Duane Bobick

Duane Bobick
Medal record
Men's Boxing
Competitor for the  United States
Pan American Games
Gold 1971 Cali Heavyweight

Duane Bobick (born 24 August 1950 in Little Falls, Minnesota) was a boxer from the United States, who became world amateur heavyweight champion in 1971, and also won the gold medal at the 1971 Pan American Games. He fought for the United States at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany.



Bobick's younger brother Rodney Bobick was also a heavyweight boxer, though less successful, and died in a single car crash in 1977.

Amateur career

Six foot, three inches tall and 215 pounds in his prime, Bobick was part of a boxing family and grew up with the sport in the 1960s. A good puncher who developed well early by virtue of countless hours in the gym and ring, Bobick had an outstanding amateur career that included a win over Cuba's famous Teófilo Stevenson at the 1971 Pan American Games. Bobick added another future champion to his list when he beat Larry Holmes to be named to the 1972 U.S. Olympic boxing team for the Munich Olympics.

Bobick was rated a star at this early stage, and may have been very overconfident as he met Stevenson again during the 1972 Olympic games. Despite Bobick winning the second round, Stevenson knocked Bobick down in the third unconscious and the contest was stopped.

Amateur Highlights

  • 1971 Pan-American Games Heavyweight champion
  • 1971 National AAU Heavyweight Champion
  • 1972 National Golden Gloves Heavyweight Champion

Pro career

Bobick trained hard to start his pro career, which did not begin until the following spring, 1973. Bobick trained with and was managed by heavyweight legend Joe Frazier. Bobick's first match was against Tommy Burns. He sent Burns to the canvas four times on his way to a first-round KO. Bobick had 14 other fights in 1973, winning them all by KO, including a win over former contender Manuel Ramos. Bobick won his first 19 fights by knockout.

He had 10 more fights in 1974, winning them all again, eight by KO. Knockout wins that year included Ted Gullick and future champion Mike Weaver. He also decisioned veteran boxer Billy Daniels. Bobick was now 25-0 with 23 KOs. He was then rated by many to be the sport's new "White Hope," taking that label from then-declining Jerry Quarry. Frazier himself was approaching retirement and focusing on upcoming paydays with protege Bobick.

Bobick gained top-10 ranking in 1975 with eight more fights and wins, all again by KO. He was now being dodged by some, but a win over Randy Neumann proved he could not be ignored. He had a tentative contract with Muhammed Ali in 1976, but the fight never materialized. Instead he met and defeated Larry Middleton, fellow Minnesotan Scott LeDoux, Bunny Johnson and Chuck Wepner among his five 1976 fights, all wins with two KOs. Bobick had now improved enough as a boxer to be a legitimate title threat.

The Norton fight

He took a 38-0 record with 32 KO's into the ring against powerful future champion Ken Norton in May 1977. The two punchers went after each other. Norton suddenly connected an unexpected overhand right to Bobick's throat. The fight lasted just one minute before Bobick was counted out. Bobick was widely criticized after the Norton match and dismissed by many. Saturday Night Live made fun of Bobick by showing footage of his Nationally televised knockout loss, over and over again.


Despite that, he was back in the ring two months later, winning a rematch with Scott LeDoux. He finished the year 1977 40-1 with 34 KO's.

In 1978, he was upset by South African puncher Kallie Knoetze for his second KO loss. He fought eight more times against second-tier fighters in 1978, winning all by KO. He was looking to return to top-level contention in 1979 when he was KO'd by future beltholder John Tate. Another KO loss to George Chaplin that year led to an announcement of retirement.

His pro record was 48-4 with 42 KOs with wins over several notable contenders. All four of his pro losses were by KO. He was however strongly criticized in Boxing publications throughout his career for avoiding ranked contenders and taking far too many journeymen opponents.

Life After Boxing

Bobick returned to Minnesota and took heavy industry work before a machine accident nearly killed him in 1997. After that he went into coaching and public speaking, using his faded celebrity to possibly encourage and help others. In November 2006, Bobick was elected as a city councilman.

Bobick was in the cast of a boxing film, Billy Boy, in 1979. His brother Rodney also was a professional boxer with a 37-7 record.

Bobick was a 1997 Acts of Kindness: Governor's Volunteer Award Winner for his service as a volunteer which included school, church and hospital volunteer work.

Preceded by
Ron Lyle
United States Amateur Heavyweight Champion
Succeeded by
Nick Wells

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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