We’ve been going back a bit in boxing history as of late.
As it pertains to current times in boxing today.
On this day memories of great nights of the past in boxing are always an enjoyable endeavor.
Particularly when brushing up on boxing history.
You’d forget a lot of it but still enjoyable.
The first ever heavyweight champion was of course John L. Sullivan.
An Irish-American from Massachusetts reigning from 1882 to 1892 when gloves were first brought into boxing.
He was also a bareknuckle champion before that.
He helped propel boxing to the masses at that time.
In some ways he helped sports media and sports journalism, internationally, move into the public conscience at that time.
Like many of that time, times were hard with lack of job opportunities for the likes of the Irish, Blacks, Jews and Italians in America, so fighting was a natural way for Sullivan to earn a bit of money.
Indeed he turned out to be very good at it.
This time 140 years ago today he showed it with a knockout of John Flood in Yonkers, New York, 1881.
His record was a bone of contention to some.
Consisting of of 47 victories, 1 defeat and 2 draws and 38 wins inside the distance to most historians.
Sullivan passed away age 59 after what in those days would have been probably been considered an addictive personality, with reported food and alcohol addictions playing a role in an unhealthy life as he aged.
An unbelievable fighter though and forever a part of boxing history for good reason.
He’d of only being light-heavyweight today likely but a very battle-experienced individual for his time.
Someone who did an awful lot for boxing not just in America, but the world.
The last fight of his career was a loss to another Irish American ‘Gentleman’ Jim Corbett (his father originally hailing from Co. Mayo).
If Sullivan played a role in boxing as we know it today’s creation and introduction to the world, his conqueror played a part in the technical refinement of the sport into the more nuanced, appreciated, thinking man’s science that it would become over time.
The following is a look back of that time.
Tracing Sullivan, boxing and more back to its original genesis and beginning: