Fred Winsor

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Manager & Promoter

Fred “Windy” Winsor was recognized in California for his ability as a boxing man, but he seemed to be a person who would self-destruct after getting himself into a good position. If he didn’t self-destruct, some things still went awry.

Little is known about his birth or youth. By 1915, however, during the Mexican Revolution, he could be found promoting bouts in Juarez, Mexico. Even then Winsor was faced with obstacles. Pancho Villa, the Mexican Revolution leader, ordered the promoter to stage his bouts in bullrings, and made Winsor pay a hefty price. Even under these conditions Winsor was able to bring in some well-known fighters, such as Battling Nelson and Bobby Waugh.

By early 1917 Winsor was managing future World Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey. (Winsor had been the promoter for Dempsey’s first bout with Fireman Jim Flynn at Murray, Utah.) But he was finding it tough getting bouts for Dempsey. In time, Dempsey moved on to be managed by Jack Kearns. Around this time Winsor also managed boxers Frank Barrieau of Canada and Tommy O’Brien of Los Angeles. By 1919 Winsor was handling Seattle bantamweight Bud Ridley–-future Pacific Coast Champion and contender. By 1920, Winsor, his wife Genevieve, and Ridley were living together at a boarding house in San Francisco.

While most people seemed to like Ridley, Winsor rubbed people the wrong way. Soon Ridley was barred from boxing in a certain Sacramento ring because of an alleged prank Winsor had pulled. But this ban did not last long. Then, by July 1920, Ridley was barred in his own hometown of Seattle from boxing there so long as Winsor managed him. And San Francisco Chronicle Sports Editor Harry B. Smith criticized Winsor for “over-working” Ridley. Ridley abruptly left Winsor. Left without a fighter, Winsor tried to get San Francisco lightweight Frankie Farren, but Farren refused. But Al Walker, a capable California bantamweight, answered the call. So did Oakland Jimmy Duffy and, for a brief period, Jimmy Darcy.

By 1923 Winsor was the promoter for the Madison Square Garden Club in Los Angeles, and by late 1924 the Culver City American Legion Post boxing club. He was also handling heavyweight Tony Fuente. On November 17, Fuente met Fred Fulton in the Culver City American Legion ring. Fulton "took a dive" 35 seconds after the opening bell. The crowd rioted and threw storms of cushions into the ring. It was later alleged Fulton had taken an extra $7,500 to "lie down." His manager, Jack Reddy, admitted to investigating boxing officials that Fulton had warned his friends to refrain from betting on him. Fuente, Winsor, Fulton and Reddy all were arrested eventually. Fuente dumped Winsor as his manager.

Winsor was unable to get a manager’s license in California for over a year once California’s new “Ten-Round Law” and governing state athletic commission went into effect at the beginning of 1925. He had to wait until April 1926. By 1927 he was handling Johnny McCoy when he won the California state version of the Vacant World Flyweight Title. By 1928 Winsor had Tony Randolph in his stable; then Fred (Dummy) Mahan; and, by 1930, Tiger Johnny Cline.

During the late 1930s, Winsor was promoting boxing shows in Watsonville, California. As of 1938, he also managing San Francisco Bantamweight Young Joe Roche.

What happened to Fred Winsor after the late 1930s is largely unknown. In 1944 he was managing African-American Heavyweight Billy Sullivan. There was a Fred Winsor who died in San Mateo County December 9, 1955, according to the Rootsweb website. He had been born November 14, 1892 in New York.

Source: The Interesting Career of Fred Winsor, by Chuck Johnston, IBRO Journal Issue No. 75, pp. 15-23