Tex Salkeld

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Alfred John (Tex) Salkeld (February 6, 1895 in Albuquerque, NM - November 17, 1956 in Portland, OR) was an American boxing promoter, manager, and trainer. Salkeld spent his boyhood in New Mexico and Texas, before arriving in Portland in 1918. Salkeld came from an athletic family, his brother Bill Salkeld having a five year major league career, most notably with the 1948 World Series losing Boston Braves. Salkeld despite suffering from polio as a child, was an excellent swimmer, and initially served as an aquatic coach and lifeguard at public natatoriums, before becoming a trainer and manager of boxers. Some of the fighters he handled were; Abie Israel, Joe Marcus, Johnny Hansen, Mickey Dolan, and Elmer "Buzz" Brown.

In 1933, Salkeld began promoting with Joe Waterman, operating the small venue, the Bachelors Club, which seated about 1,000 in Portland's St. John's neighborhood. When Waterman left Portland in March 1934, Salkeld took over promoting for him at the Auditorium, and for a brief time operated shows twice a week, until he shut down the Bachelors Club in late 1934.

Salkeld was fired from his matchmaker job by the Portland Boxing Commission in January 1935, after Joe Waterman failed to land the matchmaker's job at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. After this he moved his operations to Marshfield, Oregon, a good fight town in those days on the Southern Oregon coast, near Coos Bay.

While in Marshfield, Salkeld continued to manage Elmer "Buzz" Brown, as well as taking on Oscar "Midnight" Bell. By late 1935, he had become the matchmaker at Marshfield. At this point in time, Joe Marcus was handling, at the very least, the training of his stable.

During the late 30's and early 40's he was promoting in Salem, Oregon. In 1940, he was named the matchmaker for Herb Owen, during an attempt at reviving Portland's dormant professional boxing scene. His Portland shows were strictly 4-rounders, which usually brought in miniscule gates of around $400. Salkeld during this time, ended the practice of giving away around 500-600 passes to the fights for local city officials and powerful figures. He was more successful in Salem, however promoting at the local armory. During this tenure, Joe Kahut, later Portland's top draw, would get his start on Salkeld shows in Salem.

In 1942, Salkeld returned to Portland as a boxing promoter under the banner of the National Boxing Club. He instantly found success, with Portland's vibrant war-time economy, which was led by their shipbuilding industry. In his first show he brought in Bantamweight Champion Manuel Ortiz. However, he was inducted into the U.S. Army, soon after, and was stationed in California as a military police officer and a swimming and recreational instructor. He was replaced in Portland by Joe Waterman.

After leaving the army in 1945, Salkeld returned to Portland and left his partnership with Waterman, and returned to managing boxers. Waterman's health had begun to decline due to heart problems in early 1946, and he would resign his post in June 1946 and head to Los Angeles on advice of his doctor and return to Ocean Park Arena. Salkeld was then hired as the matchmaker for National Boxing Club in August, and would put on his first show in September 1946, headlined by the rematch between Costello Cruz and Joe Kahut.

Salkeld would continue on as Portland's promoter for the next decade, continuing to work with Portland's top drawing card Joe Kahut, bringing the likes of Ezzard Charles in to oppose Kahut. Salkeld would enjoy his greatest success in the early 50s though, with Seattle's Harry (Kid) Matthews, who had some of his most important bouts in his career in Portland, as he rose to national prominence in the early 1950s. Matthews' notable bouts included fights against Freddie Beshore, and in particular Rex Layne. The bout with Layne, drew a crowd of 11,361 and a then record gate of $66,581.

Salkeld died on November 17, 1956 in his Portland home. Salkeld was in the final stages of arranging a card at the Portland Auditorium on December 11th, headlined by Pat McMurtry. Salkeld had been in failing health for years, and had only recently been released from the hospital due to a cardiac condition.

Other Notes

  • Salkeld's role with the National Boxing Club in 1946, also included the promotional and matchmaking duties in Salem, Oregon.

Sources

  • Portland Oregonian research
  • November 18, 1956 Portland Oregonian "Promoter Tex Salkeld Heart Attack Victim"
  • November 20, 1956 Portland Oregonian "Greg's Gossip", L.H. Gregory. For information concering his relation to Bill Salkeld.