1905-09-29 (142lbs) Sam Langford drew 10 Jack Blackburn, Lyric Hall, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

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1905-09-29 (142lbs) Sam Langford drew 10 Jack Blackburn, Lyric Hall, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA. Referee: Mr O’Hara. Although the Allentown Morning Call gave this one at 138lbs, with Langford having a slight advantage, it was really a version of the 142lbs title that the men were trying to win. Interestingly, Jackson depended entirely on his infighting, striking few straight blows and repeatedly holding and punching after being told to break, while Langford used straight punches to good effect. It had been pre-arranged that in the event of both men still standing at the completion of ten rounds a draw would be imposed, and although Langford pounded Jackson’s left eye to a pulp he was unable bring about a finish. Thereafter, both Langford and Blackburn appear to box at heavier weights, although it is clear that the latter could make 142lbs with ease. It is also clear that the top men did not want any part of him.

Despite challenging all bar Jack Johnson, Blackburn was still unable to make any headway. However, towards the end of 1907, with the 142lbs class again in dispute, he reclaimed the title. Supported by the TS Andrews’ Annual, the claim appears to be based on his fights against Langford and Jimmy Gardner, and the fact that the former undefeated champion, Joe Gans, was naming him as the best man at the weight. Once again he found himself avoided when it came to important matches.

Unable to make his claim stick it was reported in December 1908 that Blackburn had killed a man and also shot his wife. Jailed for manslaughter and freed early in 1914, he came back to the ring that same year but was not the fighter he once was before retiring from the ring in 1923. Never leaving boxing completely he later became famous as Joe Louis’ trainer, being in the heavyweight champion’s corner for every one of his contests prior to falling ill with pneumonia early in March 1942. Louis was heartbroken when ‘Chappie’, as he called his trainer, passed away from a heart attack on 24 April 1942, aged 59.