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Thread: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

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    Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne


    A CBZ Exclusive By Mike Casey


    Somewhat reassuringly, perhaps the favourite indulgences of fight fans haven’t changed radically down through the centuries. From day one, our curious and enduring breed has adored the ritual of engaging in endless and inconclusive argument that generally sweeps us straight up a back alley leading to nowhere.

    More often than not, it is impossible to prove our opinions or reach a definitive verdict on what was the greatest fight and who was the greatest fighter. We just know that it feels good to chase our own backsides when there is nothing much else going on in the world. There is nothing quite so curative as a good old barney with our favourite sparring partners. God forbid that they should come over all magnanimous and actually agree with a single word we are saying.

    Ad Wolgast and Battling Nelson certainly started something back in 1910 after their phenomenal battle of endurance at Point Richmond. Logically, Ad and Bat should have been carted off to the cemetery after that one. It surely had to be the greatest battle ever seen in the eternally fabulous lightweight division. The cries of dissent were not long in coming – oh no it wasn’t!

    Those of a greater vintage argued that for sheer savage intensity, sustained excitement and historical importance, there was nothing to match the brutal first battle between George (Kid) Lavigne and Joe Walcott at Maspeth, New York, on December 2, 1895.

    That fight marked the thunderous arrival of Lavigne on the world stage.
    Few men could go head to head with Walcott, the great Barbados Demon, in a straight punching battle for survival. But Lavigne, the young Michigan tornado known as the Saginaw Kid, did just that and joined Walcott among the select ranks of men to be feared.

    It was a fight that was already cooking long before the contestants got into the ring and it established Sam Fitzpatrick as one of the shrewdest and most astute matchmakers in the game. Lavigne and Walcott produced fifteen of the fiercest rounds of fighting ever witnessed, their epic union cleverly engineered by Fitzpatrick.

    Walcott, described by Nat Fleischer as “a short, thick-necked furious fighting man”, was being managed by Tom O’Rourke and had compiled a mightily impressive record. O’Rourke was able to provide Joe with constant training with the masterful Little Chocolate, George Dixon. Walcott became such an accomplished and dangerous fighter under the guidance of O’Rourke and Dixon that few people doubted the Barbados Demon was the best lightweight in the world.

    Around the same time, Sam Fitzpatrick took Kid Lavigne under his wing. The Kid wasn’t renowned for his love of training, but O’Rourke recognised the youngster’s class and tremendous fighting spirit. Lavigne quickly progressed as he defeated tough opponents in George Siddons, Jerry Marshall, Johnny Griffin and the tragic Andy Bowen, who died from his injuries after the Kid knocked him out in eighteen rounds in New Orleans. Lavigne also gained a highly creditable eight rounds draw with the gifted drunken genius, Young Griffo.

    Lavigne was considerably under the lightweight limit and it wasn’t at all unusual for him to give away significant weight to his opponents. However, such was his progress that Joe Walcott and Tom O’Rourke grew more than a little annoyed with the attention and praise being lavished on the Kid. Lavigne became as irritatingly irresistible to them as a slippery salmon does to a hungry Grizzly Bear.

    O’Rourke couldn’t help but take the bait. It proved to be one of the few career blunders that wise old Tom ever made. Not only did O’Rourke announce that Walcott would fight Lavigne, but that Joe would agree to forfeit his entire purse if he failed to stop the Kid inside fifteen rounds.

    Sam Fitzpatrick snapped up the offer but insisted that Walcott made the lightweight limit. Walcott and O’Rourke readily agreed.

    Fitzpatrick took an iron grip on Lavigne in the run-up to the fight and insisted that the Kid didn’t skimp on his training. Lavigne behaved himself and his conditioning improved rapidly. Interest in the fight grew and betting was lively in the east, where much money was wagered on Lavigne failing to last the agreed course. Such was Walcott’s reputation as a wrecker of men that it was becoming increasingly difficult for the Barbados Demon to secure matches.

    Fitzpatrick and a few of the Lavigne faithful countered by betting that the Kid would not only last the distance but would defeat Walcott. Barbados Joe was supremely confident that he would halt Lavigne and entertained no thoughts of losing. Walcott stormed into the Kid from the start of the contest, but met with terrific resistance as Lavigne hit back on even terms. Joe seemed taken aback by the opposing force he had encountered, and the Kid’s tenacity didn’t diminish as a gargantuan battle took shape and the rounds raced by.

    Lavigne stood toe-to-toe with Walcott through some withering, brutal exchanges, staying on top of Joe all the time. One writer would later comment that the Demon had been out-demoned. The pace of the fight was astonishing, as was the punishment suffered and the injuries borne. The ring was stained crimson from the blood of both men’s wounds. Lavigne would inherit a cauliflower ear from one of Walcott’s slashing rights.

    Incredibly, the two titans didn’t seem to notice the outer limits to which they were hurtling. Lavigne eventually outpaced Walcott to earn the referee’s decision after a barn-burning battle of powerful hitting, courage and perseverance in the face of terrible punishment.

    Hooked

    When Kid Lavigne and Joe Walcott hooked up for their return match on October 29, 1897, the Kid was the lightweight champion of the world and was repeatedly astonishing the boxing public with the near frenetic pace of his attacking style and his extraordinary toughness. It seemed that no man could hurt or deflect the non-stop wonder from Saginaw.

    Once again, Lavigne proved Walcott’s master in mayhem, with Joe being pulled out of the contest at the end of the twelfth round by Tom O’Rourke. The crowd of 10,000 at the Occidental Club in San Francisco could scarcely believe how little effect the tremendous blows of Walcott had on the relentless Saginaw Kid.

    Walcott entered the ring in his usual determined mood, adorned in a salmon-coloured robe and attended by Tom O’Rourke, George Dixon and Joe Cotton. Lavigne was second into the ring, his handlers including his brother Billy, Teddy Alexander and Billy Armstrong. Billy Jordan was the master of ceremonies and Eddie Greaney was the referee.

    As in the first battle between the two greats, Lavigne set a blistering pace and maintained it. Walcott did extremely well to fight back and landed many a hard blow when he was able to adequately time Lavigne’s rushes. But the Kid had taken charge of the fight by the fifth round and Joe was unable to turn the tide thereafter.

    The seventh round was one of the fastest seen by reporters of the day. Lavigne bulled Walcott into the ropes and scored with a big left uppercut to the face. The Kid followed with a right to the jaw that shook Joe badly and forced him to clinch. Lavigne was merciless in such a situation and would just keep hammering at his opponent. He wouldn’t leave the troubled Walcott alone and struck him again with rights and lefts to the head.

    Joe tried desperately to summon all his ring smarts and weather the violent storm around him, clinching whenever he could. But when he was sent to his haunches near the ropes, it became apparent that he was living on borrowed time against the rampaging little killer before him. Lavigne chased and harried Walcott all over the ring in the eighth and ninth rounds, landing some thudding blows over the heart.

    Walcott limped back to his corner at the end of the ninth round with muscular cramps in his legs, a condition which often plagued him. His handlers worked on the legs, but it was apparent to all that Joe required a major recovery and a big rally to overturn the significant points lead that the charging Lavigne had compiled.

    Walcott was still limping when he came out for the tenth round, and his torment was only worsened by repeated shots to the jaw that sent him staggering. By the twelfth session, Joe was doing little more than surviving by calling on the last reserves of his guile and instinct. The Demon fought with great gameness and heart, but it was his heart that Lavigne continued to target with vicious and well placed blows. By now Walcott was in no position to defend himself or fight back effectively. When he returned wearily to his corner at the end of the round, Tom O’Rourke told referee Eddie Greaney that the Demon could not go on.

    Punishment

    George (Kid) Lavigne’s capacity to absorb punishment was so incredible that it seems almost mythical to us now, much like the gruesome hardship and deprivation of his savage era.

    The stories piled up about Lavigne and the evidence of their truth was in the footprints of spilled blood, bashed bones, clotted noses and misshapen ears that led to his door. In later years, as we shall see, the Kid spoke most humorously about the grisly souvenirs he collected and their deceptively positive effect on his well-being.

    On October 27, 1896, Lavigne defended his lightweight championship against Jack Everhardt at the Bohemian Sporting Club in New York. It was a fight that might be described as par for the course in Lavigne’s turbulent and violent career. He knocked out Everhardt in the twenty-fourth round, but the bare detail of such a result could never hope to convey the full flesh and bones of a Kid Lavigne punch-up.

    Jack Everhardt was a classy and educated ring mechanic and comprehensively outboxed Lavigne for much of the way, punishing the Kid badly in the process. Lavigne’s eyes were partially closed and his face was a swollen mess from all the attention it received from Jack’s accurate punching. Finally, in typically heroic fashion, the Kid caught up with Everhardt and knocked him out with a big blow to the jaw. However, one found it difficult to tell the winner from the loser. So badly battered was Lavigne that he had to be led from the ring after his triumph.

    The Kid had already endured another taxing marathon after locking horns with Englishman Dick Burge at the National Sporting Club in London on June 1, 1896. Lavigne had gained recognition as the lightweight champion of the world with a dramatic seventeenth round knockout of Burge, but Dick gave the Kid plenty to remember him by.

    Burge was a conundrum. His brilliant talent was frustratingly offset by a Jekyll and Hyde personality. James (Jimmy) Butler, the great British boxing reporter, wrote of Dick: “His superb skill – for he was one of the cleverest boxers at his weight the world has ever seen – kept Burge in the limelight for many years, yet he always remained an enigma.

    “Sometimes he would box with a brilliance that would have won him a world title and sometimes he would appear as lethargic and dull as any novice. You could never be sure how he would shape.”

    James (Jimmy) Butler was a fortunate man who enjoyed some wonderful experiences in a golden age. He never forgot a three-rounds exhibition he saw between Burge and the legendary Jack McAuliffe in 1914. Burge had been out of the ring for fourteen years by that time. McAuliffe hadn’t seen action in eighteen years.

    Could they still fight? Here is what Mr Butler wrote of their little set-to: “Those three rounds between Dick Burge and Jack McAuliffe I shall never forget. The details of so many of the big fights I have witnessed have long faded from my memory, but the recollection of their marvellous exhibition is still vivid.

    “Not for a fraction of a second did they clinch. They stood toe-to-toe, as upright and straight as poplars, feinting, leading, hitting, countering and cross-countering, with a speed and skill that left us open-mouthed in wonder.”

    Of Burge’s fight with Lavigne, Butler commented: “Burge stepped into the ring a 2 to 1 favourite, but before the bout had progressed far it was evident that his efforts to make the weight had left him weakened. The old snap and fire were missing from his punch, and although he put up a desperate and plucky effort to avoid defeat, it was of no avail.”

    At one point during that torrid battle, Lavigne mistimed one of his rushes at Burge and charge headlong into a ring post. Typically the Kid regarded this as a minor inconvenience, another honourable scar to add to his burgeoning collection.

    Boxers As Surgeons: The Kid’s Theory

    Kid Lavigne rarely felt bad about the lumps he took. Very often he was quite grateful for them. They reinforced his intriguing theory that boxers could be as surgically gifted as doctors.

    Here is what the Kid had to say about his bloody business: “You hear a lot about injuries done in the ring, but you have never heard about the counter-irritant one blow is to another, have you?”

    Lavigne pointed to his left ear, a classic cauliflower job of his era, and continued: “Look at this ear that I’m carrying. It is a memory of one fight. My old pal Joe Walcott gave it to me in our first fight and almost at the start of it. Some people think that Walcott can hit. It got past the imagination place with me before we boxed one round.

    “I knew it was true the first time he landed. And the first time he put one fair on this left ear, he sent me back to my corner wondering if I’d ever forget that poke. That was where I got my ear. In a round or two it puffed up and filled with blood so that it looked like a raw tomato. It felt worse than it looked. There was a whole comic opera chorus in my head, singing songs that sounded like the music you hear in the dentist’s chair just before they wake you up.

    “What would have happened if Walcott hadn’t played surgeon for me, no one can tell. But along in the fourth or fifth round, he brought his glove over on the bad ear, pulled the heel across it and burst the ear. The songs stopped, the pain went, the ear shrank and Mr Walcott was stopped in round fifteen.”

    Walcott’s ‘surgical’ punch certainly had a deceiving effect on some reporters at ringside, who initially thought they had seen Lavigne’s ear come off. Some time later, The Kid was no less obliged to Dick Burge for a spot of skilful handiwork.

    “Dick Burge, the English fighter, performed another operation for me. It was the year after the Walcott affair and Richard attended to my nose. Through being hit on the bridge in other fights so many times, a little lump had formed. It wasn’t painful, but it didn’t look pretty and it didn’t help me any in my breathing. But I didn’t pay much attention to it until Burge and I got well warmed up in our mill in London.

    “The fight went seventeen rounds and we hadn’t gone half of that route when Burge came to me with a straight right on the nose that carried me part way to the sleeping quarters. No one ever hit me as hard on the nose. I had to guess where my corner was at the finish and I steered for it by the voice of my handlers. When I cleared my nose, a thick clot of blood was discharged. That clot must have been the lump that had been bothering me, and my nose was good as new when I went out for the next round.

    “I beat Burge and he gave me a present of a straight nose to boot.”

    No fighter, however, played havoc with Lavigne’s nose more than the great but tragically flawed boxing master, Young Griffo. The two men fought out two draw decisions, which itself is testament to Lavigne’s class. Hitting the brilliantly gifted Griffo was akin to trying to hit a ghost, irrespective of whether the alcoholic Griff was sober (which was rarely) or drunk (which was often). Here was a man who would keep himself in drinks later in life by spreading a handkerchief on the floor of his local saloon, placing a foot on one corner and challenging any man in the bar to punch him off it.

    Here are Lavigne’s recollections of the Australian maestro: “He was like a dozen arms. He threw a hodful of arms at me every time I went after him. I’d start out and would lead one that looked as if it ought to land and send the Australian over the ropes. So far as I could see, Griffo never moved. But I didn’t see much, for as soon as I led and started in, six or eight gloves would land on my nose and knock my head back so that I was looking at the ceiling.

    “He had my neck in a hinge until the fight was about half gone, when I gave up anything that seemed like boxing – just rushing wildly and trying to bear him before me. I couldn’t hurt him much because he was too shifty, but he tired so that he couldn’t stop to do any boxing himself – and that, when you had him throwing a lot of gloves at you, was worth something.”

    Fighting

    Fighting the way he did, George (Kid) Lavigne was destined to wear down and wear out before most others. He had been campaigning for just under three years when he lost his lightweight championship in the blazing and defiant manner that one would have expected of him.

    The Kid’s conqueror was the Swiss-born Frank Erne, a fast and clever ringman, who got his big chance in his adopted hometown of Buffalo on July 3, 1899. The match took place at the Hawthorne Athletic Club in the suburb of Cheektowaga, with Erne capturing a 20-rounds decision in a lively and fast-paced battle. Both boys were in terrific shape and the Kid started favourite.

    While the fighting was fierce between Erne and Lavigne, the duel was also shot through with speed and skill from both combatants. In all the rip-roaring stories about Lavigne, it is sometimes forgotten that the Kid was no slouch for ring cleverness.

    Certainly, however, it was the Kid’s trademark courage that shone through more than anything else in his last championship stand. He battled Erne on even terms for the first six rounds, but things went awry for Lavigne in the seventh when he ran into a hailstorm and received a bad lacing from Frank. The sound of the gong probably saved the fading champion from being knocked out in that session.

    Erne was never quite so effective thereafter, unable to finish Lavigne. This was a puzzle to many until it was discovered at the fight’s conclusion that Frank had badly injured his left hand in that seventh round onslaught.

    By the final round, the Kid had been beaten virtually to a standstill by the precise punching of Erne. Lavigne’s eyes were shut but he continued to chase Frank, even though Erne’s punches were more plentiful and hurtful.

    Lavigne’s Greatness

    George (Kid) Lavigne was a natural and wonderful successor to the great Napoleon of the Prize Ring, Jack McAuliffe. The Kid needed to be colourful and special to follow in the footsteps of Jack.

    McAuliffe had ruled the lightweights when John L Sullivan bossed the heavies and Nonpareil Jack Dempsey held sway over the middleweights. The three men were great friends and referred to fondly by the American sporting public as the Three American Jacks.

    McAuliffe was intelligent, possessed of great humour and loved the good life. His weight would often be nudging 175lbs when he entered his training camp.

    But Kid Lavigne carved his own special reputation and did so magnificently. For a great many years after his career was over, there were many boxing observers who believed that Lavigne was the greatest of all the lightweights. Interestingly, as late as 1944, by which time the career of Benny Leonard was done and dusted, the debate as to who was the all-time lightweight king was not between Benny and Joe Gans, but between Gans and Lavigne. Joe, the Old Master, got the majority of votes. But the Kid claimed a healthy share of the poll.

    But what of Jack McAuliffe’s opinion on Kid Lavigne? Here are Jack’s thoughts on the Kid from 1928: “Natural fighters always have had the better of book-made boxers in the lightweight division, although Benny Leonard was one of the latter class and he certainly fought his way up from a club fighter to a worthy champion.

    “A natural fighter, particularly a hitter, has the advantage. John L Sullivan was a natural fighter. So was Jack Dempsey. I think Kid Lavigne was the greatest of them all. I picked him as my successor when I retired undefeated and I made a good selection.

    “Lavigne’s (first) fight with Walcott was one of the classics of the ring. The Saginaw Kid had courage, stamina and was a natural fighter.”

    McAuliffe once fought a gruelling 64-rounds draw with a fighter called Billy Myer, who carried the nickname of the Streater Cyclone. It is doubtful whether Billy ever forgot Jack or vice-versa. Billy’s brother and near fighting equal, Eddie Myer, certainly never forgot Kid Lavigne.

    Eddie was knocked out by the Kid in 1893 after taking a vicious right to the temple. Myer was still suffering the after-effects of that punch thirty years later. In 1923, Eddie did a little shiver as he told a reporter: “Often I can feel that blow now, especially if I catch cold. Then the spot where he hit me gets sore and aches like fury.”


    Mike Casey is a boxing journalist and historian and Special Features Writer for the Cyber Boxing Zone. He is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO), an auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and founder and editor of the Grand Slam Premium Boxing Service for historians and fans (www.grandslampage.net).

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    George "Kid" Lavigne
    (George Henry Lavigne)
    (the "Saginaw Kid")

    BORN December 6 1869; Bay City, Michigan
    DIED March 9 1928; Detroit, Michigan (Early sources reported April 6 1936; Detroit, Michigan)
    HEIGHT 5-3 1/2
    WEIGHT 124-140 lbs
    MANAGER Sam Fitzpatrick
    Lavigne was sturdy and muscular in build; He was very quick and a hard hitter; His power far exceeded his size; He was rough and durable; His reach was 64 1/2 inches; Lavigne was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1959 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998

    During his career, Lavigne defeated such men as Joe Walcott, Dick Burge, Eddie Connolly, Tom Tracey, "Wilmington" Jack Daly, Joe Soto, Johnny Griffin, Jerry Marshall, Andy Bowen and Jack Everhardt

    Cyber Boxing Champion - George "Kid" Lavigne
    Final record TB:55 W:35 KO:19 D:10 L:6 ND:4


    George "Kid" Lavigne was born in Bay City Michigan on Dec. 6, 1869. He began his professional career on September 7, 1885. Nicknamed the Saginaw Kid because he began fighting at the ripe old age of 16 out of the Michigan town.

    In 1894 he fough a historic battle with Andy Bowen, a New Orleans fighter who, along with Jack Burke, had fought the longest contest on record. Lavigne knocked out Bowen who died the next day due to the severe beating which Lavinge administered.

    In June 1896, Lavigne met Dick Burge in London and won the World Lightweight Crown when he knocked out the Englishman in 17 rounds. George defended his title against Jack Everhardt(w.25), Kid Mcpartland(w.25), Eddie Connolly(w.ko11), Joe Walcott(w.12), Jack Daly(d20), Frank Erne(d20), and Tom Tracey(w.20). Lavigne finally lost his title when in a return match Frank Erne defeated him over 20 rounds on July 3, 1899.

    Lavigne fought on sparingly until the age of forty. He died in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 1928.

    By Kevin Smith

    1886
    Sep 7 Morris McNally Saginaw, Mi KO 1
    Sep 11 Billy White Saginaw, Mi KO 1
    Sep 21 Billy Roberts Saginaw, Mi KO 3
    Oct 19 Bob Ralph Saginaw, Mi KO 3
    Oct 28 Jimmy Priest Saginaw, Mi KO 3
    Nov 3 Pat Connors Saginaw, Mi KO 5
    Nov 18 Red Elliott Saginaw, Mi W 4
    Dec 28 Jack Cherry Saginaw, Mi W 8

    1887
    Jan 9 Pike Johnson Saginaw, Mi W 8

    1888
    Mar 3 Billy Bushey Saginaw, Mi EX 4
    Jun 10 an unknown Manistee, Mi KO 3
    Sep 21 Jack Menton Manistee, Mi W 12

    1889
    Mar 1 George Siddons Saginaw, Mi D 77
    -This bout lasted more than 5 hours
    Mar 10 Butch Kenney Manistee, Mi W 4
    Apr 26 George Siddons Grand Rapids, Mi D 55
    -Featherweight Championship of Michigan
    May 12 Billy O'Brien Detroit, Mi W 4

    1890
    Nov 12 Sam Eaton Bay City, Mi TK 6

    1891
    Oct 15 Jimmy Lewis San Francisco, Ca W 4
    Nov 20 Joe Soto San Francisco, Ca KO 30

    1892
    Danny Needham San Francisco, Ca EX 4
    Mar 17 Charles Rochette San Francisco, Ca W 10
    May 25 Harry Jones Portland, Or KO 8
    Aug 10 Jim Burge San Francisco, Ca D 50
    Nov 21 Martin Shaughnessy Bay City, Mi KO 9

    1893
    Feb 11 Eddie Myer Dana, Il KO 22
    Mar 17 Billy Gaffney Detroit, Mi W 10

    1894
    Feb 10 Young Griffo Chicago, Il D 8
    Mar 7 "Solly" Smith Saginaw, Mi W 8
    -Some sources report "D 8"
    Sep 17 Jerry Marshall Brooklyn, NY W 10
    Oct 29 Johnny T. Griffin Coney Island, NY TK 15
    -Police intervened; Some sources report "W 15"
    Dec 14 Andy Bowen New Orleans, La KO 18
    -Bowen was knocked down and struck his head on
    the floor; He died the next day

    1895
    Feb 4 Eddie Myer Saginaw, Mi ND 8
    -This bout was part of a Benefit for Andy Bowen's widow
    Feb 19 -Philadelphia Item reported that Jimmy Dime wanted to fight
    Lavigne at 133 lbs
    Apr 11 Jerry Marshall Chicago, Il D 8
    Apr 12 Jimmy Dime Cleveland, Oh SCH
    -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known;
    Some sources report 3/29/95
    May 30 Jack Everhardt Coney Island, NY W 20
    Aug 26 Jimmy Handler Maspeth, NY KO 5
    Oct 12 Young Griffo Maspeth, NY D 20
    Dec 2 Joe Walcott Maspeth, NY W 15

    1896
    Jan 9 Billy Woods New York, NY EX 4
    Jan 9 Tommy Ryan New York, NY EX 4
    Mar 11 Jack McAuliffe New York, NY EX 6
    -Some sources report "NC 6"
    Jun 1 Dick Burge London, Eng TK 17
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    Jul 20 Charles McKeever New York, NY EX 6
    -Some sources report "L 6"
    Oct 27 Jack Everhardt New York, NY TK 24
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    Dec 23 Charles McKeever New York, NY SCH
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    This bout was scheduled but prevented by police

    1897
    Jan 11 Owen Ziegler Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Feb 8 William "Kid" McPartland New York, NY W 25
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    Mar 8 Charles McKeever Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Apr 28 Eddie Connolly Brooklyn, NY TK 11
    -Lightweight Championship of the World;
    Some sources report 4/30/97
    May 17 Owen Ziegler Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Jun 28 Young Griffo Philadelphia, Pa SCH
    -This bout was scheduled but not held;
    Lavigne did not show
    Oct 29 Joe Walcott San Francisco, Ca TK 12
    -Lightweight Championship of the World

    1898
    Feb 3 Jack Hammond Detroit, Mi EX 4
    Mar 17 "Wilmington" Jack Daly Cleveland, Oh D 20
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    Mar 31 Ed Rucker Louisville, Ky EX 3
    Mar 31 Jim Watts Louisville, Ky EX 3
    -Different sources report the same date for
    the previous 2 bouts
    Apr 11 "Wilmington" Jack Daly Philadelphia, Pa ND 6
    Sep 12 Frank Erne Brooklyn, NY SCH
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    This bout was scheduled but not held;
    Police intervened
    Sep 28 Frank Erne Brooklyn, NY D 20
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    Nov 25 Tom Tracey San Francisco, Ca W 20
    -Lightweight Championship of the World

    1899
    Mar 10 "Mysterious" Billy Smith San Francisco, Ca LT 14
    -Welterweight Championship of the World
    Apr 25 Andy Daly Berlin, NH D 10
    Jul 3 Frank Erne Buffalo, NY L 20
    -Lightweight Championship of the World
    Oct 6 George "Elbows" McFadden Brooklyn, NY LK 19
    Nov 18 Whitey Lester New York, NY TK 7

    1901
    Dec 12 Tim Hegarty Oakland, Ca KO 4

    1902
    May 25 Jimmy Britt San Francisco, Ca LT 8
    -Some sources report 5/29/02

    1905
    Jun 1 Jack Roberts Paris, Fr KO 5
    Oscar "Battling" Nelson Detroit, Mi EX 3

    1906
    Joe Gans Detroit, Mi EX 3

    1907
    Jan 19 Young Erne Philadelphia, Pa LT 6

    1908
    Oscar "Battling" Nelson Detroit, Mi EX 3

    1909
    Dec 25 Dick Nelson Detroit, Mi L 6

    1910
    Ad Wolgast Detroit, Mi EX 2


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

    1898
    Oct 19 Patsy Sweeney Boston, Ma D 6
    Nov 16 Patsy Sweeney Boston, Ma L 4
    Record courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    bump

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Here is a guy who, sadly, is always forgotten when we name the all-time greats. His contemporaries, however, regarded him as one of the best - as Mike excellent article reveals.

    Thanks, Mike, for the article about a truly great fighter, who deserves to be treated as more than just a footnote in the annals of boxing.

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Quote Originally Posted by raylawpc
    Here is a guy who, sadly, is always forgotten when we name the all-time greats. His contemporaries, however, regarded him as one of the best - as Mike excellent article reveals.

    Thanks, Mike, for the article about a truly great fighter, who deserves to be treated as more than just a footnote in the annals of boxing.
    same as above- helleva article on a fogotten great--thanks to mr. casey .

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Mike.

    I have been waiting for this story and almost went right by it. As always worth the wait. My grandfather Hype Igoe was ringside at the second Walcott-Lavigne fight and considered it in his 30 yrs of covering boxing to be one of his top twentygreatest fights. Hype also told Runyon Lavigne was his pfp favorite. That statement alone proves he is a much over-looked fighter. Thanks for bringing him back to life.

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    mike
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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    does anyone have pics of lavigne to put up??

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    I put a good one on the Newswire version of this story, Mike. I believe our mutual friend Mr Callis also has one of the Kid in the CBZ 'Past Champions' file.

    Barry Deskins might also have some clippings.

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Here's the only one I have:


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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Thanks, Ray!

  11. #11
    mike
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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    thanks--hey hes built like i was- yeah sure- i wonder what he did before boxing- imagine some labor job. thanks again

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Mike, another interesting and well crafted article about another great fighter often overlooked.

    Dan

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Look at the size of his forearms. That must give you alot of power having that much bulk near the hinge. His build is simular to Fitz. I wonder if it has some thing to do with the power.

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

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

    hurd
    NEW YOKK, Mar. 18.—Juc
    Walcott and Kid Lavigne' had fought their never-to-be-forgotton
    15 round bout at Maspeth, L. I., which for downright savagery,
    scarcely has been done In repeat in all the history of the
    sport.

    There Is a little cafe out in Maspeth and on the wall hangs
    stained canvas which covered the ring on the night of the battle],
    far back In 1895. Those who saw the fight .seemed always to recall
    that one of Lavigne's ears was almost severed with one of Walcott's
    wicked swipes and that It dangled as from a thread through
    many of the rounds, This abysmal episode was repeated
    in San Francisco two years later. I visited Lavigne's training
    camp at Blanken's road House with Bill Naughton, famous
    clout chronicler ot that period. We arrived In style, big Bill driving
    a pair of bays which drew a nicely turned buggy with red
    wheels
    Wo brought the rain with us, too. As we stood on the -porch
    talking to Billy Lavigne , the Kid's brother, down the road came
    Lavigne splashing through the mud, his body entirely covered
    with sailor's oilskin, a so'wester
    on his head!

    Naughton revealed to the Kid that there were ugly rumors about
    his going to take a "dive" to W,olcott;that tho gamblers had the
    coming battle "In the bag!" Never will I forget the look of
    mingled horror and disgust which spread! across the llttln lightweight
    champion's face. Then tears begun to stream from his
    eyes, as he said: "How did anything like that ever .start, Bill? You must know
    that of all men In the world I want to whip, It is Joe Walcott!"
    Then, as if to make his word.more clear, he reached up and
    pulled out a bridge ot four front teeth and placedd them in a little
    tin box. "I'll give you my answer to these silly rumors, Bill,"
    went on Lavigne. "You watch the fight and if you detect a single
    move on my part which you think is off color, you have my permlssion
    to turn my end of the purse over to any charity you may name. That's only part of my answer. The fight wall be my statement In full." We sat
    down in lunch with the little warrior and one could see that
    Nuughton's lip had lashed Lavigne' across the heart with the sting of
    a bullwhip.

    Mechanic's Pavilion was bulging with humanity when tho bell
    sent the Kid and the Barbadous demon lunging from their chairs
    Tom O'rourke had had a lot of worry bringing Walcott down to
    the required weight.

    On tac way across the bay from Oakland. O Rourke bundled the
    Demon in heavy sweaters and had prevailed upon the captain of the
    fcrryboat topermit Walcott to go into the engine room and shovel
    coal into tho blistering hot boiler pots In order to keep within the
    weight, for which they had posted a stiff forfeit


    Lavigne was a true fighter that nlght. He was milling with all stamina intact
    O'Rourke, guniuis that he was In the handling of Negro fighters, couldn't help
    little Joe now. He would come back to his corner after every
    round, moaning aloud with the pain which the Kid's black-jack
    fists had inficted upon the "the giant killer "
    In the soventh round, Walcott was all but done for. He hung on
    for dear l i f e atthe snarling, infuriated Kid tried to disembowel
    him with ripping fists. Once, as Joe clung lo Lavigne's neck In a
    vain effort to save himself from utter destruction, the Kid spun
    around, swinging Walcott through the air like a wrestler executing
    flying mare. Then Lavlgnc swung In under Walcott's flying
    body, caught him on his back and dumped the mortified Demon into
    the resin as the great crowd, .standing on their chairs skrieked
    and jabbered like ring-tailed monkeys.

    In all that vast gathering I doubt that there was one heart
    In Its proper berth. I know myself that I chawed my lead pencil
    In twain without even knowing that my Jaws had been working
    like the- blades of a tinsmith's clippers,

    Walcott, a great fighter, mind you, wasn't a match for the little
    Frenchman. The Kid was mowIng him down with the relentlessness
    ofa scythe. They were drenched in crimson and Walcott
    was pitifully weak and In distress.

    Lavigne brought him down with one last grant effort. The
    Demon still was crawling toward the ropes In an effort to regain
    his feet when O'rouke mercifully came to his rescue by tossing
    in a soggy sponge which exploded, not in Walcott''s but Lavigne's face

    The case of Messrs. Lavgine and Walcolt was closed forever. The
    Barbadoes Demon took to the other side of the boulevards when
    he saw the Kid coming his way

    one man on earth whom walcott feared as something supernaturall.
    U]

  15. #15
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    The Kid was doing OK for himself, making it past the unlucky 13th yr essentially undefeated. Then he lets himself get KOed in his 14th yr by a guy named Mysterious and another guy named Elbows.

    Damn, that had to hurt!

    If I may make a recommendation to Mr. Casey......Jimmy Barry.

  16. #16
    mike
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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    robert o - sometrhing mysreious with lavinge. i know a fellow whom knew mafadden -- ill try to tge tinfo --ie lavigne--but it seemedn like lavigne was both superstar and half caveman . simplyifeied , when too many fights to the finifh were around, and some for winner take all, or loser m 1'3 of every thihing at best -- this guy was at light weight- dont bet againsr.ther is one thing id like too know---that is this-- was the great kid-- an all round naturaly fighter like a sullivan-- or just more of a tough mf in a world of tough mf.

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    Mike, I have never specifically researched Kid Lavigne, but one can't help but run across information on him when one reads about other fighters of that period. My impression was that he was a 1890s version of Roberto Duran.

    I do disagree with the information on the record supplied above that states Bowen died from the beating inflicted by Lavigne. Lavigne put a whipping on Bowen, its true; but, according to the coroner's autopsy report, Bowen died as a direct result of hitting his head on the ring flooring after being knocked down. The ring had no padding and Bowen hit his head "with a thud which could have been heard a block away," according to one account.

    There is a pretty good write-up of the Bowen fight and its aftermath at the following link:

    http://www.common-place.org/vol-03/n.../haley-3.shtml
    Last edited by raylawpc; 07-19-2007 at 07:43 PM.

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    You're right about Andy Bowen, Ray - he hit his head on the canvas with great force when he fell. There are several reports on that fight that verify this.

    Tell you what, if the Kid had been a middleweight and come along a little later, I would love to have seen a scrap between him and Stanley Ketchel!

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    Re: Blood, Guts And Greatness: The Incredible Kid Lavigne

    MAN-O-MAN talk about fantasy fights.

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