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John L. Sullivan
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Boxer
    (October 15, 1858-February 2, 1918)
    Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts
    Nicknamed The Boston Strong Boy
    Official boxing record: 38 wins (32 by knockout)-1 loss-1 draw (and one no contest)
    Won many more bouts that were non-sanctioned and exhibition matches
    Inducted in 1990 as an original class member into the International Boxing Hall of Fame
    Died from prolonged affects of alcoholism at age 59
    Portland based band 'I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House' named after a statement attributed to him
    Known as a bare-knuckle fighter, he only fought three scheduled matches this way.
    This facade was created to give him a hard-nosed image and increase ticket sales.
    Several of his matches were stopped before completion by the police in towns where boxing was against the law.
    He spent four years between sanctioned bouts because he was making more money as an exhibition fighter.
    During this time he refused to fight champion boxer Peter Jackson because he was black.
    His final bout was against Gentleman Jim Corbett, and though he was a 4-1 favorite he lost his first (and only) sanctioned fight in 21 rounds, then promptly retired.
    Known as a drinker throughout his career he drank heavier after retiring, then quit altogether, but not before doing irreversible damage to his body.
    He grew up in poverty.
    The Boston Red Sox offered him a $1,500 a year contract but he felt boxing would supply him with bigger paychecks.
    In 1879 he offered $500 to anyone in America that could beat him (he didn't lose a dime).
    His only sanctioned draw occurred in 1887 when he broke his arm in the first round but wanted to continue to fight.
    His three bare-knuckled bouts (where he went 3-0) weren't sanctioned because gloves were needed per Marquess of Queensberry rules.
    His final bare-knuckle bout against Jake Kilrain (July 7, 1889) was scheduled for 80 rounds, and though he vomited in the 44th round, Kilrain's corner threw in the towel in the 75th round making him the last bare-knuckled champion.
    As a brash talker, flashy dresser and smooth operator with women, he was his era's Muhammad Ali.
    Years before his death he became a teetotaler and strong proponent of temperance, speaking of the dangers of alcohol abuse he knew first hand.
    Kilrain became a friend of his and was a pallbearer at his funeral.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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