George Blake

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George Blake.JPG

Name: George Blake
Birth Name: George V. Blake
Hometown: Los Angeles, California, USA
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: 1952-12-20 (Age:71)
Judge: Record
Referee: Record

29 Sep 1908 Los Angeles Herald

George Vincent Blake arrived in Los Angeles sometime during 1904, from Chicago, where he had been a boxer. [1] (So far, BoxRec has not found any bouts for him. He may have used an alias.)

Blake started his officiating career in San Diego, then took over in September 1908 for Tommy Walsh as the referee of preliminary bouts in Vernon. In August 1909, he started refereeing amateur bouts at the Los Angeles Athletic Club (L.A.A.C.). [2]

By 1910, he had become a popular and respected referee in the greater Los Angeles area. [3] (Also in 1910, he was in Europe for some reason. [4]) He became the chief United States Army boxing instructor during World War I. (Nov. 2, 1920 Los Angeles Times (LAT).) By the early 1920s, he was the regular referee for Southern California boxing venues such as Jack Doyle's Vernon Arena and the Hollywood Legion Stadium.

By the very early 1920s he and Charles Keppen were promoting monthly amateur boxing shows, on Thursdays, at the L.A.A.C., where Blake took an interest in a young, promising, and talented Fidel LaBarba--the future Olympic Gold Medalist and Flyweight World Champion. (Jan. 20, 1921 LAT.) Other young amateur boxers he took under his wing during the early 1920s were Joe Schlocker, Manuel Martinez, Julius Jessick, and Hugh McDonald. (March 21, 1922 LAT.)

Besides LaBarba, other professional boxers Blake eventually managed include 1931 World Bantamweight Champion Pete Sanstol, Harry (Kid) Matthews, Joe Salas, Clayton Frye, Joe Stone, and Toby Vigil.

Blake was known as a man of impeccable character. Some idea of his integrity is shown by a quote Sanstol gave to The Knockout magazine (April 1, 1933 issue), shortly after Blake agreed to take on the Norwegian boxer: " 'I told LaBarba that I knew Blake would not have anything to do with a fighter who wasn't clean and honest and that I had set that as my ideal ever since I met him in Paris back in 1929,' said Pete.... 'I know Blake inquired into my habits, checked up everything I had done--my fights in Montreal and elsewhere--before he gave his answer. It was the happiest day of my life when he signed me to a contract. I rushed out and cabled my mother and father in Oslo of the great news--that I was being managed by the biggest figure and the best-liked man in all America.'"

By the summer of 1935, according to the August 1935 The Ring magazine, p. 51, Blake was "back in Honolulu to help revive professional boxing in the Islands. He brought with him Henry Moreno, a featherweight, and Sonny Valdez, a bantamweight." He promoted his first boxing show in Hawaii [[Show:1978]June 20, 1941]].

Some of the title bouts Blake officiated included Max Schmeling vs. Young Stribling, Henry Armstrong vs. Jimmy Garrison, Henry Armstrong vs. Baby Arizmendi, Joe Louis vs. Jack Roper, and Jimmy McLarnin vs. Young Corbett III. His last assignment was the 1940 Henry Armstrong vs. Ceferino Garcia bout. New York Times

Sports writer Damon Runyon once wrote: "There are two honest managers in boxing. The one is Jack Hurley. And I can't remember the name of the other." The One is Jack Hurley (2017 three-volume biography by John Ochs). George Blake likely was the other.

Mr. Blake died at the Brothers of St. John of God Sanitarium, Los Angeles, December 20, 1952, after a long illness, and is interred in the Calvary Cemetery. His wife was Florence.

  • Photo of Blake officiating (1940)
  • He had the briefest of cameos in the 1933 The Prizefighter and the Lady movie, being introduced as a ringside judge. He has a more extended cameo refereeing a fictional world heavyweight title bout at the end of the 1937 movie Kid Galahad.
  • Inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, "Expanded Category" (Referees & Judges & Timekeepers)