Famous boxing promoters part 2



The third great promoter was Hugh D. McIntosh of Australia, who died in England in 1941.

In 1908, Tommy Burns, who was a claimant of the world heavyweight title vacated by James J. Jeffries, arrived in Australia. Jack Johnson, the most persistent of Burns’ challengers, had followed Burns to Europe, hoping to get a match, but Burns had sailed for the Antipodes.

About that time President Theodore Roosevelt had ordered the United States Navy, then on a good-will tour, to visit Australia. McIntosh felt that if he could arrange a bout between Johnson and Burns in Sydney, while the Navy was anchored there, he could draw a huge crowd of sailors. He offered Burns $20,000 to fight Johnson. Burns accepted. Johnson cabled acceptance of a smaller McIntosh offer and left for Australia, the fight being scheduled for Christmas Day, 1908. McIntosh designed and had built for the occasion a saucer-like stadium, which later became model for the American football bowls.

McIntosh refereed the fight, which was stopped by the police in the 14th because Burns was terribly beaten. McIntosh cleared over $50,000 on the fight, but explained:

“Australians supported it. I had counted on American sailors for a possible sell-out. Exactly two appeared in uniform. They started fighting and had to be evicted.”

McIntosh had moving pictures made of that battle, showed them in Australia and New Zealand, took them to England, then toured the United States with them, and made about $200,000 of the films, which were novelties at the time.

Returning to Australia, McIntosh proceeded with many major promotions. He lured almost 100 noted American fighters to Sydney, including Billy Papke, Jimmy Clabby, Sam Langford, Sam McVey, Jim Barry, Porky Flynn, Eddie McGoorty, Billy Murray, K.O. Brown, Buck Crouse, Jeff Smith and George Chip. In later years, when he resumed promotion after a career in politics, as a newspaper publisher and as Australia’s “theatrical czar,” he imported William (Young) Stribling and other Americans who were starring in the early 1930’s. Mike Jacobs succeeded Rickard as the outstanding promoter and patterned his activities along the general percentage lines of Tex in the latter’s later years.

Jacobs launched his promotional career on Jan. 24, 1934, with Barney Ross competing against Billy Petrone. Later he ceased operating as an individual and headed the Twentieth Century Sporting Club. His first big outdoor show was in June, 1935, with Joe Louis opposing Primo Camera. At that time Jacobs was in opposition to Madison Square Garden, headed by Jimmy Johnston. When Johnston resigned a year or two later, Jacobs took over the Madison Square Garden job. The gates drawn by the Jacobs shows exceeded by many millions of dollars the grand total achieved by other famous promoters in ring history.

Jacobs, who died Jan. 24, 1953, had promoted more than 500 fights before selling the Twentieth Century S.C. to James D. Norris of Chicago. Norris changed the name of the firm to the International Boxing Club and became the world’s foremost promoter. Besides presenting fights in Madison Square Garden, Norris also ran shows in Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and various other cities. Among Norris’ contemporary promoters are Jack Solomons of England and Jimmy Murray of San Francisco.

Other noted promoters were Dominick Tortorich and Marty Burke, New Orleans; Eddie Mack of Boston; Tom Andrews, promoter and manager; Floyd Fitzsimmons of Michigan; Jim Mullins, Chicago; Simon Flaherty, New York; “Uncle Torn” Carey of California; Mike Collins of Minneapolis; Ancil Hoffman, promoter and manager, and George Blake of California.