James (Red) Herring

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Red Herring

Name: Red Herring
Alias: Rebel Red
Birth Name: James Bryan Herring
Born: 1896-03-19
Birthplace: Paducah, Kentucky, USA
Died: 1974-05-07 (Age:78)
Hometown: Utica, New York, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 6½″   /   169cm
Boxing Record: click

Managers: Nute Louis 1915 Emmet Klnsella in 1925, John S. Cobb1920, Duke Barry, W. Naylor Stone, Kid Elberfeld1919, Bert Connors, Dale Gardner, Moe Myers as of November 1926

James (Red) Herring was born in Paducah, Kentucky, and began boxing in 1913 when he won a bout as a featherweight by KO, fighting on a benefit card for striking railroad workers in Paducah.

He was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War I, and was stationed at both Camp Pike, Arkansas and Camp Shelby, Mississippi where he served as boxing instructor. He claimed to have gone 35-0-1 in 36 army bouts with the draw coming against the camp's heavyweight, Bob Martin. He was the All-Southern Army Lightweight Champion in 1917. He is also said to have been the Featherweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight Champion at Camp Shelby.

In 1919 after winning a Lightweight elimination tournament in the South, Herring got a chance to meet World Lightweight Champion Benny Leonard on December 19, 1919, in Memphis, Tennessee. Leonard won the bout by TKO in the sixth round.

Herring fought Young Stribling twice in 1922 in Macon, Georgia, earning a 10-round draw in the first fight and losing a 10 round decision in the second fight. Stribling would later tell the New Yorker magazine that Herring hit him with one of the hardest punches he had ever felt in his career.

Herring won the World Jr. Welterweight title March 27, 1925 from the result of a bout with Pinky Mitchell, when Mitchell was disqualified by referee Elmer Slim McClelland."Pinky Mitchell the Milwaukee welterweight, was disqualified in the sixth round of a fight with Red Herring of Gulf Port, Miss., here tonight, when, after repeated warnings, he failed to fight clean in the clinches. In the sixth. Referee McClelland ordered the men to break. Herring dropped his arms to his sides. Mitchell caught him on tho end of the chin with an uppercut, and "knocked him cold."' McClelland promptly disqualified Mitchell, and awarded the fight to Herring." Herring was reported as shading Mitchell at the time of the stoppage.*

On March 30 Judge A. J. Hedding, Chairman of the Wisconsin Comission and author of the state boxing law, ruled that Mitchell did not lose his title. Mitchell was still recognized by the Wisconsin commission. Regardless, Herring claimed the title until 1929. He was supported by a portion of the public and press.

Herring has been said to be recognized champion by the NBA in his bout with Young Ketchell on March 31 of 1925. The general premises of Herring's fight with Ketchell was to hurriedly solidify his claim to the title, in an era in which the NBA at times announced recognition and withdrew recognition of championships at their meetings, conventions and in newspapers. Also in the same era in the United States the recognition for some championships were still being based on individual and newspaper claims. On July 20, 1925 page 11 the Los Angeles Times reported "RED" HERRING, who snatched the junior welterweight crown from the noble brow of "Pinky" Mitchell, may defend his title against Mushy Callahan in the Vernon ring about the middle of August.It has been said the Ring Magazine reported Herring champion in the October of 1925 issue, reporting his bout with Mushy Callahan as a non-title fight. After his fight with Mushy Callahan his recognition began to demise with some.

At various times throughout his career Red also claimed the Southern Lightweight, Southern Welterweight and Southern Middleweight Titles.

He ran a gym in Utica, NY in the late 1920s, with minor league baseball player Art Mills running the gym when Herring was on the road.

Herring retired from boxing in 1930 after fighting a ten-round draw with former British Lightweight and Welterweight title holder Harry Mason at Utica Stadium. Herring returned to the ring in 1933 for four fights, in an attempt to bring fans to Convention Hall in Utica where he was a fight promoter from 1930-1937.

From 1938-1940 he was the Recreational Director for the town of New Hartford, New York.

From 1955-1960 he was the athletic director at Griffis Air Force Base in Rome, New York.

Herring died at home on May 7, 1974 after a brief illness. He was laid to rest in Carr Cemetery in Marcy, New York.

Preceded by:
Pinky Mitchell
World Junior Welterweight Champion
27 Mar 1925** 31 Mar 1925***
by 1926 major recognition ceases
Succeeded by:
Mushy Callahan

  • * Source: AP Helena Daily Independent March 28, 1925
  • ** Portion of the general public and the boxing press
  • *** It has been said the NBA