New Lineal Bantamweight Championship Title Claimant!
By Mike DeLisa
In the recent tabulations for All-Time Bantamweight Champion, Jimmy Walsh recieved one tenth place vote. The Lineal Bantamweight list on the CBZ shows that Walsh was indeed a lineal champion. Our list states: Jimmy Walsh (1905, never defended title). (Incredibly, I had never published a record for Walsh, one of only 2 or 3 lineal champions missing from the CBZ!) Since I was only generally familiar with Walsh's record, I pulled out the 1986-1987 Ring Record Book to see what that showed. (BoxRec's record is woefully inclomplete).
The record showed that Walsh was a good, solid fighter who had claimed the bantamweight title in 1905 with a win over Digger Stanley, then moved up in weight to face Abe Attell.
Next, I began revieweing the CBZ Archives (the stuff in my garage and Johnny Bos's apartment!) and soon came across the curious reference to Peanuts Sinclair. Prior to a September 1910 challenge by Sinclair for the Inter-Mountain Featherweight Championship against Jimmy Reagan, a reporter mentioned that Reagan had won the Bantamweight Title from Jimmy Walsh and then lost it to Monte Attell.
So far as I knew, Walsh had given up his title claim to challenge at featherweight -- had he in fact defended his title in subsequent bouts? Had he lost his title to Jimmy Reagan?
Further complicating matters, Walsh's record did not have a bout against Jimmy Reagan. He did have a 1910 12-round loss to Johnny Reagan, a bantamweight who fought out of Brooklyn. Top Researcher Luckett Davis confirmed that Walsh's record reflected a bout with JOHNNY Reagan as early as the 1910 TS Andrews.
Could the record be wrong? YES!
In fact, day-after newspaper reports confirm that it was Jimmy Reagan (Not Johnny Reagan) who went against Walsh on January 29, 1910 for Walsh's bantamweight title claim. None ohter than Harry Smith, the leading sportswriter of the era, confirmed prior to the fight that it was for the title!
The record books had been proven wrong after only 96 years!
Interestingly, Reagan lost his title in his next fight against Monte Attell on Feb 22, 1910 -- just 24 days later, making his reign one of the shortest in boxing history.
Thanks to Luckett Davis and Johnny Bos for helping uncover this interesting development.
Lineal Bantamweight Champions -- to be revised