Beau Jack

The Boxing Life of Sidney Walker, Two-Time Lightweight Champion


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About the Book

Among the great lightweights of the 1940s and 1950s, Boxing Hall of Famer Sidney “Beau Jack” Walker (1921–2000) was virtually orphaned by his parents and eked out a living as a shoeshine boy. He honed his craft fighting battles royale for wealthy white members of the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club, eventually receiving financing for his career from club founders.
He went on to win two lightweight titles and set numerous records. He was the draw for the highest admission paid for a ringside seat—$100,000—and was named “Fighter of the Year” in 1944. Like most black pugilists of his day he struggled against discrimination in the sport. Despite this, he sustained an impressive 18-year professional career—117 fights, 83 wins, 40 by KO. Walker retired from the ring penniless and went back to shining shoes, the money set aside for him by his handlers mysteriously depleted.

About the Author(s)

Robert Mullins is an attorney and assistant professor of political science at East Georgia State College–Augusta. He has authored numerous professional journal articles and regularly writes about local history.

Bibliographic Details

Robert Mullins

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 311
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7906-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3721-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5

Part I. The Early Days
1. Roaring Twenties, Racial Tension and Segregation 8
2. Beau’s Early Life 14
3. Battles Royal Bring Opportunity 19
4. Beau Begins Boxing 25
5. A Syndicate Forms 28

Part II. Media Sensation at “Valley” Arena
6. Learning the Ropes 34
7. A Featured Attraction 43

Part III. Beau Bounces to New York
8. Publicity and Training 58
9. Fistic Debut in New York 64
10. Eleven Straight Wins and a Title Fight 78

Part IV. Claiming the Lightweight Title
11. Stolz Stands Between Beau and a Title Bout 88
12. Beau Crowned Lightweight Champion 95
13. Beau’s First Reign 102
14. Montgomery Dethrones Beau 115
15. Beau Regains the Title 125
16. Beau vs. Montgomery III 134

Part V. Called to Service
17. Jack Selects the Army 144
18. The Great “War Bonds Fight” 147
19. 1944 Fighter of the Year 155
20. Beau’s Return as a Welterweight 157

Part VI. Jack Breaks His Kneecap
21. Stopped for the First Time 170
22. Comeback from a Broken Kneecap 175
23. Third Shot at the Lightweight Title 183
24. Beau Seeks Welterweight Title 189
25. Beau’s 27th Appearance Makes Madison Square Garden History 202
26. Tissue Paper Legs 220
27. Reentering the Ring 226

Part VII. Retirement from the Ring
28. Financial Woes 238
29. On His Knees Again 248
30. Beau Jack the Trainer 258
31. Final Days 266
32. An American Hero Passes 270

Appendix: Boxing Record 273
Chapter Notes 279
Bibliography 291
Index 295

Book Reviews & Awards

“In this deeply researched narrative Mullins has corrected certain myths about Walker, giving a full-bodied treatment to an African American fighter who has too often been portrayed as a one-dimensional victim….recommended”—Choice