Greg Haugen (born August 31, 1960) is a retired American boxer….who was a world champion at both the lightweight and light welterweight divisions…..wherein he turned pro in 1982….and won his first 17 fights before challenging for a world title. On December 5, 1986, Haugen captured the International Boxing Federation Lightweight Title with a majority decision over reigning champion Jimmy Paul.
He lost his title in his first defense to Vinny Pazienza by decision. However, he won the title back in a rematch with Pazienza in 1988. This video highlighting Haugen’s career was aired in NBC’s pre-fight show with Marv Albert and Dr. Ferdie Pacheco just before the start of his 1st fight with Vinny Paz.
He defended the title against Miguel Santana and future WBO welterweight champion Gert Bo Jacobsen….then he lost the IBF Lightweight title to Pernell Whitaker in 1989 by decision….which was his biggest paycheck at that time at $426,000.
On February 23, 1991, Greg Haugen captured the WBO Light Welterweight Title with an upset victory over then undefeated Hector Camacho by split decision….which was an outcome that resulted from Camacho being deducted a point for illegally hitting Haugen when Haugen refused to touch gloves at the beginning of the last round…..whereas, later that year Haugen lost a rematch with Camacho….which was again by split decision.
In 1992, he captured the vacant NABF light welterweight title with a knockout win over Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini…..and on February 20, 1993, he challenged Mexican boxing legend Julio César Chávez for the WBC Light Welterweight Title at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City…. which was a fight attended by 132,247 spectators.
Haugen’s legacy is likely best defined by the Chavez fight,….but not for his performance in the ring….rather for his comments leading up to the bout….when he said that many of Chavez’s wins “came against Tijuana taxi drivers that my mom could whip.” ….which generated a huge uproar in the Mexican community and ignited publicity for the bout….when after a dominant TKO loss to Chávez, Haugen stated….”They must have been very tough taxi drivers.”
Haugen never again challenged for a major belt. When asked in an interview who was the greatest fighter he ever fought, Haugen replied, “Hands down, Pernell Whitaker”…..and when all is considered regarding Greg Haugen….he was a really great boxer…..who has been forgotten for his boxing talents and acumen in the ring….simply because he fought during The Golden Age of Boxing from 1964 to 1995….which was a time with too many boxing legends for the world to remember….so many that some really great ones like Greg Haugen have simply been forgotten….but not here at ImaSportsphile.
He retired in 1999 with a record of 40–10–1 (2 NC).