Boxing fans will gather in Birmingham, England, on Friday night to witness the final fight of a man who could be remembered as Britain's most spectacular loser.
Buckley has lost more fights than any other boxer in the world. Throughout his 256 defeats, he has remained magnificently undeterred. While the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) remained concerned that he could suffer serious injuries, Buckley persisted, losing fight after fight.
In the past five years he has put together a particularly impressive losing streak, failing to win in 88 successive bouts. He has lost to 42 future world, European, British and Commonwealth champions, including Naseem Hamed, and has fought more bouts than any other boxer in the world. But this one, No 300, will be his last.
"I've had my eye on the 300 mark for a while, and it's a little milestone I want to achieve, but I don't want to fight on," he said. "People keep saying to me that I'll get a call in a few weeks' time offering me a fight and I'll say yes, but I mean it when I say this is it."
There was a time, in the early 1990s, when Buckley did not seem destined for so luminous a career of defeat. He was a talented super-featherweight who won the Midlands area title. Then he discovered a more lucrative calling, as an opponent for boxers with hot prospects. He rarely won but had a good defense and took few punches. Over time, his reflexes slowed and he became easier to hit. Now 39, he has matured into a consistent loser.
Buckley has fought so often that he has turned up with a black eye before a bout. Though the BBBC continues to send him for medical tests, Buckley continues to pass them. Throughout his career, he has kept himself in a constant state of readiness, ready to lose a fight at a moment's notice anywhere in England. Buckley has been known to agree to bouts as late as 8 p.m. on the night of the fight.