You can draw an interesting line through the early history of boxing using the 1888 Goodwin Champions set and the one that 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin set. In addition to the 5 guys from the original set (of whom, I used 4 to do my post), there were 4 guys I utilized from the 2011 set. Take a look here if you’re interested in reading about old school pugilism (bare knuckle boxing). Here’s those 4 cards just for viewing sake.
That was last year; there aren’t really any old school boxing cards in this year’s set. But there is one boxer. He’s a former champion, and he’s pretty well-known – Iron Mike Tyson!
There are also two wrestlers in the 1888 Goodwin set – William Muldoon, who was the Greco-Roman wrestling champion in the early 1880’s. He wrestled in a famous 7-hour match against Clarence Whistler, when neither wrestler could gain a fall. He also trained boxer John Sullivan (pictured above), for his famous 1889 match against Jake Kilrain that went 75 rounds. He was never defeated as a wrestler, and he also served as the first head of the NY State Athletic Commission, which regulates boxing in New York.
The other wrestler was Joe Acton – who was better known for what was called “Catch” wrestling. Acton was regarded as the best Catch wrestler, though by 1888 he had lost his title to Evan Lewis, who actually unified the American Greco-Roman and Catch championships when he beat a protege of William Muldoon himself.
There’s one wrestler in the 2012 set – he’s of a completely different ilk, though. This is probably my favorite card in this set. I’m a very casual WWE fan, but I’ve always been a big fan of the Hulkster. It would have been cool if they could have gotten Ultimate Warrior in the set while they were at it!
Today there’s a newer more popular form of unarmed combat that is beginning to take the place of boxing and wrestling – MMA. And they have a few MMA stars in this set, too. Anderson Silva is regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA history, and Randy Couture is one of the two guys who really popularized the sport.