Meet Floyd Cummings: The hardest puncher Bruno faced who drew with Joe Frazier and was in prison for murder

FRANK BRUNO and Mike Tyson’s recent documentary reminded the world of a fearsome old fighter who survived a murder sentence, ten rounds with an all-time legend and 22 professional fights.

Floyd Jumbo Cummings – despite the affable nickname – is the man Bruno insists hit harder than the Baddest Man on the Planet, Bone Crusher Smith, Terrible Tim Witherspoon and Lennox Lewis.


Unlike those other heavy handed heavyweights, Cummings didn’t even beat Britain's former WBC world champion.

Bruno retired Cummings with a 1983 KO but only after the American – who only turned pro aged 29 after serving 12 years for a teenage slaying – almost stunned him with a first-round right hand.

Bruno recalled to Sky: “Jumbo Cummings was the hardest one because he caught me round the temple and I didn’t know if I was flying on concorde or second class on a train.”

Right on the bell to end the opener, Cummings landed and Bruno’s body went into spasm, hands dropping to his waist and legs stiffening into a stumble of a dance.

Cummings had only won one of his previous sevens fights but looked to have beaten the UK’s hottest prospect until he managed to rally and win in the seventh.

After an impressive start to his late-starting career, with 14 consecutive wins, he ex-con was fed to a hungry line of prospects and a bonafide GOAT.

Renaldo Snipes was the 19-0 sensation who Cummings took the distance.

Then heavyweight icon Joe Frazier – well past his legendary prime – was retired by a Jumbo draw that most spectators viewed as robbery to help the Thriller in Manilla king save face.

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The end to Cummings’ four-year career came at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall when the 33-year-old was still on parole for his crime 16 years earlier.

A site that could not have been any further removed from the 4,134 capacity venue for Cummings’ far more brutal amateur start in the hurt business at the Stateville Correctional Centre in Illinois.

Aged just 17, Cummings was sentenced to 50-75 years for murder following an incident as part of a group of youths in Chicago.

At 6ft 2in and 17st – a pretty monstrous size for that era – he picked up a pair of battered prison gloves and never stopped punching.

The novice would face rivals bussed into one of America’s most notorious prisons or be ferried out to fight in public arenas, held in chains like an animal.

Cummings won the Illinois AAU heavyweight championship as an amateur but, in 1976, the US Olympic Committee denied him a place on the team because of his address.

After serving 12 years, Cummings was released and kicked off a brilliant start to his career until Snipes proved too much for him but he bounced back with a tune-up win before taking on the icon.

Frazier, then 38, had been retired five years losing to Muhammad Ali and George Foreman inside eight months.


Sadly he was tempted back out as TV money had boosted purses in his well-earned absence.

Cummings avoided almost all of Frazier’s trademark left hooks and staggered the fearless veteran with a third-round uppercut.

By the eighth, Frazier was bleeding from the mouth while his left eye had swelled shut. 

The only sadder sight than the magnificent Smokin Joe fizzling out was the score cards that denied Cummings a potentially life-changing win.

Four defeats followed, only one inside the distance, before Jumbo was jetted into London to make England’s latest heavyweight hope look good to the big-bucks American audience.

Bruno had vanquished 18 men before him and was being geared toward a world title that it would eventually take him 12 more years and four losses to land.

Without a single fan supporting him, Cummings swallowed some stiff shots, pawing away with his left hand until the final nanosecond of the first when he detonated a right hand on the left side of Bruno’s face.


The Wandsworth giant stiffened like a lamppost bang on the chime and was carried back to his corner where he was doused in ice cold water that saved his young career and allowed him to get his revenge in the seventh.

That was the last time Cummings could be seen on the sports pages of the newspapers but sadly infamy did not abandon him.

In 1986, Cummings was convicted of armed robbery, his second felony conviction.

And, in 2002 aged 52, he scored a tragic hat-trick.

With a baseball-bat wielding colleague, Cummings robbed a Subway sandwich shop for little more than £200. 

The former contender blamed his desperate crime on drug addiction but under Illinois’ three-strikes law he was sentenced to life in prison where it looked like he would die.

But in August 2016 – around the age of 66 – he was released to live out the rest of his rollercoaster life, hopefully in peace.

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