Home Boxing History Puncher from the Past: Elmer “Violent” Ray

Puncher from the Past: Elmer “Violent” Ray

Elmer “Violent” Ray
Born: 3 March 1911 Federal Point, Florida
Died: 20 May 1987 Hastings, Florida aged 76
Division: Heavyweight
Record: 133 fights, 96 wins (69 by KO/TKO), lost 23 (9 by KO/TKO), 11 draws, 3 No Decisions
Early Record incomplete. First fight recorded by BoxRec was a ten-round draw with Walter King in October 1933.
Scored wins over: Lee Savold, Jersey Joe Walcott**,Ezzard Charles**,
Lost to: Jersey Joe Walcott**, John Henry Lewis**, Ezzard Charles **, John Holman.

Ray was a member of the so-called “Black Murderers’ Row”. A group of black fighters who due to restrictions on mixed race fights in some states, and to the threat they posed as quality fighters with a punch, were forced to continually fight each other. He fought Obie Walker 14 times (including a spell when they fought each other 5 times in 3 months), Dixie Oliver 6 times and Willie Bush 5 times.

To end 1939, his traceable record was a poor 11-13-9 but from October 1943 to March 1947 he scored 50 consecutive wins 46 of them by KO/TKO including a run of 20 inside-the-distance wins in a row.
In March 1947, he was ranked No.1 heavyweight by Ring Magazine with a good chance of challenging Joe Louis but lost a majority decision against Jersey Joe Walcott. He rebounded to score a number of wins including a split decision over Ezzard Charles in July 1947 to climb to No 2 in the ratings. But a ninth-round kayo loss to Charles in May 1948 ended his hopes of a title shot and he retired in March 1949 at the age of 38. After retiring he finally got into the ring with Joe Louis-but only in exhibition bouts.

In 2003 Ring Magazine rated Ray No.44 in their list of the 100 greatest punchers in the history of boxing.
Ray was inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.