By Jim Amato

He was one of the better heavyweights of the 1980′s. He is probably also the most overlooked when remembering that decade. Baltimore’s George Chaplin was able to hang with some of the best heavyweights of that era. Chaplin turned professional in 1976 and reeled off seven straight victories. He suffered his first defeat in 1977 dropping a decision to Youngstown’s clever Mike Koranicki. In 1978 Chaplin drew with tough Leroy Diggs. George would then go on an eight fight win steak that included a rematch victory over Koranicki and a seventh round stoppage of once highly ranked Duane Bobick.

In 1980 Chaplin lost a close decision to the undefeated and highly touted Greg Page. He then drew with rugged Jimmy Abbott. The year 1981 saw George lose three times. All the losses came to future world champions. He dropped a ten round verdict to Gerrie Coetzee. He then lost a twelve round split decision to Greg Page for the USBA heavyweight title. Then came a ten round loss to the talented Michael Dokes. Despite the losses Chaplin was ranked among the best big men in the world. George would outpoint Lynn Ball in a close affair in 1982. Then Chaplin would suffer a major setback being stopped in four rounds by undefeated David Bey.

Chaplin bounced back in 1983 with a disqualification win over dangerous Earnie Shavers. In 1984 Chaplin was sent in to face another undefeated and highly hyped heavyweight, Gerry Cooney. The streaking Cooney stopped George in round two. The following year the fading Chaplin dropped a ten round duke to Melvin Epps. In 1986 he had enough left to defeat once beaten Proud Kilimanjaro. In 1987 George was halted by Jesse Ferguson and hung up the gloves.

Chaplin retired with a final ledger of 23-9-2. Besides facing three world champions, George also faced four other men who challenged for the championship. Chaplin was a much better fighter then his record reflects. He was a legitimate contender and a consummate professional.

Jim Amato

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