Edgar Ross

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Edgar Cyrus Ross (born July 27, 1949 in Tuscaloosa; died June 22, 2012 in Grimes, Dale County) was a professional boxer.

Ross was the son of Bill and Frances Mae Price Ross, who operated a farm. He graduated from Tuscaloosa County High School. He served as a gunner on a Navy destroyer during the Vietnam War.

After his return he was enrolled for two years at Albert Brewer Junior College, but also continually sought fights and struggled with an addiction to uppers he bought at truck stops. He was encouraged to pursue boxing by a sheriff's deputy who had seen him fight people in bars and parking lots. He took up the sport under the coaching of trainer Charlie Hutchinson. Ross competed in amateur boxing matches as a light heavyweight, amassing a 24-4 record and winning the Alabama Golden Gloves tournament. He competed in the 1973 Southern Regional Golden Gloves, defeating Roger Fulton but losing to Risto Beckovich.

Ross began boxing professionally in Mobile in 1972. He relocated to Orlando, Florida later that year where he was managed by Pete Ashlock. He claimed a Southern Junior Middleweight title early on, successfully defending it from challenger Juan Jose Herndandez in a bout at Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa on March 26, 1976.

Ross fought twice at Birmingham's Boutwell Auditorium in 1978, defeating A. W. Muhammad by knockout on August 3 and Tyrone Phelps by unanimous decision on November 1.

He amassed a record of 57-2-1 with 41 knockouts. He won a North American Boxing Federation middleweight title and was ranked 2nd by the World Boxing Council. His nickname, "Mad Dog", was given to him by Jody Ballard during a sparring match.

Ross' two defeats came in 1975 when he lost on points during the debut of Jamaican-born Charlie Grimmett, and then in 1979 when he was knocked out by Tony Chiaverini in Kansas City, Missouri's Municipal Auditorium. Because of the head trauma he suffered in that bout, and later seeing Chiaverini easily bested by Sugar Ray Leonard, he decided to retire. He turned down a $75,000 offer to fight Wilfred Benitez in Madison Square Garden.

In retirement, Ross struggled with seizures and memory loss. He lived in Birmingham for a while, and then Pensacola, Florida. He spent some time homeless before reuniting with his brother, Ronnie Ross in Fairhope. With a small inheritance from his brother and the help of a friend, Ross moved into a trailer in Grimes, near Dothan, where he died in 2012. He is buried at Sunset Memorial Park in Midland City.

Ross was inducted into the Alabama Boxing Hall of Fame in 2022.


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