His reign for 25 months as the world middleweight champion became the longest for the weight division. He compiled a 97-16-2 record across his career.
He began boxing at age 16 in Hawaii, two years before he could legally fight in the mainland circuits.
He was the first Hawaiian-born boxer to be elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
He was born Carl Olson, in Honolulu, Hawaii, his father Swedish and mother Portuguese, which led to his nickname as The Hawaiian Swede.
In an illustrious career spanning two decades there was one opponent he could not beat - Sugar Ray Robinson, who knocked him out three different times.