View Full Version : Best Bare Knuckle-19th Century boxers?


HaglerSteelChin
01-14-2010, 07:45 PM
Who are some of the best boxers that fought in that bare knuckle era or those who started bare knuckle and transitioned to the newer eras of boxing? The 10 that come to my mind in no order are:

Jack Mcaudliffe
Tommy Ryan
George Godfrey
James Corbett
Joe Choynski
Bob Fitzsimmons
Non Pareil Dempsey
John Sullivan
Kid Mccoy
Mysterious Billy Smith- some fights in 19th century

mickey malone
01-14-2010, 08:23 PM
jack broughton
jem belcher
peter corcoran
tom mollineaux
george taylor
tom paddock
tom spring
bill stevens
john heenan
james figg
tom cannon
james belcher
jack slack
tom sayers
jem ward
harry sellers
bill richmond
bill darts
charlie galagher
dick curtis
tom cribb

Here's a list that i compiled on another thread.. Some of them are from the 18th century though..

TheGreatA
01-14-2010, 08:26 PM
Outside of Sullivan I wouldn't necessarily call any of them bareknuckle boxers. Even Sullivan only had a few non-gloved bouts and preferred the use of gloves.

Jem Mace
Daniel Mendoza
Tom Cribb

were among the best bareknuckle boxers.

HaglerSteelChin
01-14-2010, 08:44 PM
I remember a fighter called the Professor Donavan-was he more bare knuckle or glove era? I guess my main question is really how many of these guys are among the top 200 of all time? Old chocalate for example was ducked by sullivan and does that make it hard to place in top 200? Because he was not given a chance to prove himself. In my top 100 i have only like half dozen of these fighters.

TheGreatA
01-14-2010, 08:49 PM
I remember a fighter called the Professor Donavan-was he more bare knuckle or glove era? I guess my main question is really how many of these guys are among the top 200 of all time? Old chocalate for example was ducked by sullivan and does that make it hard to place in top 200? Because he was not given a chance to prove himself. In my top 100 i have only like half dozen of these fighters.

Donovan was a bareknuckle boxer. I believe "Old Chocolate" George Godfrey actually turned down a chance to fight John L. Sullivan once, but Sullivan wanted no part of Peter Jackson.

It's difficult to rate them because of the lack of information about the early bareknuckle boxers. The sport was also very different with no gloves and the London Prize Ring/Broughton's rules in effect.

I do rate the men you listed in your opening post though.

HaglerSteelChin
01-14-2010, 09:00 PM
Donovan was a bareknuckle boxer. I believe "Old Chocolate" George Godfrey actually turned down a chance to fight John L. Sullivan once, but Sullivan wanted no part of Peter Jackson.

It's difficult to rate them because of the lack of information about the early bareknuckle boxers. The sport was also very different with no gloves and the London Prize Ring/Broughton's rules in effect.

I do rate the men you listed in your opening post though.

Thanks for the info on Mendoza, it seemed he was a pioneer with the use of defensive skills on the sport. In my top 10, people have issue with me putting Gene Tunney at #8 and i rate him high due to influence. I have seen his footage and how made dempsey miss alot. I like to look at more than won-loss record- i like to see how fighters advanced the sport and who they beat. Kid Mccoy and cork screw punch, and Cerefino Garcia inventor of bolo punch(although disputed), the Ali shuffle etc.

I am sure these bare knuckle guys helped advanced the sport and yes its hard to rate them without film footage and even distorted records. I guess that is why the IBHOF have them in their seperate area called "pioneers."

TheGreatA
01-14-2010, 09:09 PM
Thanks for the info on Mendoza, it seemed he was a pioneer with the use of defensive skills on the sport. In my top 10, people have issue with me putting Gene Tunney at #8 and i rate him high due to influence. I have seen his footage and how made dempsey miss alot. I like to look at more than won-loss record- i like to see how fighters advanced the sport and who they beat. Kid Mccoy and cork screw punch, and Cerefino Garcia inventor of bolo punch(although disputed), the Ali shuffle etc.

I am sure these bare knuckle guys helped advanced the sport and yes its hard to rate them without film footage and even distorted records. I guess that is why the IBHOF have them in their seperate area called "pioneers."

http://orphanfilmsymposium.blogspot.com/2008/05/pathex-95-mm-fight-picture.html

This film illustrates the difference of a late 1800's boxer such as Jim Corbett compared to a 1920's boxer like Tunney. Corbett fought like Tunney stylistically but in an entirely different era. Tunney had improved on the punching technique but Corbett surely had all the moves to survive in a tough era of boxing.

mickey malone
01-15-2010, 12:50 AM
Here's some info on Tom Cribb

Born - Hansham, Gloucestershire, England 1781
Died - London 1848
Height - 5'10"
Weight - 199lbs

came to fame aged 24 by beating George Maddox (76 rounds), Tom Blake (20 rounds) and Ikey Pigg (11 rounds)
In his next fight he was beaten by George Nicholls, a puncher from Bristol after 52 rounds..
He bounced back by beating Bill Richmond, a former Negro slave in 90 minutes at Hailsham in Sussex.. This win secured a shot at then champion Jem Belcher on Mousley Hurst on April 8th 1807.. Cribb won in 41 rounds which was timed at 35 mins, so my knowledge of how these fights were actually conducted is futile!
After this he defended successfully against George Horton (25 rds), Bob Gregson (23) and Belcher again (31)
He then had 2 brutal encounters with another American ex-slave, Tom Molineaux, winning both times in 33 & 11 rounds respectively..
After this he retired, only to make a brief comeback after 9 years of inactivity, when he astounded onlookers to KO Jack Carter in less than a minute..
This was his last fight, and he eventually bought The Union Arms public house in Panton street, Piccadilly where he became liked and respected by everyone..
Cribb was buried in Woolwich churchyard where a huge memorial was erected to him by public subscription..

TheGreatA
01-15-2010, 03:08 AM
Here's some info on Tom Cribb

Born - Hansham, Gloucestershire, England 1781
Died - London 1848
Height - 5'10"
Weight - 199lbs

came to fame aged 24 by beating George Maddox (76 rounds), Tom Blake (20 rounds) and Ikey Pigg (11 rounds)
In his next fight he was beaten by George Nicholls, a puncher from Bristol after 52 rounds..
He bounced back by beating Bill Richmond, a former Negro slave in 90 minutes at Hailsham in Sussex.. This win secured a shot at then champion Jem Belcher on Mousley Hurst on April 8th 1807.. Cribb won in 41 rounds which was timed at 35 mins, so my knowledge of how these fights were actually conducted is futile!
After this he defended successfully against George Horton (25 rds), Bob Gregson (23) and Belcher again (31)
He then had 2 brutal encounters with another American ex-slave, Tom Molineaux, winning both times in 33 & 11 rounds respectively..
After this he retired, only to make a brief comeback after 9 years of inactivity, when he astounded onlookers to KO Jack Carter in less than a minute..
This was his last fight, and he eventually bought The Union Arms public house in Panton street, Piccadilly where he became liked and respected by everyone..
Cribb was buried in Woolwich churchyard where a huge memorial was erected to him by public subscription..

Bill Richmond was also one of the bareknuckle greats and a very interesting person from what I've read. He trained Molineaux who later fought Cribb but Cribb was able to beat him after a great struggle.

Cribb was possibly the toughest fighter that ever fought. He got better as the fight got tougher.

mickey malone
01-15-2010, 04:03 AM
Bill Richmond was also one of the bareknuckle greats and a very interesting person from what I've read. He trained Molineaux who later fought Cribb but Cribb was able to beat him after a great struggle.

Cribb was possibly the toughest fighter that ever fought. He got better as the fight got tougher.
Sure, it was Richmond who brought Molineaux to Great Britain..
By all accounts, he had the better of Cribb in their 1st fight, until some trickery from one of Cribbs seconds, turned the fight his way.. I don't have the finer details on this, so perhaps you can elaborate, A ?
From what I know about Cribb, he was a beast.. 5'10" & 199lbs which during the early 1800's was absolutely huge.. Molineaux was also very heavy at 198lbs but he was only 5'8" in height and resembled Dwight Quawi in many ways.. Richmond on the other hand was a mere 5'9" and only 152lbs..
The biggest of the bare knuckle champs was Gentleman John Jackson who was 5'11" and weighed in at 202lbs..

HaglerSteelChin
03-01-2010, 08:18 PM
Outside of Sullivan I wouldn't necessarily call any of them bareknuckle boxers. Even Sullivan only had a few non-gloved bouts and preferred the use of gloves.

Jem Mace
Daniel Mendoza
Tom Cribb

were among the best bareknuckle boxers.

Since i had put only two of the three, i might as well put Mendoza to the british list and have the holy trinity of british bareknuckle guys in there.

BigStereotype
03-01-2010, 08:22 PM
How would you know? I mean, without any of the film to analyze, you're just going to be going off what people say about them. And, in my experience, going off the word of sports writers - and fans in general - is a damned mistake.

Now, I'm not trying to call you guys out or insult you or anything. I honestly wonder how you could judge these bare knuckle boxers.

HaglerSteelChin
03-01-2010, 09:22 PM
How would you know? I mean, without any of the film to analyze, you're just going to be going off what people say about them. And, in my experience, going off the word of sports writers - and fans in general - is a damned mistake.

Now, I'm not trying to call you guys out or insult you or anything. I honestly wonder how you could judge these bare knuckle boxers.


Some people dont rank many bare knuckle guys and possibly only the most recent. I think influence alone may merit their consideration. Also if a fighter is known or regarded as the best of their era than he also gets mention. Little footage of Harry greb is available. Mostly sparring and trainning footage is only out there but we know the guys he beat and seen them. Yet Greb is pretty much in all top 10 lists as we all know he beat 13 hall of famers and fought with a blind eye for the latter portion of his career.

It's a personal choice. Some people won't include a fighter unless they have seen several of their fights. But i also think good judgment must be used to compare eras. For example, Rod laver is highly regarded in Tennis for winning the Grand Slam in that sport but he likely can't compete with the modern player who is much bigger and stronger. It's the same to a degree about boxing. Sure some fighters could fight in any era but alot of them wouldn't compete in modern fighting. A small HW like Marciano likely wouldnt look like he could fight modern HW's as big as the Klitchko's but it dosent take away with what they accomplished.

BigStereotype
03-01-2010, 10:48 PM
See, but at least there's footage out there of a Greb. And I know that most modern athletes would stomp older fighters. It's just superior nutrition, training and technical skill. You can see that because you can see them on film. But a Jem Mace bareknuckle boxer you can't see. You can see what he accomplished because of records, but I still don't think that that's a good enough measuring stick to accurately judge a fighter. Think about it. Is Floyd Mayweather the greatest fighter of the generation? Based on his record he is, but I certainly don't think so. But he beat De La Hoya, Marquez, Hatton, Castillo, etc. And they beat Whitaker, Barrera, Tszyu, all them. Now, people can speculate all they want, but they won't ever know.