History Of Ring Magazine
The Ring, founded and published by hall-of-famer Nat Fleischer, has perpetrated boxing scandals, helped make unknown fighters famous worldwide, and covered boxing’s biggest events of all time. Dan Daniel was a co-founder and prolific contributor to The Ring through most of its history. It refers to itself (and is referred to by others) as “The Bible of Boxing.” During the Fleischer years, the contents page or indicia of every issue carried the claim: “The Ring is a magazine which a man may take home with him. He may leave it on his library table safe in the knowledge that it does not contain one line of matter either in the text or the advertisements which would be offensive. The publisher of The Ring guards this reputation of his magazine jealously. It is entertaining and it is clean.”
In 1977, three international versions of the magazine came out. One, the Spanish version, was named Ring En Español and was published from Venezuela and distributed around all Spanish-speaking countries and the United States until 1985. There was also a Japanese-language version published in Tokyo and a French version published in Paris.
The magazine was taken over by flamboyant publisher Bert Randolph Sugar in 1979, who hired Randy Gordon—who would go on later that decade to become New York’s boxing commissioner—as his editor-in-chief. By 1985, both Sugar and Gordon had moved on, then watched from the sidelines as The Ring nearly went bankrupt in 1989, causing the magazine to cease publication for most of the year. It rebounded under new management in 1990.
The Ring magazine was saved from ruin in 1990 by Boxing Hall of Fame Publisher Stanley Weston who founded Boxing Illustrated, KO & World Boxing & GC London Publishing Corp. Weston was a sentimentalist and 52 years after joining The Ring magazine as a stock boy, Weston purchased the magazine that gave him his first job. He not only resurrected the magazine from its imminent collapse, he re-established the publication as the definitive source for boxing news.
An outstanding boxing artist, Weston painted 57 covers for The Ring with his first cover, a painting of Billy Conn, for the December 1939 issue. Weston was also a photographer who, according to his own estimate, shot over 100,000 boxing photos—the majority of which are housed in the archives of The Ring magazine.
Some of the boxers featured on the magazine covers have included Andrew Golota, Salvador Sánchez, Jack Dempsey, Max Schmeling, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta, Rocky Marciano, Willie Pep, Muhammad Ali, Alexis Argüello, Wilfred Benítez, Wilfredo Gómez, Roberto Durán, Larry Holmes, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bud Taylor, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Thomas Hearns, Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Julio César Chávez, Félix Trinidad, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Mauro Mina, and Ricardo Mayorga. In 1977, boxer Cathy “Cat” Davis became the first and only female ever to be on a cover of The Ring, holding the distinction of being the only woman featured on the cover of Ring Magazine until January 2016, when Ronda Rousey joined her and also became the first Mixed Martial Arts fighter featured on Ring Magazine’s cover. The Ring has used cover artwork created by famed artists such as LeRoy Neiman and Richard T. Slone.
The Ring was formerly published by London Publications and Kappa Publishing Group, which also published sister magazines KO Magazine and World Boxing, which were former competitors of The Ring but ceased operations while under Kappa’s ownership.
The Ring magazine was formerly led by International Boxing Hall of Famer Nigel Collins.
Sports and Entertainment Publications, LLC, owns The Ring, which it acquired from Kappa Publishing Group in 2006. Sports and Entertainment Publications, LLC is owned by a group of private investors led by Oscar de la Hoya. Also acquired were KO Magazine and ‘World Boxing. The magazine’s rankings are recognized as “official” by some in the U.S. media, particularly ESPN. While some may see a conflict of interest in a boxing promoter being paymaster of what is essentially a magazine/rankings organization that awards world titles and belts, De La Hoya says that is not the case. “These magazines will be held in an editorial trust where they will be operating totally independent of any influence from me or others from the Golden Boy Companies as it relates to editorial direction or content”. Also there is a 35-member ratings advisory panel, which include many of the media that cover boxing, who would prevent Golden Boy Promotions from using the magazine for self gain.
The Ring was headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania until 2011 when it was relocated to Los Angeles.