Buster Drayton remembered

Buster DraytonBy Boxing Bob Newman

Sad to report that former IBF jr. middleweight champion Buster Drayton passed earlier this week on November 20th. Born Moses Buster Drayton on March 2, 1952, Drayton became a US Marine in 1972, earning the rank of Sergeant. While enlisted, Drayton became involved in boxing and decided to turn pro after returning to civilian life.

His debut was a foreshadowing of things to come as he was thrown in with hometown fighter Charles Carey in Virginia Beach, earning a four round draw. Drayton would learn his trade in the hardscrabble Philadelphia gyms, becoming a sparring partner for undisputed middleweight champion “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler. Drayton would win more than he lost, but continued to face tough opposition along the way in the likes of James “The Heat” Kinchen, future champs Sumbu Kalambay, Lindell Holmes and Duane Thomas.

In 1983 Drayton would shock the odds in stopping former U.S. Olympian Clint Jackson in two rounds on Jackson’s home turf. He would lose two straight to power puncher Mario Maldonado and future title challenger Fred Hutchins, then rebound by stopping respected Brits Jimmy Cable and Mark Kaylor on their home turf. By 1986, Drayton found himself in a main event dream match for the vacant IBF Jr. Middleweight title against former champion Carlos Santos. The unorthodox Drayton pressured the slick Santos over 15 rounds to win the title via majority decision and become the unlikeliest of champs.

Drayton would make two defenses- against former WBA champ Davey Moore and Frechman (via Morocco) Said Skouma, winning both by tenth round stoppages. One year after winning his belt, Drayton would travel to enemy territory yet again to face Power-punching Canadian Matthew Hilton in Montreal, Canada. Drayton would go down in the first round, only to come back valiantly, forcing the young Hilton to go the full 15-round distance in order to snatch the title. Drayton would get another crack at the title, this time against WBA champ Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, losing via KO3. In a 17-year career, Drayton would face 8 world champions, 2 Hall-of-Famers among them (Julian Jackson and Terry Norris), going 3-5.

During a 2011 card in Chester, PA, which saw several fights fall apart before showtime, a 59-year-old Drayton donned the gloves and head gear to take on young cruiserweight Chuck Mussachio in a 3-round exhibition after Mussachio’s opponent was ruled out. Drayton still lived up to his ring moniker as he proved to be “The Demon,” bedeviling his opponent with some slick moves! Drayton retired with a record of 40-15-1, 28 KOs. He had been battling cancer and diabetes and gave both a tough fight. R.I.P Champ.

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  • This is sad news. Very sorry to hear of the passing for Drayton, after battling cancer and diabetes. Buster Drayton was a tough fighter from Philly, and he endured wars against some of the toughest warriors in the world throughout his career. I will never forget his knockout of Clint Jackson, another tough and talented fighter. It took beasts to beat Dayton and he took them all to hell. He was a great man. May this proud warrior Rest In Peace and as a long-time Boxing fan, I must express my deepest condolences to his family for this great loss.

  • Damn !

    More sh*t news 🙁

    Was just watching Buster demolish Cable and Kaylor just last week

    The Hilton fight is a forgotten classic imho. An absolute epic and Drayton was facing a peak Hilton in that fight too.

    His ko loss to Jackson is highlight reel stuff, with Drayton fearlessly trading with Jackson right up to the stoppage.

    Condolences to Buster’s Family

    RIP Champ

  • I remember when I met Buster in Marvin Hagler’s training camp. He was a fun person to be around and always had you laughing at something. RIP Champ

  • Miss fighters like Drayton and 80’s boxing in general. Fighters who fought anyone. He took on all comers. RIp champ!!

  • Much respect for the ex champ! He did what many didn’t ! I was very fortunate to see him on live tv back in the 80’s

  • Another star of the 1980’s golden era dwindles. Thank you Buster and God bless…..

  • Many do not know. Marvelous is Marv’s first name. Therefore, no quotes needed. Coach Hilario Brockton MA USA.

  • Our prayers go out for the Champ to rest in peace and to comfort his family. he was a real
    fighter and a nice guy!


  • Very saddened to hear this. I loved watching this guy fight. Tough as nails and fearless, he was exactly what boxing needs today.

    RIP champ.

  • Rest in peace champ. A fighter from another era where unlike the Jones and Mayweather era Buster could not pick his opponents or venue or refs or judges. Reminded me of Ralph Tiger Jones.

  • Drayton’s battle with Matthew Hilton was a war, voted fight of the year in ’87, and was one of the best fights of that decade. If I’m not mistaken, it was one of the last IBF title fights to go fifteen rounds. Rest In Power, Champ.

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