Fred (Dummy) Mahan
Name: Fred Mahan
Alias: Dummy Mahan
Birth Name: Federico Mesa
Hometown: Tombstone, Arizona, USA
Birthplace: Brackettville, Texas, USA
Died: 1930-02-23 (Age:23)
Pro Boxer: Record
Manager: Fred (Windy) Winsor
Photo #2, Photo #3, Photo #4
According to the contemporary newspapers of the time, Fred Mahan was a deaf-mute who carried the nickname of "Dummy." (Another sour boxing moniker for boxers lacking vocal speech during these days was "Silent.") He had been born in Brackettville, Texas, in 1906 (exact date unknown). After his father died and his mother remarried, he took on the name of his step-father, William Mahan.
The Sept. 6, 1929 Seattle Star (Seattle, WA, USA) newspaper featured an article on Mahan. He was of Mexican heritage. Boxing commissions originally would not allow him to fight, because he couldn't hear or talk. His manager, Fred Winsor, convinced them that Fred "was more intelligent than 80 per cent of the fighters who have their five senses." Mahan fell off a high chair when he was a baby and the shock made him deaf (he was eight months old). He was unable to hear and develop his voice. His family came from Tombstone, AZ. His started fighting in the bootleg amateur clubs of Los Angeles.
Mahan became a professional boxer in 1923, and limited his fighting to the Texas area. In 1928 he ventured east to Ohio, then west to California, where he came under the management of Fred Winsor--a former soldier and railroad brakeman. His first match under Winsor was a win over Johnny Priston on January 9, 1929. During his career Mahan fought many notable boxers, including Nobe Cervantes, Jackie Fields, Gorilla Jones, Mushy Callahan, Young Corbett III and Meyer Grace.
Per many day-after newspapers, on Feb. 24, 1930, Mahan went parachuting once again--in the hope that he could "cure" his deafness. (After previous parachuting falls, he had regained his hearing for a few hours at a time, papers had reported.) At Mills Field near San Francisco, Mahan boarded a plane piloted by Colonel Harry Abbott, inventor of the so-called "fool proof" parachute. At 3,200 feet Mahan jumped from the plane. But both the pilot and the main parachutes failed to fully open. He fell into some mudflats below and was killed. It was soon after determined that the shroud lines of the parachute had become entwined about one of his heels soon after he had jumped. The New York Times reported, however, that only his pilot parachute had opened, but Mahan had failed to heed Abbott's specific instruction to count to six before pulling the ripcord. The chute had struck the stabilizer of the plane and was shredded, and Mahan fell 5,000 feet to his death in a meadow. He was reported to have been 23-years-old when he died.
Some of these day-after papers said the young Frederico Mesa was a veteran of some 100 career bouts (with 54 KOs).