Before John L. Sullivan became heavyweight champion in 1882, boxing managers were practically unknown. The fighters or their friends arranged all bout details. When Sullivan took to the stage, meeting all corners, offering $500 to any man he could not knock out within four rounds, Billy Madden, a sparring partner, took charge of the theatrical bookings and thus became the first of a long line of boxing managers.
In 1891, when James J. Corbett was seeking a match with Sullivan, he hired William A. Brady,then an obscure actor, to become his manager. Brady, who afterward managed James J. Jeffries, later became one of the leaders in the theatrical profession.
About the time Brady was handling Jeffries, another youngster became a pilot. His name was Sam Harris and his warrior was Terry McGovern. Harris later graduated into the theatrical business and achieved promotional fame there at least equal to Brady’s. Charles H. (Parson) Davies was a well-known fight manager of about two generations ago; so were Willis Britt and Martin Julian, brother-in-law of Fitzsimmons, and Fitz’s manager Sam Fitzpatrick also was well known.
Among the well-remembered boxing managers of the more modern years are: Jack Kearns, who piloted Jack Dempsey to fame and fortune; Billy Gibson, who guided Gene Tunney and Benny Leonard to championships; Leo P. Flynn, who managed a stable of 25 to 50 fighters at one time; Joe Woodman and George Lawrence, who handled boxers for two generations; Charles Harvey, who specialized in importing European ringmen; Frank A. Churchill, who imported Filipinos; Francois Deschamps, who managed Georges Carpentier of France; Leon See, who discovered Primo Camera; Harry Pollok, who managed Freddie Welsh and many other stars; Sammy Goldman, manager of several champions; George Engel, who brought Harry Greb from obscurity to greatness.
Also Tom O’Rourke, among the earliest of managers; Dan Morgan, who managed more than 500 fighters; Phil Glassman, developer of Lew Tendler; Paddy Mullins, manager of Harry Wills; Frank (Doc) Bagley, early manager of Tunney; Jimmy Bronson, who managed Bob Martin, heavyweight champion of the A.E.F. of 1918, and who discovered the Zivics; Scotty Montieth, handler of Johnny Dundee and a small army of others; William L. (Pa) Stribling of Georgia; Biddy Bishop, who was among the pioneers of his profession; Nat Lewis and Tom Walsh of Chicago, who managed Charlie White and hundreds of others; Dan Carroll, Johnny Buckley and Eddie Mack of Boston. Others were James Dougherty, “Baron of Leiperville, Pa.,” manager of George Godfrey; Eddie Kane and Eddie Long, who had a succession of stables in Chicago, which included Tom Gibbons, Sammy Mandell and Bud Taylor; also, Billy McCarney, Dan McKetrick, Tom McArdle, Frank Bachman, Joe Gould, Willie Gilzenberg, Lew Brix, Harry Lenny, all of New York; Tom Andrews, Milwaukee. Also, Sam Pian and Art Winch of Chicago; Gig Rooney, Wad Wadhams, Ancil Hoffman, manager of Max and Buddy Baer, all of California; Charlie Rose, Lew Burston, Billy Duffy, Jack Bulger, Hymie Kaplan, Sol Gold, Frank Jacobs and Charlie Cook, all of New York, Lou Diamond of New Jersey and Tom McGinty and Jimmy Dunn of Brooklyn.