Jackie Fields

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Class of 2004
Old Timer Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee
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Name: Jackie Fields
Birth Name: Jacob Finkelstein
Born: 1908-02-09
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: 1987-06-03 (Age:79)
Hometown: Los Angeles, California, USA
Height: 5′ 7½″   /   171cm
Reach: 69″   /   175cm
Boxing Record: click

Division: Welterweight
Managers: Gig Rooney, Jack Kearns
Jackie Fields Gallery

Career Highlights

Jackie Fields spent his early years living in a Jewish neighborhood of Chicago. He later said: "Being in the ghetto, you had to fight." When his father contracted tuberculosis, the family moved to Los Angeles, where he was introduced to boxing at the Los Angeles Athletic Club around 1921. (Legend has it that Fields took his ring name from either a Chicago department store, or in honor of an obscure fighter named Marty Fields.)

Fields in his Olympic Games uniform

By 1924 Fields had competed in the pre-Olympic AAU Nationals. Despite a broken hand, he reached the semifinals and a place on the Olympic team as an alternate. His team-mate included future Flyweight World Champion and fellow L.A.A.C. member Fidel LaBarba. On the boat ride to the 1924 Summer Olympics, Fields defeated two other Olympic candidates to make the team. He was only 16-years-old when he captured the Olympic featherweight championship, the youngest athlete ever to win an Olympic boxing crown. When he got home from the Olympics, however, his mother spanked him for stepping into the ring. (His Olympic triumph was made into a 1939 movie called The Crowd Roars.)

Fields turned professional in 1925 and quickly moved up the ranks, defeatingMushy Callahan, Sergeant Sammy Baker, Vince Dundee, and Jack Zivic. He then defeated Young Jack Thompson for the National Boxing Association welterweight championship in March 1929 via a 10-round decision.

In July 1929, Fields faced defending champion Joe Dundee for the world welterweight title, and won the match after Dundee fouled him with a 2nd-round low blow. Fields totally dominated the abbreviated fight. He floored Dundee once in the first round and four more times in the first part of round 2. After the fifth knockdown in that round, "Pal Joey" crawled across the ring on his hands and knees until he got right in front of Fields and sucker punched him in the groin. Fields nailed the issue succinctly: "That bum and his buddies had bet money on the fight." Dundee knew he was a goner and he also knew if the fight ended on a foul, all bets were off.

In May 1930, Fields lost the title to Jack Thompson in a 15-round fight. Fields retired after the fight, but returned to the ring two years later fighting for the welterweight world title against Lou Brouillard, who had won it from Thompson. Fields regained it, winning in 10 rounds, in January 1932.

In 1932, he was involved in a car accident from which he suffered a detached retina and lost sight in one eye, although he did not tell anyone about it at the time.

In February 1933, Fields lost the title in a 10-round decision to Young Corbett III in San Francisco. The referee, Jack Kennedy, admitted to Jackie's manager Jack Kearns after the fight in the dressing room: "I made a mistake," and told him he had raised the wrong hand. Kearns hit Kennedy, sending him sprawling to the floor and knocking him out.

Fields fought only one bout after his loss to Corbett, because his eye injury had become too troublesome.

He retired with a professional record of 74 victories (31 knockouts), 2 draws, 9 losses, and 1 no-contest.

Life after Boxing

Fields earned an estimated $500,000 during his fighting career, much of which he invested in real estate. But the Great Depression wiped him out financially.

Fields landed a job as an assistant unit manager for the 20th Century Fox film studio, and, in the latter half of the 1930s, as a film editor for MGM.

Later, until 1949, Fields sold jukeboxes for the Wurlitzer Company. Later Fields became a business representative for J&B Scotch in the mid-West. In the late 1950s Fields bought a large share of stock in the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Although he sold his shares a few years later, he remained on as Public Relations Director for the hotel. He also served for many years as Vice Chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Fields also coached the U.S. boxing team at the 1965 Maccabiah Games.

Halls of Fame

Amateur Career

Fields finished his amateur career with a record of 51 victories in 54 fights.


  • May 20 Phil Woods Boston, MA W-3 Olympic Trials
  • Defeated Mossy Doyle (Ireland) points
  • Defeated Olaf Hansen (Norway) points
  • Defeated Carlos Abarca (Chile) points
  • Defeated Pedro Quartucci (Argentina) points
  • Defeated Joe Salas (United States) points
  • Sep 18 Joe Salas Los Angeles W 4
  • Oct 16 Danny Woods Los Angeles [W]/Sch 4
  • Nov 6 Al Leonard Los Angeles W 4
  • Dec 10 Danny Woods Alhambra, CA W 4