Guest creative director and boxing world champion Andre Ward has joined forces with us to bring a very special vision to life, celebrating Black Boxing Royalty. These are the gentlemen who came before him and helped paved the way to his own success. 

A boxing ring has a way of telling important stories. Not just of champions who achieved greatness, but of the struggle. Of hardship. Of redemption. Stories of defiance to become more than what destiny seemed to allow. Stories of attitude. Self belief. And triumph.

Throughout the history of boxing, there have been Black fighters who fought for more than titles. They told America’s story through the punches they threw, but there was always a fight beyond what the ropes contained. For the lithe bantamweight George Dixon, the Canadian who carried a nickname of Little Chocolate, it was becoming the first Black athlete to win a world championship in any sport in 1892. 

Dixon was the first. Then came Jack Johnson, the great firebrand of the early 20th century who went on to win the heavyweight title. The “Galveston Giant” not only endured the rampant prejudices of the day, he introduced swagger to the story. 

After Johnson there was the “Brown Bomber,” Joe Louis, perhaps one of the single most influential boxers of all time and one of the sport’s greatest champions. Louis became an American hero during his fight with Max Schmeling. Then there was smooth Sugar Ray Robinson, whose story was of unparalleled heights. Sugar Ray put Harlem on the map, and set the stage for the greats to follow.

Smokin’ Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, the greatest rivalry in sports history, who became cultural symbols of so much more. Frazier’s story was one of heart and power. Ali’s one of conviction and strength. Each was bigger than the ring. 

Andre’s story happened because these men told their’s so well.