Jimmy Murray was a boxing manager, promoter, and matchmaker in California during the 1920s through the 1950s.
Murray was an assistant to Fresno matchmaker/promoter Jim Ryan as early as 1926. He was also promoting in Bakersfield in 1926.
Jimmy Murray was a boxing matchmaker and promoter in Oakland and San Francisco during between the late 1930s and early '50s. He first worked as a matchmaker for Tommy Simpson, when Simpson returned to promoting in Oakland in 1938. Though Simpson and Murray struggled in their first few years together in Oakland, they began to find success after the outbreak of World War II. With economic conditions improved, Murray and Simpson were able to turn a profit with the likes of a come-backing Henry Armstrong and popular Richmond boxer Earl Turner.
Other promoters were licensed to promote in competition with Simpson at this time, including Ray Carlen and Frank Tabor. Though their rivalry was not friendly at first, relations improved by the mid-1940s, with Murray taking on the role of matchmaker for both Tabor and Carlen.
As Simpson's health declined around 1946, Murray himself began promoting boxing shows on his own. He continued doing this through the early 1950s, taking on Jimmy Dundee as his matchmaker during the late '40s. Dundee would then, in turn, take over as Oakland's promoter after Murray left the fight game in Oakland. Along with Lou Thomas, Murray would co-promote the 1955 San Francisco heavyweight title fight between Rocky Marciano and Don Cockell. Murray quit promoting in Oakland in September 1955, citing a lack of patronage and increasing difficulty landing attractive main events. Murray would continue on promoting at Winterland Arena in San Francisco, as well as the Richmond Auditorium, as he had done for much of the early-to-mid 1950s.
In 1956, Murray and several other prominent California boxing figures like Cal Eaton and Babe McCoy were brought under investigation by Martinez, California attorney James Cox. Murray retired from promoting in September 1956, after it was recommended that his licenses to promote be revoked. The committee involved with the investigation accused Murray of being "... representative of the worst element in boxing", and accused him of having "long-standing connections with gambling". In late 1953, Murray had also been accused of felony sex peversion with a 10 year old boy. The charges were dropped after the boy suddenly refused to testify.
Southern California Career
Prior to and during his work as a matchmaker, Murray also managed boxers. His stable included:
- "Baby Joe Gans To Meet Young Papke Here July 13th", Fresno Bee, July 6, 1926 (mentions working with Ryan)
- "Alan Ward: On Second Thought", May 19, 1955, Oakland Tribune (mentions involvement with Marciano-Cockell bout)
- "Murray Quits Local Boxing", Oakland Tribune, September 24, 1955
- "Local Figures Hit By Probe" "Knight Report Assails Murray", Oakland Tribune, August 8, 1956
- "Murray Quits Ring Game", Oakland Tribune, September 26, 1956