Famous boxing managers – part 2

The list continues with Tom Jones, who managed Jess Willard into a championship; Jack Curley, partner of Jones, manager of wrestlers, as well as boxers, and a promoter of both sports; Mike Gibbons, who took to managing after his ring days were done; Gus Wilson, former trainer of Jack Dempsey; Chris Dundee of Pennsylvania; Eddie Mead, who handled many boxers, including Joe Lynch and Henry Armstrong; Jack Hurley, Jimmy DeForest, who trained Dempsey for his fight with Willard in 1919; Jim Mullin of Chicago; Joe Smith of Philadelphia, manager of Tommy Loughran and many more; Pop Foster, who made a fortune for Jimmy McLarnin by his shrewd matching of the Pacific Coast welterweight; Max Waxman, business manager for Jack Dempsey, and Tex Sullivan, New York.

Also, Joe Jacobs, who handled Max Schmeling during most of his fights in New York; Al Weill of New York, matchmaker and promoter, as well as manager; Clarence Gillespie of New York; Fred Digby, who specialized in handling boxers from the deep South; Jack Reddy; Tommy Simpson of California; Mike Collins of Minnesota; Gene Lutz, who trained Bill (Young) Stribling, Freddie Welsh and others; “John the Barber” Reisler, once manager of Jack Dempsey; Jimmy Kelly, Johnny Keyes and Phil Bernstein of New York.

And, of course, the picturesque, dynamic James J. Johnston of New York, who died in 1946. Johnston was a boxer in England in his youth. He came to New York and started managing fighters, most of them imported from England. In time, he was handling one of the largest stables in this country. In an effort to develop a great heavyweight, Johnston once invited all ambitious big men to New York to appear in a heavyweight tournament. About 100 arrived. They were matched up, and, when it was all over, Johnston, who weighed about 140, wanted to bet he could whip any of the giants-and found no takers.

Johnston promoted on his own. Later he became matchmaker for Madison Square Garden. When Mike Jacobs, with Joe Louis as his fistic “ace,” began to promote in opposition to the Garden in 1935, a war was on between Johnston and Jacobs. When Louis rose to the heights, with Jacobs holding a promotional contract with him, and the Garden was without contracts with high-class fighters, Johnston left the Garden promotional job, Jacobs took over, and Johnston then organized his own fight club, calling it the “30th Century Sporting Club” because Jacobs had called his the “20th Century Sporting Club.” Lacking contracts with the talented fighters, Johnston soon ceased to operate as a promoter and resumed managing and, with his usual showmanship, gained titular matches for mediocre fighters and made fortunes for all of them.