Alias: Sidney Walker
Birth Name: Sidney Walker
Nationality: US American
Birthplace: Augusta, GA
Hometown: Augusta, GA
Age at Death: 78
Height: 5' 6
Sidney Walker, better known as Beau Jack, (April 1 1921 – February 9 2000), was an American lightweight boxer, he was a world champion twice. One of the most popular fighters during the war years, he headlined at Madison Square Garden on 21 occasions, a record that still stands.
He was born in Augusta, Georgia and was raised by his maternal grandmother, who gave him the nickname "Beau Jack", following the death of his mother. From an early age Jack worked as a shoe-shine boy in Augusta, when he was 15 he looked to supplement his income by participating in the brutal battles royal. These fights featured six black men fighting blindfolded until one remained, these fights were funded by rich white men for their own entertainment, the winner received a relatively meagre purse. Despite his small stature Jack was often victorious.
Following his first battle royal at the Augusta National Golf Club Jack became a caddie at the club. He quickly befriended some of the club's members, including the golfing legend Bobby Jones, who helped fund his boxing training. Boxing career
Jack turned professional in 1940, he began his career fighting in Massachusetts where he quickly established an impressive record of 27-4-2. It was also during these early fights that Jack earned his reputation for being a relentless and powerful fighter, two traits which endeared him to audiences.
To further his career Jack moved to New York in August 1941, where he continued to impress. By November 1942 Jack found himself in a fight against Allie Stolz to decide who would challenge for the New York version of the world title. Going into the fight Stolz was the clear favourite, he was 3-1 to win, however Jack pulled off a massive shock by knocking out Stolz in the seventh round. In the title fight, against Tippy Larkin, jack pulled off a similar surprise by knocking out the champion in the third round.
Jack only held the title for six months before dropping it to fellow hall-of-famer Bob Montgomery on an unanimous points decision. Jack did go on to regain the title from Montgomery, before losing it to him once again in March 1944.
The most famous fight of Jack's career was his fourth battle with Montgomery onAugust 4 1944, the so-called "War Bonds Fight" for which tickets were only available to those who purchased war bonds. Although Montgomery's title was not on the line, the gate was a record $36m with 15,822 war bonds being sold. Many people who purchased bonds left their tickets at the box office for US servicemen, indeed Montgomery and Jack, who were both serving as privates in the US army, refused to take purses for the fight. Jack took the fight on points after 10 rounds, however the highlight of the evening was when the lights dimmed and a spotlight picked out Joe Louis, who was standing in the front row, to the reception of a standing ovation.
Jack would not challenge for the title again until July 12 1948 when he fought another hall-of-famer: Ike Williams. This challenge proved to be unsuccessful as Jack was knocked out in the sixth round. This defeat marked the start of a rivalry between the pair who would go on to fight on three more occasions. However, with Jack's skills clearly waning, Williams managed to take the first match by a split decision, the second match was drawn, and Williams won the third as Jack was unable to answer the bell for the ninth round. This third fight, on August 12 1958, also marked the end of Jack's career.
Life after boxing
Immediately after his career Jack operated a drive-in barbecue stand, ran a small farm, and refereed wrestling matches. However, when his earnings ran out he returned to shining shoes at a hotel in Miami, Florida. Jack also campaigned heavily for a pension scheme for boxers, he felt that no fighter should be reduced to the impoverished fate he was. He also trained fighters at Miami's infamous Fifth Street Gym.
In his later years Jack suffered from pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome (which also affected Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis), complications from which ultimately killed him.
Beau Jack was the 1944 Ring Magazine fighter of the year and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
*Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
Not since the days of Battling Siki, that wild Senegalese who was light heavyweight champion 20 yrs ago has there been anyone in any boxing division Who completely captivated the crowd with his hell-for-leather primitive pummeling as did Beau Jack at Madison Square Garden. Battling Siki was born in the wilds of Africa's Senegal, where missionaries called him "Louis Fall." Beau Jack was born at Augusta, Ga.
He never knew his father. He has faint recollection of his mother. His grandmother first called him Beau Jack and a truant officer insists that his name is Sidney Walker. Maybe so. But the boxing world Will remember the bull-shouldered Negro from Georgia as Beau Jack, if for no other reason than his upset victory over highly touted Allie Stoltz of Newark, N. J.
Stoltz Was Choice
Stoltz was the No. 1 lightweight contender. He had not been beaten since the summer of 1941.He went into the ring a 3-1 favorite because he was a master boxer. But, as Jack Dempsey once said, "it doesn't matter what you know in the fight business ,it's largely a question of where you came from, and how."
Dempsey, who came up the hard way, claims that is the only route in 99 out of 100cases, that a fighter can batter on to greatness. The Manassa Mauler's philosophy gained robust support when Beau Jack won that technical knockout over Stoltz in the seventh round.
A Savage Fighter
Beau Jack is a savage fighter. He is such a menacing bundle of wiry muscle and brown skin that New Yorkers and those who saw him win those battles royal in Augusta decided that he was. Worth bringing to New York - up to the big time.
His savagery and effectiveness in those Georgia battles royal, in which he was the last of six or seven Negroes left in the ring, led to formation of a "syndicate" of sportsmen for the sole purpose of bringing him to New York. That syndicate included many of the country's most prominent sportsmen.
Hence, this muscular Negro, who can neither read nor write and who is given an allowance of $5 a week. Came to be called the "Stork Club battler."
Many of the smart-money boys along 49th street figured that Beau Jack was made to order for their betting. After he weighed in at the unexpectedly low weight of 132 , the odds lengthened to 18-5 in Stoltz' s favor.
Savage But Great
But Beau Jack, his body hardened By toil since his orphan days, treated the fans to a night of savage and primitive lambasting. He threw punches from all angles as persistently as did the great. Henry Armstrong in his hey-day.
He missed a lot of them, but he kept coming in swinging as Stoltz melted before him. He could have kept up this terrific pace for 15 rounds, although the fight was scheduled, only for 10, because he is an innocent savage whose body came up the hard way, as Jack Dempsey says it must, to be a great fighter.
18 December 1942 Beau Jack v Tippy Larkin
Former Bootblack Becomes Lightweight Boxing Champ
Georgia Battler Fells Tippy Larkin
In First Round and Sends Him Down
For Full Count in the Third Frame
NEW YORK Beau Jack, a primitive, brown-skinned basher from Georgia, smashed stream-lined Tippy Larkin on the chin with a wild right uppercut last night at Madison Square Garden to win a knockout victory In the third round and partial recognition as lightweight champion of the world.
This brown-lightning blow that sent Larkin to the canvas before 18,817 fans made the ex-bootblack of Augusta,Ga., king of the 135-pounders In the eyes of the New York and New Jersey boxing Commissions, giving him the title vacated recently by Sammy Angott of Washington,Pa., who retired because of bad hands.
Floored in first Minute
This bout, which was scheduled for 15 round! and which attracted a respectable gate of $58,468,ended more quickly than was expected, although the ultimate outcome was in little doubt after Beau Jack floored Larkin for a one count in the first minute of the first round.
Beau Jack, who was born Sidney Walker 22 years ago, upheld the discernment of these sportsmen who lifted him from deep- South battle royals to a royal battle that made him the third Negro to wear the lightweight crown the bonnet that once adorned the great Joe Cans and Henry Armstrong.
The Georgia Negro, who had gone into the ring favored at 11 to 5 licked an excellent lightweight last night Larkin, the sharp shooting "gunner" of Garfield, N. J., was sharp as a razor and using every tactic that seven years of professional battling had taught him. Moreover, Larkin , entirely unimpressed by Beau Jack's reputation, blazed away, again and again, with his own explosive right hand, trying to knock Beau Jack Into never-never-land.
Despite the hurricane of blows that swirled about him, tall brown haired Larkin smashed Beau Jack in the face 50 or 60 times with punches that had knocked out 41 of Tippy's previous 94 opponents. But nothing happened. Beau Jack ,like a berserk Henry Armstrong , marched forward in brown windmill fashion. Larkin's hardest blows bounced off him like rain drops in this brief but electrifying battle.
The first round was less than a minute old when a left hook dumped Larkin to the canvas.
Tippy was up immediately, not badly hurt.but a few seconds later a right hook to the head shook him to his toes.Larkin fought back desperately and during the last half of the opening round landed more and harder punches than he was receiving.
The second round featured a furious exchange with Beau Jack forcing 25 year old Larkin about the ring, shaking off Tippy’s Sunday punches and landing more than he received. They mixed furiously in the third session until Beau Jack brought an uppercut from the canvas and almost lifted Larkin off his feet.Larkin , as if struck by a bullet, wilted to the canvas and lay un conscious on his back as referee Young Otto waved the to count at 1:19 of the round. He was carried, not dragged,to the corner in this third ko of his career.
Beau Jack, who received about $15,000 for his efforts said in the dressing room “ I’ll be a fighting champion because I love to fight and don’t know anything else”
Beau Jack Rules
Young Boxer To Get Stiff Test In Scrap With Zivic
Lightweight Champion of New York State Will Meet Tomorrow Night Former welterweight King.
4 February 1943
NEW YORK To this day In St. Augustine, Fla., they’ll guide you to the fountain of youth for which Ponce De Leon searched but never did much about. And down through the years in athletics there has been a constant search, not for a restoration of youth, but for a substitute for youth.
We come upon .a milestone in this search for a substitute for youth at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night when FritzieZivic of Pittsburgh, a pug-nosed lad who admits to 29 years, attempts to lick Beau Jack,, youthful Negro of Augusta, Ga., who is recognized as lightweight champion in New York State. Beau Jack is only 21.
Won Title From Armstrong
Zivic, one of the smartest lads ever to toss leather, is a former welterweight champion. Button nosed Fritzie won his title from probably the greatest "smaller" Negro fighter in ring history. On the night of Oct 4, 1940,Zivic surprised the "boxing world by wresting the welter crown from Henry Armstrong in Madison Square Garden.
Zivic won the title on a decision, but he proved that this decision was :no mistake when he defended the title against Armstrong on Jan. 17, 1941, and stopped Hammering Henry in the 12th round.
The experts accentuated the smartness of Zivic's performances in both bouts, but they did not dwell upon the fact that Armstrong, the little "perpetual motion man" was older than Zivic and was virtually burned out because of constant campaigning.
Regardless of what has happened to Zivic since then , his loss of the title to 3-1 underdog, Red Cochrane etc., the legend of Zivic'sringcraft persists. He is considered generally the most knowing fighter in the "smaller" divisions, among those below the middleweight group. Some say his sagacity equals that of Billy Conn,who comes from the same home town of Pittsburgh and whose cleverness almost lifted the heavyweight crown from Joe Louis.
Zivic Knows Many Tricks
Zivic, equipped with a fast-breaking mind and harvest bag of ring tricks second to none and possessed of certain important physical advantages, will try to prove that his experience in the rings of the nation can be substituted for Beau Jack's youth.
And this is the perfect case in point because 21-year-old Beau Jack, the former shoeshine boy, makes no claims to smartness in or out of the ring. For example a hired tutor has instructed Beau Jack in his A, B, C's in the past few months, and he has progressed to point where he now can sign an autograph. His mental contact with the world is far different from that of Fritzie, the Pittsburgh business man, who does his own promoting in the Smoky City and who is worth about $350,000.
Zivic,who started fighting about 12 years ago, tackles the young Georgia, Negro, with the physical advantages of about 8 pounds in weight about 145 to Jack's 136, and stretches in height and reach. But Zivic is an old man of the ring.
Beau Jack has the youth, and the stamina and the dynamic co-ordination that goes with it Both are good punchers. Which is the harder we do not know. Zivic throws his punches straight as arrows; Beau Jack loops them. Unquestionably, Zivic is the smartest -fighter Beau Jack ever met. Their tilt at the Garden tomorrow night should prove definitely whether there is a substitute for youth in fighting. It should show whether an old man of the ring can spot his younger opponent eight pertinent years and beat him