Fighting Billy Murray

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Name: Billy Murray
Alias: Fighting Billy/Billie Murray
Birth Name: John Henry Marks/Marques
Born: 1892-04-18
Hometown: Petaluma, California, USA
Birthplace: Petaluma, California, USA
Died: 1926-03-04 (Age:33)
Height: 178cm
Reach: 188cm
Pro Boxer: Record

Managers: Jack Kearns, Paul Granstrom

Fighting Billy Murray, born John H. Marques [1], former Middleweight Champion of the Pacific Coast, was of Portuguese descent. He earned the nickname Billy Murray from his parents after he kept asking them to play phonograph records of songs by a Billy Murray over and over again. He kept the name when he began boxing. [2]

Murray was managed by Jack Kearns. Murray was labeled a "second Stanley Ketchel" by 1914. [3] Kearns took Murray on an Australian tour in 1915. When they returned from Australia, they parted ways. Kearns would then become vocally critical of Murray's fighting. (See the Tacoma Daily News, for example.) Murray then took on Paul (Gloomy) Granstrom as his manager. (Kearns soon after found and took on future champion Jack Dempsey as a client.)

By January 27, 1922, according to local newspapers of the time, Murray was seriously ill in a Los Angeles sanitarium. He died at his home in Tucson, Arizona, March 4, 1926 of tuberculosis, which he contracted while serving in World War I. He was a Veterans Bureau patient at this time.

Bouts of 1912-1913 come from T. S. Andrews's WORLD'S ANNUAL SPORTING RECORDS (1915), pp. 171-172.

According to the Find A Grave website, one John H. Marks was born on April 18, 1892 and died on March 4, 1926. He is buried in Evergreen Memorial Park in Tucson, Arizona. According to his tombstone, Marks was also known as "Fighting Billie Murray" and was born in Petaluma, California.

According to his death certificate in digital form in the Arizona, Death Records, 1887-1950 database on, one John H. Marks was born on April 18, 1892 in California and died after a six-year bout with tuberculosis on March 4, 1926 at his home in Tucson, Arizona. He had resided in Tucson for three years. The listed informant on the certificate was his wife, Willa.

According to his draft registration card in digital form in the U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 database on, one John Henry Marks was born on April 18, 1890 in Petaluma, California. At the time of his registration on May 31, 1917, he was a self-employed farmer in Trenton, California.