Matthew Saad Muhammad
Name: Matthew Saad Muhammad
Alias: Matthew Franklin
Birth Name: Maxwell Antonio Loach
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 2014-05-25 (Age:59)
Pro Boxer: Record
Trainers: Adolph Ritacco, Nick Belfiore, Sam Solomon, Steve Traitz
Cut Men: Adolph Ritacco, Milt Bailey
- 25-4 as an amateur.
- 9-2 (8 knockouts) in world title fights.
- 7-6-1 (4 knockouts) against former, current or future world titlists:
- Knocked out Marvin Johnson in 12 rounds to win the NABF light heavyweight title on July 26, 1977.
- Knocked out Marvin Johnson in eight rounds to win the WBC light heavyweight title on April 22, 1979.
- Successfully defended the WBC light heavyweight title eight times. The only challenger to go the distance was former WBC light heavyweight champion John Conteh, whom Saad Muhammad outpointed in his first title defense. In his second defense of the title, Saad Muhammad knocked out Conteh in four rounds.
- Was scheduled to meet WBA light heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in a unification fight at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 1981, on a card billed as "This Is It." The card was also going to include Gerry Cooney vs. Ken Norton, WBA welterweight champion Thomas Hearns vs. Wilfred Benitez, and WBC super bantamweight champion Wilfredo Gomez vs. Mike Ayala. The show fell apart when the promoter, Harold Smith, disappeared amid allegations that he was involved in a $21.3 million fraud against Wells Fargo National Bank. Smith, whose real name was Ross Fields, was later sentenced to ten years in prison after he was convicted of 29 counts of fraud and embezzlement. 
- Hall of Fame promoter J. Russell Peltz said of Saad Muhammad: "I would say from the summer of ’77 until the fall of ’81, he was probably the greatest action fighter in the history of his division and probably one of the top 10 action fighters ever." 
- Lost the WBC light heavyweight title to Dwight Muhammad Qawi by a 10th-round knockout on December 19, 1981.
- Knocked out in six rounds by Dwight Muhammad Qawi in an unsuccessful attempt to regain the WBC light heavyweight title on August 7, 1982.
- Fought well past his prime and ended his career in 1992 with 16 losses.
- Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.
- Saad Muhammad's record is listed as 49-16-3 by Boxrec, but the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia claim his record is 39-16-3. They do not include fights against Serge Bolivard, Reggie Neal and Jorge Espin in 1986, Kid Freeport, Ezeke Minus and Junior McKenzie in 1987, and Joao Cabreiro, Rafael Marin, Jose Ramon Zalazar and Eduardo Antonio Carranza in 1991. 
- Saad Muhammad's date of birth has been listed as June 16, June 24 and August 5.
- Saad Muhammad was found on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June of 1958 or 1959 (sources differ). "A policeman spotted me and asked me who I was. I hardly said anything because I was very scared," he said. "He took me to the police station and tried to locate my real parents, but no one came to claim me." Saad Muhammad didn't remember much about what had happened. "I was going to my grandmother's house with my brother," he recalled. "As he ran in front of me, I tried to catch up with him, but he outran me. The next thing I knew, I was lost."
- Saad Muhammad was taken to the Catholic Social Services office, where the nuns named him Matthew Franklin. "They named me Matthew because it means 'chosen one' and 'Franklin' because I was found on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway," he said.
- At the age of seven, he was adopted by John and Bertha Santos, Portuguese immigrants who lived in South Philadelphia.
- "The neighborhood I lived in was pretty bad," Saad Muhammad said. "I had to go to Broad Street by way of 13th Street to get to Catholic school. The youth gangs used to ask me which street I was from and beat me up. I figured, 'If I can't beat them, join them.' Later, I became a leader of a gang." As a result of his gang activity, Saad Muhammad was in and out of reform school. While locked up, a counselor suggested that he take up boxing.
- After winning the WBC light heavyweight championship from Marvin Johnson in 1979, Matthew Franklin converted to Islam and changed his name to Matthew Saad Muhammad. Saad means "bright future" and Muhammad means "worthy of praise." 
- In 1980, Saad Muhammad offered $10,000 to anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of his family. He also hired a private investigator, who got some answers in 1981. Following up on a lead provided by a Philadelphia woman, the private investigator discovered that Saad Muhammad was born Maxwell Antonio Loach. Saad Muhammad also learned that he and a brother were taken in by an aunt after their mother had died. The aunt could not afford to raise both of them, so she instructed the older brother to get rid of his younger brother. The older brother took Saad Muhammad to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and then ran away. "They just didn't have enough money to take care of me, so they got rid of me," Saad Muhammad said. 
- Sylvester Stallone sought out Saad Muhammad to play the role of Clubber Lang in Rocky III, but he passed on the project. "They wanted me to shave my head and I refused to do that," recalled Saad Muhammad. "Man, if I could go back in time, I would shave my head if that's what it took to get that part. But if you knew things then that you know now, life would be a lot easier, wouldn't it? I guess I was young and crazy. I couldn't see the forest for the trees, didn't realize what a part like that could have done for me. I wish I had." 
- After his retirement from the ring in the early 1990s, Saad Muhammad fell on hard times. The Ring Magazine estimated his ring earnings at $4 million, but leading a spendthrift and dissipating lifestyle and trusting the wrong people with his boxing earnings left him broke. By 2010, he was living in the R.H.D. Ridge Center, a Philadelphia homeless shelter administered by Resources for Human Development. After a few months, he was again living on his own in Philadelphia and working for the development organization as an advocate and spokesman.
- Saad Muhammad died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on May 25, 2014. 
Awards & Recognition by The Ring Magazine
- Matthew Saad Muhammad vs. Marvin Johnson II was named the 35th greatest title fight of all-time in 1996, and the eighth round was named Round of the Year for 1979.
- Following Marvin Johnson's knockout of Victor Galindez to win the WBA light heavyweight title in November 1979 — seven months after Saad Muhammad's knockout of Johnson to win the WBC title — The Ring Magazine awarded their light heavyweight title to Saad Muhammad.
- Matthew Saad Muhammad vs. Yaqui Lopez II was named Fight of the Year for 1980 and the 84th greatest title fight of all-time in 1996, and the eighth round was named Round of the Year for 1980 and the 8th most exciting round in boxing history in 2001.
- Saad Muhammad was named the 10th greatest light heavyweight of all-time in 2002 and the 24th greatest puncher of all-time in 2003.
| WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
1979 Apr 22 – 1981 Dec 19