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Thread: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

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    Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow
    By Mike Casey from Boxing Scene

    What was it really like to have Sam Langford coming at you? On March 17, 1910, at the Jeffries Arena in Vernon, California, Fireman Jim Flynn got the answer to that question in painful, brain-scrambling fashion. So hard and true was Langford’s knockout punch, so perfectly timed, that Fireman Jim believed the fight was still on after his brief but ill-timed slumber. The pugnacious battler from Pueblo could not be convinced that his business for the day was done, even as a smiling Sam rushed around the ring and shook hands with his well-wishers.

    Dazed and disoriented, Flynn was set to hurl himself into another frenzied attack at his tormentor when referee Charles Eyton told Jim he was out and escorted him back to his corner. Reality took some time to penetrate Flynn’s scattered senses. Gritty, proud and stubborn, the Fireman couldn’t conceive of having his flames put out by Langford. Jim had drawn with Sam just a month before in Los Angeles and had belligerently predicted a drubbing for the Boston Tar Baby in their return.

    Now Flynn was sitting in his corner, getting the terrible confirmation of the result from his handlers and feeling like a man who meticulously plans a long journey and then somehow contrives to miss his train.

    It was a masterful execution. A big right uppercut from Sam dropped Flynn face down in the eighth round. The punch was expertly thrown. Jack Johnson, Langford’s fellow legend and great rival, would fire the uppercut from an upright position. Sam would twist his body in the appropriate direction and somehow thread the blow through his opponent’s crossed forearms to the target. Such was Langford’s sense of timing and commitment to the punch.

    Up to the stunning coup de grace, the fight with Flynn had been full of action and endeavour. Jim pressured Sam all the way, but it was noticeable that Langford was considerably calmer and more measured as he looked for openings. Flynn certainly provided a test for Sam’s analytical boxing brain. When the Fireman wasn’t bulling forward and lashing away with wild blows, he was causing some amusement with his curious defensive tactic of curling himself into a ball like a hedgehog.

    Langford in his best form was beautifully economical. He wouldn’t throw a punch unless he was sure in his own mind that he could hit the target. Here was a man who apparently had never had a formal boxing lesson, yet he idolised Joe Gans and was arguably even more innately gifted than the Old Master.

    Jim Flynn’s face was soon bleeding and bruised from the attention of Sam’s accurately placed jabs, hooks and uppercuts. Realising his best bet was to stay close to Langford, Flynn would storm to close quarters and hook to the ribs and the side of the body as he rested his head below his opponent’s chin. Jim could use that head of his in more ways than one, as Jack Johnson would discover two years later. Weary of being held in Jack’s vice-like grip in the clinches, the shorter Flynn would comically take to the air as he repeatedly jumped up and head-smashed Johnson to the chin. Watch the film of that old fight and you will see Jack smiling wryly at livid Jim’s antics.

    Langford knew he had Flynn. Countless stories would subsequently be written of Sam’s apparent, uncanny ability to bring the curtain down at the time of his choosing. Some such tales have inevitably strayed into the mythical, but there is little doubt that Langford’s ability to read and dictate a fight was exceptional.

    In the seventh round, Sam slowed his pace and the largely pro-Flynn crowd was deceived into believing that their man Jim was finally on the upswing. In the words of the old song, Langford was simply reviewing the situation. If Fireman Jim gained any comfort from Sam’s apparent lethargy, it was short-lived. As the round drew to a close, Langford opened up again with a succession of ripping and hurtful shots.

    Boxing can be a cruelly deceptive sport. It can paint pretty pictures and then deface them at the drop of a hat. Flynn looked just fine as he set about his work in the eighth round. In fact he was better than he had been all the way through as he chased Langford and found the mark with some hefty body blows. Then Sam pulled the trigger. As Jim lowered his head to begin another charge, Langford took one step back and launched the deciding uppercut with a full sweep of his arm. The blow caught Flynn between his chin and mouth and belted his world right off its axis.

    Praise

    The writers of Sam Langford’s day were lavish in their praise of the Boston Tar Baby’s many talents. While we are all guilty of having a soft spot for the fighters of our generation, it is true to say that the twinkle of Langford’s star has not diminished with the passing years.

    My good friend Curtis Narimatsu in Hawaii, who very kindly tops up my vast collection of old fight reports with scrumptious clippings of his own, has long identified Langford as a member of one of boxing’s most significant triumvirates, along with Bob Fitzsimmons and the matchless master, Joe Gans.

    Says Curtis, “There is a distinct line of mentor influence linking that stellar trio. Just as Gans idolised Fitz, so Langford idolised Gans. Years later, in much the same way, Muhammad Ali would learn and improvise from the technique of Sugar Ray Robinson.”
    Broadway Charley Rose, the veteran boxer, trainer and manager, saw them all up until his death in 1974 and would not budge on his choice of Langford as the greatest fighter he had seen and among the elite of the heavyweights. That is some compliment when one considers that Sam was never more than a middleweight with lofty aspirations.
    Rose said: “Sam Langford was the greatest fighting machine I have seen. He could box, he could hit, he could out-think his rivals and display the most consummate ring generalship the sport yet has seen.

    “When Langford hit you on the button, there was no need to wait and count over the fallen fighter. I remember when he stopped Al Kubiak in New York. He belted Al with his famous right, and as Kubiak toppled, Sam left the ring. He knew that the fight was over.
    “Langford stopped Fireman Jim Flynn in Los Angeles virtually with one punch. One of the local papers the next day said, ‘Fireman Jim Flynn got hit on the chin. Amen’.
    “Flynn had threatened to ‘malerate’ the Boston Tar Baby. Sam was a great fighter in an era of great heavyweights.”

    Writer Bill McCormack was also taken with Langford’s overall prowess. In 1962, McCormack wrote: “Without doubt, Jack Dempsey was the most exciting heavyweight – if not the most exciting fighter – the ring ever knew. But I think the best of the big boys must have been Sam Langford. I know that’s taking in a lot of territory, because Dempsey, Louis and Johnson were great, but I have my reasons for liking the Boston Tar Baby.

    “First of all, Langford made Lil Arthur (Johnson) run away and hide. Johnson got the decision, by one means or another, when they fought in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1906, but never again could he be lured into the ring with manager Joe Woodman’s squat fighting machine.

    “Then, too, it was a well established fact that Sam was so good he had to ‘put on the handcuffs’ before any of the big boys would take him on. As it was, he licked Harry Wills in several of their numerous encounters, and flattened Jim Flynn and Gunboat Smith when he was way past his prime.”

    McCormack rightly pointed out that Sam was still a formidable competitor near the end of his career when he was virtually blind.

    “Perhaps the greatest thing Langford ever did was to flatten Tiger Flowers in Atlanta in 1922. At the time, Sam was 44, Flowers 26.

    “In the first round, Langford literally felt out the Tiger. He had to. He couldn’t see him and had to locate him by feel. He came back to his corner and notified his handlers, “This boy’s making mistakes. He makes ‘em again and we go home’.

    “Flowers made the mistakes and Langford knocked him out in the second. Flowers went on to win the middleweight title from the great Harry Greb in 1926.”

    Natural

    Langford was a pure natural. His physique, his brilliant boxing brain and lateral thinking and his fistic versatility were all delightfully out of kilter with textbook teaching. He thrilled the romantics and frustrated the deep thinkers and number crunchers who despair whenever a Sam Langford cannot be specifically filed and categorised.

    Let us start with Sam’s incredible physique. In less enlightened times, he was frequently compared to a gorilla. Such a yardstick might make some of us wince with embarrassment now, but the comparison was well meant and actually very apt.

    For while Langford stood just 5’ 7’’, he was a physical powerhouse. Broad shouldered and deep in the chest, he also possessed incredibly long arms that consistently fooled opponents who thought they were out of range.

    Sam was able to take full advantage of these physical gifts. His speed in the ring was frequently described as ‘phenomenal’ and he was a thunderous puncher. His stamina was never questioned and his boxing brain was as sharp as that of Ray Robinson or any other fighter in history.

    These talents gave Langford his career longevity. Starting out as a featherweight in 1902, his last recorded fight was in 1926. He was going steadily blind from 1917 and could barely see his opponents during the last days of his career. He had turned 40 when he knocked out Andres Balsa for the Spanish and Mexican heavyweight titles in 1923. Sam engaged in well over 300 professional fights, although it is doubtful that we will ever nail down his exact total.

    So fabled are Sam’s exploits as a giant killer of heavyweights and light-heavyweights, it is often forgotten that he was a genuine all time great in the middleweight and welterweight divisions.

    Back in the late forties, a phony was posing as Sam Langford down in Lexington, Kentucky. An eager sports writer delved into the story and found the real Sam. The old champ was stone blind and just about getting by in a hall room in Harlem.

    Manager Joe Woodman had seen the disturbing signs years before but couldn’t persuade Langford to quit. The successful partnership between the unlikely pair was dissolved after Sam’s fight with Fred Fulton at Boston in 1917. Woodman recalled: “Sam got badly busted up around the eyes in that bout, and I was afraid he’d go blind if he kept fighting. I told Sam he’d better quit, but he was stubborn. He insisted he’d keep going.

    I said it was dangerous for him, that he’d probably lose his eyesight and I didn’t want to be held responsible. I argued and pleaded but it did no good. So we parted. I was right. Sam did keep fighting and eventually became blind. It was too bad. He was a great fighter and one of the finest chaps, personally, I’ve ever had anything to do with.”
    Joe Woodman was a licensed pharmacist by trade and was running a drug store near North Station in Boston when his interest in boxing led him to promoting fights at a small local club.

    There he took an interest in 16-year old Sam Langford, who had travelled down from his home in Weymouth, Nova Scotia. Young Sam was working in a brickyard at the time and wanted to fight professionally. His relationship with Woodman would span 17 years and take them all over the United States and Canada, and around the globe to England, France, Australia, Panama and Argentina.

    The living wasn’t always easy, as Woodman explained: “I don’t know how many miles of land and water we covered, but I can tell you one thing: it was long, often tedious travelling. There were no airplanes, you know, and we had to go by train and ship. We were constantly moving. We didn’t stay too long in any one place – just kept going to wherever we could get fights.”

    Wills on Langford

    Whilst preparing for his 1924 fight with Luis Angel Firpo, Harry Wills proudly told Damon Runyon: “I fought Sam Langford fourteen times and he kept me down on the canvas for the full count but twice. Once, Sam stuck me away in nineteen rounds and the other time in fourteen. I wasn’t in real good condition either time.”

    What Wills neglected to mention was that Langford wasn’t in the greatest shape himself for the latter part of their ongoing series. The bare statistics tell us that Harry decisively trumped Sam in the overall score, but Wills was beating an ageing man whose eyesight was rapidly deteriorating. One has to bear in mind also that the newspaper decisions of that era were not always the most reliable of barometers.

    Yet Harry was unstinting in his praise of Langford’s ability. When it was suggested that Firpo was a dangerous puncher, Wills said, “He has a good right hand but he can’t begin to punch with Old Sam. How that Langford could crack you on the button! Just a twist of the wrist, and when you came to your seconds would be dragging you to your corner.”

    Harry Lenny, one of the great fight managers, pointed out that the true one punch finisher is more of a rarity than many imagine. Langford, in Lenny’s book, was one of the chosen few. “There are all kinds of punchers. There’s the fellow who numbs you and the one who gives you a sharp shock.

    “Joe Louis is what I call a bruising puncher. But he’s not one of those one punch finishers He hit Max Baer over 250 times right on the whiskers and still Max wasn’t unconscious when he was counted out on one knee.

    “Jack Dempsey also was a crushing puncher, but it took a lot of punches as a rule for him to finish a man.

    “There have been very few one punch finishers in the ring. These birds really are the terrific hitters. Sam Langford was that kind of a walloper and there was a kid down in Baltimore years ago – George (KO) Chaney, a lightweight – who could stiffen his man with one sock.

    “When Langford hit you a short, sharp jolt, the lights went out on you and that’s all there was to it.”

    In the early years of the twentieth century, Langford was one of a famous and celebrated quartet of black fighters. Jack Johnson, Joe Jeannette and Sam McVey were Sam’s greatest rivals, but in truth only Johnson was on the Boston Tar Baby’s special level.

    When Sam decisioned Joe Jeannette over 20 rounds at Luna Park in Paris in December, 1913, correspondent Stephen Black drew attention to the marked differences between the two men in their talent and general demeanour. “Jeannette fought like a greyhound, a plucky greyhound that wants to fight but can only fight his own way. As he retreats, he snaps back little biting snaps that worry the other fighter unless he is a thoroughbred bulldog like Sam Langford. For that is exactly what Langford is in appearance and by temperament. He is a bigger edition of Joe Walcott, the black demon, and I think a better one.

    “Jeannette looked worried in his corner before the beginning, whereas Langford sat up waiting for the bell like a bulldog expecting a bone.”

    Greatest fighter

    Jack Blackburn, legendary trainer of Joe Louis and a formidable lightweight in his day, offered the opinion that Sam Langford was the greatest fighter of all. Plenty of Jack’s contemporaries concurred with that opinion.

    In his wonderful book, ‘Kings of the Ring’, British boxing writer James ‘Jimmy’ Butler, said of Langford: “I set him down without hesitation as the greatest glove-fighter I ever met. I still think that had he been matched a second time with Jack Johnson, he would have beaten the champion.”

    Butler was at ringside for Langford’s fight with the big Australian Bill Lang at Olympia in London in 1911. The record book has been kind to big Bill, as it shows that he lost the bout on a sixth round disqualification after whacking Sam on the chin while he was on one knee from a slip. This masks the fact that Langford gave Lang an almighty thrashing up to the unfortunate conclusion. The 210lb Lang had outweighed Sam by nearly 50 pounds.

    Lang’s mentor, newspaper magnate Hugh D McIntosh, couldn’t believe what he saw. Before battle was joined, he had raved about his white hope to Jimmy Butler and said, “He’ll eat this coloured boy, Jimmy – just eat him.”

    Oh dear.

    During Sam’s visit to London, he told Jimmy Butler, “I’m not the champ. Jack Johnson is that guy and he keeps dodging me.”

    Butler subsequently wrote: “That, as a matter of fact, was the plain and unvarnished truth. Johnson did dodge a meeting with the Boston Tar Baby after their terrific clash at Chelsea, Massachusetts.

    “Johnson just scraped home on points after fifteen rounds, but I think he learned enough to realise that if he ever got into the same ring with Langford again, those gigantic arms and shoulders would make short work of sweeping him off his throne.”
    Well, there is little doubt that Johnson did indeed steer a wide berth of Langford after their one and only confrontation. But did Sam really give Jack such a close call in that Chelsea fight? The rumour persisted for years that Langford had even decked Papa Jack, which offended Johnson greatly and prompted him to issue a series of vehement denials.

    In an open letter to The Ring magazine in 1934, Johnson wrote: “I have accounts of the fight from my dear old friend, Tad (legendary sports writer and cartoonist Tad Dorgan) which show how badly Sam Langford was whipped. Please note the account of our fifteen-round fight at Chelsea, Mass., which I am enclosing. The report shows that I gave poor Sam such a severe trimming that he had to find his way into a hospital to recuperate. The records of that fight prove that statement to be correct.

    “Langford was among the five fighters to whom I gave the worst beatings in all my career. This quintet was composed of Jim Jeffries, Tommy Burns, Sam Langford, Sailor Burke and Frank Childs.”

    To his dying day in 1972, Ring editor Nat Fleischer maintained that Jack Johnson was the greatest of all the heavyweights. Understandably, Nat was eager to get to the bottom of the Johnson-Langford controversy. In his 1958 book, ’50 Years at Ringside’, Fleischer produced the testimony of his father-in-law, Dad Phillips, who allegedly saw the fight.

    Said Phillips: “Jack Johnson decisively defeated Sam Langford. He was complete master of the situation. Jack so far outclassed Langford that for a time, until he purposely eased up on his onslaughts, the fight was one-sided.

    “Langford was dropped twice for counts of nine, and he would have been out the first time if referee Martin Flaherty had not slowed up the count. At the end of the fight, Sam had to be taken to a hospital.

    “As for Langford dropping Johnson, that’s absurd. Why, he couldn’t land on Jack.”
    Sam’s alleged knockdown of Jack continued to bug Nat Fleischer, who had to find the truth from the nearest equivalent of the horse’s mouth. Nat cornered Langford’s former manager Joe Woodman and good-naturedly demanded the true version of events.
    According to Fleischer, this was Woodman’s response: “You’ve got me, Nat. Langford never dropped Johnson. But I was anxious to fix up another fight between the two and, knowing Jack’s pride, I invented the story of that knockdown to goad him into the ring against Sam again.

    “Although it never happened, all the newspapermen believed it. They just never took the trouble to investigate. That knockdown was just a publicity gimmick.”

    Well, we take all that for what we will. The simple fact is that only the long dead players and supporting cast from that gloriously mystical fight at Chelsea knew what really happened.

    Sam and Stan

    The National Athletic Club in Philadelphia had never known the like of it People came from all over the country. There was a special train of six cars from New York and large parties from Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Boston and other major cities.

    It was April 27th, 1910, and Sam Langford was locking horns with Stanley Ketchel. The two titans of the game would wage a six-rounds no contest, but the short-lived bout was still worth the miles and the money to those who came.

    The myth of this set-to was that it was little more than an exhibition. It was much more than that. It was a thrilling fight in which both gladiators fought viciously. After a quiet first round, Sam and Stan set about seeing what they were made of. Ketchel attacked Langford’s body with ripping hooks, only to be met by sledgehammer jabs and powerful right uppercuts.

    At the end of the third round, a hard uppercut from Sam brought blood streaming from Stan’s nose, angering the Michigan Assassin and causing him to swing wildly.
    The tide turned in the fourth when Ketchel shot a tremendous left to Sam’s body. The blow closed Langford’s eyes momentarily and forced his mouth to drop open. The bell prevented Ketchel from doing further damage.

    Sam had Stan’s nose bleeding again in the fifth round, but had to withstand a hard right to the jaw for his troubles. Canny Ketchel was staying as close to Langford as he could, but a steaming uppercut from Sam in the sixth lifted the Assassin off his feet. Incredibly, Ketchel kept coming, although he seemed to be slowing at the finish as his nose bled heavily and stained his body crimson.

    There were those who believed Sam had the edge by the close of battle. Others disagreed. There had to be a return match, but fate cruelly prevented it. Six months and three fights later, Ketchel died from the bullet of another assassin who came in through the back door.

    Sam Langford, of course, just kept rolling along. Ye gods, what a pair!

    * Mike Casey is a boxing journalist and historian and a staff writer with Boxing Scene. He is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) and founder and editor of the Grand Slam Premium Boxing Service for historians and fans (www.grandslampage.net).

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Sam Langford
    (the "Boston Tar Baby")

    BORN March 4 1883; Weymouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
    DIED January 12 1956; Cambridge, Massachusetts
    HEIGHT 5-8
    WEIGHT 139-204 lbs
    MANAGER Joe Woodman
    Langford was one of the greatest fighters who ever stepped into the ring; He fought successfully in every class from lightweight to heavy, usually against larger and heavier men; During his career, he won the Heavyweight Championship of Mexico and the Heavyweight Championship of Australia

    Sam was short in statue but had a long reach; He moved well, used both hands and hit with power - he was a boxer-puncher supreme; Despite (or because of) his rare skills, he never fought for a World Championship; In his later years, he went blind

    During his career, Langford defeated such men as Joe Gans, Harry Wills, Kid Norfolk, George Godfrey, "Philadelphia" Jack O'Brien, Joe Jeannette, Sam McVea, Ed "Gunboat" Smith, Willie Lewis, George "Elbows" McFadden, George Gunther, "Young" Peter Jackson, Jack Blackburn, Larry Temple, Dixie Kid (Aaron Brown), "Fireman" Jim Flynn, Jeff Clark, Bill Lang, Tom "Bearcat" McMahon, Jack Thompson, John Lester Johnson, Dan "Porky" Flynn, Ed "Bearcat" Wright, Theodore "Tiger" Flowers and "Big" Bill Tate

    Charley Rose ranked Langford as the #1 All-Time Heavyweight; Nat Fleischer ranked him as the #7 All-Time Heavyweight; Herb Goldman ranked Sam as the #2 All-Time Light Heavyweight; Langford was elected to the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1955 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990

    *** SOME AMATEUR BOUTS ***

    1902
    Jan 13 Jack McVicker Boston, Ma W 3
    Jan 13 William McDonald Boston, Ma W 3
    Feb 10 Jack McVicker Boston, Ma W 3

    *** PROFESSIONAL BOUTS ***

    1902
    Apr 11 Jack McVicker Boston, Ma KO 5

    1903
    Jan 15 Arthur Pratt Boston, Ma KO 2
    Jan 22 Billy Chisholm Lawrence, Ma ND 6
    -This bout was a "pre-arranged" draw
    Feb 6 Luther Manual Boston, Ma ND 6
    -This bout was a "pre-arranged" draw
    Feb 27 Luther Manual Boston, Ma W 10
    Mar 4 Sadler Jennings Chelsea, Ma KO 2
    Mar 5 Johnny Johnson Boston, Ma ND 6
    Mar 26 John Butler Boston, Ma W 6
    Apr 3 Bob "Stonewall" Allen Boston, Ma W 6
    Apr 16 Bob "Stonewall" Allen Boston, Ma W 6
    Apr 20 Andy Watson Lawrence, Ma ND 12
    -This bout was a "pre-arranged" draw
    May 8 Andy Watson Boston, Ma ND 10
    -This bout was a "pre-arranged" draw
    May 25 Billy Jordan Cambridge, Ma ND 6
    -This bout was a "pre-arranged" draw
    May 26 Chick Monahan Boston, Ma KO 1
    May 29 Andy Watson Boston, Ma ND 12
    -This bout was a "pre-arranged" draw
    Jun 5 Tim Kearns Boston, Ma TK 2
    Jun 15 Andy Watson Gloucester, Ma D 12
    Jun 19 Walter Burgo Boston, Ma KO 8
    Jun 26 Danny Duane Boston, Ma L 12
    Jul 16 Belfield Walcott Scituate, RI W 20
    Aug 28 Kid Griffo Boston, Ma W 12
    Sep 15 Shadow Morris Boston, Ma W 12
    Oct 5 Arthur Cote Boston, Ma TK 4
    Nov 20 Patsy Sweeney Boston, Ma KO 12
    Nov 28 Joe Reed Boston, Ma KO 4
    Dec 8 Joe Gans Boston, Ma W 15
    Dec 23 Jack Blackburn Boston, Ma ND 12
    -Some reports state this bout was an "agreed" draw

    1904
    Jan 6 Andy Watson Salem, Ma D 12
    Jan 11 Jack Blackburn Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Jan 27 Belfield Walcott Boston, Ma ND 6
    Feb 13 Charles Johnson Boston, Ma TK 5
    Feb 22 Willie Lewis New Bedford, Ma KO 2
    Apr 11 Dave Holly Cambridge, Ma L 10
    Jul 29 George "Elbows" McFadden Manchester, NH TK 2
    Sep 5 Joe Walcott Manchester, NH D 15
    Sep 30 Dave Holly Baltimore, Md D 15
    Nov 4 Dave Holly Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Nov 24 Andy Watson Webster, Ma W 12
    Nov 25 Tommy Sullivan Marlboro, Ma TK 3
    Dec 9 Jack Blackburn Marlboro, Ma D 15
    Dec 22 Joe Reed Berlin, NH TK 9

    1905
    Jan 16 Joe Reed Webster, Ma KO 5
    Jan 20 George Gunther Chelsea, Ma TK 11
    Jan 27 Belfield Walcott Boston, Ma ND 6
    Feb 13 Dave Holly Salem, Ma D 15
    Mar 4 George Cole Boston, Ma NC 9
    -Some sources report 3/03/05
    Mar 13 George Gunther Portland, Me W 12
    May 16 Bogardus Hyde Webster, Ma TK 3
    May 26 "Young" Peter Jackson Marlboro, Ma W 15
    Jun 15 "Young" Peter Jackson Chelsea, Ma W 15
    Jul 4 Larry Temple Marlboro, Ma L 10
    Aug 18 Jack Blackburn Leiperville, Pa W 15
    Sep 7 Larry Temple Marlboro, Ma D 15
    Sep 20 Jack Blackburn Allentown, Pa D 10
    Sep 29 "Young" Peter Jackson Baltimore, Md D 15
    Oct 7 Jack Blackburn Philadelphia, Pa NC 1
    Dec 25 Joe Jeannette Lawrence, Ma LT 8

    1906
    Feb 28 Larry Temple Chelsea, Ma KO 15
    Mar 19 Black Fitzsimmons Webster, Ma TK 11
    Apr 5 Joe Jeannette Chelsea, Ma W 15
    Apr 26 Jack Johnson Chelsea, Ma L 15
    -Johnson knocked Langford down twice
    May 14 Black Fitzsimmons Southbridge, Ma EX
    Jun 13 "Young" Peter Jackson Southbridge, Ma LT 5
    Nov 12 George Gunther Valley Falls, RI W 12
    Nov 21 "Young" Peter Jackson Rochester, NY W 15
    Nov 29 George Gunther Haverhill, Ma TK 3

    1907
    Jan 11 Joe Jeannette Lawrence, Ma D 12
    Jan 31 Kid Williams Rochester, NY KO 6
    Apr 22 James "Tiger" Smith London, Eng KO 4
    Jun 3 Geoff Thorn London, Eng KO 1
    Aug 27 Larry Temple Chelsea, Ma W 10
    Sep 25 Jim Barry New York, NY ND 6
    Oct 15 Jim Barry Chelsea, Ma ND 10
    Nov 12 "Young" Peter Jackson Los Angeles, Ca W 20
    Dec 17 Jim Barry Los Angeles, Ca ND 10

    1908
    Jan 14 Jim Barry Los Angeles, Ca ND 10
    Feb 10 Black Fitzsimmons Boston, Ma TK 4
    Mar 3 Joe Jeannette Boston, Ma D 12
    Mar 11 Larry Temple Boston, Ma ND 8
    Apr 7 Jim Barry Boston, Ma KO 2
    May 19 John "Sandy" Ferguson Boston, Ma W 12
    Jun 19 Jim Barry New York, NY KO 3
    Jul 21 John Wille Brooklyn, NY KO 2
    -Some sources report 7/31/08
    Aug 7 Tony Ross New York, NY TK 5
    Sep 1 Joe Jeannette New York, NY ND 6
    Dec 21 "Fireman" Jim Flynn San Francisco, Ca KO 1

    1909
    Mar 17 Jim Barry Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Mar 29 Morris Harris Brooklyn, NY TK 7
    Apr 3 John Wille Philadelphia, Pa KO 2
    Apr 14 Jim Barry Albany, NY ND 10
    Apr 17 Al Kubiak Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Apr 27 John "Sandy" Ferguson Boston, Ma D 12
    May 20 Frank Craig London, Eng
    EX 3

    -This was a sparring session; Craig was
    hired by

    William "Iron" Hague's camp to scout Langford;

    Langford learned of the scam and gave Craig a

    good drubbing
    May 24 William "Iron" Hague London, Eng KO 4
    Jul 13 Klondike (John Haines) Pittsburgh, Pa ND 6
    Sep 28 Dixie Kid (Aaron Brown) Boston, Ma TK 5
    Nov 2 Klondike (John Haines) Boston, Ma KO 2
    Nov 23 Mike Schreck Pittsburgh, Pa TK 1
    -Some sources report "TK 2"

    1910
    Jan 10 Dixie Kid (Aaron Brown) Memphis, Tn KO 3
    Feb 8 "Fireman" Jim Flynn Los Angeles, Ca ND 10
    Feb 22 Nat Dewey Cheyenne, Wy KO 1
    Mar 17 "Fireman" Jim Flynn Vernon, Ca KO 8
    Bob Armstrong Los Angeles, Ca EX 3
    Mar George Byers Los Angeles, Ca EX 3
    Apr 14 Jim Barry Vernon, Ca KO 16
    Apr 27 Stanley Ketchel Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    May 14 "Battling" Jim Johnson Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    May 17 Al Kubiak New York, NY TK 2
    Sep 6 Joe Jeannette Boston, Ma W 15
    Oct 22 Johnny Kilbane Boston, Ma EX 3
    Nov 10 Jeff Clark Joplin, Mo KO 2
    Dec 6 Morris Harris Boston, Ma KO 2

    1911
    Jan 10 Joe Jeannette Boston, Ma W 12
    Jan 16 Fred Atwater Utica, NY TK 3
    Feb 21 Bill Lang London, Eng WF 6
    Apr 1 Sam McVea Paris, Fr D 20
    May 30 Ralph Calloway Syracuse, NY KO 4
    Jun 16 Tony Caponi Winnipeg, Man, Can ND 10
    Jun 29 Jack Fitzgerald New York, NY TK 5
    Aug 9 Jim Smith New York, NY TK 5
    Aug 15 "Philadelphia" Jack O'Brien New York, NY TK 5
    Aug 24 Tony Ross New York, NY KO 6
    Sep 5 Joe Jeannette New York, NY ND 10
    Oct 6 Tony Caponi New York, NY TK 3
    Dec 26 Sam McVea Sydney, NSW, Aus L 20

    1912
    Feb 12 Jim Barry Sydney, NSW, Aus W 20
    Apr 8 Sam McVea Sydney, NSW, Aus W 20
    -Heavyweight Championship of Australia
    May 13 Jim Barry Melbourne, Vic, Aus TK 11
    May 27 Dan "Porky" Flynn Melbourne, Vic, Aus KO 14
    Aug 3 Sam McVea Sydney, NSW, Aus W 20
    -Heavyweight Championship of Australia
    Oct 9 Sam McVea Perth, WA, Aus TK 11
    -McVea claimed Langford fouled him;
    The foul claim was not allowed;
    McVea refused to continue fighting
    Dec 26 Sam McVea Sydney, NSW, Aus KO 13

    1913
    Mar 15 Jim Barry Brisbane, Que, Aus KO 1
    Mar 24 Sam McVea Brisbane, Que, Aus D 20
    Apr 2 Jerry Jerome Brisbane, Que, Aus ND 10
    Jun 19 Colin Bell Rockhampton, Que, Aus D 15
    -Heavyweight Championship of Australia
    Aug 26 Dan "Porky" Flynn Boston, Ma KO 4
    Sep 9 John Lester Johnson New York, NY KO 1
    Oct 3 Joe Jeannette New York, NY ND 10
    Oct 27 Jack Lester Taft, Ca TK 5
    Nov 12 Ed "Gunboat" Smith Boston, Ma L 12
    -Some sources report 11/17/13
    Dec 20 Joe Jeannette Paris, Fr W 20

    1914
    Jan 24 Matthew "P.O." Curran Paris, Fr KO 1
    Jan 26 Bob Armstrong London, Eng EX 3
    Mar 23 Bill Watkins New York, NY TK 1
    Mar 27 "Battling" Jim Johnson New York, NY ND 10
    Apr 15 George "Kid" Cotton Chattanooga, Tn W 8
    -Some sources report "ND 8"
    Apr 20 "Rough House" Ware Memphis, Tn W 8
    May 1 Harry Wills New Orleans, La L 10
    -Some sources report "ND 10"
    May 25 Bill Watkins Rochester, NY KO 4
    Aug 12 "Battling" Jim Johnson New York, NY ND 10
    Aug 25 George "Kid" Cotton Boston, Ma KO 4
    Sep 15 "Battling" Jim Johnson Boston, Ma D 12
    Oct 1 Joe Jeannette New York, NY ND 10
    Oct 6 Colin Bell Boston, Ma KO 4
    Oct 20 Ed "Gunboat" Smith Boston, Ma KO 3
    Oct 26 Jeff Clark Joplin, Mo ND 10
    Nov 10 Tom "Bearcat" McMahon Vernon, Ca TK 6
    Nov 16 Jim Cameron San Diego, Ca TK 6
    Nov 26 Harry Wills Vernon, Ca KO 14
    Charley Short Bakersfield, Ca EX 6

    1915
    Apr 6 "Battling" Jim Johnson New York, NY ND 10
    Apr 13 Joe Jeannette Boston, Ma L 12
    Apr 19 Dan "Porky" Flynn Montreal, Que, Can NC 6
    Jun 8 "Battling" Jim Johnson Brooklyn, NY ND 10
    Jun 29 Sam McVea Boston, Ma L 12
    Jul 16 Jack Thompson Denver, Co KO 1
    Sep 30 Sam McVea Denver, Co D 20
    Oct 18 John Lester Johnson Denver, Co W 15
    Nov 23 Sam McVea New York, NY ND 10
    Dec 3 Harry Wills New York, NY ND 10

    1916
    Jan 3 Harry Wills New Orleans, La L 20
    Feb 11 Harry Wills New Orleans, La KO 19
    Feb 17 Sam McVea New York, NY ND 10
    Feb 28 Cleve Hawkins New York, NY ND 10
    Mar 7 Harry Wills Brooklyn, NY ND 10
    Mar 23 Dave Mills Syracuse, NY TK 2
    -Some sources report 3/22/16
    Mar 31 Jeff Clark St. Louis, Mo TK 5
    Apr 7 Sam McVea Syracuse, NY ND 10
    Apr 25 Harry Wills St. Louis, Mo ND 8
    May 2 Sam McVea Akron, Oh ND 12
    May 12 Joe Jeannette Rochester, NY KO 7
    -Some sources report "Syracuse, NY"
    Aug 12 Sam McVea Buenos Aires, Arg D 20
    Nov 30 "Big" Bill Tate Syracuse, NY ND 10
    Dec 12 "Battling" Jim Johnson St. Louis, Mo KO 12
    Dec 29 Bob Devere Montreal, Que, Can ND 10
    Hugh Walker EX 3

    1917
    Jan "Battling" Jim Johnson Kansas City, Mo W 12
    Jan 25 "Big" Bill Tate Kansas City, Mo L 12
    Apr 10 Jack Thompson Brooklyn, NY ND 10
    Apr 19 Bob Devere New York, NY ND 10
    -Some sources report 4/20/17
    May 2 "Big" Bill Tate St. Louis, Mo KO 6
    -Some sources report "KO 5"
    May 11 Harry Wills Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Jun 19 Fred Fulton Boston, Ma LT 7
    Aug 17 Andre Anderson Buffalo, NY TK 2
    Sep 14 Joe Jeannette Toledo, Oh ND 12
    Sep 17 Andrew "Thunderbolt" Johnson Ardmore, Md KO 2
    Sep 20 Harry Wills Brooklyn, NY ND 10
    Nov 12 Harry Wills Toledo, Oh ND 12
    Dec 17 Kid Norfolk Denver, Co KO 2

    1918
    Apr 14 Harry Wills Panama City, Pan LK 6
    May 19 Harry Wills Panama City, Pan LT 7
    Jun 19 "Battling" Jim Johnson Atlanta, Ga W 10
    Aug 5 "Battling" Jim Johnson Atlantic City, NJ ND 8
    Aug 6 Jack Thompson Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Aug Jeff Clark W 10
    Aug 19 "Rough House" Ware Tulsa, Ok KO 9
    Aug 22 "Battling" Jim Johnson St. Louis, Mo W 8
    Nov 1 Jeff Clark Lowell, Ma D 12
    Nov 16 Jeff Clark Atlanta, Ga D 10
    Nov 28 Jeff Clark Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Nov 29 Jeff Clark Milwaukee, Wi EX 10
    Dec 12 Jack "Big Boy" Butler Rock Island, Il KO 5
    Dec 16 Jeff Clark Memphis, Tn W 8
    -Some sources report "Nashville, Tn"
    Dec 28 Fred Fulton San Francisco, Ca L 4
    -Some sources report 12/27/18

    1919
    Mar 4 Willie Meehan San Francisco, Ca L 4
    Apr 30 Billy Hooper Columbus, Oh KO 4
    -Some sources report "Columbus, Ga"
    Jun 19 "Big" Bill Tate Minneapolis, Mn WF 5
    Jul 4 Harry Wills St. Louis, Mo ND 8
    Aug 4 Jack Thompson Tulsa, Ok D 15
    Aug 23 "Big" Bill Tate Grand Rapids, Mi KO 7
    -Some sources report "ND 10"
    Sep 18 "Rough House" Wilson Battle Creek, Mi KO 4
    Sep 30 Harry Wills Syracuse, NY ND 10
    Oct 20 Jack Thompson Tulsa, Ok D 15
    Nov 5 Harry Wills Tulsa, Ok L 15
    Nov 17 "Mexican" Jim Johnson Sioux City, Ia KO 9
    Nov 24 Jack Thompson Duluth, Mn TK 6
    Dec 3 Dave McBride Rockford, Il KO 1

    1920
    Jan 16 Jeff Clark Kalamazoo, Mi ND 10
    Feb 23 Battling Gahee Memphis, Tn KO 2
    Feb 28 Jeff Clark Terre Haute, In ND 10
    -Some sources report 2/16/20
    Mar 29 Jamaica Kid Columbus, Oh KO 7
    Apr 5 Jack Thompson Muskogee, Ok L 15
    Apr 9 Silas Green Denver, Co KO 3
    Apr 19 Harry Wills Denver, Co L 15
    -Some sources report 4/23/20
    May George Godfrey D 10
    May 31 Jeff Clark Columbus, Oh W 15
    Jun 7 "Rough House" Ware New Orleans, La KO 9
    Jul 2 Jack Mitchell Springfield, Mo KO 3
    Jul 26 Pinky Lewis Tulsa, Ok KO 9
    Aug 14 Sam McVea East Chicago, In ND 10
    Aug 30 Ed "Bearcat" Wright Walthill, Ne W 10
    Sep 6 "Big" Bill Tate Benton Harbor, Mi ND 6
    Oct 6 "Tiny" Jim Herman Portland, Or KO 7
    Oct 14 Frank Farmer Seattle, Wa W 4
    -Some sources report 10/13/20
    Oct 20 Lee Anderson Portland, Or L 10
    Nov 15 Jack Thompson Memphis, Tn L 8
    Nov 17 George Godfrey Hot Springs, Ar KO 2
    Dec 2 "Tiny" Jim Herman Portland, Or TK 7
    Dec 9 Terry Kellar Aberdeen, Wa W 6
    Dec 23 Clem Johnson Marshfield, Or W 6
    Dec 29 Jim "Jam" Barry Portland, Or W 10

    1921
    Jan 7 Lee Anderson Omaha, Ne D 12
    Jan 14 Bob Devere Portland, Or TK 7
    Jan 27 Harry Wills Portland, Or ND 10
    Brad Simmons Cincinnati, Oh D 12
    Jeff Clark Tulsa, Ok W 10
    -Some sources report 2/02/21
    Jack Thompson D 10
    -Some sources report 2/03/21
    "Big" Bill Tate W 12
    "Tiny" Jim Herman KO 2
    Alfred Johnson KO
    -Some sources report 2/06/21
    Bill Watkins KO
    -Some sources report 2/07/21
    Jul 20 Ed "Bearcat" Wright Omaha, Ne KO 9
    Aug 12 Lee Anderson Omaha, Ne W 10
    Aug 17 George Godfrey Covington, Ky KO 1
    Aug 19 "Topeka" Jack Johnson Topeka, Ks D 10
    Sep 5 Lee Anderson Fort Worth, Tx L 10
    Oct 18 "Young" Peter Jackson Toronto, Ont, Can KO 2
    Oct Brad Simmons Cincinnati, Oh D 12
    Nov 24 Lee Anderson Phoenix, Az L 10
    Dec 7 Lee Anderson Tucson, Az W 10
    Dec 10 "Big" Bill Tate Covington, Ky L 12
    -Some sources report 12/15/21

    1922
    Jan 17 Harry Wills Milwaukie, Or L 10
    -Some sources report "Portland, Or"
    Mar 17 Cyclone Smith Huntington, WV KO 2
    Mar 27 "Big" Bill Tate Memphis, Tn ND 8
    Apr 6 James "Tut" Jackson Dayton, Oh LT 5
    Apr 19 Kid Roscoe Memphis, Tn KO 2
    May 16 Kid Roscoe Nashville, Tn TK 4
    May 22 Ted Jamieson Chicago, Il D 10
    -Some sources report "ND 10"
    Jun 5 Theodore "Tiger" Flowers Atlanta, Ga KO 2
    Jun 19 Ed "Bearcat" Wright Galveston, Tx D 12
    Jul 17 Ed "Bearcat" Wright Tulsa, Ok TK 5
    Aug 4 "Big" Bill Tate Tulsa, Ok W 12
    Aug 11 Brad Simmons Wichita, Ks W 10
    Aug 20 Jack Taylor Sioux City, Ia ND 10
    -Some sources report 8/21/22
    Sep 22 Battling Owens El Paso, Tx KO 7
    Oct 6 Cyclone Smith El Paso, Tx KO 2
    Oct 20 Jack Taylor Juarez, Mx W 15
    Nov 5 Jack Taylor Juarez, Mx D 15
    Nov 10 Jim "Jam" Barry Douglas, Az D 10
    Dec 27 Sonny Goodrich San Antonio, Tx KO 5

    1923
    Feb 15 Tom McCarty Albuquerque, NM KO 2
    Mar 2 Jim Tracey Mexico City, Mx KO 6
    Mar 17 "Chihuahua" Kid Brown Mexico City, Mx KO 1
    Mar 31 Jim Savage Mexico City, Mx KO 1
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico;
    Some sources report "Kid Savage"
    Apr 8 Andres Balsas Mexico City, Mx TK 6
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico;
    Heavyweight Championship of Spain
    Apr 13 "Chihuahua" Kid Brown Torrean, Mx KO 3
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico
    May 6 Andres Balsas Mexico City, Mx KO 3
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico
    May 16 Art Surans Mexico City, Mx KO 3
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico
    May 19 Jack Voigt Mexico City, Mx KO 11
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico
    Jun 15 Jim Tracey Mexico City, Mx KO 4
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico
    Jul 27 Clem Johnson Juarez, Mx LT 13
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico;
    Some sources report 7/22/23
    Aug 2 "Fireman" Jim Flynn Mexico City, Mx W 10
    Aug Ed "Bearcat" Wright Mexico City, Mx LK 9
    Oct 19 "Fireman" Jim Flynn Mexico City, Mx KO 3
    Dec 21 Sonny Goodrich San Antonio, Tx L 10
    -Heavyweight Championship of Mexico

    1924
    Jan 6 "Fireman" Jim Flynn Juarez, Mx W 8
    Jan 20 Tom Riley Juarez, Mx KO 2
    Apr 4 Jim "Jam" Barry Huntington Beach, Ca W 4
    Apr 16 Jim "Jam" Barry San Fernando, Ca ND 4
    -This bout was held but the result was not reported
    Apr 18 Sam Olson Bakersfield, Ca W 4
    Apr 23 Eddie Trembley Venice, Ca L 4

    1925
    Tim Sullivan D 6
    Sep 25 Battling Gahee L 8
    Dec 7 Tim Sullivan Fort Bliss, Tx D 6

    1926
    Jul 1 "Young" Jack Johnson Shawnee, Ok KO 2
    Aug 2 Brad Simmons Drumright, Ok LT 1

    *** The Following Bouts Are Reported But Not Confirmed ***

    1922
    Nov 21 James "Tut" Jackson in Mexico KO 1
    Dec 1 "Big" Bill Tate in Mexico W 8
    Dec 12 Jack Taylor in Mexico KO 8
    Dec 24 Kid Roscoe in Mexico KO 3

    1923
    Nov 14 Andres Balsas Mexico City, Mx KO 3
    -Some sources report "KO 15"
    Dec 11 Kid Roscoe Mexico City, Mx KO 1

    1924
    Feb 6 James "Tut" Jackson in Mexico KO 9
    Mar 6 "Smiling" Kid Nolan Venice, Ca KO 5
    May 4 Eddie Trembley Venice, Ca KO 3
    Jul 7 Sydney Grant Mexico City, Mx KO 4
    Aug 17 Jim Briggs Mexico City, Mx W 6
    Sep 10 "Smiling" Kid Nolan Mexico City, Mx KO 2
    Oct 7 Jim Briggs Mexico City, Mx KO 8

    1925
    Jan 14 Wolf Larsen in Mexico KO 7
    Feb 10 Jack Taylor in Mexico KO 8
    Apr 5 Frolin Gonzales in Mexico W 10
    May 11 Jim Briggs in Mexico KO 4
    May 22 Wolf Larsen in Mexico KO 13

    Undated
    Harry Wills Buffalo, NY ND 10
    Harry Wills New York, NY ND 10
    Harry Wills Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Harry Wills St. Louis, Mo ND 8
    Harry Wills Columbus, Oh ND 8
    Record courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Joe Woodman's observation was that Sam couldn't even "crack an egg" before he fought Tommy Sullivan in 1904 - it is there that Joe explained that Sam learnt how to flick his wrists and deliver bone jarring punches.

    Like Dempsey, it would appear Langford fuelled the train of thought that "Punchers are made, not born". Although the natural aptitude was always there it was essential for each to nail down the correct techniques in order to deliver at optimum.

    Sam really was a terror, through and through. He fought hard, fast, and all night long. He had the reach to get that hammer jab working against naturally bigger men, and the low centre of gravity to bull heavyweights back with his own style of explosive infighting.

    Sam cut a knife threw whoever was willing to step up, but it is my estimation that Johnson simply had his number. The real indicator of what actually happened that night in 1906 lies within Langford's words years later..."The worst being I ever took" -- Seemingly an aspect both counterparts agree on.

    Langford was dynamite, but against Johnson, flawed. His short stature would have never helped in the clinches. Johnson was not just naturally a very strong man, but the leverage advantage is a significant handicap. On paper, Johnson's conserved, evasive counter-punching style would seem the correct antidote to Langford's two-handed pressing, but he also possessed the physical beef to contain as well as control him.

    The point is always made of Langford's lighter nature at the time of their only bout, but Johnson would also go onto gain mass. Underlining all of this is the fact I site it as being down to styles, not weight. Johnson was 6,1 to Langford's 5,8 which would always prove the trump card to my liking.

    Conversely, Johnson was a special exception. Dempsey, Louis, Marciano - Langford would have given some of the 'smaller' heavyweight champions probably their toughest ever assignment. He had the heart, firepower, variety and uncanny accuracy to cause all kinds of problems.

    Sam was a genuine ring rarity and truly great fighter by any measure, which Mike has depicted very well in another one of his distinctively attractive gems.
    Last edited by Ted Spoon; 07-11-2006 at 02:18 PM.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    "Sam was a genuine ring rarity and truly great fighter by any measure, which Mike has depicted very well in another one of his distinctively attractive gems."

    Ted:

    I completely agree with your points about Langford & Mike Casey.

    GorDoom

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    what a sad end for such a great fighter . Sam was found in a hotel in 1934 blind and pennyless . With help from a group lead by Hype Igoe and C.A. newspapers . Sam was flown to N.Y. were an eye dr who liked Sam , gave him an operation to regain his site . Not long after I read Langford was hit by a cab while crossing the street in harlem . The mayor of ny heard of this and gave Sam some kind of a job to to help out .

    While it sounds like Langford fought the best of them . Its seems he never got paid much for doing so . Many of the fights he fought later in life were purely for the money . I wonder if he had any big pay days , where he got a big part of the money ?

  6. #6
    mike
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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    sad end to a great fighter indeed . agree with all the above!!!! thanks.

  7. #7
    mike
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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    sad end to a great fighter indeed . agree with all the above!!!! thanks.

  8. #8
    mike
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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    sad end to a great fighter indeed . agree with all the above!!!! thanks. this computer is screwing up--lets see

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    mr. casey writes amazingling well. Just the lead off got me hooked, to say the least.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    At one point, there was a benefit for Sam Langford that raised
    $5,000. The plan was give Sam a monthly stipend, but Sam
    wanted all of the money at once, possibly to invest in a
    small business. I think that the organizers of the benefit didn't
    want anything to do with Langford after that.

    - Chuck Johnston

  11. #11
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Spoon
    Sam cut a knife threw whoever was willing to step up, but it is my estimation that Johnson simply had his number. The real indicator of what actually happened that night in 1906 lies within Langford's words years later..."The worst being I ever took" -- Seemingly an aspect both counterparts agree on.

    Sam was man enough to admit at 154 Johnson bested him. Johnson was wise enough to never, EVER, give the experienced, bigger, stronger Sam another crack at him. Seemingly an aspect both counterparts agree on!

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    "When I would get Johnson near the point of a match with Langford he would stall me off with some excuse. Finally I made things so hot for Johnson that he admitted to me that Langford was too tough a game to tackle and he passed the little fellow up."
    Australian promoter, Hugh D. McIntosh

    Duke Mullins, the man who'd trained and befriended both Johnson and Langford during their respective stays in Australia substantiated some of what McIntosh said about Johnson's reluctance to face Sam a second time. According to Mullins, Johnson was never anxious to talk about Langford, and normally changed the subject quickly whenever Sam's name was brought. up. However, one day when dismissing Langford from a conversation, Johnson said there were dozens of easy money white men for him to fight without having to fight a tough guy like Langford. While Johnson told Duke that he felt Joe Jeannette was the toughest man he ever saw, he also admitted to him that Langford was the most dangerous.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Does anyone know if the wrist flick mentioned is just the turning over of the fist at the moment of impact, as my trainer taught me, or an old technique that I havent learned about yet?

    BTW, great great article by Mike as always.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    It wasn't until the night of November 25th, 1904, in a fight against Tommy Sullivan in Marlboro, Massachusetts, that Sam really finally learned the knack of hitting. Sam had taken this fight in the first place as a last minute replacement when another fighter by the name of Jack Blackburn took ill.

    "I'll never forgot that niht," said Joe, his manager, "quite by accident, Sam Snapped his wrist as he delivered a right to Sullivan's jaw and at the same time leaned into the punch. No one was more surprised than Sam when Sullivan dropped to the canvas unconscious."

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    cmoyle

    interesting post as always

    very much like some thing I posted today on Hypes thread about McLarnin. I wonder doe's that happen often . A boxer finds the sweet spot and becomes a banger .

    Sudden Shift of Style.

    Jimmy was a beautiful boxer. He couldn't punch his way out of a
    stack of marshmallows, so they thought. Then Jimmy mixed it up
    with Jackie Fields in Los Angeles one night nettled into a right hand
    punch delivery and knocked Jackie "dead," meaning that peculiar sort
    of demise with "which they characterize a knockout. Truly such a
    victim is stretched out; really he will live to get up and ask: ""Who
    done that?"

    That Fields knockout happened several years ago. Jimmy became
    one of our sweetest hitters of all time He went right hand "crazy."
    He knocked out one New York ring idol after another. He left speedy
    footwork and elusiveness behind him. Only those cf the Californian:
    who had seen his early work, now speak of the "once clever McLarnin

  16. #16
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by GorDoom
    Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow
    By Mike Casey from Boxing Scene

    These talents gave Langford his career longevity. Starting out as a featherweight in 1902, his last recorded fight was in 1926. He was going steadily blind from 1917 and could barely see his opponents during the last days of his career. He had turned 40 when he knocked out Andres Balsa for the Spanish and Mexican heavyweight titles in 1923. Sam engaged in well over 300 professional fights, although it is doubtful that we will ever nail down his exact total.
    Funny, but when I mention that Langford was going blind from around this time forward and that Dempsey knew it and was being generous in his praise of Langford instead of ducking him, the usual residents question me, asking for historical sources, ect, when it is common knowledge. Glad to see a supporting article handy for future reference.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Here's a decent video clip of Langford KO'ing Jim Flynn in 1910.

    http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...&search=Search

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Langford began working with George Byers in late 1903 and it was the latter who began to instruct Sam on how to "sit down" on his punches. The sudden shift in style was not really a shift in style IMO. It was simply a case of natural talent being harnessed by good teaching. Langford credited Byers with teaching him almost everything he knew about boxing and punching when he was a young fighter. Of course, fighting the Dave Holly's, Jack Blackburn's, Joe Gans', Andy Watsons' and John Butlers' of the world will also help you refine your skills.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Not to mention Danny Duane, who had wins over Langford, Jack Blackburn, Dave Holley, Willie Fitzgerald, Jack farrell, etc.
    Chuck

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Kevin,
    Have you been able to make any progress on checking thru your materials for some of those unconfirmed Langford bouts that you thought you could help me out with?
    Clay

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by iskigoe
    cmoyle

    interesting post as always

    very much like some thing I posted today on Hypes thread about McLarnin. I wonder doe's that happen often . A boxer finds the sweet spot and becomes a banger .

    Sudden Shift of Style.

    Jimmy was a beautiful boxer. He couldn't punch his way out of a
    stack of marshmallows, so they thought. Then Jimmy mixed it up
    with Jackie Fields in Los Angeles one night nettled into a right hand
    punch delivery and knocked Jackie "dead," meaning that peculiar sort
    of demise with "which they characterize a knockout. Truly such a
    victim is stretched out; really he will live to get up and ask: ""Who
    done that?"

    That Fields knockout happened several years ago. Jimmy became
    one of our sweetest hitters of all time He went right hand "crazy."
    He knocked out one New York ring idol after another. He left speedy
    footwork and elusiveness behind him. Only those cf the Californian:
    who had seen his early work, now speak of the "once clever McLarnin
    Jimmy turned professional at age 16 as a flyweight and over his first 5 years in the ring as a flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight earned a reputation as a fast and clever boxer and not much of a puncher. When he began his lack of strength made him concentrate on his speed and natural boxing ability. Moreover, during his formative years as a professional he faced fighters much stronger such as Young Nationalista, Fidel LaBarba, Memphis Pal Moore, Pancho Villa and Bud Taylor. In addition, he was facing fighters with great chins and technique. As he grew stronger and realized that balance, leverage and timing were important factors in power punchers he perfected his style and became one of the most dangerous punchers of his era. McLarnin scored his first notable knockout over Jackie Fields and followed it up with a knockout of Joey Sangor. The knockout defeat suffered by Fields was the only time he was stopped in his career and the Sangor knockout was the first suffered by Sangor in 48 professional fights. By age 19 McLarnin was a lightweight and his punching power was now in peak form. On October 18, 1927 McLarnin made his debut in Chicago and shocked the boxing world with a clean-cut knockout of former world featherweight champion Louis Kid Kaplan. Some experts thought McLarnin’s knockout of Kaplan was a fluke. Two fights later he made his New York debut against the dazzling Sid Terris, generally regarded at the time as the world’s top ranked lightweight. McLarnin, again shocked the experts by knocking Terris out in the very first round. Jimmy went on from there to be considered one of the hardest punchers in boxing by putting together an impressive string of knockouts over Phil McGraw, Stanislaus Loayza, Joe Glick, Sergeant Sammy Baker, Ruby Goldstein, Al Singer, Benny Leonard, Sammy Fuller, and a devastating first round knockout over the rugged and clever Young Corbett III to win the world welterweight title.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Hey Clay, Pulled my stuff up from the basement about a week ago. I have started going through it with your list in hand. If you have an updated list feel free to send it my way. Kevin

    You get that publisher yet?

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Kevin,
    Thanks, the list of unconfirmed fights I sent you has not changed. No publisher yet. The University of Washington Press asked me to submit the entire manuscript a couple of weeks ago for evaluation and told me I should expect to hear something back from them within 1-2 weeks, but nothing yet.

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Hey Clay,

    Good luck with that. I am really dying to read what you put together. If there is anything else you need let me know. Since I have my Langford stuff out--------------------.
    Kevin

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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Thanks Kevin, I just checked my notes for any other unresolved issues and the only other items I found were as follows:

    • September 30, 1913. Have a legal document deeding land and building in Cambridge, MA from Sam to (wife) Martha. It say’s “That I Samuel Langford, sometimes called Sam of Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, being un-married, for consideration paid, grant to Martha J. Langford of Cambridge…..” November 24 & 25, 1913 – Sam granted to Martha (for consideration paid) covenants (quitclaim) to land in the Western part of Medway, county of Norfolk, MA. Why? Sam later said he signed all property over to Martha because she was always afraid he might kill somebody in the ring someday and any remaining kin would go after his assets. Or, were they actually divorced upon their return from Australia? Why else would the September 30th document say Sam was un-married? It would be useful to know if the couple ever divorced for sure. I know I have quotes from Langford that indicate they had divorced, but I have no date of such an event. Sam clearly indicates the couple divorced at some point in a May 21, 1927 Collier’s magazine article (page 14).

    • April 1914 – Sam bought a farm in Braggville, MA, a few miles from Milford Centre. Purchased sometime between January and April of 1914, and is said to have announced his plan to convert it into a training camp. Don't know if he ever actually did anything with the property. (Didn’t find in April 1914 Boston Globe microfilm)

    • Mid-December of 1927. Yarmouth Telegram newspaper announced the arrival from Boston of Sam and his wife. Indicated that Sam planned to relocate to his native town, though a day later they recanted and said they had yet to confirm this with Sam himself. (Who was the woman?)

    • 1930 Illinois census indicates a Sam and Edith Langford living in Chicago. A man named Jim Freedman indicated that Sam remarried at some point. Freedman is interested in the African Baptist Association and their split and reconciliation in the late 1800’s. He’s working on a book (fiction) about that time.

  26. #26
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    Re: Sam Langford: Papa Jack’s Ominous Shadow

    Kevin,
    Any luck?

    I have another issue I'm trying to confirm. According to Boxrec Langford and Godfrey fought a 10-round draw on 5/1/1920 that Sam really won, but it say's unknown location. I have never been able to find a newspaper source for this, though I'm going to have to check my own files at home because I have the following notes from an unknown source:

    "May 1920 - George Godfrey D 10
    During the time of WW1 George had worked as a boxing instructor in a military cantonment in Alabama. One day Sam Langford came through, saw the big instructor, and was favorably impressed. Giving him his card (Hmmm, I'd like to find one of those) "Tham" told George to hunt him up in Chicago after the war, and he would make a fighter out of him. This George did, and for some time he took lessons, and punishment from the Boston Tar Baby in the latter's gym in the windy city. When George improved sufficiently Sam began sending him around to do his stuff in various places, and since that time Godfrey has devoted himself almost entirely to the fight game, and his fights are without number or record. He has fought all who were willing to oppose him, and some of them he faced several times.

    In later years Godfrey was quoted as saying that Sam did more damage with one punch than any other fighter he ever faced. In this contest Sam landed a left to the mouth, driving George's lower lip about his upper teeth and cutting it severely. He also did sufficient other damage with other blows to bring Godfrey to say that this ten round meeting was the worst trimming he ever received, and that as a result of it he returned to Chicago to live for a week on such food as could be taken through a straw."

    Clay

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