with only 20 seconds remaining. There was great outrage by Ouellet's cornermen, as well as his fans, about the stoppage. 

Therefore, a rematch was made and it happened on 28 May 1999, but, to everyone's surprise, Hilton handled Ouellet much easier this time and stopped him in only 3 rounds! A third fight, above 160, happened on 8 September 2000 and this time, Ouellet finally got his revenge as he won by a clear and wide UD 10 at Molson Centre in Montreal, where all their fights took place. Hilton was now nearing 37 and everybody thought this was the end of the road for him. But, somehow, he got a chance to win the WBC super middle title (even though he had never really fought in a relevant fight at that weight) against Dingaan Thobela, on 15 December '00 at Molson Centre. Dave Jr finally achieved his dream when he beat Thobela by split decision to lift that big belt! 

What should have been a joyous moment and a crowning achievement to a near-20 year long career, soon turned into tragedy and a dark, haunting truth was revealed about Davey. His daughters Jeannie (born 1981) and Anne Marie (1983) came forward with their accusations about their father molesting them between 1995 and 1998. Upon this revelation, Dave's title was stripped from him and he was sentenced to 7 years of jail. In a 2002 Canadian TV documentary, he was interviewed in jail and he claimed his daughters were lying. He also claimed he wanted to take a lie detector test but was denied. This all came as a huge shock since he was a beloved figure in Montreal and also, Arturo Gatti was his brother-in-law as Davey was married to his sister. In May 2006, Davey was granted parole and was released after serving 5 years inside. Immediately upon his return, he started training for a comeback and indeed came back to the ring one more time, 1 May 2007, fighting a journeyman called Adam Green at Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal.

As he entered the ring, he was met with loud boos. And as the fight started, the boos continued. But then, something strange happened: those boos turned into cheers! The boxing crowd still could not let go of their love for Davey and in the end, cheered him on to a victory for the last time, as he won clearly on all scorecards. This wasn't planned as a one-off fight, obviously, because he was again arrested later that year after assaulting his wife and making threats. He was acquitted of those charges, but remained inside for a while for violating his parole. He was again arrested on 28 September 2010, along with his youngest brother Jimmy (the only one that never boxed pro), for threats and assault. He was released not too long after that, for in September 2012, he remarried and got another daughter in March next year.

Dave Hilton Junior was a really talented fighter, but for some reason, his career got derailed during his best years. Knowing that both his father and his brother Matthew had drinking problems during their fighting days, it is possible that he might have been cursed with the same problem. However, he had an incredible finish to his career at the age of 37 and that is something few boxers who have been active all along can say they achieved. His conviction casts a dark cloud over his persona, despite his claims of innocence (in that same 2002 documentary, his mother sounded proud of him and called him "Davey") but it seems he has returned to having a normal life in the recent years. 

His daughters' book titled "The Heart with a Black Eye" was released in 2004. This of course inspired the sub-title of this thread. Thank you.

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8 hours ago, LondonRingRules said:

--- Aced it again, Boz.

Terrible family man though, beyond horrid the whole family legacy.

True...a very dysfunctional family. The brothers never went to school, that's another thing I found out in that documentary. They had some sort of private tutor, but it wasn't that good a substitute. Their father also wanted them all to fight for a living. He also has been involved in some sort of criminal activity, according to Wikipedia he was barred from entering US because of that.

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