The Cyber Boxing Bio
Boxing is the cruelest sport. The fighters toil for the most part in anonymity. The abysmal conditions the fighters endure in order to practice their craft would be intolerable for athletes in other sports. Yet the fighters persevere, a tribute to the essence of men who are trying to fight their way out of the miserable miasma of their human condition.
Perhaps the worst conditions ever faced by boxers were those that African-American's endured in the eras between the rise of Jack Johnson and Joe Louis' victory over Max Schmeling in 1938.
Johnson was a free spirit that flaunted the "white man's rules" by living an edge city life that included marrying a string of white women. Johnson so enraged the mores of the day that he released a wave of racial hatred and divisiveness that wasn't seen again until the Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's, and the OJ trial in the mid-90's. Which brings me to one of those great Afro-American fighters that fought under those terrible conditions; but has further suffered the indignity of being forgotten in the bloody mitts of time ...
"The Frisco Flash," Young Jack Thompson, was born in Los Angeles on August 17, 1904. He began his pro career in 1922 in San Francisco with a second round KO over one Bud Kelly. Over the next 10 years, Young Jack proceeded to terrorize the welterweight division. Thompson was said to be, "The greatest little black man since the days of Joe Gans." In volume 5 of Black Dynamite, Nat Fleischer described Thompson "as one of the finest performers the ring had known. He was fast and shifty, a natural boxer, and a lusty puncher with either hand." Praise of the highest order indeed ... But Thompson backed it up with a mastery of the art of boxing and a display of dynamite in both fists. Out of his 62 recorded career victories, 41 were by kayo. An outstanding knockout percentage considering the high caliber of opposition he constantly faced. Black fighters were not given gimme fights in those days. In fact, the majority of Young Jack's 27 decision losses, were either against sterling competition or were outright robberies involving his opponent's hometown officials.
Thompson solidified his status as a top contender when he kayoed the reigning welterweight champion, Joe Dundee, in the second round on August 30, 1928. He was matched against the great Jackie Fields, for the vacant N.B.A. welterweight title in Jackie's native Chicago on March 25, 1929, only to lose a controversial 10 round decision.
For the next year Thompson kept campaigning to relatively dismal results winning five fights, losing five (all on the road), with one no decision bout. After losing yet another controversial decision in his only New York City appearance to the great Jimmy McLarnin (L-10), he was given a title shot against Jackie Fields in Detroit on May 9, 1930. Over 15 blistering rounds Thompson was finally able to eke out a close on the road decision for the title. Jack defended his title against tough Tommy Freeman on September 5th of that same year losing a 15-round decision in Cleveland. Jack came back to brutally regain the title with a 12th round kayo of Freeman, also in Cleveland on April 14, 1931.
On July 23, 1931 he faced French-Canadian strong boy Lou Brouillard, in Boston, losing a very controversial 10-round decision. They were rematched exactly three months later, this time for the title; Thompson lost over 15 rounds. (L-15). Thompson was clearly beaten -- he was dropped in the sixth, tenth, and thirteenth rounds -- and his days as a top contender were suddenly over.
Thompson campaigned for only one more year with mixed results. Discouraged by the bad hometown decisions and the inequity of being a black fighter during the Depression, Young Jack Thompson last fought on May 25, 1932, a six round win in Seattle over a nonentity named Leonard Bennett. He announced his retirement a week later. On April 9, 1946, he suffered a fatal heart attack in a Los Angeles restaurant; he was forty-two years old.
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