The v2 Forum
Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

+2
88Chris05
Rowley
6 posters

Go down

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both Empty Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

Post by Rowley Wed 14 Mar 2012, 9:22 pm

There is an old saying in life that "Those whoi can do-do, those that can't-teach" In boxing terms this has long been held to mean good fighters rarely if ever make good trainers. However there is also an old saying that there is an exception that proves every rule and it is possible in the world of boxing the exception to the rule is Joe Louis' trainer Jack Blackburn, who before his days honing the skills of the Brown Bomber was a lightweight contender of some reputation.

Starting his career in Indianapolis at the turn of the 20th century Blackburn did well enough against local opposition to establish himself as one to watch, so much so that the hihgly regarded Steve Crosby was brought into town to see what, if anything the young Blackburn had, Blackburn acquitted himself well in gaining a draw with the much more epxerienced Crosby to the point where he fast outgrew the confines of Indianapolis and decamped to Philadelphia, at the time a hotbed of boxing talent. In his first fight Blackburn was to realise things were different in the big city and he found himself pitched in with the defensive genius and highly regarded Dave Holly. Despite it being a no decision bout Blackburn showed enough against the well regarded Holly for the Philly fight crowd to regard him as the real deal and after rattling off a number of wins an newspaper decisions Blackburn was regarded almost nationally as one of the best in the lightweight class.

If by the end of 1903 Jack's reputation was growing, by the end of 1903 he took part in three fights that would seal it. First current lightweight champion Joe Gans fought Jack in a no decision affair that most agreed Jack more than held his own in, although with the caveat Gans perhaps took him lightly. He then faced the aforementioned Holly again and this time had slightly the better of a newspaper decision. Third in the series was to be the first of his fights with the legendary Sam Langford, whilst the official verdict in their fight was a draw few reports suggest this was fair on Blackburn with even Sam himself acknowledging Jack had outslicked him. This would be the first of six fights the two fighters would have and neither fighter was able to claim dominance over the other with each fight being extremely close, it would be fair to say Blackburn is perhaps the only person who could claim to have fought with Sam on equal terms without having either significant advantages over him in terms of either youth or weight.

On the back of their close run fight last time round lightweight king Joe Gans was keen to settle the score but even a fighter as great as Gans was wary of Jack's ability and would only agree to an over the weight rematch were his title was not on the line, in the end the precaution was unneeded as a rarely better Gans handed out a master class to Jack in what was the first comprehensive loss of his career. Whilst losing to an all time great in Gans was no shame it was to be as close as Jack ever got to a title shot, he returned to Philly and continued as he had been before beating the local competition handily. However as tended to be the lot for talented black fighters of his day Jack soon ran out of competition willing to face him in his own class and was soon forced to mix with fighters anywhere between welter and light heavy, even holding his own with the venerable Philadelphia Jack O'Brien, such was Jack's reputation rumours even abound that middleweight great Stanley Ketchel even refused to entertain the idea of sharing a ring with Jack.

If Jack was a master inside the ring one thing he could never master was his temper outside the ring, and it was this temper that nearly spelt the end end of Jack's career when him and his partner got into an argument with another local couple and in the melee that followed Jack killed one of the couple, by pleading guilty to the charge Jack was able to bargain his sentence down to 15 years and one can only assume he behaved whilst in prison as within five years he was a free man.

Upon his release Jack did resume his career and whilst he had his moments such as taking middleweight great Harry Greb the distance it was lcear in results like being knocked out by second tier gues like Kid Wagner he was not the fighter he once had been and whilst his career continued until 1923 it is safe to say prison was the turning point in his career and he was never considered genuine contender after that point and it was not until his association with a certain Joe Louis that Jack's name would be heard at the top level of the sport. However at his best Blackburn was a fighter who proved that the old adage that great fighters do not make great trainers is not always one that rings true and that whilst he should rightly be remembered for his work with the Brown Bomber it should not be done at the expense of Blackburn the fighter.

Rowley
Admin
Admin

Posts : 22053
Join date : 2011-02-17
Age : 49
Location : I'm just a symptom of the modern decay that's gnawing at the heart of this country.

Back to top Go down

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both Empty Re: Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

Post by 88Chris05 Wed 14 Mar 2012, 9:42 pm

Great stuff, Jeff, a really fascinating article. Have to confess that while I've taken a great interest in Blackburn the trainer and occasional manager, my knowledge of Blackburn the fighter isn't much to write home about in comparison; on the back of what you've written, I think I'll definitely have to take a closer look and see what I can dig up about him.

Not a very nice fella by most accounts (although Louis did, for a long time, claim that Blackburn was his only real friend in boxing) given his short fuse and less than compassionate treatment of Walcott, who was also under his tutelage for a short while, but he could clearly fight a bit, to say the least.

Great stuff again, fella.
88Chris05
88Chris05
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 9505
Join date : 2011-02-16
Age : 34
Location : Nottingham

Back to top Go down

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both Empty Re: Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

Post by tcribb Wed 14 Mar 2012, 9:43 pm

Superb article, thanks Jeff. Would love to read the old newspaper clippings with his fights against Langford, he certainly belongs in my opinion in the top 15 possibly 10 at 135 a wonderful fighter and the maker of Joe Louis, what a guy.

The chemistry that he and Joe Louis was quite unique. They called each other`Chappie`. Word has it that when they first met, they were talking about Blackburn training Louis. The management team wanted someone strong, who could command Louis`s respect even as Louis grew in stature. Blackburn(so its said) always carried a straight razor in his back pocket. Upon meeting Louis, he pullled the blade from his pocket and laid it in the palm of his hand. All this to let Louis know that Blackburn was boss.

Thanks again mate.
tcribb
tcribb

Posts : 337
Join date : 2011-09-20
Age : 52

Back to top Go down

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both Empty Re: Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

Post by superflyweight Thu 15 Mar 2012, 1:02 pm

In the words of Shakin Stevens, "lovely stuff".

superflyweight
Superfly
Superfly

Posts : 8187
Join date : 2011-01-26

Back to top Go down

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both Empty Re: Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

Post by John Bloody Wayne Thu 15 Mar 2012, 5:06 pm

Great article, few can claim a better variety of opposition than that! Gans, Langford, Greb each have a top ten P4P claim.

John Bloody Wayne

Posts : 4460
Join date : 2011-01-27
Location : behind you

Back to top Go down

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both Empty Re: Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

Post by The Galveston Giant Thu 15 Mar 2012, 5:37 pm

I admire Blackburn as much if not more as a fighter than i do as a trainer.
The Galveston Giant
The Galveston Giant

Posts : 5333
Join date : 2011-02-23
Age : 38
Location : Scotland

Back to top Go down

Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both Empty Re: Jack Blackburn - Jack of All Trades, master of both

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum