|Real name||James Curran Barry|
|Nickname(s)||The Little Tiger|
|Weight(s)||Range 95 lb (43 kg)|
To 115 lb (52 kg)
|Height||5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)|
|Born||March 7, 1870|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||April 4, 1943 73) (aged|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Wins by KO||39|
James Curran Barry (March 7, 1870 – April 4, 1943) was an American boxer who held the world bantamweight championship from 1894 to 1899. Commonly referred to as "The Little Tiger", Barry retired undefeated with a record of 60–0–10. He was inducted into The Ring magazine Hall of Fame in 2000.
He was born in Goose Island on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois, on March 7, 1870, to Garrett and Mary Barry. He learned to box in rough schoolboy bouts, but trained for the profession in earnest by 13 when he began taking lessons at McGurn's Handball Courts in Chicago. He soon came under the tutelage of former featherweight title claimant Harry Gilmore who was impressed with his two handed power and knowledge of fundamentals. An exceptional trainer, Gilmore also had future bantamweight champion Harry Forbes as a disciple during this period. When Barry's father died in 1885, Gilmore started him on his amateur career at 15. In 1891 Barry knocked out Jack Larson, who had more experience and a weight advantage of ten pounds (4.5 kg). Not long after his win, Barry came under the management of Charles "Parson" Davies, who was hoping to mold his protege into the new bantamweight champion. Barry turned professional with Davies' assistance by 1890, and fought extensively in that year and the next, though many of his bouts were exhibitions.
In his most significant early bout, Barry knocked out the 20-year old London boxer Jack Levy in 17 rounds to win the 100-pound (45 kg) World Championship on December 5, 1893, in Roby, Indiana, though the win may not have yet been fully sanctioned by the United States. The recognized bantamweight limit at least at a later point in time, was 105 pounds (48 kg), making his win not an official bantamweight title in all record books, though it did meet the criteria for the 100-pound (45 kg) bantamweight limit used at the time.
Showing his championship form, on February 6, 1894, the blond Chicagoan faced future Irish bantamweight champion Joe McGrath at Chicago's Empire Theatre, knocking him down in less than a minute into the first round. Starting with a straight left, and a short right hook to the jaw, he put McGrath down hard in the first round. After rising unsteadily, McGrath was knocked down twice more by Barry, before time was called for the first round, with McGrath barely being able to walk to his corner. The second was tame, but near the end of the third Barry again went at McGrath, forcing him to clinch before the round ended, and a technical knockout was called when the police intervened.
Several boxing historians consider Barry's first ascent to the USA Bantamweight World championship for the 102-pound (46 kg) class to have come after his defeat of Jimmy Gorman on June 2, 1894, at the Olympic Club New Orleans, Louisiana. After five rounds, it was evident that Barry would win the contest and take the $1000 prize on route to a convincing 11th-round knockout before a large crowd. The win was made more significant as it was sanctioned both as a United States and World championship.
The following year, he cemented his claim to the world bantamweight crown (the weight limit at the time ranged from 100 to 112 pounds or 45 to 51 kg) when former bantamweight champion George Dixon moved up to the featherweight class. The bantamweight division in America at the time was sometimes referred to as "paperweight" and was not officially established. Barry's best-known fight became his 28th-round knockout of Sicilian boxer Casper Leon before a seasoned crowd of 250 on September 15, 1894, in Lemont, Illinois, for total stakes of $4,000. Leon would become Barry's greatest rival and his most frequent opponent. In the 20th round, Barry, though he had received punishment to his eyes in previous rounds, landed a strong blow to Leon's jaw, and the direction of the fight shifted. From the 21st through 28th rounds, Barry knocked Leon down repeatedly, until the 28th when a final blow to Leon's jaw caused the knockout. Barry, though he took home $800, was severely punished in the lengthy contest. According to one source, as the weigh-in was early, the men may have fought at several pounds above the weight limit.
Barry faced Casper Leon a second time on March 30, 1895, for both the USA and World 105 lb championship, and retained the title with a 14-round draw. The Chicago Tribune wrote that Barry was leading the match, when in the 14th round, after connecting with a series of blows, he landed a left which put Leon on the mat, causing four police officers to end the fight before Leon could be counted out or knocked down again.
Barry defeated Jimmy Anthony, a onetime holder of the Australian welterweight championship, on April 23, 1897, winning a 20-round bout in San Francisco. Barry clearly dominated the 12th through 17th rounds. In the 19th, Barry landed strong counters to the jaw of Anthony, who had received a series of punishing blows to his eyes in several rounds of the fight. Barry dominated the 20th, repeatedly striking Anthony's eyes and jaw, and when the round ended the referee gave the decision to Barry on points. Barry took home $1500 of the $2000 purse. The fighters fought at 115 pounds (52 kg), and though a few contemporary sources consider the fight for the bantamweight title, their weights exceeded the weight limit at the time. Barry countered Anthony's blows frequently with a straight left to the eye, and generally landed nearly twice as many blows when mixing in close quarters, dominating the infighting.
On December 6, 1897, Barry scored a 20th-round knockout with a crushing right to the jaw against English champion Walter Croot in London, giving him claim to the vacant 110-pound (50 kg) World championship. Barry had taken a lead in the scoring through the 20th round, but Croot had nearly evened the contest by the 19th when Barry landed a series of blows, taking the fight to Croot, continuing until the 20th, when he scored the knockout with a left to the head and a right to the jaw. Several accounts maintain that Barry was told in the late rounds he would not win the title without a knockout. Croot never regained consciousness and died the following day from a brain injury. Charged with manslaughter, Barry was exonerated when it was determined that Croot had died from a fractured skull sustained when his head hit the unpadded floor, made of wood. The unfortunate incident led to reform in the creation of padded canvas ring surfaces. Would not win without a knockout in Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 19, August 6, 1941</ref>
Barry was distraught over Croot's death. The Chicagoan temporarily considered retirement, but though he returned to boxing when he arrived in the United States, he did not fight with the same ferocity. Barry fought ten times after the Croot tragedy and failed to score a single knockout. On May 30, 1898, Barry fought a 20-round draw against Casper Leon in New York, retaining the World 100-pound (45 kg) Bantamweight championship. Leon fought well, but lacked the force to knock out Barry, who remained calm and cautious throughout, but also lacked a knockout punch.
Barry defeated Johnny Ritchie, a well-known bantam, in Chicago on March 26, 1898, in a six-round bout. New York's The Sun, however, wrote that the match was close and could have been called a draw, describing Barry's performance as "disappointing". Many in the crowd felt the bout should have been called a draw, but some ringside believed Barry may have had the better of the fifth and sixth rounds.
Steve Flanagan met Barry on June 3, 1898, in a close bout that resulted in a six-round draw in Philadelphia. Flanagan had claimed the 105-pound (48 kg) championship a few months before the fight. The Scranton's Tribune wrote that Flanagan may have had the better of the bout, clearly dominating the third, and landing the last solid blow in the sixth on Barry's eye. The Pittsburgh Press also wrote that Flanagan had outpointed Barry. The newspaper noted that Barry had forced the pace, and fought viciously, but that Flanagan had countered well and done damage at the close of the sixth.
Barry faced Casper Leon again for the American and World 110-pound (50 kg) bantamweight championship in the late evening of December 29, 1898, and retained the title in a 20-round draw. In a close bout, Leon may have thrown a few more blows and shown scientific skills in his defense, but Barry's blows landed with greater precision and were more telling. The early rounds showed the most intense fighting, and though Barry caught Leon particularly hard in the sixth with a left in the face and a hard blow to the head in the seventh, the fighting was close in most respects. Barry had already considered retirement and had announced it to a few in the press, though he would take another fight the following year.
In his final bout, he boxed a six-round draw with future bantamweight champion Harry Harris on September 1, 1899. Ringside observers believed that Harris had won, but that the referee called a draw to allow Barry to retire undefeated. Chicago's Inter-Ocean wrote that Harris "clearly outpointed Barry and during the last few rounds forced the fighting after a fashion that should have gained him the decision". The Chicago Tribune wrote that Barry was fortunate to receive a draw as Harris showed considerable skill in avoiding his blows.Through 1901, Barry fought the occasional exhibition in Chicago, and continued to fight the occasional bout through at least 1910.
According to Catholic Church records, Barry married Amanda Martha Claussen in Chicago on November 26, 1902.
During World War I, in 1917, Barry worked as a boxing instructor at Camp Gordon, northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. His duties included physical and bayonet training. World War I Army boxing training was led by several exceptional featherweight and lightweight champions including Benny Leonard, Packey McFarland and Johnny Kilbane.Unable to continue as an instructor due to physical limitations, he left the Army in October of 1918.
After his war service, Barry worked in Chicago's Cook County clerk's office for 25 years until he left due to poor health. He occasionally refereed bouts at local clubs, likely for extra income. He died in a Chicago sanitarium on April 5, 1943, after an illness lasting four years, that according to one source may have been tuberculosis.After services at Immaculate Conception Church, he was buried in Calvary Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Evanston.
According to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which inducted the diminutive pugilist in the Old Timer category in 2000, Barry was undefeated in 70 professional fights. He won 59 bouts, 39 by knockout, and had nine draws and two no-contests. He is one of just 15 world boxing champions to retire without a loss.
|14 Wins, 7 Draws|
|Win||Jack Larson||1891||Chicago||1 round||Won by knockout|
|Win||Barney McCall||1891||Chicago||4 rounds|
|Win||Frank Murphy||September 3, 1892||Springfield, Illinois||7 rounds||Won by KO|
|Win||Billy Murphy||February 12, 1893||Chicago||1 round||Won by KO|
|Win||Jimmy Shea||July 10, 1893||Roby, Indiana||19 rounds|
|Win||Jack Levy||December 5, 1893||Roby, Indiana||17 rounds||Won World 100 lb bantam title by KO|
|Win||Joe McGrath||February 5, 1894||Chicago||3 rounds, TKO||McGrath, future Irish champion|
|Win||Jimmy Gorman||June 2, 1894||New Orleans||11 rounds||Won USA World 102 lb Bantam title|
|Win||Casper Leon||September 15, 1894||Lamont, Illinois||28 Round KO||Won USA World 105 lb Bantam title|
|*Draw*||Casper Leon||May 30, 1895||Chicago||14 rounds||Kept USA World 105 lb Bantam title|
|Win||Jack Madden||October 21, 1895||Maspeth, NY||4 rounds, KO||Kept USA World 105 lb Bantam title|
|Win||Young Spitz||February 18, 1896||Chicago||8 rounds||Won by KO|
|Win||Harry Dally||January 10, 1897||Chicago||2 rounds||Won by KO|
|*Draw*||Sammy Kelly||July 30, 1897||New York||20 rounds|
|Win||Jack Ward||March 1, 1897||New York||20 rounds|
|Win||Jimmy Anthony||April 23, 1897||San Francisco||20 rounds||Australian champion|
|Win||Walter Croot||December 6, 1897||London||20 rounds, KO||Won Vac. World 110 lb Bantam title|
|*Draw*||Casper Leon||May 30, 1898||New York||20 rounds||Kept USA World 110 lb Bantam title|
|*Draw*||Steve Flanagan||June 3, 1898||Philadelphia||6 rounds|
|*Draw*||Casper Leon||December 29, 1898||Davenport, Iowa||20 rounds||Kept USA World 110 lb Bantam title|
|*draw*||braian Federico chariani||september 30, 1899||Chicago||6 rounds|
|- | style="background: #dae2f1"|*Draw* | Harry Harris | September 1, 1899 | Chicago | 6 rounds | Future bantam champion |}
John Henry Lewis was a hall of fame American boxer who held the World Light Heavyweight Boxing Title from 1935 to 1938. The Ring boxing magazine named Lewis the 16th greatest light heavyweight of all-time. His trainer was Larry Amadee, and his managers included Ernie Lira, Larry White, Frank Schuler, and Gus Greenlee.
Monte Attell, born in the Knob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California, United States, was an American boxer who took the vacant World Bantamweight title on June 19, 1909 by defeating the 1904 bantamweight title holder Frankie Neil. He held the title until February 22, 1910.
Terrible Terry McGovern was an American professional boxer who held the World Bantamweight and Featherweight Championships. He was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania as John Terrence McGovern. Through most of his career he was managed by Sam H. Harris, who remained a lifelong friend. Many boxing historians considered McGovern's greatest attributes his punching ability and signature charges rather than his boxing style or defensive technique. That the majority of his wins were by knockout speaks to the power of his punch.
Pete Herman was one of the all-time great bantamweight world champions. An American of Italian descent, Herman was born Peter Gulotta in New Orleans, Louisiana, and fought from 1912 until 1922. He retired with a record of 69 wins, 11 losses, 8 draws and 61 no-decisions in 149 bouts. His managers were Jerome Gargano, Doc Cutch, Sammy Goldman and Red Walsh. Nat Fleisher, Ring Magazine editor and founder, impressively rated Herman as the #2 best all time bantamweight.
John Frederic Coulon was the World Bantamweight Champion from March 6, 1910, when he wrested the crown from England's Jim Kendrick, until June 3, 1914, when he was defeated by Kid Williams in Vernon, California.
Louis ("Lou") Salica was an American boxer, who captured the National Boxing Association World Bantamweight Title twice in his career, in 1935 and 1940. His managers were Hymie Kaplan and Willie Ketchum. Some sources list a different birth date for Salica, July 26, 1913.
Harry Harris was an American boxer. He was the World Bantamweight champion from 1901–02, but boxed top-rated opponents throughout his career. Charley Rose ranked Harris as the #10 All-Time Bantamweight.
Thomas William Murphy was a boxer from New Zealand. An early World Featherweight Champion, he was the first world champion of any weightclass to come from New Zealand. In his early career, he took the New Zealand Lightweight Championship.
Charles Henry "Jack" Blackburn was an American boxer and boxing trainer. Fighting in the first half of his career as a lightweight and later a welterweight, he was known for an exceptional defense and fought many men above his weight class, including six bouts with the great Sam Langford. He fought Joe Gans three times in no-decision bouts, defeating him once according to newspaper accounts and made good showings against Harry Lewis, Philadelphia Jack O'Brien, and Harry Greb. He found most of his fame training 1937 World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis, but also had a significant role in training 1926 Lightweight Champion Sammy Mandell. He helped to train World Bantamweight Champion Bud Taylor and World Light-Heavyweight Champion John Henry Lewis as well.
Memphis Pal Moore, born Thomas Wilson Moore, was an American boxer from Memphis, who claimed the World Bantamweight Championship in 1918 defeating championship claimant Johnny Ertle in Baltimore. He was rated as the seventeenth best bantamweight of all time by boxing.com, and was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.
Philip Hickman, who fought under the name Johnny Brown, was an English Jewish bantamweight boxer of the 1920s, though he fought some as a feather and lightweight. Born in Spitalfields, London he won the National Sporting Club (NSC) British bantamweight title, British Empire bantamweight title, and European Boxing Union (EBU) bantamweight title. His professional fighting weight varied from 116 lb, i.e. flyweight to 128 lb, i.e. featherweight., though the majority of his important fights were fought as a bantam.
Johnny Ertle or Ertel was a Hungarian born American boxer. Nicknamed "Kewpie" and "Little Dynamo", he was a disputed bantamweight world boxing champion from 1915 until 1918, when he lost the title to Memphis Pal Moore. Trained and managed from 1913, when he was only sixteen, by Mike McNulty, Ertle's body punches were particularly devastating to his opponents, because of the extraordinary leverage he could apply using the extra space provided by his small stature. He was managed by Mike Collins in his later career.
Abe Goldstein was an American bantamweight boxer from New York. He defeated Joe Lynch to become World Bantamweight champion on March 21, 1924, in Madison Square Garden, and was ranked the #5 bantamweight of all time by boxing Manager Charley Rose. He worked with the famous New York trainer Ray Arcel.
Harry Forbes was an American boxer who took the World Bantamweight Title on November 11, 1901 when he defeated Danny Dougherty in a second-round knockout in Saint Louis, Missouri. He lost the title three years later, on August 13, 1903 to Frankie Neil in a second-round knockout at the Mechanics Pavilion in San Francisco, California.
Jimmy Walsh was an American boxer who claimed the World Bantamweight Championship on March 29, 1905, when he defeated Monte Attell, in a controversial six-round bout at the National Athletic Club in Philadelphia. His claim was recognized by the World Boxing Association, at the time the National Boxing Association. The fight ended in a disqualification called by the referee when Walsh sent a low right hook that landed below the belt of Attell. Most sources believed Walsh had led throughout the fight and that the blow should have been considered legal, which may be why Walsh was credited with the title by the National Boxing Association.
Jimmy Reagan was an American boxer who claimed the World Bantamweight Championship in a twelve-round bout on January 29, 1909 against Jimmy Walsh at Dreamland Rink in San Francisco, California. He lost the title only a month later in an historic twenty round bout on February 22, 1909 to Monte Attell at the Mission Street Arena in San Francisco. Reagan's primary manager was Jack Davis. During his career he fought Battling Nelson, Peanuts Sinclair, future lightweight champion Willie Ritchie, World Feather and Lightweight contender "Mexican Joe" Rivers and reigning lightweight champion Benny Leonard.
Edward M. "Eddie" Santry, was an American featherweight boxer who took the World Featherweight Championship on October 10, 1899 against English Featherweight Champion Ben Jordan in a tenth-round knockout at the Lenox Athletic Club in New York, New York.
Eddie Connolly was a Canadian born boxer who took the World Welterweight Championship in a twenty-five round points decision on June 5, 1900 against reigning champion Matty Matthews at the Seaside Athletic Club in Brooklyn, New York. Earlier in his career, he took both the Canadian Featherweight Title, and the British Empire World Lightweight Title. He was exceptional to have fought for titles in three weight divisions, and to have fought in both lightweight and welterweight divisions for World Championships. His primary and best known manager was Billy Roche, who also managed champion "Mysterious" Billy Smith. He was also managed by Abe Pollack and by Eddie Kelly during his fights in England.
Jackie Sharkey or Jack Sharkey was an Italian-born American boxer who made a claim to the World Bantamweight Title on August 15, 1919 defeating reigning champion Pete Herman in a ten-round, no-decision bout in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His claim to the title was not universally recognized at the time. Jack Sharkey, also known as Little Jackie Sharkey, should not be confused with the heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey.
Joe Burman was a British born American boxer who was briefly awarded the World bantamweight championship by the New York State Athletic Commission, when reigning champion Joe Lynch cancelled a bout with him scheduled for October 19, 1923. Burman defeated five world champions in his career, Pete Herman, Sammy Mandell, Joe Lynch, Charles Ledoux, and Johnny McCoy and was rated among the top bantamweight boxers in the world for several years. He had only three losses and was never knocked out in an exceptional career that spanned eight years, and included as many as 120 bouts.
Title last held byGeorge Dixon
| World Bantamweight Champion|
December 5, 1894 – 1897
Title next held byTerry McGovern
Title last held byCasper Leon
| World Bantamweight Champion|
May 30, 1898 – September 1, 1899
Title next held byHarry Harris
Torpedo Billy Murphy
| Oldest living world champion|
July 26, 1939 – April 4, 1943