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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Pete Taliaferro
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FEATURE   Photo: Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Featherweight Champion Pete Taliaferro. 

Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Featherweight Champion Pete Taliaferro didn't get his upbringing in one of the many “boxing hot spots” across America, such as New York, Philadelphia or Los Angeles.

Never the less, from Mobile in Alabama, located on the Gulf Coast in southern USA, he found his way, and, while he never made it to super stardom, carved out a career for himself with fights and accomplishments that many would only dream of.

Born on May 18, 1971, Taliaferro made his professional boxing debut at nineteen, stopping one Scott Phillips (5-10) in the third round on a small show at the Auburn University Physical Education Complex in Montgomery, Alabama.

After that he build a nice following in his home-town, and would eventually box twenty-six times in Mobile, mainly at venues such as Shriner´s Auditorium and The Fairgrounds Arena. Not always in front of big crowds, though, and at the start of his career rarely against threatening competition.

But it would not be long before Taliaferro was one of the main attractions, along with Super Welterweight contender Floyd Williams and Randall Yonker, who had been the stars of Mobile boxing for some years. Yonker would go on to win the WBF World Light Heavyweight title in 1992.

On August 5, 1991, in only his ninth pro fight, Taliaferro headlined at Shriner´s Auditorium, stopping hopelessly over-matched Randy Thomas (3-15) in the first round of a fight ambitiously scheduled for ten. Floyd Williams, coming off his first loss, was on the undercard.

In his first eleven months in the paid code, Taliaferro raced to a record of 11-0 (10) against the likes of Darrin Neal (1-32-1), Jerry Strickland (11-82), Amos Cowart (9-10), Eddie Rifchardson (12-27-1), Jerome Brooks (0-14), and the aforementioned Thomas.

Hardly a murderers row, and, while he was learning on the job and a few of his foes were capable journeymen, Taliaferro came up short when he faced his first real test, Mark Smith (16-5) from neighbor-state Tennessee, in October of 1991, losing a split decision over ten rounds.

Having learned from his first set-back, Taliaferro decided to firmly prove his doubters wrong in his very next fight. Topping a bill at The Fairgrounds Arena in January of 1992, he scored a unanimous decision over fellow prospect John West (9-1), and once again his future in the ring looked bright.

1992 was a very good year for Pete Taliaferro. He fought nine times and improved his record to 19-1 (14), beat some notable opponents, and finished the year by dethroning the reigning WBF World Featherweight Champion.

After the victory over West, he scored four low-profile victories before out-pointing former NABF titlist Darryl Pinckney (11-13-2), who despite a less than impressive win-loss-draw statistic was considered a world class operator, and impressively stopping former IBF World Champion Kelvin Seabrooks (28-18) in seven rounds.

With a shot at WBF World Champion Barrington Francis (20-3-4), a Jamaican-born Canadian, already set for November 28, Taliaferro stayed busy with a second round knockout of Sylvester Kennon (24-20) only eighteen days earlier.

It was obviously a risk boxing so close to what was the biggest fight of his career at the time, But Taliaferro barely broke sweat and emerged more than ready to take on Francis, making his fourth title-defense, at Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.

Francis might have been slightly on the down-slide that night, indicated by a non-title fight draw against unheralded Hector Javier Monjardin in his previous outing, but that should not take anything away from the performance of Taliaferro, who boxed a wonderful fight.

After twelve rounds of boxing, the victory was clear and Taliaferro could celebrate being the new World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Featherweight Champion by unanimous decision, with scores of 119-111, 119-111 and 117-112.

The WBF was still “the new kid on the block” in the early nineties, and at some point Taliaferro decided to relinquish his crown to go for world titles more established at the time. In August of 1993 he won a rematch against Marc Smith (now 20-12), but he would have to wait quite some time for his shot.

And the route towards a chance to win a second world title was very much an up-and-down ride. Former World Champion Calvin Grove (45-5) beat Taliaferro by split decision in November of 1993, but in February 1994 he rebounded nicely by defeating perennial contender Bernard Taylor (45-3-2).

Four months after that, Taliaferro was matched against future Hall-of-Famer Arturo Gatti (16-1) who blew him out in the very first round, but less than two months on he was again back in the mix after a decisive first round demolition job of his own against the usually tough Wayne Boudreaux (17-4).

On November 2, 1994 Taliaferro did fight a reigning World Champion, but New Yorker Kevin Kelly´s WBC World Featherweight title was not on the line when they squared off at the Grand Casino in Tunica, Mississippi.

Kelly (40-0), who was known as a very skilled and hard-punching southpaw, naturally entered the bout a massive favorite, and, while the underdog didn't embarrass himself, controlled most of the fight before finally scoring a stoppage just over half a minute before the final bell.

Ironically it might have been his losing performance against Kelly that finally secured Taliaferro another world title fight. After two rebuilding victories, he challenged WBO Super Featherweight ruler Regilio Tuur (38-3-1) in June of 1995, but was stopped in five rounds.

He then moved up in weight again, to lightweight, and won four straight before dropping a twelve round decision to Swede George Scott (28-1) in the summer of 1996. But again, as boxing sometimes works, a loss might have secured him another major fight. But he would have to travel far to get it.

After routinely stopping trial-horse Jerry Smith (12-22) to return to winning ways, a fight against IBF World Lightweight Champion Phillip Holiday (30-0) was agreed for May 16, 1997 in Hammanskraal, South Africa. And Taliafarro almost pulled off the upset!

Getting knocked down himself in the first round, the American floored the home-man in round two and battled him hard the entire fight. It was back and forth action, and while all three judges scored the fight 115-111, one of them had it in favor of Taliafarro.

So close but yet so far away, Taliafarro was left to ponder if perhaps the time had come for him to hang up his gloves on a high note. But, turning only twenty-six just two days after his excellent performance in South Africa, at least on paper he had barely hit his peak.

He decided to find out if he had another run in him, but it would be over a year before he returned to action, going ten rounds at Light Welterweight and winning on points against the outclassed but durable Raymond Flores (6-20-4) back in Alabama.

Only three weeks later he lost to Mexican-American Ahmed Santos (20-1-3) for the vacant IBA World Light Welterweight title in Las Vegas, and the decision to call it a day was more or less made for him. At twenty-eight, and after forty-two professional fights, he retired with a 34-8 (24) record.

  Part 60: Fredrik Alvarez
  Part 59: Ajose Olusegun
  Part 58: Chevelle Hallback
  Part 57: Evander Holyfield
  Part 56: Peter Culshaw
  Part 55: Rolando Toyogon
  Part 54: Joaquin Velasquez
  Part 53: Steve Molitor
  Part 52: Nadya Hokmi
  Part 51: Bert Cooper
  Part 50: Alfred Kotey
  Part 49: Yosuke Nishijima
  Part 48: Wayne Rigby
  Part 47: Jesus Chong
  Part 46: Renata Szebeledi
  Part 45: Lester Ellis
  Part 44: Patrick Vungbo
  Part 43: Patrick Washington
  Part 42: Ric Siodora
  Part 41: Guy Waters
  Part 40: Natascha Ragosina
  Part 39: Nicky Cook
  Part 38: Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym
  Part 37: Felix Camacho
  Part 36: Homer Gibbins
  Part 35: Joe Bugner
  Part 34: Myriam Lamare
  Part 33: Darrin Morris
  Part 32: Suwito Lagola
  Part 31: Aaron Zarate
  Part 30: Tommy Small
  Part 29: Matthew Charleston
  Part 28: Jane Couch
  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
  Part 22: Holly Holm
  Part 21: Vinnie Curto
  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
  Part 18: Mads Larsen
  Part 17: Ken Sigurani
  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson

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