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Thread: Sam Langford

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    Sam Langford

    Sam Langford
    By Clay Moyle

    Pound for pound, who was the world’s greatest boxer?
    Whenever boxing fans debate the question, the name most often mentioned is that of Sugar Ray Robinson. However, many boxing historians would argue in favor of Sam Langford, a.k.a. “The Boston Tar Baby,” a lesser-known fighter born in Weymouth, Nova Scotia, in 1886.

    Today, many followers of “the Sweet Science” couldn’t tell you who Sam Langford was. But during the first quarter of the twentieth century, the prospect of facing the five-foot-seven-inch dynamo, who weighed no more than 175 pounds at his peak, struck terror in the hearts of most of his contemporaries, including heavyweight champions Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey.

    In June 1916, the 21-year-old Dempsey was climbing up the heavyweight ranks toward the eventual destruction of heavyweight champion Jess Willard in the summer of 1919. Offered the chance to face an aging but still dangerous Langford in the ring, Dempsey quickly declined. Recalling the incident years later in his autobiography, Dempsey wrote, “The Hell I feared no man. There was one man, he was even smaller than I, I wouldn’t fight because I knew he would flatten me. I was afraid of Sam Langford.”
    Jack Johnson, on the other hand, did face Langford – once, in April 1906 – when Langford was only a 20-year-old lightweight who gave up over 40 pounds to the 28-year- old heavyweight contender. Johnson won a convincing 15-round decision over the youngster, but discovered just how tough the Tar Baby was and what kind of dynamite he carried in his fists.
    Two and a half years later, Johnson was in pursuit of a title bout with the reigning champion Tommy Burns but he found himself stranded in London without enough money to follow Burns to Australia. England’s National Sporting Club stepped in and provided the needed funds on the condition that, in the event that Johnson beat Burns, he would return and make his first title defense before the club against Langford.

    Johnson obtained his match for the title and captured the crown with a convincing fourteenth-round defeat of Burns on December 16, 1908. However, rather than return to England and face Sam Langford – who, since their earlier encounter, had added 30 pounds of muscle to his frame – Johnson reneged on the signed letter of promise he had provided to the club.
    Johnson maintained that the money offered by the club was insufficient and that his manager had signed the agreement without his approval. The National Sporting Club countered by producing the document that Johnson himself had signed. It was to no avail: Johnson had other plans. Over the ensuing years Langford and his manager, Joe Woodman, hounded Johnson in futile pursuit of an opportunity to fight for the heavyweight championship.
    “Nobody will pay to see two black men fight for the title,” Johnson rationalized. However, when Johnson grew weary of Australian boxing promoter Hugh “Huge Deal”’ McIntosh’s efforts to arrange a match with Langford, he admitted that he had no wish to face Langford again. “I don’t want to fight that little smoke,” said Johnson. “He’s got a chance to win against anyone in the world. I’m the first black champion and I’m going to be the last.”

    Years later, Johnson confided to New England Sports Museum trustee Kevin Aylwood, “Sam Langford was the toughest little son of a bitch that ever lived.”

    Interestingly, Duke Mullins, the only man to train both fighters, substantiated what McIntosh said about Johnson’s reluctance to face Langford a second time. According to Mullins, Johnson was never anxious to talk about Langford and normally changed the subject whenever Langford’s name was mentioned. On one occasion Johnson noted that there were dozens of easy money white men for him to meet without having to fight a tough rival like Langford. While Johnson told Mullins that he felt heavyweight Joe Jeannette was the toughest man he ever saw, he also noted that Langford was the most dangerous.

    Jeannette himself would have agreed: He and Johnson and faced each other in the ring at least 10 times before Johnson became champion. Those ten meetings resulted in five no-decisions, two draws, two decision victories for Johnson and one win on a foul for Jeannette. But Jeannette fought Langford 14 times, suffering his only knockout at Langford’s hands. For that, Jeanette held Langford in the highest esteem.

    “Langford, was the greatest fighter who ever lived,” Jeanette would say in an article published by Boxing Illustrated. “Sam would have been champion any time Johnson had given him a fight. And Johnson knew it better than anybody.” Jeannette often exclaimed while rubbing his oval jaw, “Man! How that baby could hit. Nobody else could hit like that. Well, maybe Joe Louis could,” he conceded. “But don’t forget that Sam only weighed about 160 pounds. Louis was about 195.”

    Given such testimonials by boxers, trainers and sportswriters who witnessed Sam Langford in action, why isn’t he better known today?
    One reason is that, despite participating in over 300 professional bouts in a 24-year ring career (from 1902 to 1926), Langford never won a world title. He defeated reigning lightweight champion Joe Gans by decision in December 1903 but was not recognized as the new champion because he came into the fight two pounds over the lightweight limit. Nine months later Langford fought the world welterweight champion, Joe Walcott, to a 15-round draw in a contest that the majority of those in attendance felt he deserved.

    Surprisingly, Langford would never receive another opportunity to fight for a world title. Although he faced the great middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel in a six-round fight in April 1910, this was a predetermined no-decision contest that was rumored to be a preview for a 45-round title bout on the West Coast later that year. Unfortunately, Ketchel was murdered before that event could be held.

    To this day some still debate over who got the better of that short contest, but reportedly when Sam received the news of Ketchel’s death, he said simply, “Poor Steve [Stanley’s nickname], he went to his grave thinking he could really lick ol’ Sam.”

    For many years Langford was bothered by the fact that did not get the opportunity to prove his superiority over Ketchel bothered Sam for many years. In a letter to New York Evening World sportswriter and cartoonist Bob Edgren – which Edgren reproduced in his November 3, 1916, column – Langford wrote:

    I am always glad to see you or any other person giving Stanley Ketchel a boost. He deserves it. Your boost for the late Stanley Ketchel last week read all right excepting for the part where you said he nearly knocked me out in our six-round rumpus in Philadelphia. To be real frank with you, I will say that you are greatly mistaken, for the simple reason that he never had a chance. I could say much more, but rest most assuredly I told you a mouthful.

    In fact, Langford was often accused of holding back and of participating in a number of fixed fights. He always denied the charge but he admitted to going easy on an opponent from time to time when it made economic sense to do so. Referring to himself in the third person, Langford said, “In all the years that little Sammy was out there strutting his stuff, there was not one time when Sammy had an agreement with the other boy. Little Sammy did do some agreeing about fights, but he did all of it himself. If in some of my fights I didn’t try to kill the other boy, it wasn’t because I told him I wouldn’t.”
    Langford maintained that only once did he break his pledge not to hurt the other fighter too much, and that was in the fight in which Joe Jeannette suffered the only knockout of his career. Fighting Jeanette in Rochester, Langford resolved not to batter his opponent because they were going to have another fight shortly thereafter, and he didn’t want to deny Jeanette and himself the money from a rematch. Langford threw such fearsome blows that Jeanette thought his brains would be knocked out, and attempted to respond in kind. When Langford wound up and began to throw a right almost from the floor, Jeanette tore in and caught the punch – which Langford had planned to throw wide – on the point of his chin. Jeanette crumbled to the floor and was counted out. Langford claimed that he was more surprised than everyone.

    Although Langford began competing as a lightweight and then as a welterweight, once he matured physically, it became more difficult for him to keep within those weight limits; that, coupled with the fact that there was more money in fighting big fellows, convinced him to go after heavyweights. Over the years he met and defeated many men much larger than himself: men like “Battling” Jim Johnson, Sam McVey, Sandy Ferguson, Joe Jeannette, Sam McVey, “Big” Bill Tate, George Godfrey and Harry Wills. Some of these fighters towered over Langford, who gave up as much as 40 pounds in weight.
    One opponent, “Fireman” Jim Flynn, said of Langford’s punching power: “I fought most of the heavyweights, including [Jack] Dempsey and [Jack] Johnson, but Sam could strength a guy colder than any of them. When Langford hit me it felt like someone slugged me with a baseball bat.”

    In 1917, Langford completely lost the sight of one eye during a loss against Fred Fulton. Remarkably, he would continue fighting with one eye for another nine years, the last few with limited sight out of his one “good” eye. In 1923 he captured the Mexican heavyweight title in a contest at which he had to rely on his handlers to help guide him into the ring and to his corner. Langford’s assistants were so concerned about his eyesight that they wanted to call the fight off, but Langford refused: He needed the money.
    “Don’t worry about little Sammy,” he said, “I don’t need to see that boy, I just got to feel him.”

    Langford’s opponent, 24-year-old “Kid” Savage, was the reigning champion of Mexico and extremely cautious; he ran around the ring, keeping his distance, as Langford struggled to follow his movements. Periodically, Langford would get a bearing on Savage’s location and rush him in an attempt to corner him. He failed miserably for a time but eventually managed to catch Savage near the ropes and successfully measured him for a right uppercut that landed on Savage’s chin, knocking Savage out about one minute and forty-five seconds into the first round.

    But Sam’s best days were well behind him. He fought on for another two years while his eyesight continued to fail, until in August 1925, in his last professional bout, he was forced to quit in the opening round of a fight when it became obvious that he couldn’t see his opponent at all.

    By 1944, Langford was blind, all but forgotten and living in poverty in a dingy tenement in Harlem, N.Y. In January of that year, sportswriter Al Laney of the New York Herald Tribune decided to write a story about Langford, a great boxer who had seemingly vanished from the face of the earth. Since Langford’s last known residence was in Harlem, Laney decided to focus his efforts there.

    The search proved futile for quite a while. Many people Laney questioned were not even aware of who Langford was. At least a dozen others but claimed that Langford was dead. Eventually Laney learned that Langford was in fact alive and residing in a building on 139th St. A woman there led Laney to a tiny, dirty bedroom at the end of a dark hallway on the third floor. There, Laney found Langford, just one month shy of his fifty-eighth birthday, sitting on the edge of his bed, listening to an old radio.

    Langford had 20 cents in his pocket and was subsisting on a few dollars he received each month from a foundation for the blind. Twice a day, two young boys would come by and take him to a restaurant for breakfast and a second meal late in the afternoon. Langford told Laney that he the rest of his time sitting alone in his dark bedroom with only his radio for company.

    When he’d gathered the information he needed for his story, Laney went back to the office and banged out the story on his typewriter for the paper. But he didn’t stop there: He was so moved by Langford’s situation that he initiated a drive with a group of New York businessmen and -women that raised $10,892 for a trust fund for Langford. Among the 705 contributors were men fighters Jack Dempsey, Beau Jack, Fritzie Zivic, and Joe Louis, boxing promoter Mike Jacobs, and famed New York nightclub owner Toots Shore. Sam was provided with an initial payment of $125, followed by $75 per month until April of 1945, after which the balance of $9,000 was invested in an insurance company so that Langford would receive an annuity of $49.18 a month for life.

    In 1952, Langford moved back to Boston and quietly lived out the remaining years of his life in a private nursing home. He passed away on January 12, 1956, just two months fore his seventieth birthday and only ten weeks after being enshrined in the Boxing Hall of Fame. At the time of his induction, Langford was the only non–world titleholder to be so honored.

    Langford never regretted his chosen profession and expressed no bitterness or remorse over the loss of his eyesight. He maintained a keen sense of humor and kind disposition throughout his life and always said that boxing provided him with a wealth of memories. In a statement attributed to him a few months before his death, he said, “Don’t nobody need to feel sorry for old Sam. I had plenty of good times. I been all over the world. I fought maybe 600 fights, and every one was a pleasure!”

    Ring magazine founder Nat Fleischer once said of Langford: “Sam was endowed with everything. He possessed strength, agility, cleverness, hitting power, a good thinking cap and an abundance of courage. He feared no one. But he had the fatal gift of being too good and that’s why he often had to give away weight in early days and make agreements with opponents. Many of those who agreed to fight him, especially of his own race, wanted an assurance that he would be merciful or insisted on a bout of not more than six rounds.”

    The great former lightweight king Frank Erne, when asked in the 1950s what he thought about Langford, replied: “I’d pick him to knock out Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey and Rock Marciano. When he was not under wraps, he was a ring marvel.”

  2. #2
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: Sam Langford

    I've been amazed how I have gravitated towards Sam. Thing is that Sam could be outboxed on occasion, where as Robinson could not.

    Still, just based on the number of bouts, KOs, size factor, and dangerousness when he was long past prime, sometimes I think Sam could be the best ever.

    BTW, when Dempsey was offered Langford he was not on a fast track to a title match. He was basically a hobo in the big city for the first time and Langford was the reigning ring terror. It would've been like letting Holy turn pro against a peak Tyson. Not a wise move.

    Nice article though.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    There is no way to accurately judge Langford's career only on record. You have to read between the lines to even try to understand this exceptional fighter.

    I am of the opinion that Langford is far and away the greatset pound for pound fighter that ever lived. Head to head he would have beaten Robinson. Imagine Ray against a much stronger, faster LaMotta with heavyweight one punch KO power.

    Dempsey has said in numerous books and articles that he never wanted any part of Langford at any time. It's amazing that even Harry Greb who fought everyone managed to avoid Langford. The guy was that exceptional.

    AS far as Sam being able to be outboxed, who are you saying was a better fighter (other than Jack Johnson of course?)

  4. #4
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: Sam Langford

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    AS far as Sam being able to be outboxed, who are you saying was a better fighter (other than Jack Johnson of course?)

    Ok, I'll take the bait, but let's pretend it's steak so's I can cut it up for you.

    Nondescript fighters beating Sam early in his career include Danny Duane, Larry Temple and Dave Holly. In his prime years he was beaten by Jim Barry.

    All the rest of his losses come from HOF type fighters or well past his prime.

    And no, of course you know I consider Langford several notches above Johnson.
    Last edited by Roberto Aqui; 07-10-2007 at 09:43 PM.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    it has always amazed me that there as not been more done on Langford. I have only seen 1 scholarly article on him.

    also i recenty read that he was an Oscar Micheaux film, The Brute (1920?), but I dont think it is available. he knocks somebody out. Micheaux is the first great black movie director.

  6. #6
    mike
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    Re: Sam Langford

    nice to have another great article on sam.--im waiting for the book, also--best ever--ill take robby as a welter--but who knows--langford was a scary legend and would have be paced in the top 10 heavys ever--if i were to rank them.--obviously highest as a lt heavy, charles next. tunney was a heavweight.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    I am about as big a Lngford guy as there is but let's get the Johnson fight under perspective.

    Johnson was born in 1878, Lanford 1880. In 1906 Langford was a 26 year old fighter with over 50 fights, among them victories over Gans and Jeannette. He was no 20 year old novice. Johnson was two years older, bigger as he would always be, and beat the crap out of him. As Langford said, Johnson gave him the worst beating of his career. In adition, Langford would never be a solid 30 pounds of muscle heavier. He simply went heavyweight for the money and was fleshy because of it. All photos of him in the 180's look as if he was fighting as he was , above his peak conditioned weight.

    There is no doubt that Johnson ducked him once he won the title but I don't think until after 1910, post Jeffries, when Johnson was pushing 33 was it because of anything but economics ... after 1910 a hungrier Langford likely had a much better shot against a mentally past his best Johnson. I take reports with former Johnson managers and opponents with a grain of salt as Johnson was a man who alienated many and who knows how sour grapes influenced their supposed statements. What we do know is that in 1906 a 28 year old Johnson was too big, strong and good for a 26 year old, fifty fight veteran Langford.

  8. #8
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: Sam Langford

    Boxrec says Sam was born in 1883, making him 23 for the Johnson fight. Regardless, Sam was just learning a new style of fighting in a much larger division.

    In 1911 against 195 lb Bill Lang, Sam could be no more than 160, and against Obrien later that year, Sam supposed to have 10lbs over Obrien, making in the 165-175 range.

    The consensus seems to be that Johnson avoided the rematch like the plague. The myth was always that Johnson was ducked, but more and more it looks more like Johnson spent more time as the ducker than he did as duckee.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    I thought Sam was died after being hit by a cab in NY?

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    Re: Sam Langford

    >>>>I thought Sam was died after being hit by a cab in NY?<<<


    You may be thinking about "Barbados" Joe Walcott as he was apparently hit and killed by a car in the 1930s. He disappeared as he and another man was on their way to California to try to sell Walcott's life story to Hollywood. They stopped off in Ohio and Walcott wondered out that night and was never seen, or heard from again, but years later it was learned that an old black man, a “John Doe,” seemingly fitting Walcott's description, was hit and killed by a vehicle around that same area along the same time that Walcott went missing.

    Boxing artist, writer and IBRO member, Bob Carson wrote an excellent article about Walcott's disappearance, which was published in an earlier IBRO Journal as well as in Hank Kaplan’s old 1980s “Boxing Digest” magazine about the probability that the “John Doe” man in Ohio who was killed was in fact Walcott.


    As to Langford…I rate him as one of the top three greatest P4P fighters in history along with Ray Robinson and Henry Armstrong! Excellent article by Clay, who by the way, knows more about Langford than probably anyone alive.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    The Ring has Langford born in 1880. Langford had over 50 fights, a career today, ath the time he fought Johnson. He had recently fought and beaten Joe Jeannette. He was no novice and Johnson beat his ass. Those are the facts.

  12. #12
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: Sam Langford

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    The Ring has Langford born in 1880. Langford had over 50 fights, a career today, ath the time he fought Johnson. He had recently fought and beaten Joe Jeannette. He was no novice and Johnson beat his ass. Those are the facts.
    Not only Boxrec, but CBZ also has Sam born in 1883 as does Wikipedia. I don't make this stuff up.

    Few doubt Johnson beat Sam in 1906. It's the rest of the story that drags down Johnson.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    It's because the victory is discredited.

    Langford had over 50 fights at the time. A 26 or 23 year old Langford was definately better than the 34 - 38 year old version fighting Harry Wills fat and mostly blind with 300 fights of wear and tear.


    Langford had outfought Joe Jeannette.

    Langford was established as a top, dangerous fighter at the time.

    Langford was soundly beaten.

    Langford was never going to be a bigger man than Johnson, or stronger or faster. A prime 1908 Johnson has twenty plus pounds over any best version of Langford. However, unlike the rest, Johnson was better.

    What's to drag down if one thinks of it logically. Post 1910 Johnson was a different man and fighter than up to 1910. A prime Johnson beats Langford because he was too big and too good. After Jeffries Johnson was never the same, never trained the same, lived as a recluse and an alcholic in exile and it is quite possible a highly motivated Langford could have beaten that version but that's boxing. Careers go in cycles. Louis lost to Marciano, a prime Louis would have destroyed him, ect ...
    Last edited by HE Grant; 07-15-2007 at 07:35 PM.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    "I am about as big a Lngford guy as there is but let's get the Johnson fight under perspective.

    Johnson was born in 1878, Lanford 1880. In 1906 Langford was a 26 year old fighter with over 50 fights, among them victories over Gans and Jeannette. He was no 20 year old novice. Johnson was two years older, bigger as he would always be, and beat the crap out of him. As Langford said, Johnson gave him the worst beating of his career. In adition, Langford would never be a solid 30 pounds of muscle heavier. He simply went heavyweight for the money and was fleshy because of it. All photos of him in the 180's look as if he was fighting as he was , above his peak conditioned weight."

    The Ring is wrong, Langford was not born in 1880. When I began writing Langford's story Ben Hawes was kind enough to give me all of the information he'd paid a genaologist to dig up for him on Sam. I ended up concluding Sam's birthdate was March 4, 1986. The last time I'd talked with Kevin Smith on this issue he felt it was 1885. Either way, Sam was only 20 or 21 at the most when he fought Johnson.

    I agree that Sam was no novice at the time he fought Johnson. I also agree that Johnson gave him a real beating. The local press reports confirm that. They also laud Sam for the courage and gameness he exhibited to last the distance. But Johnson had approximately 40 pounds on him and Sam had not yet finished maturing physically. While Johnson would always be bigger, and may very well have been his master had they ever met again, I contend that he wasn't willing to take another chance with Langford once Sam had put on more weight and muscle.

    Duke Mullins, an Australian trainer, prepared Johnson for his bout against Tommy Burns, and then also trained Langford while Sam was in Australia from 1912 - mid-1913. Here's what he had to say on the subject. Note that Mullins says the difference in weigh was 26 lbs, not 40, but that he also indicates that Johnson was 28 and Sam 20:

    “A more gallant fighter than little Sam Langford, the Nova Scotian light heavyweight, who was known as the Boston Tar Baby, never fought in a roped arena. Little Sambo, as he called himself, commenced fighting professionally in 1902. He gave the game best 21 years later after contesting nearly 240 ring battles, and at the end of that strenuous campaign he was still of the opinion that he could have licked Jack Johnson if the ex-world’s champion had given him a return fight.

    Little Sambo admitted that on the only occasion he met Jack Johnson he received the father of a hiding.

    Sam Langford had beaten a few heavyweights. He had beaten Joe Jeannette, the roughest heavyweight of my time. A few weeks later he was stacked up against Jack Johnson in the same ring at Boston.

    Fancy anyone having the cheek to give away 26 lb. to Jack Johnson. It was like flying in the face of Providence.

    Langford knew he was taking on a big job. But Little Sambo felt that he could tie slow big men up in knots. He wanted to get at Johnson before any other fighter got him, realizing that a victory would make him a topliner around Boston.

    Jack Johnson was 28 at the time. Sam Langford was a youth of 20.

    Sam’s plan of campaign was to tear into the big fellow and not allow him to box. He was of the opinion that Johnson was a boxer, and not a fighter, but he was to learn that Johnson’s punches carried sting.

    Langford told me that his shortness of stature had Johnson puzzled for a few rounds. He couldn’t hit straight, but when aiming downward punches at the crouching Langford he missed badly.

    Langford’s own worlds about the encounter were: “I’se had the “Big Smoke” on the canvas at the end of the fifth round for the count of nine when the gong saved him. He wasn’t game to mix it with me afterwards.

    It seems incredible that Johnson was not game to mix it with a man like Langford, who was so much lighter, but Johnson had great regard for the fact that Langford had a decision over Joe Gans as a lightweight, while he took another great colored fighter, Joe Walcott, to a 15-round draw, conceding Walcott 9 lb. Thoughts of these two great fights prompted Jack Johnson to play safe in his fight with Langford.

    It was not Little Sambo’s fault that they never fought again.

    I once asked Langford why he and Johnson didn’t get together. I pointed out that a lot of money awaited them. “Dook,” answered Sambo, “the big smoke wouldn’t give me a return fight before he won the world’s championship, and he’s not likely now to give me a chance to nail him to the mast.”

    Before leaving London for Australia to fight Tommy Burns, Johnson promised the late Mr. “Peggy” Bettinson that he would come back and fight anyone he nominated for a 1,000 pound guarantee. Langford was the man Bettinson had in mind. Johnson, however, had other plans. He went to America, where bigger money awaited him.

    Johnson was never anxious to talk about Langford. I tried on many occasions to open him up but he changed the subject quickly.

    Just before his fight with Burns for the world’s title on Boxing Day, 1908, I asked Johnson if the punch that put him on the floor in his fight against Langford hurt.

    “No, Dook,” he said, “I was caught off my balance.”

    “How would little Sam go against Burns?” I asked.

    “It wouldn’t be a match. Langford would finish him off in no time,” remarked the ebony giant, who was to hold the stage until hounded into “taking a dive.”

    Jack Johnson dismissed Langford from the conversation one day by saying that there were dozens of easy money white men for him (Johnson) to meet without having to fight a tough little guy like Langford.

    A well known sporting columnist and boxing writer in New York published in 1907 that Philadelphia Jack O-Brien, Tommy Burns, Al Kauffman, Stanley Ketchel and Jack Johnson had agreed not to entertain any proposition coming from Langford. Langford at that time was called “the Mankiller.” The boxers named were accused of trying to freeze the Boston Tar Baby out of the fight game. He was putting on weight, and was becoming more and more a menace.

    Johnson was glad that a match was not arranged between Burns and Langford. On paper it looked as though they were an ideal match, but had they met, with Langford successful, Johnson would have had to meet one of his own color, or give up his long cherished idea of becoming champion of the world.

    My opinion is that Langford had an even money chance with Johnson up to the year before Johnson became champion.

    As Langford’s weight increased his pace lessened, whereas Johnson improved out of sight in pace and skill after he fought Langford in 1906.

    I think that if Langford had been Johnson’s opponent on the memorable Boxing Day of 1908 there would not have been any need for police intervention. Johnson no doubt would have given the little fellow a beating but I think Langford was too tough to be put down for 10 seconds.

    It will surprise many to know that although Langford was 5 ft. 6 1/2 in. high, and Johnson 6 ft, 0 ½ in., there was only a half inch difference in their reach; and that half inch was in Langford’s favor.

    Langford was proud of the fact that he was the only fighter that ever knocked Joe Jeannette for the count. Johnson, McVey and others met Jeannette many times without knocking him. Jeannette had 150 fights. It was indeed a feather in Langford’s cap.

    Jack Johnson said Joe Jeannette was the toughest man he ever saw; he also said that Sam Langford was the most dangerous."

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    Re: Sam Langford

    "I am about as big a Lngford guy as there is but let's get the Johnson fight under perspective.

    Johnson was born in 1878, Lanford 1880. In 1906 Langford was a 26 year old fighter with over 50 fights, among them victories over Gans and Jeannette. He was no 20 year old novice. Johnson was two years older, bigger as he would always be, and beat the crap out of him. As Langford said, Johnson gave him the worst beating of his career. In adition, Langford would never be a solid 30 pounds of muscle heavier. He simply went heavyweight for the money and was fleshy because of it. All photos of him in the 180's look as if he was fighting as he was , above his peak conditioned weight."

    The Ring is wrong, Langford was not born in 1880. When I began writing Langford's story Ben Hawes was kind enough to give me all of the information he'd paid a genaologist to dig up for him on Sam. I ended up concluding Sam's birthdate was March 4, 1986. The last time I'd talked with Kevin Smith on this issue he felt it was 1885. Either way, Sam was only 20 or 21 at the most when he fought Johnson.

    I agree that Sam was no novice at the time he fought Johnson. I also agree that Johnson gave him a real beating. The local press reports confirm that. They also laud Sam for the courage and gameness he exhibited to last the distance. But Johnson had approximately 40 pounds on him and Sam had not yet finished maturing physically. While Johnson would always be bigger, and may very well have been his master had they ever met again, I contend that he wasn't willing to take another chance with Langford once Sam had put on more weight and muscle.

    Duke Mullins, an Australian trainer, prepared Johnson for his bout against Tommy Burns, and then also trained Langford while Sam was in Australia from 1912 - mid-1913. Here's what he had to say on the subject. Note that Mullins says the difference in weigh was 26 lbs, not 40, but that he also indicates that Johnson was 28 and Sam 20:

    “A more gallant fighter than little Sam Langford, the Nova Scotian light heavyweight, who was known as the Boston Tar Baby, never fought in a roped arena. Little Sambo, as he called himself, commenced fighting professionally in 1902. He gave the game best 21 years later after contesting nearly 240 ring battles, and at the end of that strenuous campaign he was still of the opinion that he could have licked Jack Johnson if the ex-world’s champion had given him a return fight.

    Little Sambo admitted that on the only occasion he met Jack Johnson he received the father of a hiding.

    Sam Langford had beaten a few heavyweights. He had beaten Joe Jeannette, the roughest heavyweight of my time. A few weeks later he was stacked up against Jack Johnson in the same ring at Boston.

    Fancy anyone having the cheek to give away 26 lb. to Jack Johnson. It was like flying in the face of Providence.

    Langford knew he was taking on a big job. But Little Sambo felt that he could tie slow big men up in knots. He wanted to get at Johnson before any other fighter got him, realizing that a victory would make him a topliner around Boston.

    Jack Johnson was 28 at the time. Sam Langford was a youth of 20.

    Sam’s plan of campaign was to tear into the big fellow and not allow him to box. He was of the opinion that Johnson was a boxer, and not a fighter, but he was to learn that Johnson’s punches carried sting.

    Langford told me that his shortness of stature had Johnson puzzled for a few rounds. He couldn’t hit straight, but when aiming downward punches at the crouching Langford he missed badly.

    Langford’s own worlds about the encounter were: “I’se had the “Big Smoke” on the canvas at the end of the fifth round for the count of nine when the gong saved him. He wasn’t game to mix it with me afterwards.

    It seems incredible that Johnson was not game to mix it with a man like Langford, who was so much lighter, but Johnson had great regard for the fact that Langford had a decision over Joe Gans as a lightweight, while he took another great colored fighter, Joe Walcott, to a 15-round draw, conceding Walcott 9 lb. Thoughts of these two great fights prompted Jack Johnson to play safe in his fight with Langford.

    It was not Little Sambo’s fault that they never fought again.

    I once asked Langford why he and Johnson didn’t get together. I pointed out that a lot of money awaited them. “Dook,” answered Sambo, “the big smoke wouldn’t give me a return fight before he won the world’s championship, and he’s not likely now to give me a chance to nail him to the mast.”

    Before leaving London for Australia to fight Tommy Burns, Johnson promised the late Mr. “Peggy” Bettinson that he would come back and fight anyone he nominated for a 1,000 pound guarantee. Langford was the man Bettinson had in mind. Johnson, however, had other plans. He went to America, where bigger money awaited him.

    Johnson was never anxious to talk about Langford. I tried on many occasions to open him up but he changed the subject quickly.

    Just before his fight with Burns for the world’s title on Boxing Day, 1908, I asked Johnson if the punch that put him on the floor in his fight against Langford hurt.

    “No, Dook,” he said, “I was caught off my balance.”

    “How would little Sam go against Burns?” I asked.

    “It wouldn’t be a match. Langford would finish him off in no time,” remarked the ebony giant, who was to hold the stage until hounded into “taking a dive.”

    Jack Johnson dismissed Langford from the conversation one day by saying that there were dozens of easy money white men for him (Johnson) to meet without having to fight a tough little guy like Langford.

    A well known sporting columnist and boxing writer in New York published in 1907 that Philadelphia Jack O-Brien, Tommy Burns, Al Kauffman, Stanley Ketchel and Jack Johnson had agreed not to entertain any proposition coming from Langford. Langford at that time was called “the Mankiller.” The boxers named were accused of trying to freeze the Boston Tar Baby out of the fight game. He was putting on weight, and was becoming more and more a menace.

    Johnson was glad that a match was not arranged between Burns and Langford. On paper it looked as though they were an ideal match, but had they met, with Langford successful, Johnson would have had to meet one of his own color, or give up his long cherished idea of becoming champion of the world.

    My opinion is that Langford had an even money chance with Johnson up to the year before Johnson became champion.

    As Langford’s weight increased his pace lessened, whereas Johnson improved out of sight in pace and skill after he fought Langford in 1906.

    I think that if Langford had been Johnson’s opponent on the memorable Boxing Day of 1908 there would not have been any need for police intervention. Johnson no doubt would have given the little fellow a beating but I think Langford was too tough to be put down for 10 seconds.

    It will surprise many to know that although Langford was 5 ft. 6 1/2 in. high, and Johnson 6 ft, 0 ½ in., there was only a half inch difference in their reach; and that half inch was in Langford’s favor.

    Langford was proud of the fact that he was the only fighter that ever knocked Joe Jeannette for the count. Johnson, McVey and others met Jeannette many times without knocking him. Jeannette had 150 fights. It was indeed a feather in Langford’s cap.

    Jack Johnson said Joe Jeannette was the toughest man he ever saw; he also said that Sam Langford was the most dangerous."

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    Re: Sam Langford

    For whatever it's worth, the much bigger Jeannette also kicked Sam's butt the first time they fought. That didn't prevent Sam from turning the tables on him in the future.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    this is great stuff !!

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    Re: Sam Langford

    for what it is worth one essay i have from 1974 has Sam's bday as March 4, 1886. he cites an Ebony article from 1956.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoyle
    Langford’s own worlds about the encounter were: “I’se had the “Big Smoke” on the canvas at the end of the fifth round for the count of nine when the gong saved him. He wasn’t game to mix it with me afterwards.

    Just before his fight with Burns for the world’s title on Boxing Day, 1908, I asked Johnson if the punch that put him on the floor in his fight against Langford hurt.

    “No, Dook,” he said, “I was caught off my balance.”
    Clay, a newspaper clipping covering this fight was recently posted on another thread and nowhere does it state that Johnson was ever floored by Langford. Can you elaborate on this discrepency?



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    Re: Sam Langford

    "Clay, a newspaper clipping covering this fight was recently posted on another thread and nowhere does it state that Johnson was ever floored by Langford. Can you elaborate on this discrepency?"

    Sure. Here's what I wrote about it:

    "There is no such mention of that knockdown in any of the various Boston newspaper accounts of the fight, though Johnson himself seems to substantiate being knocked down at some point during the bout as he mentions suffering a knockdown in his 1910 book ‘Mes Combats’, and also mentioned it to Mullins in 1908, although he indicated to the latter that it was the result of being caught off balance.

    Ring magazine founder and editor, Nat Fleischer, later wrote that his father in law, A.D. Phillips, who attended the bout told him that Johnson went to the mat in the fifth round as a result of a slip when he missed with a big swing aimed at Sam’s jaw, but Sam reportedly caught him at the same time with a
    terrific blow just above the heart."

    Here's what I have concerning Johnson's 'Mes Combats' book concerning this issue:

    "In his c1910 French biography ‘Mes Combats’ Johnson had this to say about their right: "I found him (Langford) one of the toughest adversaries I ever met in the ring. I weighed 190 pounds and Langford only 138. In the second round the little negro hit me on the jaw with a terrible right hand and I fell as if upended (or blown away) by a cannon ball. In all my pugilistic career, not before and not afterwards, have I received a blow that struck me with such force. It was all I could do just to get back on my feet just as the referee was about to count "Ten!" I made it, but I assure you that I felt the effects of that punch for the rest of the fight. I recovered but I would have to take my hat off to him if I hadn't had so much science at my comment. In the fifteenth round I was declared the winner on points."

    Very confusing eh? That's why I chose to write that Johnson seems to substatiate being knocked down at some point in the bout, though the fact that Mullins mentions that Johnson went down in the 5th, and Fleischer's father in law says he went down in that round as well, though more from a slip in his opinion, leads me to believe he very likely could have gone down in that round but the vast majority in attendance believed it to be the result of a slip.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    Thanks Clay.

    There is lot of inaccurate hearsay and mythology out there and it's refreshing to get a first hand account of what really happened. I'm even questioning the slip somewhat if none of the newspapers mentioned it, but I'm set on the fact that Langford never floored Johnson with a punch.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoyle
    "Clay, a newspaper clipping covering this fight was recently posted on another thread and nowhere does it state that Johnson was ever floored by Langford. Can you elaborate on this discrepency?"

    Sure. Here's what I wrote about it:

    "There is no such mention of that knockdown in any of the various Boston newspaper accounts of the fight, though Johnson himself seems to substantiate being knocked down at some point during the bout as he mentions suffering a knockdown in his 1910 book ‘Mes Combats’, and also mentioned it to Mullins in 1908, although he indicated to the latter that it was the result of being caught off balance.

    Ring magazine founder and editor, Nat Fleischer, later wrote that his father in law, A.D. Phillips, who attended the bout told him that Johnson went to the mat in the fifth round as a result of a slip when he missed with a big swing aimed at Sam’s jaw, but Sam reportedly caught him at the same time with a
    terrific blow just above the heart."

    Here's what I have concerning Johnson's 'Mes Combats' book concerning this issue:

    "In his c1910 French biography ‘Mes Combats’ Johnson had this to say about their right: "I found him (Langford) one of the toughest adversaries I ever met in the ring. I weighed 190 pounds and Langford only 138. In the second round the little negro hit me on the jaw with a terrible right hand and I fell as if upended (or blown away) by a cannon ball. In all my pugilistic career, not before and not afterwards, have I received a blow that struck me with such force. It was all I could do just to get back on my feet just as the referee was about to count "Ten!" I made it, but I assure you that I felt the effects of that punch for the rest of the fight. I recovered but I would have to take my hat off to him if I hadn't had so much science at my comment. In the fifteenth round I was declared the winner on points."

    Very confusing eh? That's why I chose to write that Johnson seems to substatiate being knocked down at some point in the bout, though the fact that Mullins mentions that Johnson went down in the 5th, and Fleischer's father in law says he went down in that round as well, though more from a slip in his opinion, leads me to believe he very likely could have gone down in that round but the vast majority in attendance believed it to be the result of a slip.
    it is safe to say due to his long history of embelishments and falsehoods that Johnson's word on this issue is as good as sand.

    Johnson was 185, not 190, and Langford 156, not 138.

    I'll take the numerous newspaper clippings over Johnsons and Langford's own accounts.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    "Sam reportedly caught him at the same time with a
    terrific blow just above the heart."

    Music to my ears. A favored punch of that era, we hardly ever see it today.

    Thanks Clay.

    Don

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    Re: Sam Langford

    I find the lack of concrete facts adds to the mythmaking .. Langford was either two, five, six or eight years younger (a afctor that also effects if they fought later on as well) . Langford fought Jack as a middleweight or as a lightweight. If he was a lightweight, why did they make the bout? Johnson was 24 pounds heavier , forty ponds heavier or 50. Again, facts all over the place.

    I'd like to read other coverage of the fight althought that piece, if it was real, was pretty amazing. Two of the best ever.

    Johnson an all time great champ and Langford, the best pound for pound ever.

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    Re: Sam Langford

    Apr. 5, 1906- Joe Jeannette, Chelsea, MA W 15
    “In Sam’s second encounter with Joe Jeannette he focused on a viscious body attack, while Joe played mostly for the face. In the tenth (round), Sam caught his man off guard and cut loose with both fists. Like piston rods, his gloves smashed into Joe’s body, and the crowd momentarily expected to see the big fellow toppled over. He staggered around the ring with Langford right after him.

    In the twelfth, Sam made desperate efforts to finish the job. But Joe seemed to get a new lease of fighting life and for a time they mixed in furious fashion. Jeannette was the first to quit punching and he buckled into a clinch. The thirteenth and fourteenth rounds were Langford’s by a big margin.

    The final round was a corker. Langford got both hands into play and he beat a steady tattoo on Joe’s head and midsection. From face to body the slugging changed in lightning style, Jeannette doing his best to stave off the bombardment. A second before the bell rang, Langford smashed a heavy right on the jaw, and Joe tottered. He was ready to fall, when the welcome stroke of the gong saved him. His seconds rushed to his aid and helped him back to his corner. Joe had just evaded a clean kayo by the closest kind of shave.

    As Sam eventually developed into a genuine heavyweight, it became more evident than ever that he had the edge on Jeannette, great a scrapper as the latter really was.

    Sam’s win over Joe Jeannette opened the door for a match with Jack Johnson. At the time Johnson was piling up victories at a rate that marked him as the coming premier heavyweight of the world. Jeannette had been the most successful of Johnson’s opponents up to that time. There hadn’t been much to choose between the two in those battles, so when Langford defeated Jeannette so decisively in their 1906 fifteen-rounder, Sam’s manager naturally figured that Langford would stand a good show of besting Johnson. Accordingly, a match was made, pitting Langford against Johnson at Chelsea, on April 26, three weeks after Sam’s victory of Jeannette.”


    April 27, 1906 – Boston Morning Journal – Langford Loses in Game Fight
    “Sam Langford was beaten badly by Jack Johnson at Chelsea last night, but earned the cheers of his admirers and many more besides by a superb exhibition of grit and courage that makes other local exhibitions of gameness in the ring fade almost into insignifigance.

    He was there all through the fifteen rounds, and saved a lot of money for his friends who had bet that he would last ten rounds, twelve rounds, or stay the limit. But it is a question if he were wise, for the beating he took is enough to seriously impair his strength and health.

    Most of the punishment was on the head, and so may not have the injurious effect that a severe drubbing on the body would have. Sam didn’t have a chance on earth to win, for he was outweighed about thirty-five pounds, and Johnson was too clever, too fast, too heavy, too strong and too powerful in punching for him.

    Sam went down three times. On the first occasion it looked as if he slipped or stumbled to his knees, as the accompanying punch was not heavy. He was knocked down with a powerful left hook in the middle of the sixth round and lay on his face. He was down just nine seconds according to Timekeeper Murphy, a thoroughly honest man, and the referee, Maffit Flaherty, who says he was on his feet at the call of nine, and according to several watches in the hands of men around the ring.

    Later on in the same round he was down again for nine seconds. On the first knockdown it looked as if he couldn’t continue. But he arose within the specified ten seconds. The second time he went to the floor from a right hand smash on the jaw. He wasn’t in such a bad way and arose all right. Johnson tried his best to give him his quietus, but was exhausted and weak from punching and couldn’t land the knockout.

    It was a one-sided fight. It was all Johnson all the way. Sam did well on his left stabs and showed at times on inclination to shoot the right over for Jack’s jaw. But he was outclassed too much naturally to make it any kind of an even fight.

    Johnson’s showing was commented on by everybody who declared that his challenge to Jeffries was preposterous. He would have been an easy mark for the champion had he been taken on.

    Johnson was esquired by Joe Walcott, Kid Murray, Jack McCloskey and Sandy Ferguson and George Dixon gave advice from the corner. George Byers, Andy Watson and other friends were in Sam’s corner.”

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    Re: Sam Langford

    Apr. 5, 1906- Joe Jeannette, Chelsea, MA W 15
    “In Sam’s second encounter with Joe Jeannette he focused on a viscious body attack, while Joe played mostly for the face. In the tenth (round), Sam caught his man off guard and cut loose with both fists. Like piston rods, his gloves smashed into Joe’s body, and the crowd momentarily expected to see the big fellow toppled over. He staggered around the ring with Langford right after him.

    In the twelfth, Sam made desperate efforts to finish the job. But Joe seemed to get a new lease of fighting life and for a time they mixed in furious fashion. Jeannette was the first to quit punching and he buckled into a clinch. The thirteenth and fourteenth rounds were Langford’s by a big margin.

    The final round was a corker. Langford got both hands into play and he beat a steady tattoo on Joe’s head and midsection. From face to body the slugging changed in lightning style, Jeannette doing his best to stave off the bombardment. A second before the bell rang, Langford smashed a heavy right on the jaw, and Joe tottered. He was ready to fall, when the welcome stroke of the gong saved him. His seconds rushed to his aid and helped him back to his corner. Joe had just evaded a clean kayo by the closest kind of shave.

    As Sam eventually developed into a genuine heavyweight, it became more evident than ever that he had the edge on Jeannette, great a scrapper as the latter really was.

    Sam’s win over Joe Jeannette opened the door for a match with Jack Johnson. At the time Johnson was piling up victories at a rate that marked him as the coming premier heavyweight of the world. Jeannette had been the most successful of Johnson’s opponents up to that time. There hadn’t been much to choose between the two in those battles, so when Langford defeated Jeannette so decisively in their 1906 fifteen-rounder, Sam’s manager naturally figured that Langford would stand a good show of besting Johnson. Accordingly, a match was made, pitting Langford against Johnson at Chelsea, on April 26, three weeks after Sam’s victory of Jeannette.”


    April 27, 1906 – Boston Morning Journal – Langford Loses in Game Fight
    “Sam Langford was beaten badly by Jack Johnson at Chelsea last night, but earned the cheers of his admirers and many more besides by a superb exhibition of grit and courage that makes other local exhibitions of gameness in the ring fade almost into insignifigance.

    He was there all through the fifteen rounds, and saved a lot of money for his friends who had bet that he would last ten rounds, twelve rounds, or stay the limit. But it is a question if he were wise, for the beating he took is enough to seriously impair his strength and health.

    Most of the punishment was on the head, and so may not have the injurious effect that a severe drubbing on the body would have. Sam didn’t have a chance on earth to win, for he was outweighed about thirty-five pounds, and Johnson was too clever, too fast, too heavy, too strong and too powerful in punching for him.

    Sam went down three times. On the first occasion it looked as if he slipped or stumbled to his knees, as the accompanying punch was not heavy. He was knocked down with a powerful left hook in the middle of the sixth round and lay on his face. He was down just nine seconds according to Timekeeper Murphy, a thoroughly honest man, and the referee, Maffit Flaherty, who says he was on his feet at the call of nine, and according to several watches in the hands of men around the ring.

    Later on in the same round he was down again for nine seconds. On the first knockdown it looked as if he couldn’t continue. But he arose within the specified ten seconds. The second time he went to the floor from a right hand smash on the jaw. He wasn’t in such a bad way and arose all right. Johnson tried his best to give him his quietus, but was exhausted and weak from punching and couldn’t land the knockout.

    It was a one-sided fight. It was all Johnson all the way. Sam did well on his left stabs and showed at times on inclination to shoot the right over for Jack’s jaw. But he was outclassed too much naturally to make it any kind of an even fight.

    Johnson’s showing was commented on by everybody who declared that his challenge to Jeffries was preposterous. He would have been an easy mark for the champion had he been taken on.

    Johnson was esquired by Joe Walcott, Kid Murray, Jack McCloskey and Sandy Ferguson and George Dixon gave advice from the corner. George Byers, Andy Watson and other friends were in Sam’s corner.”

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    Re: Sam Langford

    Tremendous stuff ... really great !

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    Re: Sam Langford

    My 20 Greatest
    9 • *
    By Hype Igoe
    International News Service Sports Writer

    NEW YORK, Mar. 17.--.jim Barry, of Irish and French extructlon,
    was a handsome, gulot fellow who could hit like the
    kick ot a mule with his right hand. He fought Sam Langford
    12 times, which is pretty good evidence that Jim could hold up
    His hands and throw a few punches.

    They met first back in 1907. Pale-faced Harry had had 24
    fights, winning 20 of them with cold knockouts. Thiswas something
    over which Samuel must ponder, slnce any youngster who
    can bang that well is not a pushover.

    Barry, once he had met the great Tham, became obsecssed
    with the notion that sooner later he would bring the Negro
    to resin dust to stay. Though he followed Sam all over the -world
    with this thought uppermost in his cranium, Barry's closest, approach
    to such a calamitous cuffing cume, strangely enough,
    with his first meeting. So persistent was he; that he trailed
    Sam to Sydney, N. S. W., Melbourne,
    Australia, Vernnn, Los Angeles , Boston, Philadelphia and
    Chelsea.

    When they met, each and! every time, Barry was bent on knockIng Sam cold. Always they fought fiercely and in only four of the dozen fights did Sam get
    his man.

    Came the night they first, meet A great night, a whooping crowd
    Membership days. You got a card from a guy, who knew :
    guy, who knew a guy, who was on close terms with Buckley!

    Never did you attend a fight in absolute confidence that you!
    would see the result, because the cops had a way of dropping from
    the skylights like great spiders or they would come through the
    windows or trap doors under the ring. When they came In It was.
    "Slide, Kelly, Slide," down the little flight of stairs, all too narrow,
    else the gendarmes would have driven up many a Black Maria.

    When I see old "Tedge" Rlckards gold-heeled and ermined-wrappcd
    "best people" comlng tripping gaily Into The House
    That Tex Built, I have to laugh ovcr the trials and tribulations we
    encountercd as we sought Manly Art of Self Defense spectacles
    in haylofts,, on barges and in cellars in those old days.

    Barry was an unknown quanity so far us first hand observation
    was concerned when he first came into the ring to fight Langord.
    Two nights before Barry had fought Joe Grim a no-decision battle. Seventeen days before that Jim had fought Jack blackburn a no-decision battle in Bridgeport, Conn.

    Langford was tops back in 1907 . Darned good says I', emphazing
    Barry was no slouch !-. himself. Theyy fought determinedly,
    trading right handers for the button like the great gamblers .
    they were. There was plenty of chin-tucking since neither could
    take the slightest chance of leaving a jaw wide open.

    Barry was a picturesque sort of fellow'. He had glistening black
    hair and flashing eyes. He never smiled, nor did he complain In
    any of the ways most of Sam's opponents bleated when Sam
    got in scoring with his thundering fists.

    In the matter of gambling, Barry was as willing as Sam. Mind
    you, this was Jim's first encounter with Sam and he probably
    Had slept on the proposition that could flatten Langford, hereby
    gaining undying fame to say nothing of a few big money
    matches. Anyone who could whip Sam, much less knock him
    kicking, at once, would be some pumpkins. There were a few
    birds of prey aflutter.

    Suddenly it happened! Nailed Landlord right on the potato, did
    Jim Barry, and he went down to the canvas with the swift descent of
    a flat Iron dropped off the Empire State Building.

    Langford was dropped that cold that his left leg buckled
    under him and he sat down with frightful thud on top of his
    ankle, spraining it. Jim Buckley
    began to chant over Sam—"one"
    — "two" — "three" — "four" — live"—"six." Sam started up.
    None knew of his terrible hurt save Lansford himself, he got
    to all fours and when he was erect, he was balanced on his
    right leg, his left drawn up, his face, In his anguish, an Indian
    war mask.

    Then began an amazing exhibition. Buckley wanted to stop
    Why sacrifice a great warrior because of such an outlandish accident,
    Sam would have none it. It was a no-declslon,six round bout.

    Barry was a wild-eyed fury. What cared he for Sams hurt?
    The knockout over the great Brown Boy was the thing!
    Jim rushed, Sam Jogged around on the left foot, for all the world
    like a big kid on a yogi stick.
    Hippily hop, hippity hop,
    went, this way and that with Barry rushing after him like
    tormented mother bear. I doubt ever have I breathed a greater
    of relief then when the final bell gonged and the great Brown
    Warrior was spared the hateful brand—"KO'd by Jim Barry!"

    Barry was killed in the Panama Canal Zone five years later.
    A Spanish tough guy, objecting to attentions which Barry was showering
    on his light o' love . Drew a six shooter and Barry bitterly unafraid walked right into its barrel .

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    Re: Sam Langford

    What a great thread! Thanks to Clay and everyone else. I am eagerly awaiting the Langford book. From my research as well, I especially like the fact that you dispel the notion of Langford as a full-fledged heavyweight which is what casual fans (ie those that put him on p4p lists just because they've heard of him) consider him. Langford at middle knocking down an all-time great heavyweight in Jack Johnson (giving up about 30 pounds) would be similar to Harry Greb knocking down Jack Dempsey, or Matthew Saad Muhummad knocking down Larry Holmes. It's really quite remarkable, when you think about it.

    Deepak

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    Re: Sam Langford

    The more you study Langford, the more amazing you realize he was ... the best ever.

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