Herbert (Doc) Odom

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Herbert Odom

Name: Herbert Odom
Alias: Doc
Born: 1933-01-31
Birthplace: Flint, Michigan, USA
Died: 2005-02-05 (Age:72)
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Boxing Record: click

An amateur known by sports writers as 'The Spartan Ringmaster', Herb Odom won two NCAA titles at Michigan State University in 1954 and 1955. He was a 45-year-old practicing dentist when he returned to active training. Licensed in Illinois in 1978 at age 45, Dr. Odom won his first comeback bout in 1979, knocking out and retiring Eddie Partee, 27 years his junior, in two rounds. He fought because "I'm fulfilling a fantasy." Gave WBA welterweight champion Thomas Hearns a bloody nose in a no decision four round no headgear exhibition in 1980, earning praise from Hearns as "the best exhibition opponent I've ever had." Also called out and challenged the then WBC welterweight champion Roberto Duran to give him a title shot in 1980 before his rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard. Dr. Odom died at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago on February 5, 2005, at the age of 72 from Alzheimer's Disease. Doc's famed adage was "I knock out'em out (their teeth) and put'em back again!"


  • Born in 1933, had first amateur bout at age 16, 1950 Flint Michigan and Michigan State Golden Gloves lightweight champion
  • All-American athlete named one of Michigan State's all-time greats, M.S.U. Amateur record of 34-4-2 from 1952-1955
  • 1954 NCAA welterweight boxing champion at Michigan State University
  • 1955 NCAA welterweight boxing champion at Michigan state University
  • Member of 1955 MSU Boxing team which won the national NCAA boxing tournament in 1955
  • Graduate of Michigan State University, couldn't read when he first tried to enroll, graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1955
  • Graduate of Meharry Medical College Dental School, later the first dentist to earn an M.B.A. from University of Chicago Business School in 1977
  • Lost pro debut in Windsor Ontario Canada to Willie Baroie by five round decision in August 1956, did not return to the ring again till July 1979
  • Unbeaten in comeback despite his age-won all six consecutive comeback bouts between 1979 and 1983, also promoted Chicago fight cards through his Doc O Promotions
  • Last professional bout was a six round decision in 1983 over Bobby Plegge, a fighter with 46 pro bouts and a winning record
  • At age 45 in 1978, the oldest professional boxer to be licensed for the first time in Illinois history
  • November 1979 Ebony Magazine 3 page article on Dr. Herbert Odom, the boxing dentist, pages 139-142 [1]
  • March 27, 1980 Jet Magazine article on Dr.Herbert Odom, the boxing dentist, on Page 50, features photo of Dr. Odom in top condition [2]
  • November 24, 1980 People Magazine article on Dr. Herbert Odom, millionaire dentist and unbeaten pro boxer [3]
  • August 6, 1981 Sports Illustrated Article of Dr. Herbert Odom, the boxing dentist [4]
  • Built a $450,000 medical facility on the 'Leroy Brown' South Side of Chicago where his dental office was located with a $6.3 million 300 bed nursing home also built
  • 1991 Greater Flint Induction into Afro-American Hall of Fame [5]
  • Obituary on Dr. Odom in the Chicago Sun-Times [6]