Henry Armstrong

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Armstrong.Henry.2.jpg
Class of 1990
Modern Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Henry Armstrong
Alias: Homicide Hank
Birth Name: Henry Jackson
Born: 1909-12-12
Birthplace: Columbus, Mississippi, USA
Died: 1988-10-23 (Age:78)
Hometown: Los Angeles, California, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 5½″   /   166cm
Reach: 67″   /   170cm
Boxing Record: click

Managers: Wirt Ross (1932-36), Eddie Meade (1936-41), George Moore (1942-45)
Trainers: Pee Wee Beale & Al Silvani
Henry Armstrong Gallery

Henry Armstrong, born Henry Jackson, decided to become a boxer after reading in a St. Louis newspaper that Kid Chocolate had beaten Al Singer at the Polo Grounds in New York and was paid a purse of $75,000.

At the "colored" YMCA on Pine Street in St. Louis, he met an older fighter named Harry Armstrong, who became his friend, mentor, and trainer.

After three amateur fights, he turned professional in 1931 under the name "Melody Jackson." He made $35 for his pro debut and was knocked out in three rounds. After winning his second pro fight by decision, he moved to Los Angeles with Harry Armstrong.

Once in Los Angeles, he decided to return to the amateur ranks. However, since he already had two professional fights under the name Jackson, he told people that he was Harry's little brother, Henry Armstrong.

Armstrong competed in the 1932 Olympic trials. After losing at the trials, he returned to the professional ranks.

In 1936, entertainer Al Jolson and actor George Raft underwrote the purchase of Armstrong's managerial contract for Eddie Mead.

Armstrong knocked out Petey Sarron in six rounds in 1937 to win the World Featherweight Championship.

Armstrong was named The Ring Fighter of the Year in 1937.

In 1938, Armstrong defeated Barney Ross by a fifteen-round unanimous decision to win the World Welterweight Championship and then defeated Lou Ambers by a fifteen-round split decision to win the World Lightweight Championship.

Armstrong was the only boxer to hold world titles in three different weight divisions simultaneously, and all three titles were undisputed championships. After Armstrong turned the trick in 1938, no boxer was ever again allowed to be a champion in more than one weight division simultaneously.

In 1939, Armstrong lost the World Lightweight Championship in a rematch with Ambers by a fifteen-round unanimous decision. Referee Arthur Donovan took five rounds away from Armstrong for low blows.

Armstrong starred in the feature film Keep Punching in 1939. He played a boxer named Henry "Little Dynamite" Jackson.

In 1940, Armstrong challenged Ceferino Garcia for a portion of the World Middleweight Championship. Garcia was recognized as champion only by New York and California. Because the fight was scheduled for just ten rounds, the fight was recognized as a title fight only by California. Garcia retained the title with a draw, but most at ringside felt that Armstrong had won. A victory would have given Armstrong a fourth divisional title at a time when there were only eight weight divisions.

Armstrong defended the World Welterweight Championship a division record 19 times.

Armstrong was 27-0 with 26 knockouts in 1937, 14-0 with 10 knockouts in 1938, and 59-1-1 with 51 knockouts from December 1936 to October 1940.

Armstrong defeated sixteen world champions.

After he quit boxing, he became an ordained minister and devoted himself to underprivileged children.

Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

Ranked 2nd on The Ring's 2002 list of The 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years.

In his 2006 book Boxing's Greatest Fighters, historian Bert Sugar ranked Armstrong as the second greatest fighter of all-time.

External Links


Preceded by:
Petey Sarron
World Featherweight Champion
29 Oct 1937– 12 Sept 1938
Vacated
Succeeded by:
Joey Archibald
Preceded by:
Barney Ross
World Welterweight Champion
31 May 1938–– 4 Oct 1940
Succeeded by:
Fritzie Zivic
Preceded by:
Lou Ambers
World Lightweight Champion
17 Aug 1938– 22 Aug 1939
Succeeded by:
Lou Ambers