was the first African-American to become a world middleweight champion. Born in Georgia, Flowers began fighting in 1918, when he was working in a Philadelphia shipbuilding plant. He started his professional boxing career at the age of 23, much later than most who plan to reach the top. A southpaw, Flowers was sometimes called a "left-handed Harry Greb," because of the way he hit opponents with the side of his fist. Flowers was a deeply religious man who recited a passage from Psalm 144 before every bout.
Flowers won his first 25 fights before experiencing a knockout at the hands of Panama Joe Gans. In 1922 and 1923, Flowers racked up several wins, interrupted by knockout losses to Kid Norfolk, Sam Langford, and the Jamaica Kid. In 1924, The Ring magazine rated Flowers the top contender for champion Harry Greb's middleweight title. Flowers earned a title shot after losing a controversial decision to light heavyweight Mike McTigue. The judges for this special holiday-time bout, held December 23 in New York, were Bernard Gimbel, the department store magnate, and Peter J. Brady, a banker. These unqualified judges gave the decision to McTigue, although nearly all expert observers thought the fight belonged to Flowers.
In February of 1926, Flowers met Greb for the title in Madison Square Garden in front of a crowd of 16,311. Flowers got off to a good start and staggered Greb in the first round. Greb cut Flowers in the second and the fourth. As the fight went on, the battle degenerated into a wrestling match with considerable holding, gouging, and low blows. Flowers won a unanimous decision to capture the title. He also won an August rematch with Greb. Just four months later, Flowers lost his title to Mickey Walker in Chicago, even though Flowers had dominated the fight. The judges' questionable decision was investigated by the Illinois State Athletic Commission, but Walker still held the title.
Flowers tried for most of the next year to obtain a rematch with Walker. Still a top contender, he twice fought to a draw with Hall of Famer MaxieRosenbloom. In November of 1927, Flowers was hospitalized for an operation to remove scar tissue from around his eyes. He died as a result of the procedure, which was similar to the surgery that had claimed the life of Harry Greb the previous year.
2nd December 1926
Tiger Flowers Has Ambitions
Georgia Deacon To Seek Delaney Crown If He beats Walker
Tiger Flowers, middleweight champion of the world will go after the light heavyweight title held by Jack Delaney , providing Flowers is successful in his middleweight clash with Mickey Walker at the Coliseum here tomorrow night.
Such was the statement today of Flowers ambitious manager who believes a victory over Walker will have eliminated the last Outstanding middleweight and that the Georgia Deacon will then be ready to seek new laurels in a heavier division.
Although Delaney has scored two victories over Flowers, Miller declared he is not convinced that Jack is the better man.
Tiger Claims Foul
The second match between Flowers and Delaney should have been awarded to Tiger on a foul. Flowers was hit while on the floor and weakened to such an extent that he became an easy mark for the hard-hitting Delaney.
The Flowers-Walker affair tomorrow night is arousing more interest than any previous bout staged here since the rebirth of legalized boxing in Illinois. The advance sale of tickets, approximating $50,000, augurs a complete sellout.
Both in Excellent Trim.
Both champion and challenger have completed hard training and are reported in top condition. They will do just enough work today to keep on edge. Flowers had to train hard to make the 160-pound limit. He is confident he will not weigh over that when he steps On the scales tomorrow afternoon. Walker will weigh in around 156 pounds. Following his fight with Walker, Flowers will leave for California where he is scheduled to meet Leo Lomski and Bert Colima, coast light heavyweights, in two matches in January.
2nd December 1926
Kearns meal ticket at Stake
Jack’s last Hope Is Foe Mickey to Come Through
In mid Victorian fiction, it was the last chip flung into the pot That changed everything, including the proprietor’s very best bank notes but we do not deal with the late 80’s but with modern Chicago Where men are marksmen.
And so it may be that the latest bid of Jack Kearns and Mickey Walker for the fame they once knew is fated to be their last. There is an old gambling axiom that you never win when you need it.
Walker, said to have thrown off some of his premature -- age, will meet Tiger Flowers, the colored gentleman from Georgia, at the Chicago coliseum tomorrow night in a bout for the middleweight championship and, offhand, the writer would, venture that Kearns needs this one more than the average man needs a windpipe. A manager without anything: In particular to manage is not far from obscurity.
Lost His Meal Tickets.
There is a lesson in human fallibility somewhere in this proposition. Two years ago Kearns had everything- including: the world's heavyweight champion and one of the most popular boxers the welterweight championship has known. A turn of the wheel and all was gone.
Dempsey married, turned on his superior heel and left Kearns standing with his hat in his hand. Walker tried to win the middleweight
title from Harry Greb, took a beating and then survived the Dave Shade issue only because the judges pulled one out of the hat. Early last summer, he blew the welterweight title to PeteLatzo and, in trying a come-back, was stopped by Joe Dundee.
Kearns, now, only has a shouting privilege with Dempsey and an ex champion who couldn't win. It was a question which was of less value to him.
Kearns Strong on Gab.
However, Walker was young and his dissipations were not serious, except for a piping rock exterior that Included a comedian's vest. There was still a chance for the young man to see the error of his ways and perhaps Kearns has made the most of It.
Anyhow, the writer will say this for him: Few managers, past or present, could have jockeyed an ex champion into a title match in another class within six months of his official decapitation, as Kearns has done with Walker. Say what you will, Jack Kearns can talk his way in anywhere and out again if he doesn't like it.
Just how much he may have done in reclaiming some of Walker's lost ability will be answered tomorrow night. Mickey got the match by smacking Shuffle Callahan down, which Is being done by our best people, and men whose judgment is above reproach have informed me that he stands an excellent chance of winning from Flowers. That may or may not be.
Flowers is neither the best nor the worst champion who ever held the middleweight title. He is hard to beat and probably is in better condition than he was last year. If Walker is right, if will be a great fight. If he isn't, it will be nothing of the kind.
20 August 1926
Flowers, Atlanta Negro, remains middleweight boxing champion of the world after a sensational 15-round Struggle with the man from whom he took the crown, Harry Greb of Pittsburgh, Flowers made good his defense In Madison Square Garden Thursday night before 15000 but did receive the unanimous vote of the officials. Referee Jimmy Crowley favouredGreb.
In far better condition than the night he lost the championship last February in the same ring, Greb was credited by newspapermen with capturing six of the 15 rounds while eight went to Flowers and one was even.. A smashing offensive which had the Negro in trouble in the last two rounds probably drew, the vote of the referee.
Flowers carried the attack to his opponent from the start, but Greb countered with stiff blows to the head and several times rushed the champion to the ropes. Both went to the floor during the fight after wrestling about.
Cut were opened over Greb's eyes his body was a target for the champion's straight shots. The challenger's last minute rush as the old "windmill" attack without the cutting drive it was wont to carry.
Flowers carried the attack to Greb for the most part and pounded the challenger severely about the body while also shooting punches to the head that opened cuts over both of Harry's eyes Greb. on the other hand, directed his fire chiefly to head, landing a straight right that brought Flowers up short.
Both wrestled in the cliches while Greb frequently warned for resorting to unfair tactics at close quarters, holding and stcking his thumb in the champions eyes. Flowers seemed ready to met the veteran at the latter's own rough and tumble game.
Most of the holds known to wrestling were used in the bout and each fighter hit the floor.
ROUND BY ROUND
Greb was the first to land leaping in with a left to the body but taking a counter to the jaw. Greb rushed Flowers along the ropes and they mixed at a fast pace. Greb connected with a hard smack to the head. Harry rushed the champion to the ropes and the crowd was In an uproar. At close quarters Flowers pounded Greb's body. They exchanged lefts to the stomach and Flowers connected with a vicious left hook to the ribs. The Tiger was get back on his heels by two lefts to the jaw and they were In a wild mix-up at the bell.
Greb jumped in with a, left to the body. They clinched and slugged away with both fists. Both were wild with their rights but the Tiger connected with a left hook to the body that sent Greb to the ropes. Flowers ducked a vicious swing but took a glancing left to the Jaw. Greb connected with a right to the chin and wrestled the champion to his corner. An uppercut opened a cut over Greb s Left eye. Greb was pounding the champion s body at the bell.
Flowers met Greb coming out of his corner and landed both fists to the ody. The referee struggled to tear them apart from a clinch in which champion pummeled Greb severely The Tiger hooked his left toGreb's jaw and followed a smashing left to the ribs. The challenger was backing away from the negro's furious attack. Flowers turned completely around after taking a right on the nose. Greb connected with a wild right that glanced off the champion's chin and danced. away from the Tigers counter rush just before the bell.
Greb shot a straight right to the jaw but took four wallops to the head in return They mixed away at close quarters with the champion out- roughing the challenger at his own game. Flowers beat a tattoo on Grebs ribs Harry sparred and danced away the Tiger's attack, occasionally leaping into swing- for the jaw. He placed Flowers with two straight rights to the head, one of which started a flow blood from the champion's mouth They were pummeling away when the gong sounded.
Greb complained of holding by the champion but the Tiger countered with a request for Harry to come in and fight. Greb took a right to the chin and a two fisted pounding in the stomach as they rushed together Flowers complained that Greb stuck his finger in his eye Greb missed a straight right and Flowers blocked a left. Flowers crashed a smacking left hook to Greb's"" stomach. He repeated the punch up against the ropes. Just before the bell the champion took left hook to the head
As they were wrestling away from a clinch Flowers stumbled and nearly fell, the ropes saving him from hitting the canvas. Greb followed up with a furious attack, shooting his right to the champion's head and body with smashing effect. The Tiger- mixed willingly and battered the challengers body The referee warned Greb for unfair tactics in a clinch. The challenger had opened a cut over the Tiger's nose. Flowers clipped Harry with two wallops to the head just before the bell.
They started off at a furious pace, both slugging away from the tap of the bell Greb rocked the Tiger with a right swing to the head but took several stiff punches to the jaw in return Harry's straight right was finding its mark more frequently and closing up the Tiger's rushes. They flung both fists at each other along the ropes but did little damage. Grebmised a right just before the bell and then complained to the referee that the champion was holding
Flowers fought his way out of a clinch but sat down with a thud as he landing a left to Greb's chin. The champion bounded right up again before Greb could counter. Flowers lead his left to the ribs and drove Gieb back to the ropes. The champ on took two straight rights to the head without yielding ground. Flowers took half a dozen blows on his arms and elbows but Greb connected with a right to the chin before the bell. The challenger plunged after the Tiger to continue the attack and had to be chased to his corner by the referee
They flailed away in a hot mix-up, Exchanging stiff body blows. Greb rolled and ducked out of the Tiger's range after a clinch. Both were shooting their punches from all angles, but most of them failed to connect. They exchanged smacking lefts to the chin, then locked in a clinch. They were punching away at close quarters when the bell sounded.
Flowers hooked his left to the stomach and then danced out of range Greb led In with both fists, but the champion returned to his attack with a stinging left to the head. The champion landed
both fists heavily to the body but took an uppercut to the Jaw in return. Flowers backed Greb in a corner and punched away with both fists. Greb caught the champlon with backhand wallop to this head.
The bell broke up a wild exchange.
Greb took a smashing left to the face as he rushed in but countered with a hard right to the head. Both were swinging freely, but the Tiger was finding his body attack very effective forcing Greb to give ground Flowers punched both hands to the head and then blocked Greb's counter swing. Greb was sparring at long range while backing away from the Tiger's drive when the bell rang.
Greb led with a right to the body and was then wrestled to the floor in a clinch. He was on his feet with out a count. The Tiger battered Harry's ribs viciously as they came together. Greb was wild, but mixed willingly. Greb landed an overhand right to the head but took ahard left to the body in return. Greb was tiring and clinched repeatedly. Just before the bell a left hook opened a cut over Greb's right eye.
The referee had difficulty prying them apart from clinches. With cuts over both eyes, Greb appeared In bad shape. Flowers stumbled and went to his knees as he was pushed from a clinch. The Tiger caught Greb on the chin twice with vicious chops Greb swung both fists to the head but missed, and took a pounding from Flowers at close range. A right to the head staggered Greb Just before the bell rang.
Greb took a, right to the check and countered with a left uppercut to the chin. Harry rushed in and connected to the head and body with telling blows. The challenger rushed the champion to the ropes, but absorbed a hard right to the Jaw. Greb landed both hands to the 'head and then cllnehed. Greb was forcing the fight and driving the Tiger back, they were In a wild mix-up at the bell.
Greb's handlers worked over him furiously before the gong. They came together In a clinch and Greb drove both hands to the body, wrestling the champion off his feet up against the ropes. The Tiger caught himself before going down and than they punched away with both fists while the crowd was in an uproar. Flowers ducked a right and nailed Greb on the head with a left hook. Both bobbed around looking for an opening. Flowers nearly fell out of the ring as They wrestled along-the ropes. Flowers hooked his left to the Jaw and danced out of range. They crashed together, both landing to the body They were In a furious exchange and had to be pried apart when the bell rang. The Tiger, did a handspring before going to his corner.