1911-08-15 (175lbs) Sam Langford nd-w rsc 5 (10) Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, Twentieth Century AC, St Nicholas Arena, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA

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1911-08-15 (175lbs) Sam Langford nd-w rsc 5 (10) Philadelphia Jack O'Brien, Twentieth Century AC, St Nicholas Arena, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Referee: Charlie White. Although this one carried no title billing and was held at catchweights, O’Brien, who was still claiming to be the world light heavyweight champion, stated that if Langford made 168lbs his championship claim would be on the line.

Having won the opening two rounds by dint of his boxing skills it was already apparent that O’Brien (166) was going to struggle against the hard-hitting Langford (173) regardless of his cleverness. After going to the floor from a right to the head in the third, O’Brien was quickly back on his feet but before the end of the session he took a count of ‘nine’ following two heavy rights to the head. Saved by the bell at the end of the fourth, having received a terrific pounding to the body, all O’Brien had left in the fifth was his fighting spirit and it came as no surprise when a smashing left hook to the jaw saw him counted out.

By this time most of the boxing world recognised 175lbs to be the limit for the weight class so when O’Brien was well and truly licked by Langford, Boxing, Britain’s trade paper, reported that he should now be considered to be the world champion, but there is no record of him claiming the ‘title’. Even when Langford was recognised by the recently formed International Boxing Union as the world light heavyweight champion, when they first published their ratings in June 1913, there is nothing to suggest that he was in the least bit interested.

Earlier, on 22 December 1912, the newly formed New York State Athletic Commission stated that they would now be recognising a new ‘commission’ weight class for men between 160 and 175lbs. Two days after the announcement, Fireman Jim Flynn promptly laid claim to the ‘commission’ title, stating that he was through as a heavyweight and thought himself eligible to be placed at the head of the new weight class. However, Flynn was not taken seriously by the NYSAC as he had never proved he could make the weight or even wanted to.