‘Boxing. A Worldwide Record of Bouts and Boxers’ by Herbert G. Goldman
Like most fellows with a boxing website (www.prizefightingbooks.com), I frequently receive inquiries from individuals trying to learn more about relatives who were boxers at one time. Most recently, I heard from someone researching the boxing career of their great-great-great grandfather Patrick “Paddy” McGuigan who fought in the late 1800s.
I searched through old Nat Fleischer Ring Record books as well as numerous other record books produced by the likes of T.S. Andrews, Everlast, Police Gazette and Nelse Innes for any mention of the man but found nothing on him in any of those booklets.
Now, as it happened, my search coincided with the arrival of a new extensive four-volume boxing record set produced by Herb Goldman so I thought it would be a good test to see if a record of McGuigan’s fights might be included in his works. Alas, I found no record of Paddy’s fights contained in those volumes either.
But, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that because as it say’s in the preface of volume 1 of Goldman’s record books, “The most conservative estimate of the total number of men to have boxed professionally under the Queensberry rules is 700,000. Hence, presenting the complete pro records of all professional boxers in one, two, or even fifty volumes is impossible – even if the necessary information could somehow be compiled.”
Still, while there will be many fighters you won’t find mentioned within these four volumes a review of the parties acknowledged for their contributions and the sources utilized to put these four record books together leads me to believe that they will provide the most accurate and comprehensive boxing record books to-date and likely for the foreseeable future. A cutoff date of May 2011 was utilized for the compilation of the records.
The four volumes measure 8 ˝” x 11” each and are comprised of a whopping 1,725 pages in total and are made up of the following six parts according to the preface:
Part I – Records of the London Prize Ring and transition era fighters. These are given their own sections, as bare knuckle fighting involved radically different rules and should be viewed as a quite different sport from modern boxing. The main body of the book consists of bout-by-bout records of more than 2,600 of the most notable professional boxers of the Queenserry (gloved) era, from 1895 to the present. (Note: I don’t know what criteria was used to determine the 2,600 most notable boxers.) The boxers appear in alphabetical order with each entry providing basic biographical data, followed by bout results in chronological order. A section on women boxers follows.
Part II – Presents registries of non-participants (referees, promoters, managers, trainers, etc.)
Part III – Contains records of world title bouts from 1878 through 2010 (by weight classification and comprised of 120-pages).
Part IV – Presents various records and champions, amateur and professional. The all-time leaders in various statistical categories are presented for the first time. (Includes lists for fighters with the longest number of years of professional fighting, total number of bouts, total wins, total losses, total draws, No contests, wins by ko/tko, wins on points, wins by disqualification, losses by ko/tko, losses on points, loses by disqualification, wins by first round ko/tko, losses by first round ko/tko, consecutive bouts without a loss, consecutive bouts without a win, consecutive wins, consecutive losses, consecutive wins by ko/tko, consecutive losses by ko/tko, consecutive wins by first round ko/tko, consecutive losses by first round ko/tko, longest bout, shortest bout, Most knockdowns bout, highest paid live attendances, highest live gross gates, prominent boxing fathers and sons, youngest boxer to engage in professional bout, oldest boxer to engage in professional bout, last scheduled 15-round title bout, first scheduled 12-round title bout (since 1955), world championship records: individual – all divisions, most successful title defenses by ko/tko, most successful title defenses, most title challenges, most unsuccessful title challenges,( longest held title, most title bouts, most title bouts won, most title bouts won by ko/tko, most title defenses, most successful title defenses, most successful title defenses by ko/tko by weight classifications), professional champions by weight classification and alphabet organizations and countries, and amateur champions. The amount of work that must have gone into this section boggles the mind!
Part V – Deals with the organization of the sport, tracing the history of weight divisions and world titles, the constituent commissions of the U.S. Association of Boxing Commissions, various boxers’ associations, and three halls of fame devoted to the sport.
Part VI – Dedicated to boxing in history and culture, combines a brief history of the sport with a very brief numerical overview of boxers and several diverse lists: ancient Olympic champions, venues and gymnasiums worldwide, radio and television broadcasts, boxing in literature and the arts, and others.
It’s acknowledged that historical records of fighters continue to be clarified and corrected and much work remains to be done. But, as I said, for now I suspect that in terms of published records this work has now become the best reference source available.
As an additional test, I decided to compare the bouts that were listed for Billy Miske versus those I compiled in the back of my recent biography about him. I had found a couple of fights that weren’t listed on Boxrec while researching Billy’s career for my book about him. The dates of the first three fights of Miske’s career in 1913 in Goldman’s book didn’t match those that I had uncovered as a result of my research, though the results did. I see that there are also still some differences in dates between Boxrec and the fight record I have in the back of my book.
I’m not particularly thrilled with the format used to list the results of each fighter’s bouts, in a paragraph format, but understand that this was likely the most economical way to do it for so many fighters without having to use a much greater number of pages. As it is, the records of bouts the 2,600 fighter’s comprise the bulk of the first three volumes.
There is a tremendous amount of material to review in these four volumes and I’m sharing this without yet having spent as much time pouring over it as I’d like. I suspect the $195 price will prevent many from purchasing the set but when one considers that not all that long ago used copies of ‘The 1986-87 Ring Record Book’ were routinely selling for $150 and how much more information and more current records are contained within these four volumes it might not really be an unreasonable price. I suspect it will prove an invaluable resource and commend Herb Goldman for the incredible effort undertaken to produce these volumes.
The books were published by McFarland Publishing (www.mcfarlandpub.com) and their order line is 800-253-2187.