Name: Peter Jackson
Alias: The Black Prince
Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Birthplace: Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands
Died: 1901-07-13 (Age:40)
Pro Boxer: Record
Managers: Larry Foley, Charles Edward (Parson) Davies
Trainer: Henry (Pop) Blanken
Photo #2, Photo #3, Photo #4, Photo #5
Peter Jackson, nicknamed the Black Prince, was one of the top heavyweights of the late 1880s and early 1890s. The Cyber Boxing Zone called him "one of the greatest boxers who ever fought in the ring." However, Jackson was never given a chance to fight for the world title because he was black.
"Jackson was more scientific than Jack Johnson, was faster and smoother than Joe Louis but hit just as hard, and possessed footwork similar to Muhammad Ali," stated boxing historian Tracy Callis. "In the opinion of this writer, Jackson was one of the greatest fighters in the history of the heavyweight division and deserves to be ranked among the all-time best men in this weight class."
Jackson was born on a sugar plantation near the town of Christiansted on the island of St. Croix, one of the main islands comprising the Danish West Indies (now the United States Virgin Islands). His date of birth is usually listed as July 3, 1861, but it has also been listed as July 6 and July 16. Jackson biographer Bob Petersen claims Jackson was born on September 23, 1860. "Dr. George Tyson [president of the Virgin Islands Social History Associates] has a photocopy of the baptismal register, where Peter's name and details were entered in the clergyman's neat handwriting, his birth date being written as September 23," Petersen stated.
Jackson started boxing in Australia. There are different stories as to how he arrived in the Land Down Under. Jackson told the Louisville Commercial in 1890 that he moved to Australia with his family in 1866. Bob Peterson claims that is not true, as census records show that Jackson and his family were still living in the Danish West Indies in 1870. Petersen wrote that Jackson arrived in Australia on February 19, 1879, via a cargo ship, on which he had been working as a seaman.
Jackson's first professional fight was in 1882. He fought for the Australian Heavyweight Championship two years later and lost to Bill Farnan by a fourth-round knockout. Jackson challenged for the title again on September 25, 1886, and stopped Tom Lees in 30 rounds to become the Australian Heavyweight Champion.
In 1888, Jackson left Australia for the United States. On August 24, 1888, he stopped George Godfrey in 19 rounds to win the World Colored Heavyweight Championship in San Francisco, California. Jackson hoped to challenge John L. Sullivan for the World Heavyweight Championship, but Sullivan refused to fight him. "I will not fight a Negro," Sullivan said. "I never have and I never will."
Jackson set sail for Great Britain in 1889 for a series of bouts. He returned to the United States in 1890 and won several bouts before heading back to Australia. While there, he successfully defended the Australian Heavyweight Championship with an eight-round draw against Joe Goddard on October 20, 1890.
On May 21, 1891, Jackson fought future World Heavyweight Champion Jim Corbett to a 61-round no contest in San Francisco, California. Tracy Callis called it "one of the ring’s greatest battles." Corbett, who would knock out John L. Sullivan in 21 rounds to win the World Heavyweight Championship on September 7, 1892, later said Jackson was one of the most intelligent pugilists that ever stepped into the ring. He often said Jackson could defeat any fighter he had ever seen.
On May 30, 1892, Jackson knocked out Frank Slavin, a bitter rival from Australia, in 10 rounds to win the Commonwealth (British Empire) Heavyweight Championship in London, England. Slavin later said Jackson was "unbeatable . . . the greatest of all masters."
Jackson toured the United States during 1893 and 1894, portraying Uncle Tom in a play of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and boxing exhibitions with Joe Choynski between acts. Jim Corbett said Choynski couldn't lay a glove on Jackson.
In July 1896, Jackson boxed an exhibition with future World Heavyweight Champion Bob Fitzsimmons in London, England. Jim Corbett said it was like a professor giving a pupil a lesson. In his 1938 book Black Dynamite, Nat Fleischer wrote that Fitzsimmons called Jackson the greatest fighter who ever breathed and refused to meet him in an official fight.
Jackson opened a boxing gym in London, England, in 1897.
On March 22, 1898, Jackson fought future World Heavyweight Champion Jim Jeffries in San Francisco, California. It was Jackson's first proper fight since he battled Frank Slavin six years earlier. In the meantime, drink and indulgence had taken a toll on him. "I will allow that since my contest with Slavin I have enjoyed myself," he told the San Francisco Call five days before the bout. A shell of his former self, Jackson was stopped in three rounds by Jeffries.
Jackson returned to Australia in 1900 and was diagnosed as having tuberculosis shortly afterward. He died at a sanitarium in Roma, Australia, on July 13, 1901.
Jackson was inducted into The Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1957, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 (its inaugural year), the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.
Australian Heavyweight Championship (1886)
World Colored Heavyweight Championship (1888)
Commonwealth (British Empire) Heavyweight Championship (1892)
- "Peter Jackson . . . 'Faster and Smoother Than Joe Louis' " By Tracy Callis
- "Up Against the Ropes: Peter Jackson as 'Uncle Tom' in America" By Susan F. Clark
- "Peter Jackson and the Elusive Heavyweight Championship: A Black Athlete’s Struggle Against the Late Nineteenth Century Color-Line" By David K. Wiggins
- A Question of Manhood: A Reader in U.S. Black Men's History and Masculinity, Volume 2 By Darlene Clark Hine and Earnestine Jenkins
- The First Black Boxing Champions: Essays on Fighters of the 1800s to the 1920s By Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott
- Peter Jackson: A Biography of the Australian Heavyweight Champion, 1860-1901 By Bob Petersen
- Peter Jackson's Cyber Boxing Zone page
- Peter Jackson's Find A Grave page