Tiger Jack Fox

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Tiger Jack Fox
Statistics
Real nameJohn Linwood Fox
Weight(s) Light heavyweight
Height5 ft 11+12 in (1.82 m)
Reach75 in (191 cm)
Nationality Flag of the United States.svg American
Born(1907-04-02)April 2, 1907
DiedApril 6, 1954(1954-04-06) (aged 47)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights179
Wins139
Wins by KO89
Losses23
Draws12
No contests5

John "Tiger" Linwood Fox (April 2, 1907 April 6, 1954), or Tiger Jack Fox as he was better known, was a colorful, hard punching, American light heavyweight boxer. Fox fought from 1928 to 1950. [1] [2] [3]

Fox claimed he got his start in boxing when he was picked up, while hitchhiking in Georgia, by boxer Young Stribling. At that time, Stribling was travelling from town to town and engaging in boxing matches, basically meeting all comers. Stribling offered Fox a job as a sparring partner. Although he had no experience, Fox, out of work and hungry, accepted the offer.

His first sparring session with Stribling almost ended his boxing career. Stribling toyed with him, and eventually knocked him senseless with a right hand to the jaw. Fox claimed he didn't sleep that night, re-living the events of the day, and studying how to avoid a similar fate the next day. Fox concluded that if he stepped forward when Stribling threw his right, he would be inside the punch and in position to hit Stribling with his left.

The next day, the two sparred again. This time when Stribling threw his right, Fox was waiting and executed his manoeuvre to perfection. Surprised by Fox's left hook, Stribling's knees buckled. Fox then jumped in and hit him with another left hook, which sent Stribling to the canvas. Although he was fired on the spot, Fox thought that if he could knock Stribling down, he could hold his own with anyone.

Fox then made his way to Indianopolis, where he hung around a boxing gym until he was offered a fight. Fox accepted and was on his way. He relocated in Terre Haute, Indiana to train under bantamweight champion Bud Taylor and became the "Indiana colored heavyweight champion." He fought frequently for the next nine years without losing a bout. His first loss was by a split decision to light heavyweight champion Maxie Rosenbloom. Fox claimed he engaged in over 300 fights, but many were not recorded. He claimed that he never fought a preliminary bout in his career, just main events.

Fox was defeated by Melio Bettina in his only crack at the light heavyweight championship, NYSAC version. In this elimination bout to name a champion, Fox was stopped in the 9th round. Two months before the fight he was stabbed near the heart in a Harlem hotel in a dispute over a woman.

Fox also fought and knocked out in two rounds former light-heavyweight champion Bob Olin, and he knocked out Lou Brouillard in seven. He was kayoed in three rounds by future lightheavyweight champion John Henry Lewis.

Two of Fox's more surprising victories came against future heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott. On May 12, 1937, Fox knocked out Walcott in the 8th round. In the following year Fox again defeated Walcott, this time by a ten-round decision.

Fox is second on the all-time list for first-round knockouts, and was named to the Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

His peak was reached and quickly began the portion of his career where his opponents were less talented and he made less and less money. He finished his boxing career fighting in and around the Pacific Northwest, ultimately retiring in Spokane. Before he retired he even tried professional wrestling, to capitalize on his famous name. He had become a freak show, a circus clown used to entertain and amuse. No longer a serious athlete.

The day which began at the cemetery in bright sunshine, had become short and dark. Shadows crept across the pasture of marble. Nestled within the warmth and serenity of faith in eternity, lies a forgotten hero. In his lifetime, he was used, stolen from, taken advantage of, humiliated and abused for his racial being.

Jack Fox's American Dream was a one way street. The assent was celebrated, the dessent, ignored. Tiger Jack Fox, saw the bright lights of Broadway and the cheers of thousands. John Linwood Fox however, died on the sidewalk from a heart attack. He was only 47 years old but looked like an old man.

His end came on a dirty street, outside an old movie theater in Spokane where he had just watched a forgettable afternoon triple feature. When he collapsed, the forgotten cheers of adoring fans were absent. His body layed askew on the cold concrete and was stared at by passerbys of his hometown. No one recognized him.

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References

  1. Kevin Smith (1 October 2002). Boston's Boxing Heritage: Prizefighting from 1882 to 1955. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 117–. ISBN   978-0-7385-1136-8.
  2. James Curl (7 January 2013). Jersey Joe Walcott: A Boxing Biography. McFarland. pp. 33–. ISBN   978-0-7864-8963-3.
  3. Nat Fleischer; Sam Andre; Don Rafael (2001). An Illustrated History of Boxing. Kensington Publishing Corporation. pp. 199–. ISBN   978-0-8065-2201-2.