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The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia -- Black Dynamite / American Bare Knuckle Champion

Thomas "Tom" Molineaux
(the "Virginia Slave")
(the "Moor")

BORN   1784; Georgetown, (South Carolina or Virginia)
DIED August 4 1818; Dublin, Ireland (Liver Failure; Some sources report Galway, Ireland)
HEIGHT.. 5-8 1/2
WEIGHT 185 lbs
MANAGER Bill Richmond

Molineaux was born a slave and began his career by fighting other slaves; These bouts were organized by plantation owners; Eventually, Molineaux was given his freedom; He took his money and migrated to England where he boxed professionally, trained by Bill Richmond, another freed American slave and prizefighter

His most famous matches were against the British Champion, Tom Cribb, in 1810 and 1811;
Tom became a national hero in Europe

Molineaux was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997

Presented with permission granted by Christopher James Shelton

Thomas Molineaux painting by Federica Coppolecchia

200 years ago, without gloves
The bareknuckle war: American Thomas Molineaux vs. Englishman Tom Tough

By Christopher James Shelton
Historian for The Boxing Amusement Park


Sporting Magazine (February, 1804)

“The town has never been for these many years to be so full of amateurs and patronizers as it is at present ... They caused it to be published against the fighting squad, that a purse of twenty guineas would be ready in a few days for any two heroes of the fist to fight for, who, on due examination, should be considered as qualified to engage.  Among the numerous candidates on the occasion, Tom Blake, alias Tom Tough, and Jack Holmes, a Knightsbridge coachmen, were selected.  These men, though not mentioned of late in the fighting world, were nevertheless considered to be in the front rank of pugilists.  The Coachman acquired great celebrity from a terrible battle which he fought in Harley Fields, about twelve years ago, which he won, after an hour’s severe contest.  As for Tom Tough, fighting has been his trade for three years past; during which time he has seen a little service on board one of His Majesty’s ships….  An immense crowd had assembled, anxiously waiting for the arrival of the combatants, who were prevented from meeting at the time appointed, in consequence of receiving information that the owner of the field had sent for the Bow Street Officers, to clear the ground, and that they may be shortly expected.  A consultation was therefore held amongst the subscribers, and it was agreed that the Champions should adjourn to Wilsden Green….  They produced one of the best fought battles that has taken place for upwards of twenty years, not excepting the celebrated and memorable battle fought between Big Ben (Brain) and (Tom) Johnson….  The Second to the Seventh Round inclusive – consisted of the most severe hitting we ever witnessed.  During the time, neither of the combatants tried to evade the other’s blows, but stood up manfully, and fought with desperation….  When on the ground together, Tom (Tough) would often pat the Coachman’s cheek and say, ‘thou art a good fellow, but must be beat’.”


ROUNDS 1-11:  Holmes holds the early advantage as he lands the first knockdown blow.  He held an advantage through the early rounds.  It was an offensive battle with no defense.  Tom Tough had come back from 3-2 odds against after eight rounds.  “At the commencement of each round there was no shifting, no attempt at closing, or endeavors to throw each other down, but immediately on setting to one put in a blow, which was returned and manfully supported both right and left, until a hit brought one or other down.”….  Tom Tough had scored three knockdowns in a row and now held 4-1 betting odds in his favor.
ROUND 17:  Holmes scored two quick knockdowns before Tom Tough could set.  A give and take exchange of punches ensue that evens the bout.
ROUND 19:  A slugfest from both pugilists.
 ROUND 26:  Tom Tough has received many body blows, but appears to hold an advantage.  “Never was applause more liberally and disinterestedly bestowed upon any pugilists, their exertions were far above the usual display of boxers.”

ROUND 27:  Jack Holmes clobbers Tom Tough with a punch that snaps his head as he collapses to the ground.
ROUND 28:  The bout has turned around once again.  Holmes lands a hard blow to the face/nose of Tom Tough and spun his head completely around.  Tom Tough attempts to counter punch but instead wobbles and falls to the ground from exhaustion.  As he falls awkwardly to the ground Tom Tough twists his knee. …  Holmes holds a 3-1 betting odds advantage.

The fight appears to be over.  Tom Tough cannot stand.  His seconds have told him it is over and he must concede.  Tom Tough lives up to his nickname as he refuses.  All bets are off at the sad spectacle of this gimp warrior unable to walk while insisting that he would continue.
ROUND 29:  Tom Tough reverts to a defensive pugilist due to circumstances.  He now sets and waits for his opponent to step forward.  Jack Holmes obliges as Tom Tough knocks him to the ground with a punch to head.  The spectators roar their approval at the unlikely, fluke knockdown but are content that the great battle will continue….  Holmes holds a 10-1 betting odds advantage.

ROUND 50:  “Poor Holmes’s face was now rendered perfectly unintelligible, not a single feature could be traced.”….  The betting odds have returned in Tom Tough’s favor in this offensive battle of attrition.
ROUND 61:  “For though (Holmes) struggled hard for superiority the remaining Rounds, to the Sixtieth, (which was the last) he failed in his attempt; but the Coachman’s defeat was considered more glorious by the amateurs, than any victory that has occurred for many a day.”


“A FIG for compassionate bowels!
Come all who are rugged and rough;
For a knight of the whip and the rowels,
Jack Holmes is to fight with Tom Tough.
Now boys, they’ve set to!  With what cunning
They shift – offer battle – step back!
Come, go it!  I hate that there funning:
So, damn it, Jack hit him a crack.
Well said, my boy, that was a plumper;
Tom’s down, like a lump of old lead:
That Coachman, by jove, is a thumper;
But Tom has the pluck and the head.
Tom licks him, I’ll lay you a copper;
For Tom will fight on till he dies:
There, my boy that was a chopper!
But t’other has bung’d up his eye.
Another good round!  And another!
Another!  Another!  Encore!
Another, still better!  Another!
I ne’er see’d such fighting before.
Jack’s done!  And the sailor is victor:
Jack’s beat, but he won’t say – ‘Give in.’
He ‘as prettily painted Tom’s picture
And gi’en him a well lather’d skin.
So, huzza for the science of boxing!
It keeps up our courage, you know;
And if the French here sound their tocsin,
We’ll give them a clean knock-down blow.”


It is tempting to think of Tom Blake as ‘old fashioned’, except his style was not similar to influential English Champion, James Figg (1719-30), or the terrific Grecian Olympians of 600-300 B.C., but perhaps a slightly less gory version of the Roman pugilists of 100 B.C. – 100 A.D.  Tom Blake, renaming himself Tom Tough, did not believe in fancy pugilist ‘science’ that was the rage of English literary sports enthusiasts.  Tom Tough, a Navy veteran who had pursued pugilist greatness while in his early 30’s, preferred to stand in front of an opponent and exchange punches.  Tom Tough’s only ‘science’ might be to wreak havoc with body punches, an energy tiring technique, but he did not wrestle (a legitimate and legal strategy), or back away from an opponent.  The name ‘Tom Tough’ suggests an entertainment value for spectators and media.  One future day, obscure and forgotten, he would once again be Tom Blake, the victim of a devastating stroke, whether through genetics or the head pounding received through pugilism, stricken as quadriplegic while unable to feed or clothe himself, walk, stand or protect his basic dignity.  But for most of the decade, 1801-1810, he was a major player, as both pugilist and corner man for others.  Tom Blake must have seemed too ordinary a name, regardless of talent, thus ‘Tom Tough’ was born.

Sporting Magazine (February, 1805): 
“A pitched battle was fought at Blackheath for a purse of forty guineas between Tom (Tough) and (Tom Cribb), well known pugilists.  (Cribb) has fought many successful battles, and since he beat Maddox last month he has been accounted the British Champion….  The parties have been a month in training, and it was not known until a late hour on Thursday night when and where the fight would take place….  At eleven o’clock the Champions entered, attended by their seconds; for (Cribb), Richard the Black (Bill Richmond) and Joe Norton; and (Tom Tough), Dick Hall and Webb.  Bets were nearly level, though the odds were in favor of (Cribb)….  At setting-to, the Champions met each other eagerly, and some very hard blows were struck on both sides….  During a quarter of an hour there was no variation in the bets….  (Cribb), however, was much the longest reached, and it was only when (Tom Tough) could get within his guard that he was successful.  The fight continued nearly equal until they had fought upwards of an hour, when (Tom Tough) appeared fatigued….  The fight continued in favour of (Cribb) until within two rounds of its termination, when (Tom Tough) used all his efforts and gave his opponent some clean, straight hits about the head.  (Cribb), however, rallied, but (Tom Tough) recovered and returned the rally, in doing which he over-reached himself, and (Cribb) gave him a cross-buttock.  (Tom Tough) fought two rounds after to disadvantage, when he reluctantly resigned the contest, being unable to stand on his legs….  The battle lasted one hour and forty minutes….  Among the pugilists (present) were: Belcher, Ward, Pittoon, Bourke, Wood, Mendoza, Holmes, Maddox….  From (Cribb)’s superior strength and knowledge of boxing he may safely be ranked the Champion of the day.”

A Black American arrives in England, 1808-10, and let us pretend no documentation exists.  If he was born, 1770-74, what is his State of birth and life?  There is a misperception amongst most Americans of 2010, that all 19th century Blacks were slaves.  If I was asked the most likely location, with no documentation, of a Black American’s arrival in England, 1808-10, I would say:  “Number one is Massachusetts.  I am not sure of number two.  Perhaps a smaller Northeastern State such as Delaware, Rhode Island or Vermont could be a possibility.  Maine is a smaller colony and State, but did not have slavery.  New York or Maryland might be next because there were strong abolitionist groups in those regions.”  Which is the least likely State?  I would say, “Virginia, number one, and South Carolina, number two.”  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison owned slaves.  John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton did not own slaves.  Washington, Jefferson, Madison were from Virginia, Virginia, Virginia.  Adams, Franklin, Hamilton were from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York.
The most ridiculous historical listing is: “Tom Molineaux from Virginia, who won freedom from slavery as a pugilist, along with $500, because his generous White owner claimed a $100,000 gambling profit.  Molineaux (despite no documented proof) fought more battles in New York and arrived in England as an experienced fighter.”  Even had Molineaux been from Virginia common sense should dictate that he was more likely amongst the free Black population rather than a slave.  The name ‘Molineaux’ was an important part of 18th century Massachusetts and Maryland history, but not Virginia.  The Virginia Historical Society utilizes four sources to claim that ‘Molyneaux’ was from Virginia.  These are brief biographical sketches that concentrate mostly on the December, 1810 bout against Cribb.  Molineaux published a couple letters in the newspaper during his lifetime.  None of these sources specialize in American history, or Thomas Molineaux the individual, and claim (with no source as proof) that the man did not know how to spell his own name.


Bareknuckle Struggle painting by Federica Coppolecchia

The easiest aspect of the “$100,000 slave” story to detail is the gambling.  I am familiar with legal gambling in Tijuana, Mexico, and the only person that won over a period of years was me because I never gambled.  (I watched television for free).  The House always won because they never gambled and do not believe in gambling.  England of 1810 had held some historical high profile bouts with much money (not $100,000 American money), usually involving royalty.  If a guy was wagering that much money, they would have the seconds prepared to enter the ring and cheat if it appeared their pugilist might lose.  If Molineaux’s owner won a $100,000 bet it meant he had $100,000 to lose.  Could ‘fellow’ Virginians of 1795-1805 such as Washington, Jefferson, Madison afford to lose $100,000?  No.  Could Adams, Franklin, Hamilton afford to lose $100,000?  No.
The story that emerged within Molineaux’s lifetime, via England, continues to have a greater likelihood than the American stories decades after his death.  Spirit Of The Press, Philadelphia (8/1/1811):  “(Molineaux) is a stout Negro, imported from Maryland.”  Sporting Magazine (October, 1811): “A Baltimore man.” Pancratia (1812):  “A native of the State of New York.”  There was prizefighting in New York, and the surrounding States, but these were mostly minors or military persons, much like England.  Those pugilists developed a certain body shape.  The early story of Molineaux, in his lifetime, was of an athlete, but not a pugilist, who switched to boxing when that promised an opportunity for money, fame, women, success.  Pierce Egan:  “The anatomist and artist, in contemplating its various beauties, derived pleasure from this uncommon subject and fine body.


Thomas Molineaux, sometimes called Mungo by the English media, makes his first appearance with published history after a July 24th, 1810, battle with a larger Bristol man (“Burrowes” according to an 1818 newspaper story, Pierce Egan’s primary source, who misspelled it ‘Burrows’ in his Boxiana book).  Bristol was a hot spot for pugilist talent.  Three Belchers, two brothers and a sister, all were fighters with an approving mother.  George Nichols, the Butcher who easily dominated and defeated Tom Cribb in 1805, was from Bristol.  Sporting Magazine (July, 1810):  “A considerable field of amateurs met on Tuesday, July the 24th, in Tothill-fields, to witness, as it was given out, a bull-bait, but the greater attraction was that which was fixed to precede it, a battle betwixt a navigator, above six feet in height, from Bristol, the great nursery for boxers, and a stout athletic Black man.  The candidates for fame were considered promising to hereafter contend with a (Cribb), or some other first-rate man of the day; but in this respect the amateurs were disappointed.  (Cribb) seconded his countryman, the Navigator, and (Richmond) seconded his brother Black.  It was seen in the first and second rounds that the Bristol man was not a specimen of his west-country brethren, as he is a slow round hitter, and displayed only one requisite, gameness.  The Black, on the contrary, kept himself close, but he could only hit at half arm, or what is technically termed ‘flipping’, as when he hit he kept the first joint of the arm close to the body.  The battle lasted nearly an hour, and it was contested with much obstinacy, but the Navigator could plant but few hits, whilst he received the repeated flipping of his adversary, until his head was so much disfigured, that his features were buried, and was ultimately beat.”

There was an incident following this July, 1810, bout that involved an ugly exchange between Tom Cribb and Bill Richmond.  They fought a round before Richmond declared their feud momentarily over.  This was one of several personal battles between the two men.  Richmond had fought 50 year-old established veteran, George Maddox, in 1804, stepped in front of him and was knocked out by the third round.  Cribb then fought Maddox, did not step forward, as he encouraged the veteran pugilist to attack him.  Cribb, with Richmond as his corner man, earned a hard fought victory.  Richmond must have learned from both of those Maddox bouts, because when he and Cribb officially faced one another in 1805, neither would step forward leading to displeased spectators, with Cribb as the official victor.  From this moment onward, throughout the next decade, Bill Richmond eventually became the best pugilist in England.  Sporting magazine (1810):  “Richmond excels, perhaps, every pugilist in hitting and getting away.”
Bill Richmond was a better pugilist than Thomas Molineaux in 1805 and 1815.  He was such a familiar face on the English boxing scene, as pugilist/corner man/trainer, that he would be cheered over White opponents late in his career.  Bill Richmond is arguably the greatest 50+ years aged pugilist in history.  Thomas Molineaux brought American mannerisms and speech to England.  Bill Richmond, despite ‘tainted’ as American born, was thoroughly British.  He was quick to offend and be offended, with adherence to ‘proper’ decorum.  The Richmond/Cribb feud began with their 1805 bout (they had teamed against Maddox).  It continued through a Cribb/Bob Gregson 1809 English Championship bout.  Gregson was dominating by the 22nd round, a 10-1 betting odds favorite, until suddenly it was over by the 23rd round with Tom Cribb the victor.  Richmond was openly suspicious that Cribb’s patronage and power was affording him more than the legal 30 seconds following a knockdown while an opponent had no mercy.  The combination of patronage (which Cribb had) and gambling wages (better to ‘cheat’ than lose) leaves suspicion over several Tom Cribb victories.
An intense month of training, August, 1810, was in store for Thomas Molineaux following his victory over Burrowes of Bristol.  Richmond and Cribb may have despised one another, but with strange national customs, were able to socialize and drink beer together at English functions.  Cribb and Richmond were equally important at altering the current trend of pugilists persistently stepping forward.  Both accepted defense and emphasized wrestling throws.  Both altered the approach of the left jab.  Richmond must have pressed Molineaux, especially with the latter’s youth and hand speed, to duplicate his double left jab.  Tom Tough felt no need to alter his offensive approach.  Richmond was a believer in ‘science’, or at least strategy.  Richmond was familiar with Tom Tough, had viewed his bouts, and chose to counter this purely offensive foe with knowledge.  Molineaux was probably not the greatest pupil, obstinate and reckless, and easy going at heart.  The more intense Richmond probably wanted Molineaux to jab/jab and back, as he would have done himself, but in the end Molineaux listened enough with an altered style that left spectators believing they were seeing a different pugilist than a month prior.  Richmond must have emphasized reach and how to throw a punch.


Pugilist/poet, Bob Gregson:


“The garden of freedom is the British land we live in,

And welcomes every slave from his banished isle:

Allows them to impose on a nation good and generous,

To incumber and pollute our native soil.


The sturdy Black doth swear,

The moment he gets there,

The planks the stage is built on,

He’ll make them blaze and smoke.


Brave Molineaux replied, I’ve never been denied

To fight the foes of Britain on such planks as those;

If a relationship you claim, by-and-bye you’ll know my name:

I’m the swellish milling cove that can drub my foes.”


Sporting Magazine (August, 1810): 

“The match which has been spoken of, between (Tom Tough), the pugilist, and a Black man of the name of Molineaux….  Molineaux is an American, from the State of New York; weighs between thirteen and fourteen stone (185 pounds) and stands five feet nine inches high.  He has lately arrived in England, and having found Richmond, the Black pugilist, his countryman… Boxing being somewhat novel to the Kentish men, the ring was more numerously attended and respectably attended….  At one o’clock, (Tom Tough) was driven up to the ring in a Baronet’s Barouche with the Champion (Cribb) and Gibbons, his seconds; and in a few minutes after, Richmond introduced Molineaux.”….  Tom Tough is a 6 ½-4 betting odds favorite.


ROUND  1:  “The fame of Molineaux having got rather spread abroad, considerable anxiety was manifested upon the combatants setting to.”  Both pugilists are cautious and wait for the other to make a move.  Tom Tough finally takes initiative by landing a right and left punch to the body.  Molineaux responds with a left jab that is easily blocked.  They are in close as Tom Tough attempts to land body punches. There is a clinch with Molineaux holding his foe.  Tom Tough appears to slip the hold.  Molineaux lands a hard karate type punch to the top of the head or back of neck region.  Molineaux has surprising speed with a follow-up right punch chop to the same region ...  Tom Tough falls to the ground ... Betting odds are now even.

ROUND 2:  They remain in close.  Molineaux appears to be leaving his body exposed.  Tom Tough begins landing punches to the body.  Molineaux does not appear concerned as he counters with left jabs.  Tom Tough is easily blocking these jabs.  It does not appear that Molineaux is clever with these jabs.  He snaps them directly into Tom Tough’s defense while receiving hard body blows.  The spectators are surprised that Molineaux is not backing or affected by these hard punches.  “(Tom Tough) made play again, but the strength of two or three well planted hits was not sufficient to move the Black off his legs.” The Molineaux jab is slowly breaking through the defense by its sheer power.  Tom Tough realizes his defense is beginning to struggle and compensates.  Molineaux seizes an opening to land an unexpected hard right that lands to head….  Tom Tough falls to the ground….  Molineaux is a 3-2 betting odds favorite.

ROUND 3:  Tom Tough is already tiring.  Molineaux senses this as he becomes the aggressor.  Molineaux lands a hard right to jaw.  Both rally with punches.  They clinch and briefly wrestle ... Both pugilists fall to the ground with Molineaux atop Tom Tough.

ROUND 4:  They return to the early style.  Molineaux is again patient with persistent left jabs directly into Tom Tough’s defense.  Tom Tough is easily landing hard blows to the body.  Molineaux’s left jabs break through Tom Tough’s defense.  Molineaux begins landing hard left jabs directly to the face.  Tom Tough’s hand block defense cannot stop Molineaux’s jabs as he is beginning to be dominated.  Molineaux is persistent and patient….  Tom Tough collapses to the ground … Molineaux is a 5-2 betting odds favorite.

ROUND 5:  Tom Tough bleeds profusely from the face.  Molineaux’s body is noticeably bruised but it does not appear to be affecting him.  Tom Tough moves in close with aggressive punches to the body region.  Molineaux grabs him around the neck with his left and beats his opponent’s face with his right.  “(Molineaux) fibbed him so dreadfully, that the ground resembled the floor of a slaughter-house, and (Tom Tough) fell completely exhausted.”….  Betting odds are not recorded but they would be overwhelmingly on Molineaux.

ROUND 6:  Molineaux returns to patience with a left jab that Tom Tough can no longer defend.  Left jab after left jab after left jab lands to the Englishman’s face.  Tom Tough has no choice but to protect himself solely against the jab.  Molineaux aggressively steps in with a hard right that lands to head ... Tom Tough is “completely knocked off his legs,” and sent flying backward onto the ground ... Betting odds are off.  No one believes Tom Tough can still win.

ROUND 7:  Tom Tough, with a disfigured face that bleeds profusely, lives up to his nickname as he attempts a desperate flurry of punches.  Molineaux is patient as he encourages his weary foe to expend more energy….  Tom Tough backs after throwing several wild punches and falls down exhausted.

ROUND 8:  Molineaux becomes aggressive as he believes the Englishman is close to finished.  Tom Tough retreats backward.  Molineaux catches his foe and holds him in a clinch.  Molineaux attempts to seize the Englishman by the neck with his left so that he can easily land with his right.  Tom Tough is “forced to rally, to extricate himself from the iron grasp of his adversary.”  Tom Tough slips the hold and lands a blow to the cheek.  Molineaux counters with a hard punch to the top of the head ...  Tom Tough falls to the ground conscious but disoriented ... 30 seconds pass with Tom Tough unable to begin the ninth round.  Bout over.  KNOCKOUT! 


Sporting Magazine: 

The winner received some sharp hits about the body, and he had a fracture or two in the face.  The battle lasted seventeen minutes….  (Molineaux) has improved since his first battle.  He hit at half-arm at that time, but in this battle he dealt out his blows from the shoulder, and gave the effect and strength of his body with his hits, which are sufficient to stun a bullock.  Another requisite he possesses, which is important, that of quickness, and his body seems callous to fistic punishment.  (Tom Tough) has considerably fallen off.  Molineaux has taken lessons from Richmond frequently since his battle with the Bristol man ...  (Molineaux) has challenged Cribb, who is the first professor, Gully having declined fighting again; and a battle will take place, as Cribb has accepted the challenge, in about six weeks.”

Thomas Molineaux was ready to call himself champion unless someone would fight him and declare otherwise.  Tom Cribb, viewed as the champion, states that he will defend the English title with his life.

Pancratia (1812):  “The greatest degree of expectation was excited in the public mind, with respect to the issue of the contest, and that NATIVES felt somewhat alarmed that a man of colour should dare to look forward to the Championship of England.”


* Famous last words: The final interview of legend Al Fenn, manager of Zora Foley
* Johnson vs. Jeffries, the 100th anniversary
* Sonny Banks, who died fighting, would have been 70



Tom Molineaux "The Moor" by Kevin Smith

Was Tom Molineaux America's first champion?

When he reached the shores of England in 1809, it was this title that he claimed. And with it he proceeded to challenge the world. Presumably Molineaux had partaken in his share of matches prior to his rise as a fistic star in Great Britain. But there were and are no records to back his claim, no newspaper accounts detailing his so called championship battles. But it was clear, as it is today, that Tom Molineaux, a former slave from Virginia, was a world class miller, one of great bottom, skill and courage. And one who came within a breadth of winning the Championship of the world.

Maybe history has not been kind to Tom Molineaux. For in reality, he was America's first sports celebrity and a great star in his day. It is true that he never gained any great popularity on this side of the great pond. But what of his international achievements? Think for a moment about the courage and determination it took for a former slave with no formal education, skills or money to speak of, to travel to a foreign land and become one of the most celebrated champions of his time. When taking into consideration the barriers that "The Black" must have encountered, it is a great wonder that Tom Molineaux even made it to scratch against Tom Cribb "The Champion of Champions".

What happened that cold, dreary and rainy day on Copthall Common in the winter of 1810 may have been the most blatant robbery in the history of the prize ring. For on that day, it was Tom Molineaux who should have been crowned Champion. In the 28th round of what had been a titanic struggle, The Moor, as Molineaux was known, knocked the great Cribb to the ground with a telling series of blows. The champion was dragged to his corner by his seconds and worked on feverishly. Both combatants were feeling the affects of their fierce combat, but Cribb was near insensibe. When the referee signalled "time" to call the men to scratch, Molineaux rose from Bill Richmond's knee and toe'd the line. Cribb rose as well, but as he swayed in the air like a weakened tree, his knees buckled and the great champion fell face first to the ground. His seconds rushed to his aid as the referee, for the second turn called "time". Cribb's seconds tried in vain to prop their man at attention but to no avail. Molineaux stood and watched as the rain peppered his face, he himself swaying on unsteady pins. The call of "time" rang out for the third time and Tom Cribb was no closer to scratch than he was at the first call. The referee turned towards Molineaux as Bill Richmond burst from his corner in jubilation of his charge's victory. But before the coronation had begun, Jem Ward sprang from Cribb's corner and grabbed old Bill by the neck. A melee ensued, as Ward accused Richmond of giving Molineaux "bullets". The referee called to Molineaux to open his hands in order for the foul to be disclaimed and the Moor exposed his naked palms. Richmond took after Ward and a hot brawl commenced as men from the warring factions broke the outer ring. Molineaux was caught in the tempest as bodies banged, cursed and entagled. It was a full fifteen minutes before order was restored. Tom Molineaux, who now stood in a solitary corner of the set-to his skin wet, his bones chilled and his teeth chattering, had lost his championship before he had ever won it.

Of course the record books only record that Cribb, who received a steady diet of Brandy and blankets whilst the pademonium created by Ward continued on, went on to outlast the brave Molineaux who in the fortieth round turned to no one in particular and stated through swollen, bloodied lips, "I can fight no more."

Tom Molineaux, America's first champion, had lost. To Cribb yes, but even more so to the weather, the chicanery of Joe Ward and his crew and to the racial climate of his time which simply did not make room for fair play.

		Jul 24 Jack Burrowes                              (less than 1:00:00) W   
		Aug 21 Tom "Tough" Blake                                      (17:00) W  8
		Dec 18 Tom Cribb                  Copthall Common, England    (55:00) L 33
		          -Championship of England;
		           Some sources report "W 40"

		May 21 Rimmer                                                         W 21
		Sep 28 Tom Cribb                  Thistleton Gap, Eng         (19:10) L 11
		          -Championship of England
		       Power                                                  (17:00) W   
		          -This was an "impromptu" fight
		Jul 27 John Snow                  Exeter Fair, England                L   
		          -This was a wrestling match

		Mar 31 Jack Carter                                                  SCH   
		          -This fight was scheduled but not held;
		           Molineaux was arrested for a debt owed to Bill Richmond
		Apr 23 Jack Carter                                                    W 25 

		May 27 William Fuller                                         (8:00) NC   
		          -Police intervened
		May 31 William Fuller             Paisley, Scotland        (1:08:00) WF  2

		       Tom Cribb                                                     EX   

		Mar 10 George Cooper                                          (20:00) L 14
		       Abraham Deniston                                              EX   


               Record courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization




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