The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Pat Jefferson - Inducted 2005

One of South Dakota's greatest boxers, Jefferson had a 249-24 record as an amateur from 1965-80. He had a streak of 42 consecutive wins from 1970-73. The 1975 Rapid City Central High grad was the first South Dakotan to win a national boxing title, at the 1973 Junior Olympics.

Jefferson participated in the national Golden Gloves tournament four years in a row (1974-77). He defeated Rocky Lockridge in the 119-pound semifinals in 1975. Until that defeat Lockridge was undefeated in 118 bouts. In 1976, Jefferson lost a disputed split decision to Thomas Hearns in the 132-pound semifinals. Lockridge and Hearns went on to become world pro champs. Jefferson was national Golden Gloves runner-up at 132 pounds in 1977. From 1977-79 he was the No. 1-ranked lightweight in the United States. In 1978, he split two matches with Davey Armstrong, the only American to box in two Olympics.

Jefferson lost a split decision to Howard Davis in the 1976 national AAU semifinal. Davis was the Olympic gold medalist that year. Jefferson also was a semifinalist in 1978. In 1979, he was the first American to win a gold medal in the King's Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. In 1980, he was captain of a U.S. AAU team that went to Russia, where he defeated the Russian national champion. In all, Jefferson was 29-4 against international competition from 1977-80.

He was undefeated in state and regional competition, Golden Gloves and AAU, from 1973-80. He was a three-time South Dakota Amateur Boxer of the Year. In 1983, he became the youngest inductee into the Midwest Golden Gloves Hall of Fame.

Jefferson turned pro in 1980 after the American boycott of the Moscow Olympics. In his pro debut, in Rapid City, he knocked out Rudy Mata in the third round. As a pro from 1980-85, his record was 21-6. In 1985 in Las Vegas, he fought on the undercard of the Hagler-Hearns fight, the largest grossing fight in Las Vegas boxing history. He retired ranked No. 7 in the World Boxing Council ratings. Among his losses were ones to Johnny Bumphus and Alexis Arguello, both world champions.

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