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RICHARD K. FOX, Publisher, 

U9, Fleet Street, London, E. C, The Fox Building, Franklin Sq., New York 









Police Gazette” 

STANDARD 

BOOK or RULES 


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RICHARD K. FOX, 

\ O PUBLISHER o . 







149, FLEET STREET, 
LONDON, E. C. 


THE FOX BUILDING, 
FRANKLIN SQ, NEW YORK. 









THE 


BLACK 

CHAMPIONS 

OF 

THE PRIZE RING 

FROM 

MOLINEAUX TO JACKSON 

Revised and Compiled by 
SAM C. AUSTIN 

Sporting Editor of the Police Gazetti 

ILLUSTRATED 


LONDON 

RICHARD K. FOX, Publisher 
149, FLEET ST., LONDON, E. C. 


1897 







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1890, by 
RICHARD K. FOX 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 


Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London, England. 




/ 









OHAPTEB. 

Introduction 


PAGE. 


I. —The Advantage of Science 


5-6 

7-8 


II. —Thomas Molineaux and his Battles— i8io 
TO 1815—His Battle with the Bristol 
Man. 


8-11 
11-13 


III. —Molineaux’s Battle with Tom Cribb . 


IV. —Molineaux Defeats Rimmer . . . 13-15 

V. —Molineaux’s Second Battle with Tom Cribb 15-17 
VI. —Molineaux’s Great Battle with Carter , tj-iS 

VII. —The Molineaux and Fuller Mill . . 18-20 

VIII. —The Molineaux-Cooper Fight . , . 20-21 

IX. —Bill Richmond, ‘‘The Black Terror” . 21-28 

X. —^Jem Wharton, “ Molineaux, the Morocco 

Prince ”. 28 

XL —^Bob Smith, “The Liverpool Darkey” . , 29 

XII. —Bob Travers, “The Black” . . . 29-33 

XIII. —Harry Woodson, “ The Black Diamond ” > 33-34 

XIV. —George Godfrey, the Champion Colored 


Heavyweight of America 


• 34-35 


XV. —Other Colored Pugilists:— C. A. C. Smith, 
McHenry Johnson, Charles Hadley, Mer- 
viNE Thompson, Harris Martin . . 36-37 

XVI. —Peter Jackson, Colored Heavyweight Cham^ 


pioN OF the World 


37-46 


XVII. —George Dixon, the Colored Featherweight 

Champion of the World . .. , 46-47 

XVIII. —Dixon’s Battle with Nunc Wallace . . 47-51 




4 


CON TENTS—Confinitcd. 


XIX. —The Dixon-Murphy Fight .... 

XX. —Dixon Wins the Championship from 

McCarthy . 

XXL —Dixon Defeats Fred Johnson of England 
XXII.— Dixon’s Fight with Skelly 
XXIII. —Presented with the Police Gazette Belt 

XXIV. —Plimmer gets a Decision over Dixon 

XXV. —Dixon Fights Three Draws with Young 

Griffo. 

XXVI. —Boxes Pedlar Palmer at Madison Square 

Garden. 

XXVII. —Erne Gains a Decision Over Dixon . 
XXVIII. —What the Critics Said About it 

XXIX. —^^Dixon Mends His Ways and Trains for 

Erne. 

XXX. —Dixon Regains His Title 

XXXI. —Griffin was a Game Lad . . . . 

XXXII.— Joe Walcott, the “Black Demon” 

XXXIlI. —Tracey Knocked Out. 

XXXIV. —Austin Gibbons was an Easy Victim 
XXXV. —Mysterious Billy Smith gets a Draw 
XXXVI. —LaVigne Gives Walcott a Hiding 
XXXVlI. —Tommy West Meets the “Black Demon” 
XXXVIIL —The Worst of an Unfair Decision 
XXXIX. —Frank Craig, THE “Coffee Cooler” . 

XL. —Craig goes to England .... 


52 - 5 S 

53 - 55 
55 

ss-56 

56- 57 
57 

57- 58 


58- 59 

59 - 61 
61-64 


64 

65-68 

68- 69 

69- 70 

70- 71 

71 

71- 74 

74-77 

77- 78 

78- 79 

79- 80 

80- 81 




K- FOX, 

Editoi* and Pvoptfi«toi< of the ** Police Gaxette" and 
*« Fox’e lllastKated CUeekly.’* 

OONOR OP THE POLICE GAZETTE HEAVY, MIDDLE, LIGHT AND FEATHER-WEIGHT PRIZE RING 
CHAMPIONSHIP BELTS, THE CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE ROWING CUP AND THE 
SIX-DAY CO-AS-TOU-PLBASB CHAMPIONSHIP BELT OP THE WORLD. 


































THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


13 


affected him that he could hardly stand. His second, Richmond 
urged him to go on in the hopes that Cribb would get exhausted. 

Round 33.—Molineaux fell from weakness of his legs. This by 
Cribb’s party was called falling without a blow and a squabble would 
have ensued had not Molineaux exclaimed : ‘‘ I can fight no more.” 
The battle was ended. Molineaux, in this contest, proved himself as 
courageous a man as ever an adversary contended with, and Cribb’s 
merits as a pugilist could not but be enhanced by a victory over so 
formidable an opponent. “ The Black ” astonished everyone not only 
by his extraordinary power of hitting and his gigantic strength, but 
by his acquaintance with the science, which was far greater than any 
one had given him credit for. In the 28th round, after the men had 
been carried to their corners, Cribb was so much exhausted that he 
could hardly rise from his second’s knee. At the call of time, which 
was uttered loudly by Sir Thomas Apreece, one of the umpires, J oe 
Ward, his second, by a little manoeuvring occupied the attention of 
the black’s seconds, and so managed to prolong the period sufficiently 
to enable the champion to recover a little and thus assisted him to 
pull through. 


CHAPTER IV. 

MOLINEAUX DEFEATS RIMMER. 

Bob Gregson, who was fond of match-making, had a young Lan¬ 
cashire man of the name of Rimmer, twenty-two years of age, and 
considered by his countrymen a second Jem Belcher. His friends 
were anxious to get him on with Molineaux, being now defeated, and 
issued a challenge for 100 guineas which was directly answered by 
Molineaux. The day was fixed for May 21, 1811, and the battle¬ 
ground Mousley. At i o’clock on the day appointed Rimmer threw 
his hat into the 24-foot ring. Molineaux was seconded by Bill Gib¬ 
bons and Richmond, and Rimmer by Power and Tom Jones. The 
betting was 3 to i on Molineaux. 

Round i. —A few minutes were spent in sparring, in which neither 
man displayed much grace. Rimmer then let go both hands but was 
short. He got away without a return. At length Molineaux put in 
a left-handed blow on his opponent’s neck with great force. Rimmer 
returned, but slightly, and fell. (Four to one on Molineaux.) 

^ Round 2.— Rimmer again made play and another effort to hit 
right and left, but the distance was again ill-judged and he got away. 
Molineaux waited very patiently for him. They rallied and Molineaux 
made some excellent stops. They broke away and got together 
again, when Molineaux brought down his opponent by two blows, 
right and left, and of most astonishing force and quickness. 




14 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE KING. 


Round 3.—Molineaux appeared much elated with his succes^^ 
smiled significantly at his opponent and sparred low, evidently t(h 
show that he disregarded any effort his opponent might attempt. 
waited until Rimmer made play, when he hit him, and followed it up 
and repeated his blows until Rimmer fell. 

Round 4.—Rimmer’s head was covered with blood and he wa:; 
stupefied for a time in consequence of a blow on the temple in th(i 
last round. Molineaux again put in two successful blows, right and 
left over his guard, on the head and neck, and Rimmer fell as if shot 
Everyone now appreciated the dreadful situation of the novice, an 
odds rose to any amount in favor of Molineaux, but with no takers 
Round 5. —Rimmer evinced great alertness, made a long hit at 
double distance and fell. 

Round 6.—Rimmer again hit short and fell, evidently very weak 
Round 7. —For y first time Rimmer had the best of the fighting^ 

in this round. He put in a good blow with his left and rallied with 
great courage, but fell at length over his opponent’s legs. | 

Round 8.—Both hit over and Rimmer fell. j! 

Round 9. — Rimmer exerted every effort to gain his superiority, j 
rallied well and threw Molineaux. j 

Round 10. —Molineaux appeared almost ferocious and went in de- 1 
termined to repay him for past favors. He followed Rimmer, milling 1 
him in every part of the ring, and at length grounded him. 1 

Round ii.— Rimmer rallied and showed pluck. Some good hits 
exchanged, but Rimmer hit widely, without judging distance. MolinI j 
eaux sent in a doubler in the chest and sent his man down. 

Round 12.—Rimmer made a body hit, which again fell short, and, 
almost in a state of frenzy he ran in, caught Molineaux up by the 
thighs and threw him. Many cried “ foul,” others “ fair,” but the 
fight went on. 

Round 13.—Rimmer struck Molineaux over the mouth, when the 
black went in and threw him. 

Round 14.—A rally. Rimmer closed and a complete trial oi 
strength ensued. Both fell, Molineaux uppermost. 

Round 15. —Rimmer retreated around the ring, Molineaux fob 
lowing, and at length by a severe blow brought him down and he was 
indisputably << dead beat.” At this point the ring was broken into, ari 
uproar, which continued for at least twenty minutes, followed. There 1 
was no reason assignable. At length, however, by the exertions oi 
Cribb and others the ring was restored, and the combatants who had 
neither left the ring, were again ready for action. Six rounds more 
were fought, but greatly to the discomfiture of Rimmer, who CQul 
hardly stand. During this time he received about ten more tre-J, 
mendous blows and then gave in. 

Rimmer had displayed great courage but had to give in to the for 
midable powers of Molineaux. 






























THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE BING. 


15 


No pugilist from this time offered a challenge to Molineaux nor 
could he get a battle on until Tom Cribb, who had publicly announced 
his retirement from the ring, was called upon to prevent the cham¬ 
pionship of England being held by a colored American, and he again 
agreed to fight Molineaux for the championship. 


CHAPTER V. 

MOLINEAUX’S SECOND BATTLE WITH TOM CRIBB. 

Moliheaux's second battle with Tom Cribb was fought on Septem¬ 
ber 28, 1811, at Thistleton Gap, Leicestershire, England. This 
match, if possible, created more interest than that which preceded it, 
and for twenty miles around the scene of action not a bed was to be 
obtained, on the eve of the fight, for love or money. By six o’clock 
in the morning hundreds were on their way to the fight in order to 
get a good place, and by the time the men arrived there were about 
20,000 persons present, including many men of the highest rank. 
The men mounted the stage at 12 o’clock, Cribb being the first to 
show, and both were greeted with loud applause. Cribb’s second was 
his old friend Gully, and Joe Ward was bottle-holder. Bill Richmond 
and Bill Gibbons officiated for Molineaux. The betting was 3 to i 
on Cribb. 

Round i. —Cribb made play right and left. The right-handed 
blow told slightly on the body of Molineaux, who returned lightly on 
the head. A rally ensued, they exchanged blows, and Molineaux 
fell from a smashing blow on the throat. The blows, however, through¬ 
out this round, were not at a closeness to do much execution. Betting 
unaltered. 

Round 2. —Cribb showed first blood at the mouth. A terrible 
rally commenced. Cribb put in a good body hit with his right hand, 
which Molineaux returned on the head with the left. Both combat¬ 
ants now fought at half-arm and exchanged half a dozen hits with 
great force. They then closed and after a severe trial of strength 
Molineaux threw his opponent. Odds 6 to 4 on Cribb. 

Round 3. —In the last rally Cribb’s right eye was nearly closed 
and now another equally sanguinary scene followed. After sparring 
for wind, in which essential Molineaux was evidently deficient, Cribb 
put in a terrific “ doubler ” on the body of his opponent, who, 
although hit away, kept his legs and renewed the rally with such 
ferocity that the backers of the odds looked blue. The rally lasted 
one minute and a half, v/hen the combatants closed and Molineaux 
again threw Cribb with astonishing force. Odds fell, but Cribb’s 
tried gameness still kept him the favorite. 



16 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE KING. 


Round 4. —In the rally Cribb had hit right and left at the body 
and head, but Molineaux hit at the head only. He was so success¬ 
ful with his left hand that he planted many flush hits. Both Cribb’s 
eyes were now damaged, his face was dreadfully disfigured and he 
bled profusely. Molineaux was evidently in great distress, his chest 
and sides heaving fearfully. Cribb smiled at such a favorable omen 
and renewed the rally with a heroism perhaps never excelled, and 
most adroitly timed blows in abundance were exchanged, Cribb still 
fighting at the “ mark ” and Molineaux at the head. At length Cribb 
fell exhausted. 

Round 5.—Molineaux accepted the rally and the execution on 
both sides was terrific. Molineaux had the best of the exchanges 
and Cribb fell from a blow and received another in falling. This ex¬ 
cited some murmurs and applause from the partisans of the contend¬ 
ing heroes and on reference to the umpires it was decided fair.” 
Cribb’s hands being at liberty and not having yet touched the ground. 

Round 6. —Molineaux, distressed for wind and exhausted, lunged 
right and left. Cribb avoided his blows and then put in a terrific 
blow with his right, which Molineaux stopped exceedingly well. Cribb 
now got in a smashing blow on his ‘*mark’ which doubled up Mol¬ 
ineaux. The men closed, and both rallied seemingly anxious to go 
in. Molineaux appeared frantic and hit short, capered about and 
was quite abroad. Cribb followed him across the ring and after 
some astonishing execution floored him by a tremendous blow at full 
arm’s length. The odds rose five to one. 

Round 7.—Molineaux seemed lost with rage. He ran in and did 
some execution, but Cribb got in several straight blows about the 
throat, stepping back after each. Molineaux bored in until he fell. 

Round 9.—Molineaux was defeated, and only stood up to take 
Cribb’s ponderous blows. He ran in and Cribb met him with the 
left. The blow was tremendous and doubled in force by the Black’s 
impetuous rush. Molineaux’s jaw was fractured and he fell like a 
log. He did not come to time within the thirty seconds ; but Cribb, 
wishing to show his superiority, gave away this chance, dancing a 
hornpipe about the stage until Molineaux got off his second’s knee. 

Round 10.—Molineaux rushed in desperately but was unsuccessful 
and he fell, evidently from distress. 

Round ii. —Here ended the contest. Molineaux’s senses were 
evidently knocked out of him. He was unable to stand and so the 
fight ended. 

This battle, which only lasted nineteen minutes ten seconds, left 
no doubt as to the superiority of Cribb. The science of Molineaux 
at the opening of the fight was quite equal to that of the champion, 
but the condition of Cribb was far better, his temper more under re¬ 
straint and, although there was no question of Molineaux’s courage, 
which almost amounted to ferocity, Cribb was his superior in steadi- 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE BING. 


17 


ness and self possession. During the battle the crowd applauded 
both pugilists and many were surprised to find that Molineaux should 
have found himself necessitated to relinquish the palm in so short a 
time when he had so obstinately contested the first battle. It is to 
be considered that in the first battle Cribb was full of flesh and by 
no means in prime condition, and again, in this battle, although Mol¬ 
ineaux had acquired an increased degree of science, he had by his 
conduct impaired his stamina. Although it has been acknowledged 
that applause was mutually given, and that in every point Molineaux 
had fair play shown him, it cannot but be granted that the exulting 
clamor of congratulation proceeding from the champion’s friends 
when even the slightest advantage seemed to favor him, must have 
tended to hurt the feelings of the man of color and very probably to 
hiave cowed him. It should have been considered that Molineaux 
was a stranger, that he stood indisputably a man of courage and that 
he came to the contest unprotected and unsupported by friends of 
note, while his opponent commanded the patronage of the leading 
men as well as the natural partialty of his countrymen in his favor. 
Much has been said of Molineaux’s savage denunciations against 
Cribb, of his vaporing professions of what he should like to do to 
him, and these were thought disgusting enough to have excited an¬ 
imosity against him. But granting that Molineaux was brutish 
enough to make use of those barbarous expressions imputed to him, 
we certainly ought to take into consideration the circumstances under 
which they were uttered. 


CHAPTEP. VI. 

molineaux’s great battle with jack carter. 

Molineaux’s next battle was with Carter, for one hundred guineas, 
and took place on April 2, 1813, at Remington, Gloucestershire. 
Previous to the battle articles were read over to the combatants, in 
which it was stated that the winner was to have a purse of one hun¬ 
dred guineas. When Carter stepped up and asked what the loser was to 
have, Richmond, who was his second, gnashed his teeth and shrugged 
his shoulders. Bob Gregson, his friend and patron, anxious as to the 
result of the contest, and flattering himself that Carter would prove 
proudly triumphant on this occasion, animatedly exclaimed, 

“ Jack, never talk of losing, boy ! Thee must win ! The chance 
is all in thy favor ! ” 

Joe Ward and Bill Gibbons seconded Molineuux. Odds were 3 to 
I and 6 to 4 on the Black. 

It was the opinion of the most experienced pugilists that such a 
set-to was never before witnessed. One was afraid and the other 



18 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE RING. 


dared not,” and two minutes were trifled away in this sort of fool¬ 
ing, when Carter touched and Molineaux gently returned it. They 
closed and the man of color was thrown. Carter was the best man 
after the battle began, and continued so throughout the fight. Moli¬ 
neaux was wretched in the extreme, and at one time bolted away 
from his seconds ; and had it not been for his seconds he would never 
have returned to the scratch. At another period he was down on one 
knee, and with both hands laid fast hold of the ropes, and being hit 
in this situation he roared out lustily, “ foul! ” but he was given to 
understand that by the laws of boxing no pugilist was considered 
down without having both knees on the ground, with either one or 
both hands also. These were the rules governing boxing at the pe¬ 
riod of which we are writing. In the fifteenth round he was so terri¬ 
fied that, upon being driven to one corner of the ring, he cried out, 
oh dear ! oh dear ! murder ! ” and soon afterwards he asserted that 
Carter had bit him on the neck, and it was with great difficulty that 
Joe Ward could persuade him that it was the knuckles of Carter and 
not his teeth that had injured him. 

Twenty-five rounds were fought, in which coaxing and threatening 
were resorted to in order to make the man of color perform some¬ 
thing like fighting. But to the great astonishment of all the specta¬ 
tors, when Molineaux was dead beat. Carter fainted and dropped his 
.head as he sat upon the knee of his second. With all the exertions 
of Richmond it seems that he could not arouse Carter from this state, 
and he thus lost the battle in not coming to time. 

Molineaux once more started on a tour, extending it this time to 
Scotland, where he exhibited, sparring in all the principal towns. 
But pleasure soon became the order of the day, and this not only 
tended to ease him of his cash, but soon undermined that overwhelm¬ 
ing power and pluck so conspicuously displayed in his terrible combats 
with the mighty Cribb. The consequence of such a line of conduct 
need be scarcely dwelt on. The iron frame of the black soon seri¬ 
ously felt the ravaging effects of intemperance. 


CHAPTER VII. 

MOLINEAUX AND FULLER MILL. 

After the above recorded battle Fuller, a clever and well informed 
man who had beaten Bill Jay, and whose character for science and 
gameness entitled him to every consideration, fancied that he was 
able to contend with this renowned milling hero, and, in order to 
facilitate a match between them, sporting men entered into a sub¬ 
scription purse of 100 guineas, to be fought for in a forty-foot ring. 




m’hENRY JOHNSON. 

















































































































































































































































C. A. C. SMITH. 













THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE KING. 


19 


Early in the morning on the day of May 27, 1814, at Bishopstorff, 
Paisley, Ayrshire, the fancy were in motion. 

Molineaux was seconded by Carter, and Fuller had Joe Ward and 
Geo. Cooper. At one o’clock the men shook hands. Both the 
pugilists displayed good science, but the blows of Fuller, although he 
put in several with much dexterity, appeared more showy than effec¬ 
tive. The battle had only lasted eight minutes when the sheriff, 
accompanied by constables, entered the ring and put a stop to the mill 
in the fourth round. Both men appeared much chagrined, particular¬ 
ly Molineaux, who declared that had he foreseen such an interruption 
he would have finished off his opponent before the arrival of the 
sheriff. Molineaux, it seems, was sO confident of victory that previous 
to the fight he bet five to two that he drew first blood, and two to one 
that he floored Fuller first. Fuller expressed himself ready to settle 
the matter the next day, but Molineaux insisted that the fight should 
not take place till the following Tuesday. The latter arrangement 
was agreed to and on May 31 they again met at Auchineaux, twelve 
miles from Glasgow. Fuller was again attended by Ward and 
Cooper, and Molineaux by an Irish sergeant and a private. The um¬ 
pires were Capt. Cadogan and Geo. Stirling, and in case of dispute Mr. 
Graham as referee. This battle is without parallel, there is nothing 
like it in the annals of pugilism. The following is a description of 
the battle : 

Round i. —Fuller displayed some good positions and convinced 
the spectators that he was a very sensiWe boxer. His guard was firm 
and imposing and he seemed confident of success. They sparred; at 
length. Fuller, by a tremendous blow drew the cork of his antagonist. 
Molineaux became very impetuous and attacked Fuller fiercely, but 
the latter stopped him with much adroitness and gave him some nob¬ 
bing returns. A desperate rally now took place, during which severe 
milling was dealt out on both sides. The men broke away and again 
resorted to sparring. Fuller’s nose was much peppered and the claret 
flowed profusely. At length Molineaux was levelled by a tremendous 
blow and the round finished after a lapse of twenty-eight minutes. 

Round 2. —Suffice it to be observed in this round that nearly every 

dodge ” of the milling art was resorted to from beginning to end. 
The skill, practice and experience of both pugilists was made use of 
to the best advantage. Fuller proved himself a boxer of more than 
ordinary science and gameness. Molineaux was convinced that he 
had a troublesome customer to deal with and one who required ser¬ 
ving out in a masterly style before he could be satisfied. In fact, the 
strength of the black ” seemed materially deteriorated as compared 
with his former exhibitions, when he used to hit his man away from 
him and level his opponent adroitly. The severe blows of Fuller who 
stuck close to Molineaux, made him wince again. ‘‘The black” 
appeared much exhausted from the great portion required to give and 


20 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE KING. 


heartily tired of what he had to take. The claret was liberally tap- 
ped on both sides and, as regarded Fuller, stauncher gameness was 
never displayed by any pugilist. Upon the whole, it was a truly sin¬ 
gular fight and the spectators witnessed the most unique specimen of 
prize fighting. 

In sixty-eight minutes two rounds had only taken place. The con¬ 
test terminated in rather a singular manner, Molineaux asserted that 
Joe Ward had committed a foul in pulling Fuller down when he was 
much distressed and had been beaten all over the ring in a rally, and 
that this prevented him from putting in a decisive blow. The umpires 
decided that it was so and the purse was awarded to Molineaux. The 
conduct of Fuller in this fight gave such satisfaction that a purse of 
50 guineas was presented to him. 


CHAPTER VIII. 

THE MOLINEAUX-COOPER FIGHT. 

Molineaux’ s next opponent was George Cooper. This battle took 
place on March 10, 1815. At 12.30 Molineaux and Cooper appeared 
in the ring, and Oliver, a Yorkshireman, seconded Cooper, and Joe 
Ward and Richmond looked after Molineaux. The betting was 6 to 
4 on the Black. The following is an account of the fight: 

Round i. —Silence prevailed, and the Caledonians appeared anx¬ 
iously interested to witness the opening attack. Considerable sparring 
took place, both men being aware of the milling talents possessed by 
the other. Molineaux commenced offensive operations right and 
left, and Cooper, in return, put in a sharp bodyer,” but in slipping 
received a hit which sent him under the ropes. 

Round 2.^Milling without ceremony, and both pugilists on their 
mettle. Molineaux planted a sharp nobber, but received for this 
favor two tremendous rib-roasters that made him wince and gasp for 
breath. Some blows were exchanged in closing. Both down. 

Round 3. —Molineaux, with the most determined spirit, kept fight¬ 
ing at his opponent’s head, while Cooper directed most of his blows 
at the body. Some heavy blows passed, and in a desperate rally 
against the ropes the claret was first observed upon Cooper. How¬ 
ever, the round was finished to his advantage, for he hit the man of 
color through the ropes. 

Round 4. —Molineaux appeared at the scratch rather distressed 
from the last round. Cooper, full of gaiety, took the lead and floored 
Molineaux in grand style. Two to one on Molineaux. 

Round 5.—The superiority of Cooper was conspicuous. He 


j 



THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


21 


stopped the fury of the Black with skill, nobbed him at will, and 
again sent him down. Any odds on Cooper. 

Round 6.—Molineaux was growing weak. Cooper having the best 
of him, eventually put in a tremendous facer which floored the Black 
like a shot. 

Rounds 7 to 9.—in these rounds the best of the fighting was de¬ 
cidedly on the part of Cooper. Molineaux was hit down every time. 

Round 10.—“The black,” still determined, rallied Cooper against 
the ropes and some hard fighting followed, but Cooper planted so 
desperate a blow on his opponent’s body that he went down quite 
rolled up, his head falling against the stake. 

Round ii. —Molineaux, despite his defects and falling off, aston¬ 
ished the spectators by the gallant manner in which he fought this 
round. Some terrible exchanges of blows were witnessed, when “ the 
black ” again rallied Cooper to the ropes. In closing Molineaux was 
severely fibbed, but broke from his antagonist and cleverly floored 
him by a heavy blow upon the face. From great exertion, however, 
Molineaux fell exhausted. This rather reduced the odds. 

Round 12.—Cooper appeared at the scratch eager to finish “the 
black ” whom he nobbed repeatedly and completely hit off his legs. 
The man of color was sick and fell heavily. 

Round 13.—Molineaux was sent down as soon as he toed the 
scratch. 

Round 14. —“The black” could scarcely leave the knee of his 
second, and upon meeting his man he was again floored. The battle 
was thus at an end, twenty minutes only having elapsed. 

From the superior style of Cooper in this battle he rose high in 
the opinion of the “ Scotch fancy,” and on this occasion he entered 
the ring in good condition. Molineaux trusted principally to his 
weight and strength. 


CHAPTER IX. 

BILL RICHMOND, THE BLACK TERROR. 

Bill Richmond, “ The Black Terror,” was born atCuckhold’s Town, 
now Richmond, Staten Island, N. Y., on August 5,1763. His mother 
was a slave to a reverend divine named George C. Charlton. In 
1777, when English troops held New York under sufferance during 
the War of Independence, General Earl Percy, finding Richmond to 
possess good capacity, took him under protection to England. Rich¬ 
mond was apprenticed to a cabinet maker and served out his appren¬ 
ticeship. 

He had a liking for fine clothes and the service of a “gran* massa,” 



22 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE RING. 


and as colored servants were all the rage, he became a valet of Lord 
Camelford, a fast nobleman, who believed in sports of the turf, pit 
and ring. Richmond was well proportioned, possessing considerable 
strength, the necessary requisite for milling. He stood five feet nine 
inches in height and weighed i68 lbs. 

Richmond’s first display in the pugilistic art which brought him 
into notice was with George Moore, better known as “ Docky Moore,” 
a soldier in the 19th Regiment. Moore could box and fight every 
and ail styles and bounced over the weak-hearted and was known as 
the fighting hero of Sheffield. Moore was nearly five feet eleven 
inches in height and weighed 198 lbs. The friends of Richmond 
persuaded him to give up the idea of fighting such, a formidable 
opponent, but Richmond refused to listen to them. The fight took 
place and the American black put the fighting Sheffield hero to sleep 
in twenty-five minutes, and punished him so severely that he had to 
be carried from the ring. 

A few days after this Richmond beat two Inneskillen dragoons on 
the York race course. He then defeated a blacksmith weighing 190 
lbs., and thrashed Frank Myers for calling him a black devil. These 
affairs were all private disputes, and Richmond’s first public display 
was with Paddy Green, at the White Conduit House, London. Rich^ 
mond thrashed Green easily. Seabrooke, a dustman, having been 
conquered by George Maddox, Richmond, who was present, asked his 
employer to match him against Maddox. A stake was posted ana 
the battle was of short duration for Maddox knocked Richmond 
down three times and finally closed his eyes and put him to sleep. 

Richmond’s next battle was on May 21,1805, with Youssep, a Jew, 
for 10 guineas. Richmond won cleverly in six rounds and his victory 
raised his credit as a pugilist and he had numerous challenges. Jack 
Holmes, the coachman, who on January 4,1804, defeated Tom Blake 
(Tom Tough), challenged Richmond to fight for 50 guineas. The 
match was arranged, Peter Ward finding the shekels for Holmes, 
while Fletcher Reid put up the guineas for the American black. The 
battle was fought at Kilburn Wells, England, on July 8, 1805. The 
battle was fought in a twenty-one foot ring. Paddington Jones 
seconded Richmond, while Tom Blake seconded his old antagonist. 
Twenty-six rounds were fought when Richmond knocked Holmes 
senseless and was declared the winner. The battle lasted thirty-nine 
minutes. Among the notabilities who witnessed this mill were Tom 
Cribb, Jack Ward, John Gully, Dan Mendoza, Tom Belcher, Bill 
Ryan, Hon. Berkley Craven, Thomas Sheridan, Fletcher Reid and 
Lord Camelford. 

After this battle Richmond challenged Tom Cribb and a match 
was made for 25 guineas. The battle was fought at Hailsham in 
Sussex, England, on October 8, 1805. To call it a battle, however, 
is nonsensical. It was an unequal match. Richmond, finding he 



GEO. GODFREY, OF BOSTON, MASS. 













































THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PBIZE KINO. 


23 


could not get at Cribb, hopped and danced about the ring, sometimes 
falling down, at other times jigging round in the style of a Choctaw 
war dance. Cribb appeared puzzled by his opponent’s longblack 
pegs,” and could not be persuaded to go in and finish the battle. One 
hour and a half was spun out when. Cribb was declared the winner. 

Cribb’s victory appeared to rob Richmond of all his ambition, for 
he did not figure in any contest until three years had elapsed, when 
he met Carter, on Epsom Downs, on April 14, 1809. 

Carter was much the stronger, and a heavier man than Richmond ; 
who in a turn-up with those heroes of the fist, Jem Belcher and Jack 
Gully, had convinced them both that he was no trifler, and now hav¬ 
ing expressed his fancy for a mill with Richmond, the latter, without 
hesitation, informed Carter that he should be accommodated. 

Bob Clarke and Paddington Jones seconded Richmond. Betting 
was 7 to I against Richmond and in the fourth round the odds ran 
so high against the American black that 20 to i was offered that 
Carter would win, and 10 to i that Richmond would not come to the 
scratch for the fifth round. This great odds was occasioned by a 
severe blow that Richmond received on the side of the head that 
rendered him nearly senseless. But Richmond, soon recovering from 
this momentary disadvantage, showed off his science in such good 
style that in the course of twenty-five minutes Carter was whipped. 
After Richmond was declared the winner he jumped over the ropes 
to thrash China-Eyed Brown ” for abusing him, but was prevented, 
Richmond’s backer, in this battle, was Sir Clement Brigg, Bart. 

Richmond’s next battle was with “Atkinson of Bandbury,” a mus¬ 
cular canaler. They fought for a purse near Hendon and Richmond 
won in 20 minutes. Richmond then defeated Ike Wood, a water¬ 
man, at Combe Wood, near Kingston, England, on April ii, 1809. 
Richmond won in 23 rounds. 

Richmond had always suffered in reputation from his first display 
with George Maddox, on the result of which battle Lord Camelford is 
said to have lost heavily, and, anxious to retreive his credit, he was 
continually carping and proposing matches to Maddox. 

Maddox, who was 54 years of age, agreed to fight Richmond, and 
on Aug. 9, 1809, they fought in a 27 foot ring at Pope’s Head Watch- 
house, England. Betting was 6 to four on Maddox. Jack Ward 
and Bob Clarke seconded Richmond, and John Gully and Bill Gibbons 
seconded Maddox. 

The fighting was desperate. In the first round :i.Gchmond knocked 
Maddox down and in the next Maddox threw the Black through 
the ropes. In the third round Richmond punished Maddox terribly 
and threw him with force which astonished every spectator. Betting 
was now 4 to i on Richmond. The bravery of Maddox, however, 
spun out the battle for fifty-two minutes, and when within a few min¬ 
utes of the termination of the contest, when quite blind and when he 


24 THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PKIZE BING. 

was on his knees, by a sudden effort he sprung up, and, holding 
Richmond round the neck with his left hand, continued to deal out 
tremendous hits with the other. But nature was at length exhausted, 
and he fell, and Richmond was hailed the winner. 

On May i, i8io, a large party of pugilists dined at the Castle 
(then called Bob’s Chop House), in Holborn, London. Among the 
party were John Gully, Bill Richmond, Tom Belcher, Jackson and 
Tom Cribb. Richmond there agreed to fight Power, a well-known 
fighting man. Richmond had just seconded Dogherty, who had de¬ 
feated young Cribb, and many supposed that he was tired out. A 
battle was arranged and a purse of JC20 was offered. Tom Cribb 
and Baronet-seconded Richmond, while Col- and Bill Gib¬ 

bons seconded Power. 

Richmond, early in the contest, proved that he out-classed Power, 
and he won in fifteen minutes. Two pounds from the purse consoled 
Power for his defeat, while Richmond sat down to wine, without a 
black eye, and ^18 richer. 

Richmond then opened a sporting house, the “ Horse^and Dolphin,” 

• in St. Martin’s Lane, and as he was a shrewd fellow his house was 
well patronized. 

After the Molineaux and Carter battle in 1813, Richmond chal¬ 
lenged the winner to fight for £,200 but no response was made to his 
offer. In April, 1814, five years after Richmond appeared in the ring, 
to the astonishment of many he declared his intention of contending 
for the first prize of 50 guineas given by the Pugilistic Club, at 
Combe Wood. Davis, a powerful pugilist, who had thumped his way 
into notice by defeating several pugilists, was selected to meet Rich¬ 
mond. Davis was 23 years of age, 5 feet n inches in height and 
weighed 180 lbs. Richmond weighed 170 lbs. and was 52 years of age* 

THE RICHMOND-DAVIS BATTLE. 

The following is a full report of the battle : 

Round i. —From the well known science of Richmond, and his 
peculiar forte of hitting and getting away, considerable interest was 
excited. Davis being under the guidance of the veteran Joe Ward, 
it was presumed by the fancy that the navigator would be made 
awake to the dangerous mode of his antagonist, and be on the alert 
not to be cut up and spoiled before his powers could be fairly brought 
into action. Davis did not want for confidence, he made a good hit 
with his left, which was stopped by Richmond, who also returned 
right and left, but without material effect. Davis, anxious to make a 
beginning, and full of vigor, followed up his man, and planted a 
smart blow on Richmond’s temple with his right which knocked him 
down instantly. Betting took a lift and 7 to 4 was lordly vociferated 
upon Davis. 




THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OJ THE PRIZE RING. 


25 


Round 2 . —Spirited exchanges and some heavy blows passed. 
Richmond drew the cork of his antagonist, nevertheless the man of 
color was again levelled. 2 to i was sported upon Davis, in the ex¬ 
ultation of the moment, by his friends. 

Round 3. —Richmond began to show off the mastery of the art, 
milling the nob of his antagonist severely and getting away. Davis, 
with much resolution, bored in, when, after closing, both went down, 
Richmond undermost. 

Round 4. —Richmond rallied in fine style, and with his left hand 
put in a most tremendous blow, which irritated Davis so much that 
he suffered his passion to get uppermost, and rushed in furiously, but, 
his distance being short, Richmond went down from a slight touch of 
the mouth. Davis bled profusely. 

Round 5. —The skill of Richmond in this round burst forth so 
conspicuously, that the doubtful were satisfied of his superiority. 
Confident in himself and with science and courage united, he nobly 
opposed a rally, and got away with uncommon dexterity, punishing 
the head of Davis terribly with every retreating step. The naviga¬ 
tor in pursuing, threw nearly all his blows away, when Richmond, 
quite unexpectedly, stopped short and planted so severe a teazer on 
the mouth of Davis that sent him quickly on the grass. Even bet¬ 
ting. 

Round 6.—Davis, from the severity of the last hit was unable to 
gain any advantage over Richmond, who again took the lead in high 
style, milling and dropping his antagonist. 

Round 7.—The manner of Davis was much altered, and he ap¬ 
peared distressed. His temper forsook him, and he still kept boring 
after Richmond, who milled him in every direction, and at length put 
in so tremendous a blow on his jaw, that, in his confusion, he made 
blows without any sort of direction, till he hit himself down under 
the ropes. 

Round 8.—Davis, in a rally, hit Richmond slightly on the mouth, 
the latter kept punishing his adversary severely, and getting away. 
In closing, Richmond went down. 

Round 9.—The inferiority of Davis was apparent. In science he 
was by no means competent and his strength was much reduced by 
the skill of his opponent. Richmond continued his retreating system 
with great success, and put in so weighty a blow under the ear of 
Davis that he was instantly down. 

Round 10. —This round was of little importance, the men closed 
and fell, but Richmond undermost. 

Round ii. —Richmond completely spoiled his antagonist. Davis 
was going in to smash the black in haste, but met with such a stopper 
right in the wind that completely changed his course. He reeled 
again. Davis now closed, and endeavored to throw Richmond, which 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PRTZe BING. 


ae 

he accomplished, fell upoj his latter end, his head rolling towards the 
ground, distressed beyond measure. 

Round 12.—Had Davis possessed the strength of a giant, it must 
have been exhausted by the mode in which he fought. Notwithstand¬ 
ing the severe remembrances he had received in the preceding rounds, 
he had gained no experience from them, but still kept following Rich¬ 
mond all over the ring, hitting wide and losing himself., The black 
kept punishing, but received nothing, retreating, retreating, and re¬ 
treating again, and at almost every step made woeful havoc on the 
nob of his adversary, completely showing the spectators what might 
be accomplished by scientific movements. At length he suddenly 
made a stand, and, his distance proving correct, with his right hand 
hit the mouth of Davis with such uncommon severity, that he went 
down like a log of wood. Numerous bettors but no takers. 

Round 13.—It was plain that Davis was nearly finished ; he ap¬ 
peared stupid, and his efforts were feeble. Richmond put an end to 
the combat by sending him partly under the ropes. Davis could not 
come again. 

Upon Richmond being declared the conqueror, he leaped over the 
ropes, which were nearly five feet in height, with the agility of a 
tumbler. He received little hurt, except a blow on the temple, and 
a slight touch on the mouth. On the contrary, Davis was so dread¬ 
fully punished that he was supported off the ground. The battle 
continued twenty minutes. Richmond remained on the ground dur¬ 
ing the sports of the day, without inconvenience from this conflict. 

Richmond’s next battle was with Tom Shelton for ^£2^. The 
battle was fought at Moulsey Hurst, Aug. ii, 1815. Richmond won 
in 23 rounds, fought in 29 minutes. This was Richmond’s last reg¬ 
ular appearance in the P. R., yet his rooms in Whitcomb Street, Hay- 
market, were highly patronized by the nobility and gentry; and about 
this period Lord Byron became acquainted with him, as may be seen 
in his lordship’s Life and Journals edited by Thomas Moore. His 
athletic form, though fast approaching threescore years of age, his 
civility, self-control, and temperate habits, compelled the respect of 
all who knew him ; and that ** still beneath the snow of age slept the 
fire of youth ” was well proven by a casual affair, in which the veteran 
man of color was involved by the violent conduct of Jack Carter, 
then known as the Lancashire Hero,” and aspiring to the champion¬ 
ship of England. ^ 

The latter pugilist had lately returned rrom the Continent, intoxi¬ 
cated by the applause he had received at Aix-la-Chapelle, and he had 
“ crept so much into favor with himself,” that he annoyed several 
companies he went into with his vast prowess, and his challenge to 
fight any man in the world. This conduct he carried to such excess 
on Thursday evening, November 12, 1818, at a respectable tavern in 
the neighborhood of Chancery Lane, that the company rose in a body 



MERVINE THOMPSON. 










PROF. CHARLES HADLEY. 










THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PRIZE RING. 27 

and put him out of the room by force. The degradation of being 
thus ousted so raised his choler that he roared out, Is there one 
among you dare face Jack Carter ? ” Richmond, who was present, 
answered that he did not fear him, whereon Carter defied him to a 
bout, and a turn-up commenced, sans ceremonie^ in the yard belonging 
to the house, where three bustling rounds took place. The report is 
from “ Boxiana.’* 

THE FIGHT. 

Round i. —Science was not much in request A few random hits, 
however, were exchanged. In closing. Carter endeavored to weave 
the man of color, and, in going down, Richmond had the worst of 
the fall. Carter held Richmond so fast, that his friends were obliged 
to pull the man of color away, in the struggle the buttons of Rich¬ 
mond’s coat were floored. Upon the Lancashire hero getting up, the 
claret was seen, trickling over his mouth. 

Round 2.—This round was full of bustle, in fact it was pummel¬ 
ling and hugging each other, but Richmond was not idle, and had the 
best of it till they went down. 

Round 3 and last.— This was the quietus, and the man of color 
was not long in putting in the coup de grace. Carter seemed con¬ 
fused, when Richmond planted one of his desperate right-handed 
hits (for which he was so distinguished in the ring) upon Carter’s 
upper works, that not only loosened his ivories, but produced the 
claret and floored the late hero of Aix-la-Chappehe like a shot. He 
laid stunned for a short period, whence once more feeling the use of 
his legs, he exclaimed, “I’ve been finely served out this evening.” 

Thus ended the skirmish and Carter retired weeping over the 
stupidity of the fracas and folly of intemperance. “Oh that men 
should put an enemy into their mouths to steal away their brains ! ” 

Richmond may be pointed to as one of the men who never lost 
sight of the situation in which he was placed in society. In the ele¬ 
vation of the moment, he always bore in mind that, however the 
Corinthian fancier may connect himself with milling, there are times 
when he has a different character to support, and must not be intrud¬ 
ed upon. Would that many of our white-faced boxers would take a 
hint on this point from Bill Richmond, the Black. 

Thus respected and supported lived Bill Richmond, till the univer¬ 
sal visitor, grim Death, gave him his final summons, on the 28th of 
December, 1829, at the house now occupied by Owen Swift (the Horse¬ 
shoe Tavern), Titchbourne Street, Haymarket, London, England, in 
the sixty-sixth year of his age. 



88 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


CHAPTER X. 

Jem Wharton—Molineaux, the Morocco Prince.’* 

Jem Wharton, the colored pugilist, better known as “ Molineaux, 
the Morocco Prince,” stood five feet ten inches in height, and weighed 
154 lbs. He was born in Virginia, in 1813 and went to England in 
1820, on board a merchant steamer. He was a skillful boxer, pos¬ 
sessed great stamina and courage and fought nine battles in the ring 
and was never defeated. One of the distinguished pugilists he con¬ 
quered was Hammer Lane, who fought Yankee Sullivan. In order to 
show that Wharton was really a first-class pugilist, we summarize his 
battles. 

On April 16, 1833, he defeated Jack McKeever, for ;£io a side, at 
Whitestone, England, in 38 rounds, lasting 54 minutes. He then 
beat Bill Evans in 27 rounds, lasting 41 minutes, at Greenstreet Green, 
England, October 21, 1834. At Colney Heath, England, January 20, 
1835, he beat Dave Wilsden, for ^£’20, in 12 rounds, lasting 22 min¬ 
utes. He followed up his victories by defeating Bill Fisher for ^^50 
in 49 rounds, one hour, ten minutes. The battle was fought at New¬ 
castle, Nov. 25, 1835. Wharton had now gained four victories and 
quite a reputation. He was next matched against Tom Britton for 
^ico. The battle was fought at Cheshire, England, Feb. 9, 1836. 
It was a protracted struggle. Two hundred rounds were fought in 
four hours, seven minutes, when neither man was able to stand up 
and the battle was declared a draw. This battle stamped Wharton as 
the most courageous colored pugiHst who ever stood in the ring. 
After this battle the Morocco Prince had a host of followers and he 
was matched to meet Harry Preston for ^100 a side. The battle was 
fought at Newcastle, England, April 16, 1837, and the colored 
pugilist won in 16 rounds, lasting one hour, one minute. He next de¬ 
feated Bill Renwick for ^£50 at Newcastle, England, Oct. 31, 1837. 
The battle lasted two hours, seventeen minutes, during which eighty 
rounds were fought. Renwick challenged the black to fight again 
for j^2oo. The match was made and the fight was decided at Shap 
Fells, England, on June 18, 1839. Seventy-four rounds were fought 
in one hour and five minutes, when the Morocco Prince was again 
victorious. 

The famous colored pugilist’s last battle was with the renowned 
Hammer Lane for ^200. It was fought at Worksop Notts, England, 
on June 9, 1840. The Morocco Prince was again victorious, winning 
in 53 rounds, lasting one hour and twelve minutes. 

Wharton died at Liverpool, England, sixteen years after his battle 
With Hammer Lane, and was buried on April 26, 1856. 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE BING. 




CHAPTER XI. 

BOB SMITH—“ THE LIVERPOOL DARKEY.” 

Bob Smith, the well-known pugilist, was another colored man who 
gained considerable fistic fame in the prize ring. He stood 5 feet 10 
inches in height, and weighed 146 lbs. when trained. He, also, was 
an American, having been born in Washington, D. C., in 1840. After 
leaving the United States, he made Liverpool, England, his residence, 
and his eagerness for a mill gained him the name of “ The Liverpool 
Darkey.” 

Smith first came into prominence by defeating The Liverpool 
Greyhound,” a pugilist who had gained considerable notoriety by con¬ 
quering sailor fighters and runners along the docks at Liverpool. After 
Smith had subdued “ The Greyhound,” he was matched against Harry 
Burgess for ;^5o, to fight at 146 lbs. The battle was fought at the 
Point of Ayr, September 15,1863, and “ The Liverpool Darkey” won in 
forty-three rounds, lasting fifty-three minutes. He was then matched 
to fight Harry Allen (brother of Tom Allen), for ^30 a side. The 
battle was fought at Hilbury Island, on the Mersey, England, Febru¬ 
ary 20, 1864. Forty-nine rounds were fought, and Smith was win¬ 
ning, when Allen’s friends, the famous “ Birmingham mob,” broke 
down the ring. Smith had Allen fought to a stand-still, and he got 
the decision. 

Tom Allen, disgusted with his brother’s defeat, challenged Smith, 
and they fought for ;^io, near Liverpool, England, June 2, 1864. 
Smith found Tom Allen a hard customer to conquer, and superior to 
his brother Harry, but, nevertheless. Smith won in fifty rounds, last¬ 
ing two hours and forty-nine minutes. After this victory the colored 
pugilist had plenty of backers, and when Harry Allen challenged him 
to fight again for a side. Smith did not have to look for backers. 
A match was made for them to fight at 146 lbs., for ;^ioo. Allen 
was a big favorite, but Smith had plenty of supporters. The battle 
was fought at Woodhead, Surrey, February 21, 1865, and Smith again 
won, after a desperate battle, which lasted two hours and eighteen 
minutes, during which 29 rounds were fought. 


CHAPTER XIL 

BOB TRAVERS, THE BLACK. 

One of the most prominent colored pugilists that ever stood in the 
prize ring and battled manfully for fame, was Bob Travers, “ The 
Black Wonder.’^ Travers, whose correct name was Charles Jones^ 



30 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PRIZE RING. 


fought more battles in the orthodox twenty-four foot ring than any 
pugilist living or dead. Travers was not what is known in sporting 
parlance as a glove fighter, but a genuine first-class pugilist. He 
flourished in an era in pugilism when there were numerous first-class 
exponents of the manly art who were always ready for a mill, no 
matter how large the stakes or purse. A full history of Bob Travers 
and his many encounters in the fistic circle would fill a volume. 

Travers’ battle with Jem Mace, which was fought in two rings, six 
desperate rounds being fought in the first, and forty in the second, 
proved Travers to be a wonder, and then the great colored pugilist 
was not knocked out but lost by a foul for falling without a blow. 

We have not the space to publish in detail Travers’ mg.ny battles, 
but give them in a complete and condensed form : 

Beat Jim Malvern in 40 rounds, lasting i hour 40 minutes, April 
10, 1854. Fought a draw with George Baker, 10 rounds, 23 minutes, 
when police interfered, at Tilbury, Eng., October 20, 1855. On No¬ 
vember 3, 1855, he beat George Baker in 10 rounds, lasting 20 min¬ 
utes, at Long Reach, Eng. Beat Jesse Hatton in 30 rounds, i hour 
16 minutes, at Combe Bottom, Eng., February 5,1856. Beat George 
Crochett, ^100, in 37 rounds. May 13, 1856, at Engham, Eng. He 
was defeated by Job Cobley, the “Elastic Potboy,” after fighting no 
rounds in 3 hours 27 minutes, at Halfway House, Eng., August 19, 

1856. Beat Jack Cleghorne (who killed Dan Reilly after fighting 48 
rounds, 2 hours 30 minutes, on March ii, 1846), for ^100 a side, in 
36 rounds, i hour 27 minutes, on the banks of the Medway, Eng., 
on June 20, 1857. Beat the celebrated Bill Hayes, for ^£200, in 78 
rounds, lasting 3 hours 45 minutes, at Medway, Eng., on May 13, 

1857. Travers then defeated the renowned Mike Madden for ^^200, 

in 45 rounds, i hour 37 minutes, at Ashford, Eng., April 5, 1859. 
Travers then met Jem Mace for £200. Six rounds were fought in 
21 minutes, on February 21, i860, when the police interfered. They 
met the next day and fought 57 rounds in 91 minutes, when Travers 
fell without a blow and Mace was declared the winner. Travers then 
fought Badger Crutchley for ;^ioo. The battle was fought on April 
30, 1861. Three rounds were fought in 44 minutes, when the police 
interfered and Crutchley refused to renew the battle, and Travers 
was declared the winner. Travers then beat Bos Tyler for ;!^ioo, 
near London, Eng., Dec. 12, 1861. Travers won in 17 rounds, i hour 
3 minutes. Travers was then beaten by Patsy Reardon. The battle 
was fought near London on July 15,1862. Seven rounds were fought 
in 37 minutes when the police stopped hostilities. They met on July 
16 and fought 53 rounds in 4 hours 5 minutes, when Travers gave up. 
Travers was also beaten by Jem Dillon. They fought for ^^^400, in 
two rings, at Twyford and Goring, Eng. Dillon won in 54 rounds, 
2 hours 2 minutes 6 seconds. > 

One of Bob Travers’ greatest battles was with Patsy Reardon for 



GEORGE TAYLOR, OF NEW YORK. 

























THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE EINO. 


31 


£200^ both men being restricted to weigh 142 lbs. Reardon had not 
been so long before the public as his opponent, having commenced 
his career by beating Smith, of Brighton, for £2^ a side—on Jan¬ 
uary 27, i860. On the I St of May following he fought Jack Rooke, 
of Birmingham, for £50 a side, a drawn battle. In April, 1861, he 
fought another draw with Shipp, of Bristol. He then got into dis¬ 
grace for a “ barneying ” display with a man named King, in which 
neither wanted to fight. This was on March 26, 1862. Travers’ 
battle with Reardon took place on July 15, 1862. 

Travers was decidedly the favorite in the betting, 7 to 4 being laid 
on him, and a great deal of money being staked. The fight came off 
—by Railway trip from London Bridge—after several interruptions 
by the police. Travers was seconded by Job Cobley and Alec 
jCeene, Reardon by George Crockett and Jack Hicks. 

The battle was desperately contested and Travers held his own for 
twenty rounds, the rain then poured and the tide of war made a sud¬ 
den turn in favor of Patsy, for Travers was so thoroughly chilled at 
times v/hen he came up, that he was not only trembling in every 
limb, but his body was bent as though he could not hold himself 
upright. Although his seconds did all that skilfull and zealous men 
could do, yet they were not enabled to give more than a momentary 
relief, for if the game Bob came up for one or two rounds a little 
better, he was sure to fall back, but although this must have been 
almost disheartening to his seconds, still they never for a moment 
ceased paying him the most unremitting attention. None but a man 
endowed with Bob’s unyielding pluck would have kept on coming up 
in the , manner he did, for with both hands badly swollen, and he 
physically prostrated with cold, the battle looked, as it in reality was, 
irretrievably lost a long while before the seconds of Bob threw up the 
sponge in token of defeat. The sponge was thrown up after four 
hours and five minutes of fighting, both men were very much pun¬ 
ished, although their eyes were still open. 

Although Travers was defeated, yet no man in the ring ever ac¬ 
quitted himself in a manner that redounded more to his honor, as he 
fought with heroic determination against overwhelming difficulties. 
He had proved himself to be unquestionably the best fighter, best 
tactician, and a far better general than the gallant fellow opposed to 
him, and his friends confidently asserted that but for the storm he 
must have won. When he went down questionably, it must be re¬ 
membered that he was suffering severely from the cold, and could 
hardly hold a limb still. 

Reardon, if not so scientific as his antagonist, proved himself his 
equal in one grand and essential quality, gameness, and his superior 
in physical powers, and a braver young fellow probably never entered 
the ring. He fought from first to last with the utmost determination. 


32 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


and although for a long time he depended chiefly on his left, yet he 
afterwards used his right in a manner which proved him good with 
both hands. 

Travers was dissatisfied with the result of the battle, and challenged 
Reardon for ;£‘ioo or ;^2oo a side, and at once placed a deposit in 
the hands of the Editor of Bells Life in London, but the challenge 
was not accepted. 

Another important battle Travers fought was with Jem Dillon, for 
^£“200 a side, at 9 stone 12 lbs., or 138 lbs. Dillon was of Irish ex¬ 
traction, and, being in his 26th year, was fully five years younger than 
the Black. Jem began his public life by defeating Dooney Harris, 
on February 21, i860—Dooney being a very game fellow who fought 
a number of hard battles for small stakes. That with Dillon was for 
a side, and was a ^‘caution.” Dillon afterwards beat Hill, of 
Chelsea, and Mike Cocklin, and on December 9, 1861, he met Patsy 
Reardon, with a result to be seen hereafter—this being his last contest 
prior to the match with Travers. 

Travers trained with his usual earnestness, but as he had now begun 
to make flesh, and was in business as a publican, he had great diffi¬ 
culty in getting to the fixed weight, 9 stone 12 lbs.—as also had Dillon, 
but from a different cause. 

The battle was fought near London, England, August ii, 1863. 
This was a terrific battle and stamped Travers as a wonder. After 
thirty-eight rounds had been fought in one hour forty-two minutes 
and thirty seconds, the police put a stop to hostilities. 

The referee ordered the battle to be renewed at another spot and 
all hurried off to the new ground, on arriving at which, and during the 
journey, Jem seemed actually the worse for drink. However, he was 
first in the enclosure. Bob showing less alacrity in getting ready. 

In the very first round. Bob, when in Dillon’s corner, went down in a 
very suspicious manner, and an appeal followed which was overruled. 
After this, however. Bob, although his left hand had been so much 
injured as to become useless, went to his man and forced the fighting. 
He was repeatedly out of distance, however, and seemed to fight with 
no manner of judgment, while Dillon was also very eccentric in his 
movements, and often turned away from Bob to reply to some of the 
spectators who were chaffing him, thus giving Bob opportunities to 
administer punishment, of which he appeared unwilling to take ad¬ 
vantage. Travers, from the spirited manner in which he fought, may 
be considered, upon the whole, to have had decidedly the best of the 
battle in this second ring, but still, from the painful condition his 
hands were in, the hitting on his part was at times not anything like 
so heavy as it appeared. There were in the second ring sixteen 
additional rounds fought in thirty minutes, making in the total fifty- 
four rounds in one hundred and thirty-two minutes, when, owing to 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


83 


the police again putting in an appearance, hostilities had to be at once 
suspended. 

The backers of Travers, as their man—as it was afterwards ascer¬ 
tained—had been much hurt internally, were now most anxious to 
make a draw of it, but Dillon insisted upon fighting it out, although 
his principal backer was willing to draw. A third ring was formed, 
but Bob’s seconds owned that he was unfit to fight any more. After 
a discussion, the decorous nature of which may be imagined, the 
referee awarded the battle to Dillon. Travers was too ill to come to 
town for a few days, and his friends were very much dissatisfied with 
the decision of the referee, but there was no help for it. 

The following is a condensed report of Travers’ great battle with 
Jem Mace. At the time Travers was matched to fight Mace he had 
fought twenty-one bye battles, winning twenty of them, and twenty- 
three regular prize fights, having a dozen of those in his favor. The 
Mace and Travers combat took place on February 21 and 22, in the 
Home Circuit. Travers beat Jem Malvern, George Baker, Jesse 
Hatton, George Crockett, B. Cleghorn, Bill Hayes, Mike Madden, 
Badger Crutchley, and Jack alias Bos Tyler. Received forfeits from 
the veteran Johnny Walker, ;^ioo ; Jem Dillon, £^^2 los.; and Mickey 
Gannon, ^^72 los. Travers was waited upon by Jerry Noon and Bob 
Brettle ; Mace by Bos Tyler and Jack Hicks. The men fought in two 
rings, six rounds in twenty-one minutes, February 21, and fifty-seven 
rounds in ninety-one minutes, in the Home Circuit, February 22, i860. 
Although the betting was in favor of Travers, he never appeared to 
worse advantage, getting down in nearly every round, owing, as he 
said, to his having no spikes in his shoes and the ground being slip¬ 
pery. Mace took and kept the lead all through, but hadn’t the oppor¬ 
tunity afforded of doing much execution. Mace was about three 
inches taller, and much the heavier man. As has been said, the battle 
was awarded to Mace through Travers falling without a blow; but 
even John C. Heenan, who was present, claimed that Travers could 
have fought longer if necessary. 


CHAPTER XIII. 

HARRY WOODSON, THE BLACK DIAMOND.” 

Harry Woodson, ‘Hhe Black Diamond,” was a genuine pugilist^ 
who possessed both quality and quantity. He was born at Frankfort, 
Ky., July 9, 1852, stood 5 feet 8^ inches in height, and weighed 181 
lbs. untrained, and generally fought at 165 lbs. Woodson made his 
appearance as a boxer at James Nolan’s, in Cincinnati, when he 
entered the arena against Alec Thompson and made such a grand 



34 THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE RING. 

display that the judges of pugilism in Cincinnati offered to back him 
against any colored pugilist in America. Woodson came on from 
Cincinnati to New York in 1883, to contend for the Police Gazette 
champion trophy. He met Chas. Hadley who defeated him as he had 
not had time to train. In February, 1883, Woodson defeated Had¬ 
ley in a limited number of rounds glove contest. 

Woodson was then matched to fight Steve Williams, the colored 
heavy-weight champion of Troy, N. Y. for a purse of $200. The 
battle was fought at Troy on March 7, 1883. Sixty-six rounds were 
fought and Woodson was declared the winner after a determined and 
well-contested encounter, which lasted one hour and twenty minutes. 
On March 8, 1883, Woodson met Viro Small, better known as “Black 
Sam,” of Vermont, and in a four three-minute round encounter de¬ 
feated him. On April 6, 1883, Woodson defeated Jim McLaughlin. 
Woodson gained several other victories. He was a clever two-handed 
fighter, thoroughly game and possessing great endurance. 


CHAPTER XIV. 

GEORGE GODFREY, THE CHAMPION COLORED HEAVY-WEIGHT 
OF AMERICA. 

The first colored heavy-weight champion of America, who won his 
title by science and courage, is George Godfrey, of Boston, Mass. He 
was born at Prince Edward’s Island, March 20,1853. He stands 5 feet, 
10 inches in height and when in condition weighs 170 lbs. He won 
many fights, fought several to a draw. His first fight of any conse¬ 
quence was with Ham Williams in 1882, which he won after seven 
minutes hot fighting. Godfrey was then put up against Prof. Hadley, 
the well known colored pugilist, whom he defeated in four rounds for 
a stake of $100. In 1884 he whipped Jimmy Doherty in one round 
which only lasted one minute and twenty-five seconds. The fight was 
for $150. Jake Kilrain was referee, while Billy Mahoney was'second 
for Godfrey. Barney Small, of Salem, Mass., was Godfrey’s next 
victim. They fought for $25 a side and Godfrey won in two rounds. 
Another meeting with Prof. Hadley resulted in a draw. A short time 
after this Godfrey was matched to box McHenry Johnson, the “ Black 
Star." They met at Boston, May 10, 1884. Godfrey had the best 
of the match when the police interfered. His next effort in the ring 
was the memorable six round draw with Joe Lannon in 1887. On an 
alleged foul the fight was made a draw, as a compromise from a dec¬ 
laration in favor of Lannon. The latter was terribly punishedtjmd 
was virtually whipped. Godfrey was defeated when he met with 
Doherty for $150, and the fight was given to the latter on a claim of 




ARTHUR FRAZIER, OF WASHINGTON, D. C. 














BOB ARMSTRONG, THE BLACK ADONIS OF THE PRIZE RING. 













35 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PRIZE RING. 

f foul. Godfrey was once matched to fight John L. Sullivan, but 
friends gave the affair away and the match fell through. 

Godfrey then fought Peter Jackson and was defeated by the Aus¬ 
tralian champion. They fought for a purse of $2,000 at San Fran¬ 
cisco on August 24, 1888, at the California Athletic Club. Jackson 
won in nineteen rounds, one hour and fifteen minutes. He then met 
and defeated Jack Ashton, at Providence, R. I., on November 7,1889, 
in fourteen rounds, lasting fifty-six minutes. 

Godfrey's most important battle, aside from his fight with Peter 
Jackson, was with McHenry Johnson, the ‘‘Black Star,” for an $850 
purse. H was fought at Bloomfield, Boulder Co., Col., Jan. 25, 1888. 
Eight cars left Denver for the battle ground, which was out on the 
open prairie, fourteen miles out on the Denver, Utah and Pacific rail¬ 
road. The train left at i o’clock p. m., and at 2:50 p. m. the ring 
was pitched, about 400 spectators being present. The ring was near 
the railroad track. Many of the spectators commanded a full view 
of the ring from their seats in the cars, while the remainder were 
nicely accommodated around the ropes. It was in a bed of soft loam 
and sand the ring was pitched. There is no need to recount the fight. 
It was with two and a half ounce gloves, under Queensberry rules. 
The real fighting began in the third round, when Godfrey felled the 
Star in his (the Star’s) own corner. It was a terrific swipe and the 
Star fell on his right shoulder and the top of iiis head. The Star was 
clearly knocked out in this round, but by bulldozing tactics employed 
on the referee he was let come for another round. Godfrey knocked 
him wherever he pleased, and finally after a clinch sent him com¬ 
pletely out with a blow that would have stunned an ox. It was claimed, 
and the referee, ex-Sheriff Dick Williams, of Central City, Col., de¬ 
cided that the blow was foul, but after the return to Denver, the 
members of the Denver Cribb Club decided that Godfrey had com¬ 
mitted no foul. Godfrey was given $150 for expenses and $600 of 
the purse. While Johnson received $150 and $100 for expenses. The 
bets were ordered paid on Johnson, but very little money was wagered. 
Johnson acknowledged himself whipped and that he had had enough 
of Godfrey. After the fight Johnson was all bunged up, having a 
mansard over his right eye, an ugly cut on the lip and a swollen cheek. 
He looked groggy and said that he was. Godfrey, on the other hand, 
was without a mark save a little scratch on his lower lip, the result of 
the only blow that Johnson got in on the face. 


S6 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


CHAPTER XV. 

Other Colored Pugilists. 

a A. C. SMITH. 

C. A. C. Smith of Port Huron, Mich., was another famous heavy¬ 
weight colored pugilist. He stood 5 feet inches in height, and 
weighed 190 lbs. He never fought a regular prize fight, but contend¬ 
ed in glove contests. 

m’hENRY JOHNSON. 

McHenry Johnson, the colored champion of Maryland, came into 
prominence in 1884. He was born at Baltimore, Md., on September 
7, 1859, stood 5 feet ii inches in height, and weighed 190 lbs. John¬ 
son never fought a prize fight, but engaged in numerous glove con¬ 
tests, and was nicknamed The Black Star.” He was a scientific 
boxer, but lacked ambition and executive ability, or he might have 
made his mark in the prize ring, for he was tall, muscular, and pos¬ 
sessed great endurance. 

CHARLES HADLEY. 

Prof. Charles Hadley, of Bridgeport, Conn., was a famous glove 
fighter. He flourished in 1882, about the time that the Police 
Gazette offered a valuable trophy known as the Police Gazette 
Champion Medal, which represented the colored boxing champion¬ 
ship of America. Hadley stood 5 feet 9 inches in height, and weighed 
160 lbs. He was a pupil of Ed McGlinchy, a well-known boxer of 
Bridgeport, Conn., and he fought numerous battles in the arena with 
gloves, but he never engaged in a regular prize fight. Hadley, how¬ 
ever, defeated all challengers in the many contests for the Police 
Gazette champion boxing trophy, and then retired from the ring. 

MERVINE THOMPSON. ‘ 

Mervine Thompson, ** the Cleveland Thunderbolt,” came into prom-. 
inence in 1884. He was brought out by Duncan C. Ross, Thompson 
was more powerful and muscular than any of the colored pugilists 
that flourished since 1810. He stands 5 feet ii inches in height, and 
his fighting weight is 190 lbs. After Thompson first became prominent 
by battles with well known colored pugilists, he made a sensation by 
challenging John L. Sullivan, but no match was ever arranged. 
Thompson, although he was, up to the time that Peter Jackson in¬ 
vaded America (1888), the most prominent of ^11 colored pugilists,. 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PBIZE RING. 97 

never gained victories enough to prove that he was first-class, and In 
many of his contests, both with white and colored boxers he met with 
reverses, owing to the lack, as many claimed, of either courage or 
endurance. Thompson, besides being a pugilist, was a great wrestler 
and an athlete of considerable prominence. Thompson’s most im¬ 
portant victory was his defeat of Pat Killen, of Duluth, Minn., at 
Cleveland, Ohio, April 20, 1886. 

HARRIS MARTIN. 

Among the colored fistic brigade who have fought their way into 
prominence is the ** Black Pearl,” a cognomen Harris Martin, the 
heavy weight champion of the Northwest, rejoices in. Martin has 
fought many battles in the prize ring, and has proved that he pos¬ 
sesses courage, endurance and stamina. Martin stands 6 feet i inch 
in height, and in fighting condition weighs 170 lbs. 

This is his record : Beat Tom Henderson, May 8, 1886, five rounds. 
Beat Billy Bought!y, June ii, 1886, four rounds. Again met and de¬ 
feated Tom Henderson, July 3, 1886, three rounds. Beat Dan Som¬ 
ers, Jan. 7, 1887, three rounds. Beat Jack Murphy, Feb. 16, 1887, 
three rounds. Beat Will Young, Feb. 7, 1887, nine rounds. Again 
met and defeated Will Young, Feb. 27, 1887. Draw withBlack 
Frank,” fifteen rounds, March 3, 1887. Beat Tom Devine, March 
28, 1887, three rounds. Prof. Chas. Hadley failed to stop him in 
eight rounds, April 15, 1887. Beat “Black Frank” for $500 at St 
Paul, in thirty-eight rounds, two hours thirty-two minutes. 


CHAPTER XVI. 

PETER JACKSON, THE COLORED CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. 

Peter Jackson, the champion of Australia, and the colored cham¬ 
pion of the world, was born in the West Indies in 1861, but the 
greater portion of his life has been spent in Australia. He is a young 
giant, standing 6 feet inches in height, and trained weighs 205 
lbs. Jackson first became known as a pugilist in 1883, when he fought 
his first battle at Larry Foley’s Hall, Sydney, N. S. W. 

Though Jackson has fought many battles, and always successfully, 
he has never kept a record. Since he first began to fight, at least 
fifteen men have succumbed to his mighty arm, and they have been 
the cream of Australian pugilism. 

The most notable of his fights have been those with Dooley, 
O’Brien, Hayes and Lees. Dooley, a heavv-weight, was the terror of 
Sydney, and a match was made between him and Larry Foley’s ward 



38 THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE BING. 

jfor $500 a side. The odds were long that Jackson would go under, 
but after a hurricane fight of three and a half rounds Dooley went 
down and out. 

O’Brien’s fate was the same. The fight was again for $500 a side 
at Foley’s, and he only lasted three rounds. 

Hayes fared no better, and after three rounds of hard fighting 
acknowledged the corn. 

Tom Lees was at that time acknowledged champion of the colonies, 
and after some difficulty a match was arranged between Jackson and 
the champion for $1,000 a side and the championship belt of Australia. 
The fight came off at Larry Foley’s sporting house in Sydney before 
a large audience, comprising the most noted sporting people in Aus¬ 
tralia. For six rounds Lees gave Jackson a hard fight, but making 
up his mind that he could not win by rushing tactics, began to keep 
away and tire his opponent out. The battle had reached its thirtieth 
round, when becoming tired of the long struggle, Jackson cornered 
Lees and knocked him senseless with a blow of his right. 

Slavin, who afterward claimed the heavy-weight championship, 
would not meet Jackson on any terms, .and after chasing him all over 
the colonies, placing forfeits wherever he went, Jackson gave the mat¬ 
ter up. 

While Jack Burke, the celebrated American pugilist, was in Sydney, 
Jackson offered a bet of $t,ooo that he could knock the American 
out in six rounds, but the bet was not taken. 

The majority of Jackson’s victories were gained by offering any 
man a purse to stand before him for a certain number of rounds, and 
then knocking them out in from two to five rounds. 

Jackson arrived in San Francisco, Cal., in 1888, and shortly after 
his arrival he was matched to fight George Godfrey, the colored 
champion of America, for a purse of $2,000. The battle was fought 
on August 24,1888, in the California Athletic Club, and Jackson won 
easily. The California Athletic Club then offered a purse of $3,000 
for any pugilist in England or America to meet McAuliffe, but there 
was no response from either Kilrain, Sullivan or any other heavy¬ 
weight. 

It could not be expected that either Jake Kilrain, who was then 
the Police Gazette champion, or John L. Sullivan would consent to 
journey to San Francisco to run the risk of winning or losing $3,000 
or $5,000, when they could make twice that amount by giving boxing 
exhibitions east. 

In the meantime, Peter Jackson, who was engaged by the club to 
teach boxing, agreed to meet McAuliffe, and the arrangements were 
made for the giants to meet in a contest with small gloves according 
to Police Gazette rules, which the directors of the California Ath¬ 
letic Club endorse, because there can be no draw, unless the princi- 


TRANK CRAIG ENTERS THE RING TO FIGHT MULDOON’S CYCLONE. 




ti.i 














THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE BING. 3^ 

pals meet with an accident, are incapacitated from continuing the 
conflict, or one or the other is injured. 

The battle was fought on Dec. 29, 1888. It was a Wat^loo for 
the ’Frisco Giant. The wonder who was to beat the world in the 
fistic arena was defeated in twenty-four rounds. 

An enormous crowd filled the rooms, and there must have been 
2,000 present. 

The betting ranged from $100 to $90, chiefly taken by Australian 
tourists, to 3 to I in favor of McAuliffe. Both were in prime con¬ 
dition and everybody believed the winner could successfully try for 
the world’s championship. 

McAuliffe was seconded by Barney Farley and Joe Bowers, while 
Sam Fitzpatrick and Tom Meadows seconded Jackson. The gloves 
weighed 4K ounces. McAuliffe’s weight was 220 lbs. and Jackson’s 
205 lbs. 

As the fight progressed McAuliffe grew weak, and Jackson 
showed increasing confidence and a good deal of strength. He 
fought with great determination and courage, and at the end of the 
24th round, by a well-directed blow, knocked out the pride of the 
Pacific sluggers. It was a great surprise, but the black won the bat¬ 
tle fairly and honorably. 

Shortly after, Joe McAuliffe defeated Mike Conley, the Ithaca 
Giant. 

After the excitement of the McAuliffe and Conley battle had sub¬ 
sided, Jackson met Patsy Cardiff for a purse of $3,000. It was fought 
on April 26, 1889, at the California Athletic Club. 

In the various pool and betting rooms, Jackson was a big favorite, 
and the odds ranged at 100 to 60, with Cardiff at the short end. The 
outcome of the battle was looked upon with a great deal of interest 
from the fact that if Jackson was the winner he would be matched to 
fight the winner of the Sullivan and Kilrain fight for $20,000, the 
‘‘Police Gazette” diamond belt and the championship of the world. 

Long before the time advertised for the match to begin, the Cali¬ 
fornia Athletic Club’s spacious gymnasium was crowded to its utmost 
capacity with anxious lovers of sport to witness the fray which had 
created so much excitement and comment. Lawyers, doctors, mill¬ 
ionaires, sporting men and mechanics sat side by side and chatted 
about the merits of the two pugilists. 

The club, in order to accommodate the large audience, had built a 
gallery above the regular tier of seats on the south end of the hall, 
and thus afforded good seats for an extra number. A large bell was 
hung in the north end of the gymnasium, and a man on a raised plat-^ 
form stood ready to make it peal forth sonorous sounds at the begin¬ 
ning and termination of the rounds, by ringing one when a round be¬ 
gan, two when a round ended, and three when another began. 

Among the tremendous mass of humanity could be seen Jack Hal- 


4a THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE BING. 

linan, who had $2,000 on Jackson ; Patsy Hogan, Jimmy Carroll, of 
Holyoke, Mass,, who had defeated Blakelock, the English cham¬ 
pion ; Barney Farley, Old Tommy Chandler, Billy Jordan, Tom 
Lees; Mulholland, of Australia; Con Mooney, Seymour, Frank Hall, 
and other celebrities. 


THE BATTLE. 

Time was called at 9:23 for the first round, but little work was done. 
In the second round Cardiff showed great quickness. He attempted 
to rush Jackson, when he caught a fearful upper-cut. After this 
Jackson planted a heavy left-hander on Cardiff’s jaw. In the third 
round Jackson seemed determined to rush the fighting. He got in two 
left-handers on Cardiff’s neck, and followed these up with several 
severe body blows. 

Cardiff's only resource to escape punishment was by clinching and 
half wrestling, as though he was fighting under London rules. Cardiff 
tried again and again to reach Jackson’s wind, but the negro’s clever¬ 
ness saved him. He didn’t get a single hard blow *in this round, 
whereas he gave a dozen. Cardiff easily showed in clinches that he 
was the stronger man, but the negro was plainly his superior in 
science. 

In the fourth round there was a fierce rally, followed by light spar¬ 
ring. The negro got in a succession of right-hand upper-cuts, which 
rattled Cardiff. He started off for Jackson’s wind without success, 
and, as in the previous round, he failed to get in a single effective blow. 

Jackson began to force the fighting in the fifth, and gave him up¬ 
per-cut after upper-cut. Cardiff finally rallied and rushed the negro 
to the ropes. Jackson came back at him like a tiger, and rained 
blows over the face of the Minneapolis man. Cardiff got in but one 
good blow in this round, and that did no damage. 

In the sixth Jackson started in with three left-hand leads, one of 
which landed on Cardiff’s chin and nearly knocked him out. The 
Minneapolis man was now distressed; he sparred for wind, but the 
black man would not let him rest. With a leap, the negro closed on 
Cardiff, and with a terrific cross-counter brought his antagonist to his 
knee. With rare chivalry Jackson refused to knock his man out, 
although he now had him at his mercy. Cardiff was now weak, and 
the end did not appear far away. After the sixth round Cardiff was 
a chopping-block for the negro, who was as fresh as a daisy. The 
tenth round had begun when the Minneapolis man gave up the fight, 
his left arm being powerless. He was badly battered. 

After fighting Cardiff, Jackson allied himself to Charles E. (“Par¬ 
son”) Davies’s fistic force and decided to come East, his ultimate 
purpose being to force the issue with John L. Sullivan. Repeated 
challenges were hurled at the big fellow without success, for he ad- 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PRIZE RING. 


41 


hered to his determination not to fight a darkey, being the first 
pugilist of note to draw the color line ” and agitate the race ques¬ 
tion. 

Jackson, however, journeyed to the Atlantic coast, picking up 
several good matches on the way. At Virginia City, Nevada, on 
May I, 1889, he beat ‘‘Shorty” Kincaid in two rounds. At Chicago, 
on July II, he knocked out “Sailor” Brown in four rounds. At 
Buffalo, on July 30 and Aug. 5, he defeated Mike Lynch and Paddy 
Brennan in two and one rounds respectively. At Hoboken, N. J.^ 
on Aug. 9, he knocked out “ Ginger ” McCormick in two rounds, 
finally landing in New York city with a fight with Jack Fallon, the 
famous “Brooklyn Strong Boy,” on his hands. This fight came off 
on Aug. 19 and Jackson won in four rounds. 

While he remained in the Metropolis Davies tried in every reason¬ 
able and consistent way to induce Sullivan to fight Jackson, but 
without avail, and finally the latter and his manager went to England 
for the purpose of fighting Jem Smith, the then recognized champion 
of England. Before this important episode transpired, however^ 
Jackson engaged in several contests which took place in London, 
defeating, among others, Alf. Mitchell, three rounds; Jack Partridge, 
five rounds; Jem Young, three rounds; Jack Watts, three rounds; 
Coddy Meddings, three rounds; Alf. Ball, three rounds; Jack Wat¬ 
son, three rounds. 

During all this time “ Parson ” Davies had not been idle. He had 
been at work with a view to putting his protege against Jem Smith, 
for the title of English champion, which the latter then wore. Smith 
—although he had his hands pretty full at the time, being then 
matched with Jack Wannop, whilst a contest with Slavin was also in 
prospective—lost little time in taking up the defi, and efforts were 
soon set on foot for the pair to box a dozen rounds. A purse of 
;^i,ooo, and a belt of the value of ^£’200, was offered by the proprie¬ 
tor of the Pelican Club for this. But Jackson was bound by an 
agreement with the California A. C. not to exceed eight rounds. His 
manager, however, saw a way out of the difficulty, and cabled to L. 
R. Fulda, the president of the club named, for permission to spar the 
twelve rounds. For a few days negotiations had to be broken off, 
for, although the club signified their willingness to allow Jackson to 
box ten rounds, Ernest C. Wells was naturally disinclined to give the 
unprecedented sum of ;£‘ioo per round in addition to the valuable 
belt. At last, however, he altered his mind, and agreed to give that 
sum, the pair later on signing. 

The articles signed, the stake money was lodged with a responsible 
committee, comprising Sir John Astley, Lord de Clifford, Lord 
Lonsdale, Lord Churston, Lord Eric Gordon, etc. 

The battle was fought in the new Pelican Club, London, England, 
on Nov. II, 1889. There was an immense crowd congregated in 


42 THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PRIZE RING. 

front of the club’s rooms, and it was feared that the roughs would 
make an attempt to force their way in. To guard against this a large 
body of police had been told off, and this demonstration by the 
authorities kept the rowdies in check. Still, members of the club 
had some difficulty in gaining admission through the crush. In the 
end, however, the fight was witnessed by over a thousand spectators, 
including most of the leading sportsmen of the kingdom, and a large 
contingent from Australia. 

There was a long delay after the men had entered the ring, caused 
by those concerned finding difficulty in agreeing as to who should 
act as umpire, and it was a quarter past i o’clock before this point 
was settled. Jackson, before the fight commenced, complained that 
the gloves provided were smaller than those agreed upon, but this 
objection was overruled. 

The men then tossed for choice of corners and Smith won. They 
shook hands and at once set to work. 

In the first round there were some heavy exchanges. Still, but 
little damage was done on either side, though when time was called 
Smith appeared very much distressed. 

In the second round Jackson forced the fighting, and knocked 
Smith over the ropes, where he held on by his right hand quite ex¬ 
hausted, while he guarded himself with his left while he gained wind. 
Jackson was unable to finish him before time was called. 

When they came up again Smith at first tried to tear off his gloves 
and fight with bare knuckles. He was evidently in a great temper 
at his ill success so far. The police, however, at once seized him, 
and his friends interfering he put on the gloves again and the fight 
was resumed. Smith, however, was still greatly out of temper and, 
rushing in blindly and furiously, seized Jackson and threw him vio¬ 
lently. Amidst great excitement an appeal for a foul was at once 
made on behalf of Jackson, and the umpire promptly allowed it and 
awarded the fight to the Australian. 

Smith by this time had cooled down, and he shook hands quietly 
with Jackson, and offered to make another match. The contest 
fully exposed the fallacy of his claims to be regarded as a first-class 
fighter. He was beaten at all points of the game. 

Jackson returned to America after trying in vain to negotiate a 
match with Frank P. Slavin, the Sidney Cornstalk, and resumed his 
occupation of knocking out anybody and everybody that came 
along. His first victim was Jack Ashton, who was Sullivan’s spar¬ 
ring partner. It was thought at the time that Sullivan shoved 
Ashton into the breach to get a safe line on Jackson’s capabilities. 
This may or may not have been so, but the latter took no chances to 
fool Sullivan into a match, for he easily outpointed Ashton in three 
rounds. He subsequently knocked out Jack Fallon in four rounds, 
at Williamsburg, N. Y., Dick Keating in one round, Louisville, Ky., 























































































































































































THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RiNG. 


43 


defeated Ed Smith at Chicago in five rounds, and Tom Johnson, 
at Marysville, Cal. 

Jackson was in California during the summer of 1890, just about 
the time that James J. Corbett began to realize that he might some 
day be the champion heavyweight fighter of the world. Jackson, 
who was popular with the Californians, offered to try out the youth¬ 
ful aspirant, and as he was on the eve of a trip to Australia it was 
agreed that he and Corbett should “ come together ” upon his re¬ 
turn under the auspices of the California Athletic Club. The 
match was arranged in due time and was decided on May 21, 1891, 
in San Francisco. 

It is safe to say that no fight that ever came off on the Pacific 
slope attracted so much attention as the one which was fought that 
night for the $10,000 purse put up by the California Athletic Club. 

The audience, packed around the ring very much as earth is packed 
around a fence post, was a remarkable one. In the crowd of pay¬ 
ing visitors were bankers, business men and sporting men. 

It was an orderly assemblage, composed almost exclusively of men 
of the better class; men who were not used to the ways of the busi¬ 
ness, and who didn’t know half as much about fighting as the hood¬ 
lums who hovered about the gate. 

Here and there among the well-dressed crowd could be seen the wool¬ 
ly heads of some of the colored enthusiasts, who were willing to stake 
a fortune in small coin on the man from Australia. They sat shoulder 
to shoulder with prominent lawyers and doctors, and sandwiched in 
liberally were the gay youths of the town, who were on hand because 
it was the proper thing, and besides the event promised to be good 
for the circulation of the blood. 

There was a crowd of about 5,000 persons on the corner where the 
club room stood. They were for the most part a ticketless and 
moneyless crowd, and were willing to do anything to get inside. The 
negroes in the crowd went wild over Jackson and were willing to bet 
any amount on the representative of their race. 

By 8.30 o’clock the dressing rooms were occupied with a couple 
of very confident men and their trainers. It was all bustle and con¬ 
fusion inside; outside was calm, dignified waiting. The trainers 
inside were handling the men carefully and tenderly, and looking 
over them as they would a prize horse at a fair for points. Corbett 
didn’t care much about talking and he was the least bit nervous. 

The big negro was half stripped and was getting a rub down, 
when he said his trainers told him he was as good a man as he ever 
was in his life. “ I feel myself that I am,” he said. “ If I don’t 
win, it will be because Corbett is a better man than I am. I have 
trained with the closest care and have left nothing undone which 
would assist in putting me in the best possible condition. I’ll 
win if it’s in me to win.” 


44 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE PilNG, 


They both felt good over the prospect, and while they were fixing 
up a couple of heavyweights went out into the ring and hammered 
each other for three rounds to amuse the spectators and get them in 
touch for the night. 

When the men came into the ring Corbett stepped in at i68 
pounds first and Jackson followed, weighing 204 pounds. 

They both got ovations, but it was easy enough to see that the 
smooth-faced, trim-built and smiling Corbett got the lion’s share. 
That was right enough, for there were very few men in the chairs 
around the ring who did not know him, and know him well at that. 

Jackson’s seconds were Sam Fitzpatrick, who has stood behind 
him in all his fights, and Billy Smith, while Billy Fields the black¬ 
smith, who has given Jackson the use of his forge in training, served 
as bottle holder. Corbett was served by John Donaldson and Billy 
Delaney, with his brother, Harry Corbett, as bottle holder. Hiram 
Cook, who refereed all the big fights at the club, acted in that 
capacity again. 

The fight, however, was a very unsatisfactory one. It lasted sixty- 
one rounds, and toward the end was so tame that the spectators 
yelled at the men to either fight or get out of the ring. Referee Cook 
at the beginning of the sixty-first round called both men up and 
ordered them to fight or he would declare it off. Corbett protested 
against the referee interfering. Jackson, who had injured his arm 
some days previously, acted as if he would like to stop. 

Cook, the referee, declared the fight “ no contest.” Immediately 
Jackson pulled his gloves off and was carried to his dressing room by 
his seconds. Corbett made a vigorous protest against the decision 
and only consented to leave the ring after being told that he would 
receive one-half of the purse. He jumped nimbly out of the ring, 
dressed quickly and went to his home. It afterwards transpired 
that Corbett’s fight had been a wonderful one, as he was a sick man 
and was forbidden by his physicians from entering the ring one 
week before the fight. 

Jackson’s showing was a severe disappointment to his friends. 

The situation was summed up in the words of Major McLaughlin, 
who enjoys the honor of being called one of the leading sporting 
men on the Pacific coast: 

‘‘Jackson’s name is Dennis to-day. With his superior weight he 
ought to have forced all of the fighting from the start. Instead of 
that he showed that he was barely able to keep Corbett off. Corbett’s 
work shows beyond any shadow of doubt that, as a fighter, he is in 
the first class. 

“He was much quicker than Jackson, and if he had had equal 
weight, he would have knocked him out as clean as a whistle. It’s 
Jackson’s Waterloo as sure as you’re a foot high, and his career as a 
great fighter is down to the last chapter. 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE RING. 


45 


“ I consider that this is equal to a victory for Corbett. The very 
fact that he stood up before Jackson for so many rounds and came 
out the fresher man, puts him up on top in the front row of good 
fighters. His friends are well satisfied.” 

That is what the Major had to say, and it seemed to be the general 
opinion. The announcement of the result of the contest by Referee 
Hiram Cook satisfied all the club men. The club held on to the 
purse, but the fighters got $2,500 each for what they did in the way 
of punching each other. After the fight was over Jackson was seen 
in his dressing room. He was very much disheartened and wasn’t 
in much of a humor to talk at length about the battle. What he did 
say was this: 

‘‘After the twenty-fifth round my left shoulder weakened and 
then gave out, and so I had to use my right after that, and I found 
that I couldn’t give a good blow with it, and there’s where it broke 
me up. 

, “You see, I caught cold in my shoulder about a week ago, and it 
troubled me off and on ever since, but the weakness did not come 
out until the fight was nearly half over. 

“If it hadn’t been for that I could have rushed Corbett, as I was 
fresher than he was. Corbett never hit me hard on the ribs, and I 
didn’t suffer there a bit. The only thing that did bother me any 
was the smashes I got in the mouth. I got a couple of good ones 
there, and the blood went down my nose into my throat and choked 
and worried me.” 

Jackson didn’t sum up all his injuries in his little speech, for later, 
when he was examined, it was found that two of his ribs were broken. 
This showed that Corbett had landed in good earnest on the darkey’s 
ribs and that he had left something of a mark there. 

Corbett was in his dressing room getting rubbed down and settled 
up generally. He seemed to be in pretty good spirits, although he 
felt as if he might have done better if he had not injured himself. 
He said: 

“My left forearm was badly battered in that rally in the twenty- 
fifth round. I thought it was broken at first. I used it to protect my 
heart. After the twenty-seventh round I couldn’t strike an effective 
blow with it. That is the one thing which settled me. I simply 
couldn’t fight, and that is all there was to it. My arm felt helpless, 
^and I was afraid to try it.” 

So according to the words of both men, it was in the twenty-fifth 
round that the fight was practically ended. The colored man’s 
shoulder gave out and the white man’s forearm was so battered 
and bruised that he thought it was broken. 

There was a lot of talk about another match but Corbett evinced 
no disposition to fight Jackson again, having entered into negotiations 
for a fight with JohnL, Sullivan, whom he defeated and from whom 


46 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


he acquired the title of Champion of America. Jackson subsequently 
went to England and his next battle of any consequence was 
with Frank P. Slavin. This was fought under the auspices of the 
National Sporting Club on May 30, 1892. Jackson won in the tenth 
round, knocking Slavin out. Jackson did not enhance his reputation 
any by his victory, for the concensus of opinion among those at the 
ring side was that Slavin threw the fight away by being too 
confident, and leaving openings which Jackson took advantage of to 
land the knockout punch. It is a fact that Slavin tried by every 
conceivable means to induce Peter to fight again, posting his money 
and even going so far as to insult him in public, hoping that his late 
opponent would in anger agree to fight him again. 

Since that eventful episode, Jackson has done nothing worthy of 
note. He bobs into print occasionally as an aspirant for champion¬ 
ship honors, but he has refused to fight and it is hardly possible that 
he will ever go into the ring again. He has a remunerative occu¬ 
pation in teaching the manly art to England’s most aristocratic 
swells. He owns a fine academy, well equipped with all the ap¬ 
purtenances of the sport and he caters only to the most exclusive 
set in London. Occasionally he makes periodical visits to the 
provinces, where he a great favorite. His sparring partner at the 
music halls is Bill Slavin, a brother of the man whom he defeated 
for the title of English champion. He has decided to live per¬ 
manently in England, where he owns a luxuriously furnished 
residence. He is a hospitable entertainer and is always surrounded 
by the most representative men in the country. 


CHAPTER XVH. 

GEORGE DIXON, COLORED FEATHERWEIGHT OF BOSTON, MASS. 

George Dixon, the colored featherweight, is a pugilist whose name 
will live in prize ring history, he being one of the few pugilists who 
ever won a prize fight in England while battling as a representative 
of the United States. 

Dixon was born in Halifax, N. S., on July 29, 1870. He stands 
5 feet 3 inches in height. He is married, his wife being a white 
girl; his great grandfather was also a white man. Three years before 
he went into the ring he was a photographer and knew nothing of 
boxing. His occupation naturally enough brought him into close 
relationship with boxers, and it was while studying the man and a 
brother ” through the camera that never lies he conceived the idea 
of engaging in the business. 



COOLER AND TED PRITCHARD READY FOR BUSINESS. 






JOE WALCOTT, o’ROURKE’S BLACK DEMON.* 



THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE BING. 


47 


Dixon has met with fair success in the ring; he beat Hamilton in 
eight rounds ; beat Sam Cohen, three rounds ; defeated young Mack, 
five rounds. In 1888 beat Jack Leyman, five rounds ; Charley Par- 
ton, of England, six rounds (February); Barney Finigan, seven 
rounds; Ned Morris, four rounds (February) ; Paddy Kelly, fifteen 
rounds (March), a draw, the people frequently calling out during the 
fight, “ kill the nigger; ” beat Thomas Doherty, ten rounds (April) ; 
Thomas Kelly, nine rounds, a draw for the bantam 105 lb. champion¬ 
ship ; beat Jemmy Bracket, four rounds (June 9) ; a draw with Hank 
Brennan, which is described as a robbery (June) ; draw with Brennan, 
nine rounds (September) ; another draw with Brennan, fifteen rounds 
(October); beat Billy James, of England, three rounds (May). In 
October, 1889, again fought Brennan, twenty-seven rounds, but was 
robbed out of the fight, though Brennan proved himself a plucky 
man. Beat Hornbacker, one round and a half (December). Fought 
a draw, seventy rounds, with Cal McCarthy (February 7, 1890). 
Subsequently offered to bet that he would beat anyone his weight in 
four rounds. Beat Paddy Kearney; defeated Jack Farrell (February), 
in three rounds; beat Jack Carey (February), in three rounds, with the 
police all round, and as they tried to mount the ring, were pulled 
down by the coat-tails. 

On March 31, 1890, Dixon fought Matt McCarthy, of Philadelphia, 
Pa., and although the contest was limited to four rounds, the battle 
ended in a wrangle, McCarthy having decidedly the advantage. 

Dixon was then matched to meet Nunc Wallace, the English 
feather-weight champion, for a purse of j^soOf the Pelican Club, Lon¬ 
don, England, allowing the colored pugilist ;^ioo for expenses. The 
preliminaries for this match were arranged through Richard K. Fox 
and the Police Gazette, of New York. The battle was fought in the 
Pelican Club, London, England, on June 27, 1890. Only eighteen 
rounds were fought in one hour and ten minutes, when the Amer¬ 
ican representative won by knocking out the English champion. 


CHAPTER XVIII. 

Dixon’s Battle with Nunc Wallace. 


HOW THE MATCH ORIGINATED. 

In the Sporting Life of February 25, 1890, a challenge appeared to 
bantam-weights from George Dixon, to fight any man in the world 
at 114 lbs. or take a pound, for $5,000. On March 5 a cablegram was 
published in the Life from George Dixon to Nunc Wallace, offering 
to box the Englishman in America, for 1,000 and the Police Gazette 



48 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


Diamond Belt, allowing ;:^^ioo for expenses. Failing this, he signified 
his desire to go to England to fight Nunc Wallace for a j£ 6 oo purse 
if the Pelican or Ormonde Club would put up the purse, and allow 
for expenses. 

Answering this Wallace’s backer signified his desire to match Wal¬ 
lace for ^1,000 or ;^2,ooo a side, the fight to be decided in England, 
allowing Dixon expenses and guaranteeing fair play. As the result 
of the challenges and counter challenges the Ormonde Club came 
out in the Sporting Life of March 13 with and ^^50 for Dixon’s 

expenses. Wallace accepted the proposition, and the matter was left 
in abeyance pending Dixon’s answer. 

News quickly came from America. O’Rourke was the informant, 
and he let out with, “ They are generous, we can make five times that 
amount without going to England.” O’Rourke offered to match 
Dixon to fight Wallace for jf\^ooo and the Police Gazette feather¬ 
weight champion 115 lb. belt, allowing Wallace ;^ioo for expenses, 
and fight in America. If this did not meet the opposite side O’Rourke 
declared his intention of fighting in England if the Pelican or Or¬ 
monde Club would put up $3,000; $2,500 to the winner, and $250 
for Dixon’s expenses. 

Next, on March 29, the Puritan Athletic Club of Long Island was 
out with a ;^3oo purse and to Wallace for incidentals. These 
cablegrams drew forth another proposition from the Ormonde Club 
on April i, the proprietor being willing to put up ;£‘5oo, and, not to 
be outdone, the Pelican Club offered a similar amount ;^4oo to the 
winner, and ;^ioo to the loser, but this was topped by the Ormonde 
Club cabling that Dixon could name his own terms. A cablegram 
on April 14, notified the agreeable fact that Dixon had made up his 
mind to journey to England in May to fight Nunc Wallace for the 
bantam-weight championship of the world, and on April 21, it was 
announced that, practically, the lads had agreed to box at 8st 2 lb., 
for the Pelican Club ;^5oo purse, in May or June. Dixon wished to 
box to a finish, but the Pelican Club fixed thirty rounds. 

A cablegram from Queenstown on May 12, reported the news that 
among the passengers aboard the Cunard Royal Mail steamer Cepha- 
lonia (Captain W. S. Lecombe), which arrived from Boston en route 
to Liverpool, was George Dixon, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the cham¬ 
pion bantam-weight pugilist of the United States, who had journeyed 
across the Western Ocean to box Nunc Wallace. He was accom¬ 
panied by his trainer and backer, Mr. Thomas O’Rourke and Mr. T. 
M Gough, and during the passage Dixon amused himself by boxing 
in the forecastle with O’Rourke, and by such means, in addition to 
other exercises, managed to keep in capital condition. 

The following evening Dixon, O’Rourke and M’Gough reached 
London. From the St. Pancras Station (Midland Railway) they were 
driven immediately to the Pelican Club, and were entertained by 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


49 


Lord Lonsdale and the proprietor, Mr. Ernest Wells. After an en¬ 
joyable conversation, the trio were escorted to the Hotel Metropole, 
and the following morning attended the Sporting Life office, where all 
their mails were exclusively forwarded. 

Dixon, O’Rourke and M’Gough left St. Pancras for their training 
quarters, after spending a week in London waiting for articles to be 
signed, and it was whilst in the country that they were called to Lon¬ 
don on May 15, to ratify the agreement, which could have been signed 
and sealed before they left the metropolis. As a matter of fact, Mr. 
Ernest Wells, proprietor of the Pelican Club, desired that the busi¬ 
ness of signing articles should take place at his establishment in 
Gerrard street, and this wish was shared by the Americans. However, 
all was most amicably arranged, and the following morning Dixon and 
party left London for the country, and Wallace, with his trainer, Ben 
Garrington, prepared to follow their example, first going to Windsor, 
and afterwards to Brighton. 

For reasons obvious enough Dixon’s whereabouts had been kept as 
secret as possible, but now that the fistic drama has been played, we 
take the opportunity of accepting permission to publish the locality. 
It was at Oakham, in Rutlandshire, a lonesome, but beautiful country, 
where George Dixon underwent his preparation, superintended by 
Messrs. O’Rourke and M’Gough, with W. Willis for a companion. 
The Crown Hotel proprietor, Mr. B. Furley, accommodated the 
strangers, and during their stay everything likely to be of value as 
regards personal comfort, and the best the country affords in the 
shape of food and exercise was placed at the service of the Ameri¬ 
cans. Pleasant walks, through lovely scenery, ample training facilities 
with respect to indoor work, and exceptional domestic comforts con¬ 
siderably lightened the irksomeness of training, and made George 
Dixon’s sojourn in a strange land something to remember in after 
years with pride and pleasure. Wallace, at Brighton, it is needless 
to state, has been greatly favored, and under Ben Garrington’s super¬ 
vision his work was cheerfully performed. 

THE WEIGHING AT THE PELICAN CLUB. 

Wallace, with Ben Garrington, left Brighton at 1.45, and, on arriv¬ 
ing at Clapham Junction, drove to Mr. Walter Melville’s residence in 
South Kensington, where he was met by his seconds, Alf. Greenfield 
and Dick Roberts, Jack Baldock and others being present. To ren¬ 
der matters doubly sure, and allay anxiety, he stripped and weighed, 
when it was found that he scaled a few ounces under eight stone. 

At ten minutes to six, Wallace, Garrington, Greenfield, Roberts 
and Mr. Melville arrived at the Pelican Club. 

Dixon, O’Rourke, M’Gough, and C. Larew left Oakham at 1.42, 
due at King’s Cross at five o’clock, but, the train being late, the party 


50 THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OP THE PKIZE RING. 

could not reach the Pelican Club until five minutes after six. Quite 
a little crowd of Pelicans assembled to witness the weighing, the com¬ 
pany including the proprietor, Mr. Ernest Wells ; Mr. J. Fleming; 
the famous jockey, Harry Custance, who resides at Oakham, and has 
seen Dixon put through his facings many a time and oft; H. M’Evoy, 
&c. When Wallace and Dixon met they shook hands cordially, and 
smiled upon each other most affably. In fact, so friendly did they 
appear, that a stranger would have scouted the idea that the lads were in 
a few hours to face each other as principals in a glove fight. Wallace 
wore a rather heavy overcoat, and scarf without a collar, and Derby hat. 
Dixon was more stylishly dressed, and affected light trousers, a dust 
coat and fashionable cravat. The two bore a striking contrast, Wal¬ 
lace looking for all the world cut out for the profession he has adopted, 
whilst Dixon was made up as though bent on a picnic. When they 
settled down into a more thoughtful mood Dixon was very reticent, 
but Wallace beguiled the time in cheerful conversation, and often 
broke out into a hearty laugh. At last they were called above to 
scale, and accommodated with separate rooms, prepared for the ordeal. 

In due course Dixon appeared, and, mounting the scales, registered 
8 st I lb. Wallace followed and was reported 8st. 

Both looked splendidly trained, not an atom of superfluous flesh 
being visible on any portion of their anatomy. When the process 
had been satisfactorily completed Wallace’s face was suffused in 
smiles, and, throwing his overcoat over him, he retired. Dixon 
still very serious, and, enveloped in his coat, was escorted to his room. 
Thus ended the weighing, and in less than half an hour principals 
and friends had taken leave of the Pelican Club until eleven o’clock. 
Soon after nine o’clock the writer followed up the steps of the Pelican 
Club (which were lined with some very useful members of the fistic 
brigade), Joe M’Auliffe and Billy Madden (his manager), and in a 
few seconds we were mingling with the already numerous crowd of 
anxious sightseers. We had left behind us in the main thoroughfare 
a very mixed company, but Mr. Wells, with admirable forethought 
and precision, had supplied a reinforcement capable of coping with 
the slightest insurrection. Happily they were not needed, and for 
hours remained peacefully in the street discussing the probabilities 
and improbabilities of the contest until the first person singular 
emerged from the portals of the club to tell the long-wished for tale. 

An hour before the contest the company took possession of their 
seats. “Do you want to lay 2 to i?” was often heard at the ring¬ 
side, and at length the hubbub was silenced by the appearance of 
the combatants. Wallace, with Alf Greenfield and Dick Roberts, 
walked to the left-hand corner, and Dixon, with Thomas O’Rourke 
and T. McGough, to the right. Lord Lonsdale, at this juncture, 
walked across the floor, armed with Dixon’s colors. Charley Rob¬ 
erts conversed for a few seconds and offered to bet ;^i,ooo. His 



DIXON DEFEATS WALLACE. 




JACK DOWNEY LANDS A HOT ONE ON DIXON’s EAR, 

















THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE KING. 


51 


lordship good-humoredly shook his head. Immediately the seconds 
turned their attention to the contestants, and every eye was centered 
upon their movements. Charley Mitchell laid Billy Madden to 
on Wallace. At this juncture Dick Roberts and Morey paraded 
with Wallace’s colors. “They’ll fetch two guineas after the fight, 
certain,” was the remark of the purveyors. “Wallace for a 
monkey! ” was cried as Nunc, at ten minutes past ii, entered the 
arena—smiling and confident, and Dixon calm and serious. The 
men were photographed by Robinson, of Regent street, in a position, 
and then retired. Mr. G. Vize, the referee, addressed the company, 
explaining the new Pelican Club rules, and Wallace walked from 
his corner and exchanged a color with Dixon. Messrs. A. Bettinson 
and W. J. King were the judges, and Mr. Reg. Wakefield was the 
timekeeper. ; 2 ^ 6 oo to ;^5oo was offered on Wallace by Johnny 
O’Neil without a response. Dixon only wore ordinary professional 
running drawers, black shoes and socks; Wallace black drawers, 
white stripe, black socks and brown lace-up boots. Mr. J. Fleming 
made a short speech, introducing the men. Ben Carrington (Wal¬ 
lace’s second) was behind his man, and Willis behind Dixon. They 
shook hands in orthodox style and shaped for the fight. 

Wallace proved himself to be worthy of the confidence reposed 
in him by the fistic cognoscenti of Great Britain, for he fought 
beautifully through various stages of the battle, encouraging his 
backers in the belief that he would ultimately win; but the six¬ 
teenth round was fatal to his chances. Dixon succeeded in putting 
a heavy right-hand punch on the jaw, which unsettled him, and but 
for the gong sending the boys to corners, the Britisher would have 
been beaten. He recuperated quickly, however, and the seventeenth 
round found him fighting as fast and furiously as ever, with perhaps 
a little more respect for Dixon’s ability than he had previously 
evinced. He fought more carefully and landed straight left hand 
punches frequently, Dixon depending upon his vicious left and right 
hand swings. The round was in Wallace's favor, and his friends 
howled with joy at the promised turn in the tide of affairs.' Wal¬ 
lace’s success, however, was of short duration, for the end came in 
the eighteenth round. Dixon realized that the crucial time had ar¬ 
rived and he cut loose and hammered Wallace all over the ring, 
eventually forcing him into his own corner. There England’s cham¬ 
pion rested on the ropes in a helpless condition and held out his 
hand in token of defeat. 


53 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


CHAPTER XIX. 

THE DIXON-MURPHY FIGHT. 

The battle between George Dixon, the colored featherweight of 
Boston, Mass., and Johnny Murphy, Jake Kilrain’s protege, also of 
the Hub, which had for some time been a sporting topic among 
the thousands who were patrons of pugilism, was decided in the 
famous Gladstone Athletic Club, of Providence, R. I., on Oct. 23, 
1890. The pugilists fought according to “Police Gazette” rules, at 
115'*pounds for a purse of $1,500, with small gloves. Both pugilists 
specially trained for the encounter, and were in the pink of condition, 
and after they had weighed in on Oct. 23, the friends of the respective 
men were confident that the battle would be an obstinate and pro¬ 
tracted one, barring some accident or a knockout. 

Sporting men from all parts of the country journeyed to witness 
the fight and Providence was the Mecca of the travelers. 

The exterior of the club room on the evening of the fight pre¬ 
sented an animated appearance. A tremendous crowd was in the 
street trying to gain admittance by all kinds of means, and even those 
who had procured pasteboards, for which divers prices were paid, 
could not gain an entrance until they were pushed, jostled, and 
finally had to struggle with the police. 

The spectators who were fortunate enough to get in at all were 
packed like sardines, while outside a howling mob clamored for 
admittance. At 8:30 p. m. Murphy and his seconds were on hand, 
but Dixon did not show up. 

One of the officers of the club then jumped into the ring and 
announced that Dixon would forfeit the fight if he did not enter 
instanter. The referee did not back up the statement, however. Half 
an hour later Dixon reached the building, but the crowd was so great 
he could not enter. The police had to clear a passage for the colored 
lad. At 9 o’clock Murphy entered the ring and stripped for business. 
Dixon followed a minute later. The men weighed in in Boston. 
Murphy weighed a good strong 114 pounds, but by inflating his lungs 
he made the scales balance. Dixon weighed a strong 113 pounds, 
but he couldn’t lift the 114-pound weight. 

Among the sporting men present were Mike Kelly, the baseballist. 
With him were Dick Wakely, Phil Lynch, Jack McAuliffe, Louis Sea- 
mers, Ted Foley, Judge Newton, Frank Stevenson. All the afternoon 
trains from Boston brought crowds of men who were anxious to see 
the great contest. There were Capt. Cooke, Larry Killian, Jimmie 
Colville, Billy Mahoney, John J. Murphy, Mike Gleason, Dan 
Murphy, John Campbell, Florrie Sullivan, Jimmie Hurd, Charlie 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE KING. 


53 


Daley, W. H. Miller, Mike Kelly, John J, Braham, Spencer Williams, 
Ned Holske, Geo. Wilman, and Ned McAvery. 

Tom O’Rourke tossed for choice of corners, and, as usual, won. 
He chose the corner in which Patsy Cardiff, Jack Williams and many 
others met defeat. “ That’s the unlucky corner,” shouted some one 
in the crowd. “ Never mind; we don’t depend on luck,” O’Rourke 
replied, smiling. Dixon weighed exactly 113^ pounds at 4 o’clock, 
but a great porterhouse steak added at least a pound to his 
avoirdupois. He wore white trunks and was seconded by Tom 
O’Rourke and Howard Hodgkins. The white boy weighed 114 
pounds and wore short knickerbockers of dark blue. His seconds 
were Johnny Powers and Danny Gill. The timekeepers were Jesse 
Brown for the club, handsome Dan Murphy for his namesake, and 
Mike Bradley, of Boston, for Dixon. Dan Coakely, of Boston, was 
the referee. 

In the betting Dixon was the favorite, the odds being $100 to $80 
and $50 to $40. Jimmy Colville disposed of $200 in a short time, he 
taking the Dixon end. Murphy's friends backed him so heartily, how¬ 
ever, that even bets were asked for before the men entered the ring. 

After 2 hours and 35 minutes of hammer-and-tongs fighting Dixon 
knocked his man out. It was all one-sided from the first. Dixon 
had everything his own way. Murphy’s hard luck followed him in 
this battle as in his last with Cal McCarthy, but he showed more 
pluck and endurance than are generally seen in the ring. He broke 
the thumb of his left hand in the very first round, and was prac¬ 
tically helpless throughout the fight. He stood up for 40 rounds 
and allowed Dixon to make a chopping block of him without 
wincing. The last four were sickening. Murphy’s left ear was al- 
most torn from his head, and the blood ran in streams over his body. 
In the fortieth round his body looked as though it had been flayed. 
He didn’t drop, but he was staggering against the ropes when one of 
his seconds mercifully threw up the sponge. 

Dixon won the fight with scarcely a scratch. His left eye was 
swollen a little, but he didn’t look as though he had been through a 
40-round fight. 


CHAPTER XX. 

DIXON WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP FROM m'cARTHY. 

That seventy-round draw with Cal McCarthy was a source of much 
dissatisfaction to Tom O’Rourke, Dixon’s manager, who wanted to 
keep his protege before the public with an unblemished record, and 
another fight was arranged to take place at Troy, N. Y., on May 31, 
1891. In the meantime, however, the cafe au lait champion had been 



54 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE KING. 


touring the country with a vaudeville company, meeting all comers, 
and winning many fights of the four-round variety. 

The pending affair of Cal McCarthy, which involved the title of 
champion and the “ Police Gazette ” Diamond Belt, was causing no 
end of excitement, and the rink wherein the affair came off was 
packed almost to suffocation with sporting men from New York, 
Boston, Albany, Troy and other big cities in the East. The fight was 
one of the first for which large public purses were given, $4,000 being 
the amount involved, with the same amount in stakes being put up 
by the fighters. They fought with two-ounce gloves, at 115 pounds, 
and Jere Dunne, of New York, was the referee. The affair lasted 
twenty-two rounds and was most bitterly contested. McCarthy, who 
was then making a bid for the highest attainable fistic honors, fought 
like a demon. He had been trained by Jack McMasters, now the 
athletic and football trainer to the Princeton University, and he 
brought his protege into the ring fit to the hour. But McCarthy seemed 
to lack the cleverness which he had shown on the occasion of his 
previous meeting with Dixon, or maybe it was that the latter’s ex¬ 
perience had been beneficial in developing his cleverness. Certain 
it is, however, that Dixon overshadowed the Jersey lad and gave him 
a terrible beating before McCarthy’s seconds threw up the sponge in 
recognition of defeat in the twenty-second round. 

This victory was a great triumph for the little colored lad, and 
Tom O’Rourke reissued his challenge to the world. 

At this time the game was flourishing on the Pacific coast and 
fistic celebrities from the Antipodes were constantly arriving in San 
Francisco. Among these were Abe Willis, the 115 pound champion 
of Australia. He came here looking for Dixon’s woolly scalp and 
little time was lost in arranging a match. The California Athletic 
Club offered a $5,000 purse for a fight involving championship 
honors. Dixon, not averse to risking his title, and being desirous of 
“ cinching ” his claim to the “ Police Gazette ” Diamond Belt, agreed 
to fight for the championship. 

The fight took place at the metropolis of the Golden Gate, on July 
28, 1891, and resulted in a great disappointment to the California 
sporting men, who had figured Willis out to at least have a chance 
to win. He didn’t, however; he proved to be a very ordinary fighter, 
and Dixon made short work of him, knocking him out in five rounds. 

No other opponent for the little champion presented himself, and 
Tom O’Rourke organized a traveling vaudeville specialty company 
and, with Dixon as the bright particular star of the aggregation, 
began a tour through the country, meeting all comers. During the 
several tours which Dixon made through the States, he probably 
participated in over six hundred four-round bouts with local aspirants 
for fistic fame without losing his prestige. This experience was invalu¬ 
able to him, for he found himself oftentimes compelled to go against 


DIXON AND JOHNNY MURPHY ON THE FLOOR TOGETHER 














DIXON AND ERNE SHAPE FOR THE FIRST ROUND. 




THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE KING. 


55 


men who weighed twenty pounds heavier than himself, and ripe, ex¬ 
perienced pugilists at that. His success was uninterrupted, due in no 
small measure to the indefatigable energies of his manager, Tom 
O’Rourke 


CHAPTER XXL 

DEFEATS FRED JOHNSON OF ENGLAND. 

Dixon’s next battle of importance was with Fred Johnson, the 
featherweight champion of England. It occurred at Coney island on 
June 27, and resulted in a victory for Dixon in fourteen rounds. 
Johnson was outclassed and never really had a chance to win, al¬ 
though he proved to be a game fellow with a gluttonous appetite for 
punishment. Two or three times during the fight the gong saved him 
from being knocked out; but at last the end came, and Dixon drop¬ 
ped him with a left-hand hook-punch on the jaw. The outcome of 
this affair led to a serious disagreement between Dixon and “ Brook¬ 
lyn Jimmy ” Carroll, a middleweight fighter who had espoused 
Johnson’s cause. Dixon offered to go into the ring with Carroll, and 
make a good-sized wager that the latter could not “ stop ” him in six 
rounds.^ Nothing came of it, however. 


CHAPTER XXII. 

SKELLY WAS HIS NEXT VICTIM. 

It was about this time that New Orleans, La., began to figure as a 
factor in the fistic game. Some big fights had been held there, and 
the Olympic Club decided to hold a fistic carnival to be participated 
in by champions, having for opponents the men who were recognized 
as the nearest legitimate claimants for the honors. It was on this 
occasion that John L. Sullivan and Jim Corbett fought their famous 
battle, which decided away the big fellow’s long cherished title. 
Jack McAuliffe and Billy Meyers, of Streator, Ill., also contested for 
the lightweight championship, which resulted in the former’s favor. 

Who to get for Dixon, however, was a puzzle for the club officials. 
He was the only recognized winner of a world’s championship title 
that America could boast of, and to have a champions’ carnival with¬ 
out O’Rourke’s protege would have been like the tragedy of Hamlet 
minus the personage about whom the story evolved. But the club 
was in a dilemma, and Dixon would have had to be passed up had 
not Jack Skelly, of Williamsburg, N. Y., been injected into the game 




56 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


by a zealous and too confident backer. Skelly had been earning 
laurels as an amateur. During a career which lasted for several 
years he had won two or three championships in the amateur di¬ 
vision, and displayed such unusual fistic accomplishments that his 
backer, Billy Reynolds, offered him as an opponent to Dixon, agree¬ 
ing to bet $5,000 upon the result in a side wager. The match was 
made in the Police Gazette office, Capt. Frank Williams, repre¬ 
senting the Olympic Club, agreeing to give a purse of $7,500 for the 
bout. The arrangements were acceptable to both parties and ar¬ 
ticles -were signed for the battle to take place on Sept. 6, 1892, the 
second day of the Carnival. 

The eventful day arrived. McAuliffe had defeated Myers the 
night previous, and the appetite of the fistic enthusiasts was whetted 
by the pleasing features of that encounter. Dixon tipped the scales 
at 118 pounds; Skelly was a pound and a half lighter. The fight 
was of short duration and the result proved the fallacy of putting an 
inexperienced though willing lad against a seasoned, thoroughly de¬ 
veloped fighter. Skelly made a wonderful effort; he showed clever¬ 
ness and was undoubtedly game, but in fistic science, ring general¬ 
ship and hitting qualities he was outclassed. For a few rounds he 
flattered his friends with a hope that he might win, but the realiza¬ 
tion that he was fighting against vastly superior odds came in the 
eighth round, when he was knocked out with a right-hand punch on 
the jaw. He didn’t recover for five minutes after being carried to 
his corner. 


CHAPTER XXIII. 

PRESENTED WITH THE “ POLICE GAZETTE ” BELT. 

It was in the Spring of 1893 that Dixon returned to the Metrop¬ 
olis, after an unusually brilliant season “ on the road.” He ap¬ 
peared at Miner’s Bowery Theatre, where, on May 31, Mr. Richard 
K. Fox took advantage of the opportunity to present him with the 
“Police Gazette” featherweight championship belt. The occasion 
was a gala one, the theatre being crowded with the friends of the 
little champion, and after the show the health of the latter and the 
donor of the belt was pledged in wine. Tom O’Rourke was jubi¬ 
lant and came in for no small portion of Dixon’s reflected glory. 

Things went along for a few months and Dixon, besides beating 
half a dozen aspirants for boxing honors, succeeded in getting on a 
fight with George Siddons. They boxed twelve rounds to a draw 
for $2,000. 

Eddie Pierce, another graduate from the local amateur ranks, 
elected to try conclusions with Dixon. The Coney Island Club was 



THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


67 


Still a flourishing institution and agreed to give a $6,500 purse. 
Pierce, like Skelly, failed to uphold his reputation, however. The 
fight took place on August 15 and Dixon won in three rounds, 
knocking Pierce out. 


CHAPTER XXIV. 

PLIMMER GETS A DECISION OVER DIXON. 

Then occurred an eventful episode in Dixon’s career. Billy 
Plimmer had acquired the title of bantam champion, and his ad¬ 
herents believed he had an excellent chance to defeat Dixon. The 
latter admitted his inability to “do” the weight stipulated by the 
Birmingham lad, and Plimmer proposed a four-round bout for 
points, to take place in public at Madison Square Garden, New 
York city. O’Rourke agreed on Dixon’s behalf, his object being to 
have the latter make it as near as possible an even contest, so that 
Plimmer might be induced to make a match. O’Rourke figured too 
closely upon this, however, and the result was a decision against 
his champion. Steve O’Donnell, of Australia, was the referee. In 
his opinion Plimmer, who was a mighty shifty and clever lad, out¬ 
pointed Dixon, and was awarded the honors. This was the first time 
a decision had been given against Dixon, and he felt very badly 
over it, for the reason that at any time during the contest he could 
have cut loose and made a better showing, and probably have beaten 
Plimmer. O’Rourke tried by every available means to draw Plim¬ 
mer into a match, but without success, the latter contenting him¬ 
self with the decision he had gained. 


CHAPTER XXV. 

FIGHTS THREE DRAWS WITH YOUNG GRIFFO. 

A dozen or more brief affairs, just to keep his hand in, and Dixon 
found himself matched with Young Griffo for twenty rounds in 
Boston on June 29, 1894. The Australian displayed a lot of clever¬ 
ness, and although fifteen pounds heavier than his opponent, could 
not defeat him, and the result was a draw. Six months later, Jan. 19, 
1895, they tried it again, this time for twenty-five rounds, at Coney 
Island, and again the honors were even at the end. Johnny Griffin, 
of Braintree, Mass., was Dixon’s next opponent in a long argument. 
They fought twenty-five rounds, at Boston, on August 27, 1895, and 
Dixon won. Young Griffo and he for the third time fought a draw, 




58 THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 

this one of ten rounds under the auspices of the Manhattan Athletic 
Club of New York city. Frank Erne, a clever young Buffalonian, 
who was destined to be the man to win a decision from Dixon, had 
been doing some wonderful things in the fistic line, defeating lots 
of first-class men, and he was matched against the champion for ten 
rounds. The result was a draw. 


CHAPTER XXVI. 

BOXES PEDLAR PALMER AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. 

In January, 1896, “Pedlar” Palmer, the London bantam, who had 
just gained a decisive victory over Billy Plimmer in England, took 
a flying trip to America and he and George were matched for a six- 
round bout at Madison Square Garden. Everybody had heard tales 
of Pedlar's surpassing cleverness, and on Jan. 30 the big amphi¬ 
theatre was hardly large enough to hold the people who tried to get 
within the walls. Palmer’s reputation as a clever lad was not un¬ 
founded at the boxing game. For the first three rounds he main¬ 
tained a nice lead over his colored opponent, but when the latter, 
during the last half of the contest, cut loose in his familiar style— 
that is, his fighting style—Palmer showed his inferiority, and it was 
apparent that in a fight of any long duration Dixon would win. 
Every inducement was offered Palmer to remain here and fight 
Dixon, but the trial convinced him that he was against too stiff a 
game and he popped back to England. 

Jerry Marshall, of Australia, was Dixon’s next victim. They 
fought in Boston on March 17, 1896, and the Australian quit after 
seven rounds. 

Dixon and Tom O’Rourke parted company at this juncture. 
Dixon had been dissipating very hard and a disagreement was the 
result. Dixon undertook to get along without a manager. He ar¬ 
ranged a twenty-round match with Martin Flaherty, of Lowell, 
Mass., a fighter of the rough and ready type, who depended upon 
tactics rarely employed by fair fighters to win his battles. Dixon 
came within an ace of being beaten, good critics claiming that the 
decision of a draw was an injustice to Flaherty. 

The operation of the Horton law, permitting boxing in New York 
State, began on Sept, i, 1896, and Tom O’Rourke, who was associ¬ 
ated with the writer in the ownership of the Broadway Athletic Club, 
decided to match Dixon against Tommy White, of Chicago, for the 
opening attraction on Sept. 25, 1896. Dixon failed to display true 
championship form. His mode of living had begun to tell upon him 
and he was unable to give White the kind of a fight he might have 



DIXON LEADS LEFT FOR THE HEAD AND RIGHT FOR THE BODY, 













THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 59 

done had he been in good condition. The consequence was that the 
Chicago lad fought him a very even battle and the decision was a 
draw. 


CHAPTER XXVII. 

ERNE GAINS A DECISION OVER DIXON. 

Then came Dixon’s eventful fight with Frank Erne, of Buffalo, 
on Nov. 27, 1896, at the Broadway Athletic Club. For the second 
time in his career Dixon heard the announcement of a decision in 
favor of his opponent. The referee was Sam C. Austin, the sport¬ 
ing editor of the Police Gazette, and in his report of the fight, 
which appeared in that paper, he said; 

“ Frank Erne, of Buffalo, received the decision over George Dixon 
in a twenty-round contest, which took place before the Broadway 
Athletic Club, New York, on Nov. 27. For ten years Dixon has 
fought his way into prominence as the recognized featherweight 
champion of the world. He won his title in engagements that in¬ 
volved the total annihilation of his antagonists—finish fights. In 
that peculiar line of work he has no superior in the ring to-day, but 
as a scientific boxer he has superiors, and as he and Erne agreed to 
box a scientific contest, involving the finer points of the game, elim¬ 
inating the chance possibilities of a knockout, so must the merits of 
the affair be adjudged. Erne proved to be in every respect a su¬ 
perior boxer; he outpointed Dixon at long range, beat him decisively 
at in-fighting, and displayed a thorough knowledge of ring general¬ 
ship, besides possessing courage and fearlessness—a quality which 
was lacking in other men who have faced the redoubtable little col¬ 
ored featherweight in the ring. He was great in attack, showing himself 
to be a splendid judge of distance, while his defense work was so 
admirable as to call forth spontaneous applause from veteran ring- 
goers, who were able to appreciate the excellent quality of his work. 
He had evidently made a close study of Dixon’s peculiar style of 
fighting. He timed himself to be well in on his antagonist when 
the latter swung his favorite one-two punches—left at the body and 
the right at the head. Erne blocked these cleverly, and made his 
return deliveries at short range with telling effect. 

“ Against him Dixon’s famous rushing tactics were futile. Erne 
met those rushes with a straight left hand against which Dixon 
rushed as he might against a stone wall. Times without number 
Erne stopped Dixon with this blow, and he augmented the force of 
it with a wicked right which seldom failed to land upon the body. 

‘‘ Dixon’s successes in the past were due to the fact that his oppo¬ 
nents have never tried to analyze his peculiar style of fighting, with 



THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PEIZE RING. 


a view to overcoming his advantages. Tommy White utilized a 
straight left hand lead to some purpose, but it remained for Erne to 
solve the problem by blocking Dixon’s leads and stepping in with a 
quick two-handed follow. 

Neither man was badly punished or distressed at the end, and 
there is no doubt could have gone on for many rounds longer, but 
at the end of the stipulated number Erne had a long lead in the 
matter of points, and the decision in his favor was received with 
uproarious applause. 

** It was a new experience for the veteran followers of the ring to 
see the hitherto invincible Dixon outmastered at his own game by a 
sturdy, vigorous youth. For the first time in their lives men who 
have followed Dixon in all his important battles saw him put upon 
the defensive. They saw him fought into his own corner and against 
the ropes. They saw him stand back, not afraid, but trembling 
nevertheless and wondering at the unlooked-for ability of the man 
before him. 

“ When they saw Erne meet him with a straight left hand, that he 
stopped seldom, except with his face or body, they could scarcely 
believe the evidence of their senses. It was not until they saw him 
backing away from Erne that they were forced to the conclusion that 
Dixon, for the first time in his life in his own class, was meeting a 
pugilist who asked no favors from him. 

According to their agreement the lads had weighed 122 pounds at 
three o’clock, so that in the matter of weight neither had the advan¬ 
tage. Erne was the bigger frame and to make the weight he was more 
finely drawn. The muscles of his body stood out clear and sharp, 
but the dark lines under his eyes told that he must have done a great 
deal of hard work and suffered some to scale the limit. 

He appeared strong and confident, however, and never once dis¬ 
played any of that temerity or half-heartedness which had proved 
fatal to many of Dixon’s former opponents. His body appeared to 
be of alabaster whiteness almost, when contrasted with his dark blue, 
neat-fitting trunks. Although lean, he looked strong and proved it in 
the contest just before him. 

Dixon, shorter by an inch but possessing all the confidence born 
of many victories, some of them hard-fought and all of them clean, 
faced the white boy smilingly. His skin shone like bronze, and the 
white breech clout which he wore gave to it a deeper hue. 

‘Tf he was not as good and as strong as at any stage of his career, he 
gave no indication of it. His skin had the tinge of health in it. 
When he walked to the centre of the ring, his step was as elastic and 
his air as confident as ever. 

And in the contest itself, at least until he had been stopped re¬ 
peatedly by that terrible left of Erne’s, he worked with that tireless 
energy which has been characteristic of him in all his battles. 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


61 


^‘For the first twelve rounds Dixon struggled along gallantly. 
Although severely punished, he declined to believe that the honors 
were slipping away from him. 

‘‘He had been in many a tight place before, and always had come 
out on top. But, with the passing of the twelfth round his confi¬ 
dence and his steam began to ooze away. Then it was that sport¬ 
ing men for the first time saw him fight on the defensive. 

“In the seventeenth round he began to pull away from Erne, and 
from that time to the finish he clearly battled for a draw, but Erne’s 
right to the decision was not to be denied.” 


CHAPTER XXVIII. 

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID ABOUT IT. 

Subsequently Referee Austin had this to say in reply to the unfav¬ 
orable criticisms upon the decision which emanated from Dixon’s 
adherents : 

“As to the justice or injustice of the sentiments publicly and pri¬ 
vately expressed I leave others to judge, reserving for myself the 
consolation that I acted conscientiously and without prejudice in 
giving a decision that to my mind was fair, and governed impar¬ 
tially by what transpired in the ring. 

“I rejoice in the fact that my opinion upon the merits of the en¬ 
counter is shared by the majority of the gentlemen who wrote the 
descriptions of the fight for the New York city newspapers. Being 
eye-witnesses of the affair, and accredited with possessing more than 
an average amount of knowledge upon the subject, and the ability 
to express their views intelligently, their opinions deserve respectful 
consideration, and I take pleasure in quoting briefly from them: 

“Mr. Dobbins, of the United Press, had the following to say in his 
comments: ‘Frank Erne, the clever featherweight from Buffalo, 
went up several rungs in the ladder of pugilistic fame by outpointing 
George Dixon, the famous colored champion, in their 20-round en¬ 
counter. The decision was received with applause, but there were 
many who thought that the result should have been a draw. The 
referee, however, considered that Erne had outpointed his dusky op¬ 
ponent with a good deal to spare. It was a fast and splendid battle 
from start to finish. Dixon commenced hostilities with his usual 
whirlwind rushes, but in Erne he met his match. The Buffalo boy 
stopped the colored cyclone with straight left jabs in the face. . . , 
Dixon did nearly all the leading, but with the exception of a series 
of rights on the body was invariably stopped and countered, and, in 



THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE KING. 


addition, when Erne took a hand in the leading, he smashed the 
hitherto invincible boy without ceremony. 

“ ‘ There is no doubt that in Erne Dixon has found his match. The 
Buffalo boy has improved immensely since his meeting with Dixon 
at the New Manhattan A. C. a year ago, on which occasion they 
fought a draw. Then Erne was on the long range defensive through¬ 
out, but to-night he mixed things up with George at close quarters, 
and showed a big improvement in hitting powers. 

“ ‘ Beyond the red and raw epidermis on his ribs the Buffalo boy 
showed none the worse for the encounter at the finish, and was, if 
anything, a trifle fresher than Dixon.’ 

“Joe Vila, of the New York Sun^wvotQ' ‘Erne showed remarkable 
cleverness, and proved the hardest man that Dixon ever faced. . , , 
Erne deserves credit for putting up the fastest aggressive work of 
any pugilist that has met the champion, not barring Tommy White, 
of Chicago. He stood up to Dixon’s fierce rushes like a man and 
was not afraid to mix things. At in-fighting he was perhaps a bit 
superior, but at long range he was clearly outclassed. In defensive 
tactics. Erne showed all the skill of a real ring general, and through¬ 
out the encounter he never lost his head, keeping well within himself 
and taking no chances. Dixon was in reasonably good condition, 
but he did not fight as in days gone by. His tactics were the same 
that he has used in all of his battles, rushing with double swings for 
the body and jaw. He did little or no straight jabbing, leaving that 
method of attack to his antagonist. He paid more attention to the 
short ribs and wind than to the vital spot on the jaw. Dixon has 
undoubtedly gone back in strength, for Erne was able to stop his 
rushes with hard clinches and straight lefts that almost always 
landed on the face.’ 

“Eugene Comiskey, the writer on pugilism for the Morning Jour¬ 
nal^ said: ‘Erne defeated Dixon in twenty rounds of the prettiest 
and cleverest kind of fighting ever seen in this vicinity. 

“ ‘ It was a clever fight from the very start to the finish, and Erne 
impressed the spectators as a winner after the very first round. 
Dixon appeared drawn too fine, while Erne was very strong at every 
stage of the contest. 

“ ‘ Dixon was badly used up. Both eyes were almost closed and he 
had two gashes under his left optic, while his nose and ear were all 
puffed. 

“ ‘ Erne, on the other hand, did not bear a mark or a bruise and 
retired from the ring almost as fresh as when he entered it. The 
decision was undoubtedly a popular one.' 

“John Boden, sporting editor of the New Yorkin expressing 
his opinion subsequently said: 

“ ‘ Dixon was on his feet at the finish, and was able to go on, but in 
the opinion of Sam Austin, the referee. Erne had done the better 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


63 


work, and he declared him the winner. His decision has been criti¬ 
cised freely and harshly. Mr. Austin in all probability was prepared 
for such criticism. 

“ ‘ Where two men are on their feet and able to go on at the end of 
a limited round contest there always will be a difference of opinion. 
This quite natural antagonism was accentuated in the Erne-Dixon 
case by the fact that the latter was the champion of his class, and 
has an exceedingly large number of admirers. Many of them bet 
upon him. Every one of them was displeased because a decision 
against him was given in a contest which was not to a finish. 

“ ‘ The fact that the decision was given in a limited-round contest 
and while Dixon was on his feet and able to proceed is responsible 
for much of the criticism to which Mr. Austin has been subjected. But 
the referee was there to give a decision—to pick a winner if he could. 
It was not his business to consider that Dixon was the champion of 
the class. At his hands Dixon was entitled to no more consideration 
than Erne. If, in his opinion, Erne did the better work in the twenty 
rounds in which the contest lasted, it was his duty to decide in 
Erne’s favor. What was he to do—admit Erne’s superior work, but 
decide the contest a draw, giving as a reason that he did not like to 
decide against the champion simply because he was the champion ? 
That would have been an injustice to Erne, and Sam Austin could 
not be guilty of doing an injustice to anybody. 

“ ‘ In the opinion of the writer the decision was a good one.’ 

“The late Howard Hackett, who was known all over the country as 
the fearless and impartial critic of the New York Worlds wrote : 
‘George Dixon, for years looked upon by the entire sporting world 
as the greatest fighter of his weight and inches in the world, was de¬ 
feated in a 2o-round contest by Frank Erne, of Buffalo. The de¬ 
cision was a popular one, but many impartial critics freely declared 
that Mr. Austin would have covered himself with glory by declaring 
the bout a draw. So far as straight punching and clean hits were 
concerned, the decision was well merited. To be sure, Dixon was 
the aggressor during the good part of the engagement, but his wild 
swings were in very many instances cleverly stopped by Erne. The 
Boston boy did not display his old-time form to great advantage.’ 

“Finally Langdon Smith, who has reported every fistic event in the 
country during the past decade for the New York Herald, had this 
to say in his article : ‘ The fistic star of George Dixon has set, tem¬ 

porarily at least. The featherweight champion of the world was 
beaten by Frank Erne, of Buffalo. Dixon was not knocked out. 
Neither was there any knockdowns during the entire battle of twenty 
rounds. Dixon showed his old-time aggressiveness from the start, 
but he was not the springing wildcat of other days. It was the old story 
of the pitcher going to the well once too often. George Dixon in 
his day has probably knocked out more fighters and would-be fight- 


64 


THE BL-4CK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


ers than any man living. In the opinion of most of the sporting 
men who saw his fight with Erne he has gone his limit and has fal¬ 
len back into the ruck. 

“ ‘ He was certainly not the wonder of old. This, however, detracts 
in no ways from the victory of Erne. Dixon did most of the leading, 
even to the finish, but his blows were ineffectual, and not once dur¬ 
ing the entire twenty rounds did he land on Erne’s neck with his right. 

‘‘ ‘ The Buffalo man gave him punch for punch until the end, and 
in the last four rounds all Dixon’s force was expended. He had shot 
his bolt. On the contrary, Erne was good and strong to the finish, 
and had the battle gone ten rounds further he would have emphasized 
his lead, round by round to the end.’ 


CHAPTER XXIX. 

DIXON MENDS HIS WAYS AND TRAINS FOR ERNE. 

To retrieve his lost laurels was now Dixon’s only ambition. Natur¬ 
ally, Tom O’Rourke tried to arrange another match with Erne, but 
the latter, flaunting his title of champion, started upon a starring 
tour through the country. Failing to get any recognition from the 
latter, Dixon made a match with Australian Billy Murphy for $2,000 
a side and the gate receipts, at the Broadway Athletic Club on Jan. 
22, 1897. Murphy proved to be an easy victim, and was knocked 
out by a stomach punch in the sixth round. 

Dixon, realizing the necessity of being in good condition for Erne 
when the latter agreed to fight again, began now to take care of him¬ 
self and gave up his dissipating habits and trained carefully and con¬ 
scientiously. He did not do so well as expected of him when he 
fought Jack Downey, of Brooklyn, a twenty-round draw at the Broad¬ 
way Athletic Club, on February 15. When he had Downey for an 
opponent in a four-round bout at Miner’s Bowery Theatre two years 
before, he. put him out in two rounds. 

Frank Erne had become convinced by this time that as a pugilis¬ 
tic vaudeville star he was a pronounced and emphatic frost, and he 
decided to do some more fighting. Martin Flaherty, of Lowell, got 
a decision over him, and there was nothing for him to do but accept 
Dixon’s defi. 



AUSTIN GIBBONS AN EASY VICTIM 








WEST STAGGERS WALCOTT WITH A HARD RIGHT ON THE JAW. 









THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE BING. 


65 


CHAPTER XXX. 

DIXON REGAINS HIS TITLE. 

They fought at the Broadway Athletic Club on April 7, and after 
twenty-five rounds Dixon regained his title, being adjudged the 
winner without a dissenting voice. The contest was remarkable in 
many respects. 

The men had agreed to weigh in at 122 pounds, and each posted 
$500 forfeit with Sam Austin of the Police Gazette, to guarantee 
scaling in. When the weighing-in hour came at noon on the day of 
the battle Dixon hopped upon the scales with a confident smile* 
The bar had been set at 122 pounds, and it never even trembled as 
the colored boxer balanced himself lightly on his stocking feet. 

Erne approached the scale attired only in a bland smile. “I guess- 
I’m a bit overweight,” he said, in a half shrinking way, as if wonder¬ 
ing what effect this statement would have on Dixon’s manager. 

“Well, you look pretty big for 122,” was O’Rourke’s rejoinder,, 
as he bent over the scales and inspected the beam. Erne was over¬ 
weight, and when O’Rourke got through moving up the counter bal¬ 
ance Erne’s weight registered 130^ pounds, or 83^ above the stipu¬ 
lated figure. Dixon’s real weight was said to be 1163^. Jim 
Kennedy and O’Rourke then had a wordy discussion. The former 
objected to paying the $500 forfeit, but finally agreed to settle for $250. 

O’Rourke was inclined to refuse to permit Dixon to give away so^ 
much weight, and as late as 8 o’clock he was considering the advisa¬ 
bility of calling off the show and returning the people their money* 
Spike Sullivan and Kid McPartland were begging O’Rourke to give 
them the chance of going against Erne. 

It was the little stout-hearted colored champion, however, who 
settled all argument. 

“Tom,” he said, “it’s all right; I’ll fight him if he weighs a ton.” 

O’Rourke shook his head obstinately, but Dixon was firm. He 
was in magnificent condition, and decided, for the last time, to go 
out of his class and fight a lightweight, for Erne was a full-fledged 
lightweight. At 7 o’clock he weighed more than 133 pounds, and it 
is safe to assume he was 135 pounds when the bout began. Dixon, 
was in the neighborhood of 120 pounds. 

As soon as O’Rourke had placed Dixon comfortably in his chair,, 
he called for order, and informed the crowd of the state of affairs. 

There was a wild yell of indignation when the manager said Erne 
was 834 pounds overweight, and from several parts of the house 
came the cry: 


66 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


' He doesn’t want to disappoint you gentlemen,” said O’Rourke, 
pointing to Dixon, and the sporting men gave«three cheers for the 
plucky little champion. Erne’s entrance into the ring was devoid 
of applause. 

When Referee Roche entered the ring he caused the announce¬ 
ment that all bets were off to be made, giving as his reason that those 
who had wagered on Dixon were ignorant of the advantage Erne 
had in the weights, and to hold them to their agreements until the 
information had been disseminated would be unfair. Many bets 
were made, however, after Roche’s decision had been given, even 
money being bet and taken freely by Dixon’s adherents. 

Thv:; fight was a disappointment. Erne showing none of the speed, 
defe>'ise or hitting qualities he-displayed when he fought Dixon before 
and gained a decision over him. 

The opening two rounds were ridiculously tame. Dixon’s tactics 
heretofore have always been to rush from the clang of the gong, but 
to the surprise of the crowd he began to fiddle and feint for an 
opening. For nearly two minutes this manoeuvering was kept up. 
Erne was not to be drawn into making a lead, however, and finally 
the colored champion opened hostilities with a left lead for the face. 
The Buffalo boy neatly blocked it and got in an easy counter. 
There were only two other blows struck in this round, Dixon landing 
two light lefts. 

There was little to the second round, the crowd cheering lustily 
when the colored boy landed one of his old left leads with rapid 
right swing following. Erne missing the counter. The Buffalo boy 
was playing his old game, strictly on the defensive. 

The opening of the third round was hot. Dixon dashed in at 
once in his old-time style and landed, two clinches ensuing. The 
colored boy then landed a beautiful flush blow on Erne’s e3^e, the 
flesh puffing up immediately. The Buffalo boy evened this up, 
however, by a terrific right-hand blow over the heart. 

From now until the eleventh round Dixon fought in his old rapid 
style and had a nice margin of each round. He was fighting Erne 
on new lines. For the first time in his marvelous ring career the 
colored champion dropped his famous swinging left lead for the 
body and jaw and depended almost entirely on straight leads. It 
was a departure that puzzled the Buffalo lad, who has carefully 
studied Dixon’s method of fighting. It also nonplussed ring follow¬ 
ers, who have always declared that the colored boy had only one 
style, a left swing and a right follow. 

In these first eleven rounds Erne did not show the dexterity of his 
previous encounter with Dixon. He was shifty enough on his feet, 
but seemed uncertain and slow at critical stages. The confident 
bearing that distinguished him in the last contest was sadly missing, 
and the sports whispered to each other: 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF TEE PEIZE RING. 


67 


“ Martin Flaherty took the heart out of him at the New York 
Athletic Club.” 

Beginning with the twelfth round Erne shook off his slowness and 
began to put more life in his work. He got in two clipping right- 
hand blows on Dixon’s jaw, and the last one would probably have 
placed Dixon in danger had it landed an inch or so further up. 
The colored boy drew back the short distance just in time. It was 
the first round that Erne had made an even thing of it. 

Dixon took a decided lead in the thirteenth round, driving Erne 
all over the ring. He got in one right-hand swing on the Buffalo 
boy’s stomach that made Erne gasp and wince with pain. It was 
directly in the pit, and Erne went back to his corner tired and ex¬ 
hausted. 

Dixon increased his advantage round after round after this, 
although Erne was putting up a much better argument than in the 
first half of the fight. Dixon was always the aggressor. Erne appar¬ 
ently being too cautious to lead. This timidity angered the crowd 
and at the close of the twentieth round hisses came from all parts of 
the building. 

The Buffalo boy came up for the twenty-first round vicious and 
determined to bring the affair to an end. He began leading and 
time after time swung his dangerous right in efforts to land a knock¬ 
out blow. He caught Dixon a few times and there was plenty of 
steam behind the blows. 

In the twenty-second round Erne depended almost entirely on his 
right and followed Dixon around the ring, trying to land a finishing 
blow. It looked as if the colored man was weary, for he kept away 
from the Buffalo man as much as he could. Erne landed a terrific 
right-hand uppercut under the heart. 

The twenty-third round was Erne’s. He forced matters through¬ 
out, and the colored champion had a badly injured eye as he went 
to his corner. 

In the last two rounds Erne rushed desperately and there were 
many vicious clinches. The Buffalo lad kept swinging his right, but 
Dixon had his eye on it all the time, so that no vulnerable point could 
be reached. In the twenty-fifth round the colored boy kept away 
as much as he could. The call of time came with Erne punching 
away angrily in a clinch. 

“ The referee decides in favor of Dixon,” yelled Announcer 
Harvey, and the thousands went wild with joy. It was a popular de¬ 
cision. 

Referring to the fight, Sam Austin wrote in the Police Gazette: 

“One of the most satisfactory things that have taken place in con¬ 
nection with the ring of late was George Dixon’s defeat of Frank 
Erne, and many of the former’s friends are claiming that it was a 
just retribution visited upon the Buffalo lad for resorting to unfair 


68 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE KING. 


and unsportsmanlike means to accomplish his rival’s defeat. Erne 
was always a generous opponent, but it is impossible to reconcile 
that opinion now with his recent unsportsmanlike action. No con¬ 
struction of the facts can be made that is favorable to the Buffalo 
man, and there is less excuse for him in acting unfairly than there 
might be for a less intelligent fighter. Boxing, as conducted to-day, 
is, on the whole, an honest game, but Erne’s weighing-in trick is cal¬ 
culated to injure it, and deserves no sympathy. When Erne weighed 
in S /4 pounds overweight he did not keep faith with the club, Dixon 
or the public. He took on the weight deliberately, and gave the 
club no chance to declare the bout off and substitute another. He 
knew that he would have the club and Dixon in a corner; that 
rather than disappoint the crowd they would concede the immense 
eight pounds handicap. It was a shabby trick, and if Erne adheres 
to his alleged determination to retire, no one will regret it. Dixon— 
the featherweight champion—beat him notwithstanding the trick, 
and the victory was deservedly popular. ’ 


CHAPTER XXXI. 

GRIFFIN WAS A GAME LAD. 

Johnny Griffin, of Braintree, Mass., who had been in retirement 
since two years before, when he was beaten by Dixon in twenty-five 
rounds, now reappeared upon the scene and agreed to fight him 
again. This battle was also held under the auspices of the Broad¬ 
way Athletic Club on April 26, and resulted in another victory for 
the indomitable little colored lad. Griffin, however, gave an exhi¬ 
bition of gameness hardly paralleled in the annals of the ring. 

It did not seem possible that flesh and blood could stand the bat¬ 
tering which was administered to him, but he stood it for twenty 
rounds, and was prepared to go on had the contest been extended. 
The spectators who witnessed his game and determined struggle 
against the little colored wonder voiced their admiration in three 
cheers and a tiger, which they offered up with all the strength of 
their lungs after the referee had declared Dixon to be the winner. It 
was a rare tribute to a defeated man, but it was not undeserved. 

There never was a more popular fighter before the public than 
George Dixon. Apart from his fistic accomplishments he always 
conducted himself decorously, was ever a gentleman in his manners, 
and made friends everywhere. Even when he fought white opponents 
in the Southern States, notably New Orleans, where the race question 
still arouses antagonism, he was treated with the utmost consideration 
by the white people, and his victory aroused no ill-feeling or prejudice. 



THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PKIZE KING. 


69 


It is no exaggeration to say that his earnings since he began his 
career in the ring have been upwards of $200,000, but notwithstand¬ 
ing this, he has comparatively little of it left. Much of Dixon’s 
success may be attributed to Tom O’Rourke, his manager. No man 
could have been more astute, careful, patient and considerate than 
he was in handling his protege. Dixon trusted him blindly and 
never ventured to question O’Rourke’s efforts in his behalf. The 
latter is deserving of quite as much of the credit of Dixon’s success 
as the latter is himself. 


CHAPTER XXXII. 

JOE WALCOTT, THE BLACK DEMON. 

Another of Tom O’Rourke’s discoveries was Joe Walcott, who 
earned the sobriquet of “ Black Demon,” through his aggressive 
style of fighting in the ring. Walcott was born in Barbadoes, April 
7, 1872, and before beginning his fistic career served before the mast 
on ships plying between Boston and West Indian ports. It was in 
Boston, Mass., that he first displayed his fistic accomplishments and 
attracted the attention of the pugilistic connoisseurs. Unlike Dixon, 
he was very black in color and every facial feature was character¬ 
istic of his race. He was very short of stature, standing only 5 feet 
inches. He made up for this deficiency, however, by having a 
massive frame, short bull neck, and legs and arms enormously de¬ 
veloped and muscular. He was in every respect a fighting machine, 
and delighted in being cruel to an opponent even after it was demon¬ 
strated that he would be the victor. 

Walcott began his ring career in Boston, defeating a local lad 
named Tom Powers, in two rounds. During his novitiate he beat a 
dozen or more fairly good fighters, without sustaining a defeat. He 
did not really attract any attention, however, until he joined 
O’Rourke and Dixon, in the fall of 1892. His first essay under the 
former's management was a triumph. During the week of October 
22-29, he met all comers in Philadelphia, and had for opponents 
Fred Morris, Muldoon’s Cyclone, Joe Larg and Andy Watson, three 
of the toughest customers there were in the black division. His 
bouts with Morris and Watson ended with honors even, but he beat 
Larg decisively, knocking him out in three rounds. O’Rourke kept 
him at this sort of thing for another year. During 1893 Walcott 
traveled with the combination, meeting all comers. 

His victories included Wolf Cohen, one round; Jim McNamara, 
four rounds; Buck Hamilton, one round; James Lawson, one round; 
Max Pierce, two rounds; Jack Cox, four rounds; Professor Green, 
two rounds; Bob Reardon, four rounds; Mitchell, three rounds; 



70 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


Lee Damro, three rounds; George Gibbons, one round; Jack Dob¬ 
son, four rounds; Jack Hannan, two rounds; Billy Dougherty, four 
rounds; Jack Rehan, four rounds; Dan Mason, two rounds; Black 
Pearl of Philadelphia, three rounds; Talbot Daley, two rounds; Leon, 
two rounds; Bill Morse, three rounds; Joe Johnson, four rounds; 
Dan Murphy, one round, and perhaps twenty-five others. 

His first fight of any duration, however, occurred on June 5, 1893, 
when he defeated Paddy McGuiggon, at Newark, N. J., in ten rounds. 

His first reverse occurred at the Academy of Music, in New 
York, on June 17, 1893. He was pitted against Mike Harris, of 
New York, in a four round bout for points. Honest John Kelly, 
who was the referee, decided in Harris’s favor. This decision re¬ 
sulted in another match being made, which took place in Boston 
just a year later, in which Harris v;as knocked out in six rounds. 
Walcott had in the meantime fought a lot of second raters. 


CHAPTER XXXIII. 

TRACEY KNOCKED OUT. 

One affair, however, is worthy of extended reference. Tommy 
Tracey, who claimed the welterweight championship of Australia, 
came East after making a negative sort of a debut in San Francisco, 
and was matched against Walcott to fight in Boston, on April 19, 
1894. This was an eventful occasion for the “Black Demon;” for 
the first time he found himself matched against a fighter of quality, 
and much depended upon the outcome. The fight lasted sixteen 
rounds, Tracey displayed all the cleverness as a boxer for which he 
was noted, and showed a splendid knowledge of ring tactics, but he 
could not resist the onslaught of his black opponent, who seemed 
proof against punishment. Walcott knocked Tracey out in the 
sixteenth round, but not until he had beaten and mutilated him in 
the most horrible manner. This victory sent Walcott’s pugilistic 
reputation away up, and O’Rourke taking advantage of his oppor¬ 
tunity posted a substantial deposit with Richard K. Fox, and 
challenged Jack McAuliffe for the title of lightweight champion. 
The latter procrastinated, and while not absolutely refusing to fight, 
delayed matters in a way which proved beyond all doubt that he 
had no liking for the job. 

Dick O’Brien, of Lewiston, Me., was knocking around Boston 
about this time looking for a pugilistic engagement. He was weP 
along in the welterweight class at this time, and sporting men of the 
Hub had a decidedly good opinion of his fistic capabilities. O’Rourke 
ignored the difference in weight and matched Walcott against him. 



















TOMMY WEST MAKES THE “BLACK DEMON VERY TIRED. 





THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE RING. 


71 


The fight took place in Boston, on July 6 following, and will live 
long in the recollection of those who witnessed it, as one of the most 
viciously contested battles in the history of the ring. It was a 
slashing mill in which both men were punished badly. Finally in 
the twelfth round, O’Brien, who had been staggering and reeling 
, about the ring, was floored by a straight right-hand punch on the 
chin. He was unable to get up and the referee counted him out. 


CHAPTER XXXIV. 

/ 

AUSTIN GIBBONS WAS AN EASY VICTIM, 

Then along came Austin Gibbons, whom many believe to be the 
only lightweight who had a legitimate claim to talk fight to McAuliffe. 
Walcott and he were matched to fight at the Atlantic Athletic Club, 
Coney Island, on October 15, 1894. Gibbons proved to be a dis¬ 
appointment. In ^our rounds, Walcott had him decisively beaten 
and stretched insensible in the ring. , 

Another tour with the O’Rourke-Dixon combination during the 
winter of 1894-95, found him knocking out all comers again, and his 
victims in short, impromptu bouts, were perhaps a hundred. 


CHAPTER XXXV. 

MYSTERIOUS BILLY SMITH GETS A DRAW. 

Mysterious Billy Smith, who had earned quite a reputation as a 
fighter in the West, journeyed to Boston and evinced a disposition 
to fight O’Rourke’s champion. Smith and Tommy Ryan had fought 
twice for the welterweight championship and honors between them 
were even. Walcott’s challenge to Ryan had been refused, but the 
mysterious one displayed an inclination to back out of an engage¬ 
ment with the black fellow. They fought in Boston, on March i, 
1895, and the black fellow was a pronounced favorite. 

He realized the hopes and expectations of his admirers, for he won 
clearly enough, although the referee’s decision was a draw. This 
was the opinion of nine-tenths of the 4,000 spectators, and the 
general sentiment was that Smith was extremely lucky in getting a 
split. There was some misunderstanding about the termination of 
the contest in the fifteenth round, for when the fight reached that 
eventful crisis, Tom O’Rourke, Walcott’s manager, wanted to go on to 
a finish, maintaining that Wescott, Smith’s manager, verbally agreed 




72 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PlilZE RING. 


to do so, but he referred O’Rourke to the articles of agreement 
which stipulated that the men box only 15 rounds. Walcott said 
that Smith was a coward because he refused to continue. 

Had the contest been decided on scientific points the referee, or 
any fair-minded man, could not have hesitated to award it to 
Walcott. To be sure Smith was aggressive, but was unable to land 
his blows, while Walcott’s left drives at long range were placed with 
phenomenal accuracy. 

Walcott’s fame as a rusher and in-fighter had created a profound 
impression on Smith, and it was, indeed, a surprise to many to see 
the latter open the contest with long range fighting. It was patent to 
even the novices present that Smith was simply outclassed at his 
style of fighting, his left drives going wide of their mark and his 
right swings cutting the air in the spot where Walcott once stood, 
only to find O'Rourke’s champion come bobbing up ten feet away 
with a broad smile on his face, showing his fine set of ivories to great 
advantage. 

In Walcott’s corner were his manager, Tom O’Rourke, champion 
George Dixon, Jack Havlin and Morris Kelly. Smith had in his 
corner Billy Hennessy, Howie Hodgkins, Jim Gillon and Frank 
Rose. Capt. Bill Daly, the master of ceremonies, then introduced 
the referee, Barney Aaron, who was given a rousing reception. The 
timers were Mike Bradley for Walcott, Dan Murphy for Smith and 
Ed McAvoy for the club, under the auspices of which the contest 
was given. 

When the gong sounded for the first round both quickly sprang to 
the centre and fiddled for an opening. Smith tried for a left jab, 
which he missed, and they came together with a bang. Smith holding 
Walcott up. When he let him down he landed a hard smash over 
the heart. Walcott showed his dislike for such familiarity by break¬ 
ing ground, and then coming in with the force of a pile driver, send¬ 
ing his left crashing on Smith’s nose, spreading the crimson fluid all 
over the latter’s face. 

When they came together for the second round. Smith landed his 
favorite left jab lightly on the mark, which tended to ruffle Walcott’s 
feathers, for he went at Smith like a bull, driving Smith to the ropes 
with a storm of blows. In breaking away Walcott tried to land a 
short right chop, but Smith screwed his head clear of the dangerous 
swing, and heavily uppercut Walcott. 

They were no sooner separated than they were at it again, and 
Walcott landed a terrific swing on Smith’s face which sent him clean 
off his pins. They went at it again. Smith using very foul tactics when 
the men were locked together. 

At the opening of the third round Walcott landed a vicious upper¬ 
cut as a result of Smith’s unsuccessful lead, and before the latter 
could regain his equilibrium, Walcott administered the same blow 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 73 

with even greater force. Smith managed to get in a fairly stiff 
counter, and Walcott retaliated with a bang on the ear with his right. 
Then his left went crashing into Smith’s body. A clinch followed, 
in which Walcott claimed that Smith was fouling him. 

They fiddled for an instant at the opening of the fourth round, 
and then Walcott rushed to quarters, only to find Smith’s left fore¬ 
arm tightly jammed underneath his chin, and Smith’s right smashing 
him on the heart with telling effect. Walcott was driven to his knees 
and Smith made a vicious swing at him while in that position. He 
had received such rough treatment prior to that, that there were 
many who thought he wanted to lose on a foul. 

Walcott opened the fifth with a left smash on the face. Smith 
then tried his hand at leading, Walcott countering on the jaw with 
telling effect. Smith then forced Walcott across the ring with jabs 
and swings, and landed three beautiful blows that made the crowd 
howl with delight. Walcott continued to break ground, with his left 
shooting out as straight as a piston rod of a locomotive. Both men 
were strong at the finish of the round. 

In the seventh round Smith tried twice, but failed, but when they 
came together his favorite uppercut crashed against Walcott's breast, 
its force only being stopped when it landed against the jaw. Smith 
repeated his performance, Walcott countering on the neck. 

Smith opened hostilities in the eighth round with his unreliable 
left lead, but managed to whip his right over with considerable force 
on Walcott’s neck. Walcott retreated before Smith’s rush that fol¬ 
lowed, and was heavily uppercut and driven against the ropes. 

Smith smashed Walcott on the ribs at the opening of the tenth 
round, and received a crashing left on the jaw. They clinched, and 
Walcott lifted Smith clean off the floor and let him down again 
easily, amidst a chorus of “foul,” “foul,” from the spectators. 

They came together at the opening of the eleventh as time was 
called, Walcott’s face taking on its old smile. Smith worked in a 
light lead with his right and made a phenomenal stop of one of Wal¬ 
cott’s wicked swings. 

They had no sooner sfiaped themselves for the twelfth round be¬ 
fore they went to quarters, Walcott’s left crashing in on Smith’s neck 
hard enough to fell an ox. The men were now locked in each other’s 
arms, Smith’s friends keeping up a constant cry of “foul.” This 
round was replete with clinches and short-arm fighting, in which the 
honors were fairly even. Smith placed his right well in the opening 
of the thirteenth round, Walcott responding with his favorite left 
flush blow right on the stomach. Smith now took a hand at forcing 
matters, sending his right crashing on Walcott’s ear that sent Wal¬ 
cott to the floor. He was up in a jiffy, only to be again driven to the 
ropes by Smith’s onslaught of blows, and down both of them went to 
the lower ropes, with Smith on top, amid the wildest excitement. In 


74 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE KING. 


the fourteenth round Smith’s left lead fell short, and Walcott’s right 
circled round on Smith’s face, giving it a crimson hue. 

Both men made beautiful stops at the opening of the fifteenth and 
last round. Then Walcott put his favorite left on Smith’s jaw and 
received a ribroaster in return. Smith got in a light swing on the 
neck, but missed an easy left, and Walcott got in a stiff body blow in 
quicker time than it takes to tell it. 

After the breakaway Walcott got in heavily with his left on the 
neck, and Smith’s right found a resting place on Walcott’s stomach. 
They had a hot exchange of short-arm work for a few seconds, and 
the close of the round found the men boxing strongly and well able 
to continue for any number of rounds. 

The crowd howled and jumped inside the ring, and so did the 
police. After the wildest excitement Bill Daly announced that the 
referee had declared the contest a draw, which was received by the 
Smith faction with wild cheers, and groans from the Walcott con¬ 
tingent. 

After fighting Smith, Walcott’s next battle was with Mick Dunn, 
whom he defeated at Coney Island on April 3 in eight rounds. Dick 
O’Brien, who had been dissatisfied with the outcome of his previous 
encounter, essayed to tackle Walcott again. This time the result 
was more convincing than the first. Walcott knocked him out in 
one round. 


CHAPTER XXXVI. 

LAVIGNE GIVES WALCOTT A HIDING. 

‘‘ Kid ” Lavigne had in the meantime loomed up as the recog¬ 
nized claimant for lightweight championship honors. A match was 
talked of, but Sam Fitzpatrick, who represented Lavigne, and Tom 
O’Rourke could not agree upon the weight, and the match to all in¬ 
tents and purposes fell through. Then O’Rourke, with sublime 
confidence in Walcott’s ability to defeat the little Saginaw lad, 
offered Fitzpatrick a match upon the following conditions—that at 
the expiration of fifteen rounds, if Lavigne was on his feet and able 
to continue fighting he was to be declared the winner, or in other 
words, Walcott had to knock him out to get the decision. This was 
accepted. The men came together at the Empire Athletic Club’s 
arena, at Maspeth, Long Island, on December 2, 1895, and resulted 
in Lavigne gaining the unequivocal right to the title of lightweight 
champion of America. Had the patrons of fistic sport known what 
a treat was in store for them no arena in this country would have 
been sufficiently large to have accommodated a third of the number 
who would have sought admission. The fight was the best that has 



THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PBIZE BING. 


75 


been seen for a decade past, and beyond question justifies a place in 
the records as being the greatest lightweight encounter that has ever 
taken place. 

The peculiar conditions of the match gave Walcott’s adher¬ 
ents a reasonable argument to explain away his defeat on the ground 
that the task of getting to 133 pounds weakened him physically to 
such an extent as to impair his fighting ability. When Walcott 
weighed in at a half a pound below the stipulated weight four hours 
before the fight, he manifested no signs of any weakness, and told 
the Police Gazette representative that he never felt better. At 
the weight, however, Lavigne was at his best, and surprised even his 
backers by his improved ability. 

Lavigne’s attitude throughout the fight surprised everyone. No¬ 
body expected him to make an aggressive battle, but after he had 
taken a few stiff punches he determined to do some fighting himself, 
and so well did he succeed that at the end of the stipulated fifteen 
rounds he had Walcott so weak that it is a question whether he could 
have continued for five rounds more. 

Had the affair gone on to a finish Lavigne would surely have won. 
His blows left no visible effect upon the ebony-hued skin of his 
adversary, but the heart and stomach punches that he was walloping 
in at short range made the negro wince from pain. Lavigne proved 
himself to be cleverer with the use of his hands than Walcott and 
his strength at the weight gave him a shade of advantage that the 
betting men should have considered. Walcott is justly entitled to 
the credit of putting up the greatest fight of his life, but he made 
the mistake of overestimating his powers of endurance, and if any¬ 
thing it was an error of judgment on Tom O’Rourke’s part in put¬ 
ting him in the ring at a weight which unquestionably weakened him. 

The appearance in the ring of Joe Walcott was the signal for ap¬ 
plause. He was attended by Tom O'Rourke, George Dixon and Joe 
Gordon. The spectators welcomed George Lavigne with cheers. 
He was accompanied by Sam Fitzpatrick, Ted Alexander and 
Tommy Ryan. 

From the first it was apparent that Lavigne did not intend to be a 
passive recipient of Walcott’s blows. The latter evidently expected 
his opponent to work on the defensive and was unprepared for the 
aggressive tactics which Lavigne employed. The exchanges were 
fast the first two rounds, and honors were even. In the third round 
Lavigne surprised even his adherents by smashing Walcott on the 
face and jaw and the round ended with honors in the Saginaw lad’s 
favor. 

Walcott put a hot right on the heart and a stiff left on the head in 
the fifth round. Lavigne knocked Walcott’s head back with a right 
on the nose. Walcott smashed the “Kid” on the nose, drawing 
blood. Lavigne was now on the defensive, and Walcott rained a 


76 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


shower of terrific blows on the “ Kid.” Lavigne was nearly whipped 
at the close. 

The sixth round found Lavigne fighting shy, but Walcott went 
after him furiously. The “ Kid ” was hammered hard, but he held 
up gamely. The Saginaw boy rallied at the close and rushed Wal¬ 
cott to the ropes. 

Lavigne opened the seventh round with a stiff left on the negro’s 
nose. Walcott tried with his left. The men then stood in the 
centre and exchanged hard thumps, the “ Kid ” showing wonderful 
recuperative powers. 

Walcott began the eighth round with a left on the face, and got 
one in return. Walcott then got in a half dozen uppercuts in suc¬ 
cession that seemed to discourage the “ Kid.” Walcott, however, 
was not showing his accustomed vigor, and the “ Kid ” was strong at 
the close. 

In the ninth round Walcott landed half a dozen blows in succes¬ 
sion, following with one on the head that staggered the “Kid.” The 
latter came back with a hard one on the jaw, but Walcott responded 
with a series of body and face blows that made the “Kid” groggy. 

Walcott landed three lefts on the face in the tenth round and got 
in a terrific uppercut on the chin. The “Kid” put his left on Walcott’s 
chin. Walcott put in a staggering right on the “Kid’s ” chin. The 
latter was tired, but still on his feet and determined at the end of 
the round. 

In the eleventh round Lavigne still showed an aggressive spirit, 
but got some hard thumps. Both men swung wildly. Lavigne’s 
left ear was badly cut and bled, but he still remained on his feet 
and was grim as a soldier. 

Walcott put in some hard thumps in the twelfth, but the “Kid ” 
rushed and pushed Walcott to his knees. Twice the “ Kid ” fought 
Walcott and had the best of the round. The crowd cheered wildly. 

The thirteenth round was a terrific round. Walcott tried hard to 
land a knockout blow, but the “ Kid ” showed surprising activity and 
gave about as good as was sent. Lavigne was very much on his feet 
at the close of the round. 

In the fourteenth round the “ Kid ” showed astonishing power and 
gave blow for blow. He clearly outpointed the negro, driving him 
to his corner and pummelling him against the ropes. 

The fifteenth round found Lavigne on the aggressive. The “ Kid ” 
put in half a dozen stiff body blows and landed on Walcott’s jaw 
and drove the negro against the ropes. Lavigne was on his feet and 
got the decision. 

No such excitement was ever seen in the arena before. Lavigne’s 
game showing excited the admiration of friend and foe alike, and 
when Referee Hurst’s decision was announced pandemonium was 
discounted; sedate-looking, cool-headed men stood upon chairs wav- 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE BING. 


77 


ing their hats and cheering lustily. The ring swarmed with enthu¬ 
siasts, all eager to shake the hand of the little , champion. As the 
crowd filed out of the building there was only one sentiment heard 
on all sides, “ the greatest I ever saw.” 

Walcott then had a succession of experiences against men of his 
own color. Dan Stuart organized a fistic carnival to take place at 
El Paso, Texas, in which Walcott was to have participated in a fight 
with a Texan negro, named Scott Collins, called “Bright Eyes.”’ 
The match fell through, and Stuart brought his negro up North, and 
he and Walcott eventually came together under the auspices of the 
Eureka Athletic Club, of Long Island City, on March t 6, 1896. 
Collins was knocked out in seven rounds. His next opponent was 
“Scaldy Bill ” Quinn, whom he defeated at Woburn, Mass., on May 
30, in twenty rounds. Quinn questioned the justice of the decision,, 
and another match was arranged to take place at Maspeth, L. I., on 
October 12. This time Walcott won in seventeen rounds, Quinn 
being beaten so badly that his seconds threw up the sponge in token 
of defeat. 


CHAPTER XXXVH. 

TOMMY WEST MEETS THE “ BLACK DEMON.” 

Then came an event which had a very important bearing upon Wal¬ 
cott’s careen The latter and Dick O’Brien were matched to fight 
for the third time, under the auspices of the Marlborough Athletic 
Club, New York city. O’Brien failed to appear and Tommy West 
of New York, a lad whom Walcott had once beaten in Boston in three 
rounds, agreed to take his place. They fought nineteen rounds and 
the decision of a draw was generally condemned. West easily gained 
the honors, although he was in no condition for a hard battle. 

The unsatisfactory ending of this fight, however, led to another, 
and they met again under the auspices of the Broadway Athletic 
Club, and the “ Demon ” was badly beaten, and in a manner which 
left no doubt in the minds of the spectators this time regarding the 
superiority of his opponent. 

The men fought at catchweights. West weighing about 150^ pounds 
and Walcott 146. Every advantage was in favor of West—reach, 
height and weight. That, however, did not in anyway disturb the 
equilibrium of the shrewd ones, who thought Walcott was so good 
that even few middleweights could withstand him. 

West, for one considered as not having much of a chance, ac¬ 
quitted himself most creditably, although his elbow was altogether 
too much in evidence. He did not stay away from Walcott, but came 
in close from the beginning to the end. He gave Walcott a severe 



78 


THE BLACK CHAMPIONS OF THE PRIZE RING. 


punishing, nearly closing his left eye and frescoing his face here and 
there with marks that would not make him look pretty, even in his 
own circles. 

Walcott was as game as the proverbial pebble. But it must not be. 
inferred that West was not smashed with all the fierceness at the 
command of his opponent. The betting was $ioo to $70 on Wal¬ 
cott, but the price was finally forced down to 2 to i. 

West started off in a way which opened the eyes of the three 
thousand spectators. Just before the gong sounded he sent in a 
corking left on the face, crossing with his right, which sent Walcott 
reeling against the ropes. It was West’s round, and the crowd was 
wild with joy. 

Walcott woke up in the second round, and it looked as if he would 
win, but in the third West nearly brought his opponent to his knees 
and then staggered him with a hard right on the jaw. 

Honors were about even in the fourth round. West continued to 
meet Walcott well, and the latter was plainly worried that he could 
not bring his opponent down. West was Staggered with a right on 
the jaw in the seventh round, and the body blows which he had re¬ 
ceived appeared to be telling on him. 

It was slash, bang, until in the ninth round West knocked Wal¬ 
cott against the ropes, and he clinched repeatedly to save himself. 
It looked as if in the eleventh round Walcott was gone, but he was 
game, although he clinched repeatedly. 

Walcott was groggy again in the eighteenth, and at the end of 
the round it was plain that he had lost his steam. But West was also 
tired, and they did little else but hang onto each other until the finish 
of the twentieth round, although some hard blows were struck. The 
referee, Dick Roche, decided in favor of West. 


CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

THE WORST OF AN UNFAIR DECISION. 

This was indeed a setback for the “ black,” but he was not long, 
however, without a match. Jim Watts, a burly negro from Louisville, 
Ky., was his next opponent. His fighting qualities were adequately 
tested in four rounds, at the end of which he was knocked out, to all 
intents and purposes. While he was on his knees, however, 
struggling to his feet, Walcott, who had started a left-hand hook blow 
could not stop it, and it landed lightly on his opponent’s head. 
There was a fearful commotion in the house, Watts’s seconds crying 
foul and refusing to continue the fight. Amidst an awful uproar, in 
which spectators and police participated. Referee Roche declared 


UPB 



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