Jim Coffroth

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Class of 1991
Non-Participant Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
Jim Coffroth: 1909

Name: Jim Coffroth
Alias: Sunshine Jim
Birth Name: James Wood Coffroth
Born: 1872-00-00
Died: 1943-00-00 (Age:71)
Hometown: San Francisco, California, USA
Promoting Record: click

Jim Coffroth is generally recognized as America's first big-time boxing promoter.

'Sunshine Jim' Coffroth worked as a clerk at Surrogate Court in San Francisco, destined to become a lawyer. He was a big boxing fan and would often travel back east to catch major bouts. During one of these visits, he became acquainted with the well-known New York promoter Jim Kennedy. Around this time New York's Horton Law expired, so the two agreed, at Kennedy's suggestion, to start promoting shows in the San Francisco Bay Area. [1]

The first notable bout that Kennedy and Coffroth put on was the 1901 heavyweight title bout between James J. Jeffries and Gus Ruhlin. Kennedy died in 1903.

Coffroth bid $100,000 on the 1910 Jack Johnson vs. James J. Jeffries bout, but was out-bid by the future legendary boxing promoter Tex Rickard, who put up $120,000 in gold.

In the November 1914 election, voters passed a bill that banned prizefighting in California, but allowed for "amateur" bouts over a four-round limit, with the boxers being awarded medals. This advent of the "Four-Round Era" marked the end of Coffroth's career as a boxing promoter, as California's importance in boxing was greatly diminished by its inability to lure top boxers to the state on a regular basis. By 1917 the four-round game was suffering in the San Francisco area and promoters were losing money. [2]

During the end of World War I in 1918, he headed the boxing division of the United War Work Council in New York.

Coffroth used the wealth he had acquired from promoting boxing to buy a string of horse racing tracks, which he continued to run with success until he died in 1943.

There was a Colma area boxing venue that became known as "Coffroth's Arena."

Notable Promotions

External Links

  • Biography by Joel Levanetz: [3]
  • Tacoma Times articles: [4][5]
  • San Francisco Call article: [6]
  • Photo #2