On January 15, 1925, Benny Leonard, world lightweight champion, holder of the title from 1917, abruptly retired from boxing. Why?
This was a man at top of his game. Not counting one disqualification, he hadn't lost a fight since 1912. Even today, Leonard is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, and was named by the International Boxing Research Organization as the greatest lightweight EVER. So why did he end his career so quickly?
His mother asked him to stop.
Never mind that boxing made Leonard a millionaire. Never mind that he was called "the most famous Jew in America". Never mind that he became a role model for countless Jewish boys and shattered many antisemitic stereotypes.
His mother didn't want him to box. "Is that a life for a respectable man? For a Jew?", she asked when Leonard took up the sport. And in 1925, with all the accolades, he finally listened, hanging up his gloves.
Leonard went on to be a front man for a failed hockey team and then died in the ring after six bouts as a boxing referee. Gee, thanks, mom.