The First Black Boxing Champions

Essays on Fighters of the 1800s to the 1920s

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About the Book

This volume presents fifteen chapters of biography of African American and black champions and challengers of the early prize ring. They range from Tom Molineaux, a slave who won freedom and fame in the ring in the early 1800s; to Joe Gans, the first African American world champion; to the flamboyant Jack Johnson, deemed such a threat to white society that film of his defeat of former champion and “Great White Hope” Jim Jeffries was banned across much of the country. Photographs, period drawings, cartoons, and fight posters enhance the biographies. Round-by-round coverage of select historic fights is included, as is a foreword by Hall-of-Fame boxing announcer Al Bernstein.

About the Author(s)

Colleen Aycock is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization and the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is a contributor to other publications on the history of boxing.
Mark Scott, a novelist and former Golden Gloves boxer, lives in Austin, Texas. He is a contributor to other publications on the history of boxing.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott
Format: hardcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 302
Bibliographic Info: 100 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4991-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6188-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword by Al Bernstein      1
Introduction      3

1. Tom Molineaux: From Slave to American Heavyweight Champion      9
BILL CALOGERO
2. George Godfrey: First Colored Heavyweight Champion      22
TONY TRIEM
3. Peter Jackson: Heavyweight Champion of Australia      32
BOB PETERSEN
4. George Dixon: World Bantamweight and Featherweight Champion      48
MIKE GLENN
5. Bobby Dobbs: Lightweight Challenger and Father of Boxing in Germany      60
KEVIN SMITH
6. Joe Gans: World Lightweight Champion      79
COLLEEN AYCOCK
7. Dave Holly: “Challenger of the World”      102
DOUGLAS CAVANAUGH
8. Joe Walcott, the Barbados Demon: World Welterweight Champion      109
MICHAEL J. SCHMIDT
9. “Dixie Kid” Aaron Brown: World Welterweight Champion      129
CATHY VAN INGEN
10. Jack Blackburn: From Lightweight Challenger to Trainer of Heavyweight Champions      144
JOSEPH BOURELLY
11. Sam Langford: Heavyweight Champion of Australia, Canada, England, and Mexico      158
CLAY MOYLE
12. Joe Jennette and Sam McVey: Colored Heavyweight Champions      171
ALEXANDER PIERPAOLI
13. Jack Johnson: World Heavyweight Champion      200
MARK SCOTT
14. Speedball Hayden: U.S. Army Middleweight Champion      218
CHRIS COZZONE
15. Battling Siki: World Light- Heavyweight Champion      237
PETER BENSON

Appendix: The Great Fights, Round- By- Round
George Godfrey vs. Peter Jackson (August 25, 1888)      257
George Dixon vs. Jack Skelly (September 6, 1892)      260
Joe Gans vs. Oscar “Battling” Nelson (September 3, 1906)      264
Joe Jennette vs. Sam McVey (April 17, 1909)      271
Jack Johnson vs. James J. Jeffries ( July 4, 1910)      277

Bibliography      283
About the Contributors      287
Index      289

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Extremely well written and chronicled…painstakingly researched, by writers who show a heartfelt passion for their subjects…a must”—Ring Memorabilia
  • “Splendid…. Much research obviously went into the writing of the essays and they definitely accomplish their goals of informing the reader about these men. The book, itself, is a beautiful piece of work”—Cyber Boxing Zone
  • “A meticulously researched and compelling look at fifteen of the most famous and talented boxers of the turn of the century and after…wonderful…each essay is wonderfully informative and unique chronicling the rise and sometimes-tragic fall of the boxers. The respect these champions deserve is long in coming as is the recognition. This collection of essays pays these men there due and provides the reader a look at how America once treated its superior fighters. This one is not to be missed”—doghouseboxing.com
  • “A well-conceived and valuable work”—Boxing Monthly
  • “A definite must read…excellent”—Examiner.com.