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Breland, however, had 111 amateur fights and only lost ONE. That was early in his open class amateur career, at the 1981 nationals. For the rest of 1981 and all of 1982, 1983 and 1984 Breland was undefeated. His 110-1 record included more than seventy stoppages (a very high amateur KO ratio).
Let me tell you something else. You will often hear of some amateur kid turning pro and his promotional team will put out information giving the kid an amateur record of 112-3 or something like that. You also hear how some kid who is turning pro was a ten time national champion. Bull Spit! When you say "nationals" to someone who knows what they are talking about then they are thinking either the USA/ABF Nationals or the Golden Gloves. There are many other "national tournaments" that boast top flight competition and it is definitely an accomplishment to win them (The Ohio State Fair, for example) but when you say someone is a seven time or a ten time national champion you would automatically assume they won one of the two major nationals. Most of the time, though, it is definitely a case of the reader being misled because the fact of the matter is that winning the Mayor's Cup or the Ringside Tournament three times isn't anything like winning the U.S. Championships three times.
I just read a couple days ago where this kid in Pennsylvania is going pro, for example, and they listed his amateur record as 115-3. Nonsense! If there is a kid who has a record like that and he has only lost three bouts or less than you will definitely hear about him. Having over one hundred bouts with only a handful of losses means that the kid is winning all his local and regional competitions and is not only qualifying for national tournaments but winning most of them, too. Other than Mark, who won every local, regional, national and international tournament he ever entered except for the 1981 USA/ABF National Championships, you are going to be extremely hard pressed to find any kids who win at that level almost every single time.
Mark's record of one amateur loss, however, in indisputable. He lost the one fight to Darryl Anthony in 1981 and that's it and if he had in fact lost to someone else along the way then the guys who beat him would have claimed it. Also, Mark was such a high profile amateur that his entire career was under a microscope. No room to lie. So when you hear of a guy that has only three amateur losses with over 100 victories? You can be pretty sure that if he isn't a five time U.S. national champion or hasn't been in a substantial number of national and international amateur bouts then there are probably at least ten or twelve guys around the boxing world reading his amateur record assuming that they are one of the three who are being credited with beating this guy!
Breland's record also boasts an 18-0 International fight log, including a 6-0 run at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He defeated the best Russian (1980 Olympic silver medalist Serik Konakbaev) and the best Cuban (1983 World Cup champion Candelario Duvergal) in USA-vs-The World dual meets. Mark also scored stoppage victories over top Americans like All-Army champion James Mitchell, 1983 Pan-American Games welterweight champion Louis Howard, North American Champion Ron Esset, David Guttierez, and Mylon Watkins (Howard, Esset and Watkins were all National Golden Gloves Champions and Mitchell was a National ABF -formerly known as the AAU- Champion).
Mark also won a decision in the 1982 U.S. Nationals over future IBF Jr. welterweight champion Frankie Warren and then defeated future #1 rated amateur welterweight Alton Rice at the 1984 Olympic Trials.
He was the first man ever to win the New York City Golden Gloves title FIVE times, scoring more than twenty knockout victories over the course of those five tournaments. It got to the point that 1984 saw not only miles ahead of everyone in his weight class but Mark was already somewhat of a living legend in New York boxing circles. He won the 1980 NYC Golden Gloves as a sixteen year old with five victories and one year later, in the 1981 tournament as a seventeen year old, he won the welterweight crown with four stoppage (TKO) victories in a row.
His career record in the New York Golden Gloves was 23-0 with 22 big stoppage wins (an unprecedented amateur stoppage ratio), including an astounding 15 first round technical knockout victories over the five tournaments he participated in.
Maybe the most impressive fact that resulted from his five year reign in the NYCGG is that he scored stoppage victories in all five championship bouts that he participated in. Three of them ended in the first round, one in the second and the other in the third.
New York City Golden Gloves Finals:
1980: 139 Novice: Mark Breland, Spartan AC, Defeated Angel Garcia, Spartan AC, RSC (1:27 1st round)
1981: 147 Open: Mark Breland, Bed-Stuy BA, Defeated Jose Martinez, Universe BC, RSC (2:22 2nd round)
1982: 147 Open: Mark Breland, Bed-Stuy BA, Defeated Pedro Estrada, Universe BC, RSC-1 (0:51)
1983: 147 Open: Mark Breland, Bed-Stuy BA, Defeated Rodney Bowen, Bed-Stuy BA, RSC (0:50 3rd round)
1984: 147 Open: Mark Breland, Bed-Stuy BA, Defeated Victor Laguer, 18th Ave Gym, RSC (0:42 1st round)
Mark was so big in New York boxing circles that a 1985 article that appeared in the New York Daily News Golden Gloves program book quoted a novice class 178 pounder from Brooklyn as saying, "Mark is Mark and I'm me. Nobody expects another Mark to just pop up. But I think I'm a good boxer and I want to follow his career in a way. I want to win the gloves a bunch more times and then compete in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea and then turn pro like he did."
The light heavyweight from Brooklyn quoted in the article was a tall and skinny Breland clone by the name of Riddick Bowe.
1982 saw Mark win the world amateur welterweight title and he was also a two-time USA/ABF national champion, winning 147 pound titles in 1982 and 1983. As a fifteen year old he won the National Junior Olympic Championship and the one man to beat him as an amateur, Darryl Anthony in 1981 before Mark made a huge name for himself in the amateur ranks, was stopped by him in three rounds later on as a professional.
So history shows us that, unlike Savon, Stevenson or anybody else for that matter, Mark Breland was on point and at the top of his game in local smokers, national level bouts, world dual meets as well as the Olympic games and, as a result, I think it's fair to say that no one in history ever DOMINATED a single amateur weight class in the manner that he did.
Epilogue: As a professional boxer Mark won two world welterweight titles on the way to compiling a 35-3 record with 25 stoppages. Among his victories were a stoppage of former undisputed world welterweight champion Lloyd Honeyghan and Darryl Anthony, the St. Louis boxer who scored the only victory against him his 110-1 amateur career.
While he did not have a particularly long career and might not have reached the awesome heights predicted for him (to be fair...WHO could have??) but one guy who is still very impressed with Mark as a professional is the man who beat him in 1987 for his WBA 147 pound title, Marlon "Moochie" Starling. Marlon and I have been in gyms together on many occasions and almost every time someone mentions Mark's name around him now he says almost the same exact thing every time:
"Mark's jab HURT! I boxed in the gym with guys like Tommy Hearns and Virgil Hill and I fought Honeyghan, Blocker and Nunn and I don't care what anybody says. NOBODY had a jab like Mark's. His jab was like anybody else's right hand."