Decade Rankings: 1900-1909

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 (1) Jack Johnson  6’0”, 200- The Galveston Giant was in his prime during this decade and there was little doubt about his greatness. He faced all the top fighters of the period who would get into the ring with him. He lost two early career matches to Joe Choynski and Hank Griffin. He also lost a controversial decision to Marvin Hart. He defeated George Gardner, Denver Ed Martin(2), Sam McVea(3), Black Bill(4), Sam Langford, Fireman Jim Flynn, Tommy Burns, Al Kaufman and Stanley Ketchell. He fought a 6 round draw with Philadelphia Jack O’Brien and in a series of fights he defeated Joe Jeannette 3-1-1. (46-4-8) 8 NC

(2)  Jim Jeffries  6’1”, 219-  Jeffries was so dominate while he held the title that he retired undefeated in 1905. He later returned unsuccessfully in 1910 against Jack Johnson. He wiped up on Jim Corbett twice, Bob Fitzsimmons, Gus Ruhlin, Joe Kennedy and Jack Munroe. Upon his retirement most boxing experts called him the greatest fighter to ever enter the ring. (7-0-0) 1 NC

(3) Bob Fitzsimmons  5”11”, 165- The legendary Fitzsimmons was so far past his prime during the decade but was still one of the top fighters in the world. Fitz defeated Gus Ruhlin, Tom Sharkey and George Gardner, Losses were against Jim Jeffries for the title, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, Bill Lang and Jack Johnson. He also fought a draw against O’Brien. (10-4-1) 1 NC.

(4) Jim Corbett 6’1”, 188- Corbett only fought three times during the decade but two were for the title against the top fighter of the decade and he almost captured the title in his first attempt to regain the championship. Hard to rank a fighter with such little activity but he was one of the best of the decade or he would not have fought for the championship. (1-2)

(5) Stanley Ketchell 5’9”,170- The great middleweight fighter who started challenging the heavyweight division in the later part of the decade. Big wins were against Twin Sullivan, Billy Papke(3), Hugo Kelly and Philadelphia Jack O’Brien. His losses were to Billy Papke and Jack Johnson. (50-4-5)

(6) Philadelphia Jack O’Brien  5’11”, 160-  O’Brien was unbeaten from 1900 to 1903 and was one of the more dominate fighters during the decade. He fought for the title on three different occasions fighting a 20 round draw against Tommy Burns and losing the rematch. O’Brien also fought a 6 round draw against champion Jack Johnson in 1909. Fighters who lost to O’Brien were Joe Choynski(2), Peter Maher, Jim Jeffords(5), Jack “Twin” Sullivan(3), Kid Carter, Tommy Burns, Black Bill, Al Kaufman, Bob Fitzsimmons, and Fireman Jim Flynn. He fought draws against Peter Maher, Marvin Hart, Fitzsimmon and Jack Johnson. O’Brien seldom lost. Hugo Kelly(2), Tommy Burns and Stanley Ketchell were the major fighters to defeat him during the decade. .(109-7-12) 5 NC

(7) Tommy Burns  5’7”, 168- Heavyweight champion from 1906 to 1908, he defeated Marvin Hart, Jim Flynn, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien and Bill Lang. Losses included O’Brien, “Twin” Sullivan, Jack Johnson and Mike Schreck. He fought draws against “Twin” Sullivan, Hugo Kelly(2) and O’Brien.(39-4-8)

(8) Marvin Hart 5’11”, 195-  Hart won the vacant title after Jim Jeffries retired in 1904. Hart had some nice wins over Sandy Ferguson(questionable decision), Gus Ruhlin, Jack Johnson, Jack Root and Tony Ross. Losses were against Jack Root, George Gardner, Tommy Burns and Mike Schreck. Draws were against Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, Joe Choynski, Gardner and Ruhlin.(29-7-7)

(9) Sam Langford  5’7”, 156 – The great Boston Tar Baby fought some great fighters during the decade. Langford owned victories over Joe Jeannette, Young Peter Jackson(2), Sandy Ferguson(2), Tony Ross, Fireman Jim Flynn and Mike Schreck. Losses were to Jeannette, Jack Johnson and Young Peter Jackson. He fought three draws against Jeannette. (60-7-22) 4 NC

(10) Joe Jeannette 5’10”, 198- Like the other great negro fighters of the early 20th century Jeannette had to battle the segregation in the ring and low pay. He fought long series of fights against the other great black fighters of the day. Jeannette had wins over Black Bill(3), Jim Jeffords(3), Sam Langford, Sam McVea(2), Sandy Ferguson(3) and Al Kubiak. Losses included Bill Black, Jack Johnson(3), Sam Langford, Sam McVea and Sandy Ferguson. He battled to draws against Black Bill, Jack Johnson, Sam Langford(3) and Sam McVea. It will always be unknown just how good these heavyweights were because they faced the same opponents over and over again.(29-11-6) 7NC

(11) Sam McVea5’10”, 208- Not as active as some of the other black heavyweights during the decade he was still an outstanding fighter. His biggest victories were against Denver Ed Martin(3), Joe Jeannette. Losses were against Jack Johnson(3), Denver Ed Martin and Joe Jeannette(2). He fought a draw against Jack Johnson.(27-6-1)

(12) Al Kaufman 6’1”, 191- Kaufman was one of the main characters during the white hope era losing only one fight before he faced Jack Johnson in 1909. He was over matched against Johnson in their 10 round fight. During the decade Kaufman defeated “Twin” Sullivan, George Gardner, Mike Schreck, Battling Johnson, Fireman Jim Flynn and Tony Ross. He lost only two fights during the decade were to Johnson and Philadelphia Jack O’Brien.(19-2-0)

(13) Gus Ruhlin  6’0”,200 –Ruhlin’s most memorable moments were his two fights with Jim Jeffries. He fought a draw against Big Jim in 1897 and fought for the title in their 2nd fight in 1901 losing in the 5th round. His glory days were definitely from 1890 to 1899 but Ruhlin was a top contender during the decade. Victories included Tom Sharkey(2), Peter Maher(2), Kid Carter and Jim Jeffords. Losses included Bob Fitzsimmons and Jim Jeffords. He fought a draw against future title holder Marvin Hart in 1904. .(12-5-3) 1 NC

(14) Tom Sharkey 5’8”, 183- Another fighter who’s main claim to fame came in the previous decade but none the less was one of the leading heavyweights during the decade. Victories over Joe Choynski and Joe Goddard while losing to Gus Ruhlin twice, Bob Fitzsimmons and Jack Munroe. (7-5) 1 NC

(15) Fireman Jim Flynn   5’10”,175-  Flynn was a force for two decades in the boxing world. He even fought for the title in 1912 against Jack Johnson. He defeated “Twin” Sullivan(2), George Gardner, Tony Ross, Billy Papke and Battling Johnson. Losses were against Tommy Burns, Jack Johnson, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, Al Kaufman and Sam Langford. He fought draws against “Twin” Sullivan, Battling Johnson and Papke.(21-8-15) 1 NC

(16) Kid McCoy 5’11”, 163- One of the top light heavyweights of the day McCoy also battled the top heavyweights. He defeated Peter Maher, Joe Choynski and “Twin Sullivan.” Loses include Jim Corbett(Probably a fake fight), Kid Carter and Jack Root. He fought draws against Tommy Ryan and Philadelphia Jack O’Brien.(14-3-1)

(17) Mike Schreck  5’8”, - Not widely known as much as the other fighters during the decade but he faced all the top heavyweights, light heavies and middleweights of the day. His victories included Hugo Kelly(2), Tommy Burns, Jim Jeffords, George Gardner and Marvin Hart(2). His losses were against Hugo Kelly(2), Philadelphia Jack O’Brien(2), “Twin” Sullivan(3), Al Kaufman,Tony Ross and Sam Langford. He also fought several draws against “twin” Sullivan, Hugo Kelly(3), Tommy Burns and Tony Ross(3).(64-10-24)

(18) George Gardner 5’10”, 164- In the early part of the decade Gardner had a lot of success. Victories included Jack Root(2), Peter Maher, Marvin Hart and Jim Jeffords. Most of his defeats were in the last few years of his career. Losses were against Jack Johnson, Bob Fitzsimmons, Mike Schreck, Jim Jeffords, Al Kaufman, Fireman Jim Flynn and Tony Ross. Draws were against Marvin Hart, Jack Root and Fireman Jim Flynn.(29-11-5)

(19) Jack Root 5’10”, 171- After Jeffries retirement in 1904, Root fought Marvin Hart for the vacated title and Root lost a 12-KO. He fought most of his career at the light heavyweight class. He fought Fireman Jim Flynn(1-0), George Garnder(2-2-1), Kid McCoy(1-0), Marvin Hart(1-1). (17-3-3)

(20) Denver Ed Martin 6’6 ½”, 190- Negro Heavyweight Champion during the period who held wins over Bob Armstrong, Hank Griffin and Frank Childs. He lost to Jack Johnson, Bob Armstrong and Sam McVea. (17-6-1)

Average weight 1900-1910 fighters 182
(Fighters Record during the decade)

History of the Heavyweight Division 1900-1909
Top Three Heavyweights

1900-Champion, Jim Jeffries  
#1 Bob Fitzsimmons  
#2 Gus Ruhlin                     

1901-Champion, Jim Jeffries  
#1 Bob Fitzsimmons         
#2 Gus Ruhlin                     
#3 Tom Sharkey                 

1902-Champion, Jim Jeffries  
#1 Bob Fitzsimmons         
#2 Gus Ruhlin                     
#3 Tom Sharkey                 

1903-Champion, Jim Jeffries  
#1  Bob Fitzsimmons        
#2 Jack Johnson                

#3 Phil. Jack O’Brien         


1904-Champion, Jim Jeffries  
#1 Bob Fitzsimmons         
#2 Phil. Jack O’Brien  
#3 Jack Johnson      

1905-Champion, Marvin Hart  

#1 Phil. Jack O’Brien   

#2 Jack Johnson 
(8-2-0) 4ND         

1906-Champion,Tommy Burns

#1 Phil. Jack O’Brien
(3-0) 2 NC
#2 Jack Johnson


1907-Champion, Tommy Burns     (3-0-0)                  

#1 Phil. Jack O’Brien    
#2 Jack Johnson                

1908-Champion,-Jack Johnson  (2-0-0)  
#1 Tommy Burns
#2 Phil. Jack O’Brien     
#3 Stanley Ketchell          


1909-Champion, Jack Johnson      (3-0-1)                  

#1 Stanley Ketchell    

 #2 Phil. Jack O’Brien         







Def. Jack Finnegan 1-KO
Def. Gus Ruhlin 6-KO

Def. Tom Sharkey 2-KO
Def. Tom Sharkey 15-KO
Loss Bob Fitzsimmons 6-KO
Def. Peter Maher 6-D                         

Def. Gus Ruhlin 5-KO

Loss Jim Jeffries 5-KO

Def. Bob Fitzsimmons 8-KO

Loss Jim Jeffries 8-KO

Def. Tom Sharkey 11-KO
Loss Gus Ruhlin 11-KO

Def. Jim Corbett 10-KO

Def. George Gardner 20-D

Def. Denver Ed Martin 20-D

Def. Sam McVea 20-D

Def. Sam McVea 20-D       
Def. Joe Choynski 6-D
NC Marvin Hart 6-ND
Def. “Twin” Sullivan 6-D
Def. Mike Schreck 6-D
Def. “Twin” Sullivan 15-D

Def. Jack Munroe 2-KO
Dr. Philadelphia Jack O’Brien 6-DRAW
Dr. Bob Fitzsimmons 6-DRAW. B 
Def. Tommy Burns 6-D

Def. Black Bill 6-D

Def. Sam McVea 20-KO

Def. Denver Ed Martin 2-KO

Def. Jack Johnson 20-D

Def. Jack Root 12-KO
Def. Young Peter Jackson 10-D
Loss Hugo Kelly 10-D

DR “Twin” Sullivan 10-DRAW         

Def. Al Kaufman 17-KO

Def. Bob Fitzsimmons 13-KO
Loss Marvin Hart 20-D
Def. Jim Jeffords 4-KO

Def. Black Bill 4-KO

Def. Marvin Hart 20-D   
Def. Fireman Jim Flynn 15-KO

Dr.-Philadelphia Jack O’Brien 20-DRAW

Dr.-Tommy Burns20-DRAW

Def. Joe Jeannette 3-D
Def. Joe Jeannette 15-D
Def. Black Bill 7-Ko
Sam Langford 15-D
Def. Joe Jeannette 6-D

Def. Philadelphia Jack O’Brien 20-D
Def. Billy Squires 1-KO

Def. Gunner Moir 10-KO
Loss Tommy burns 20-D

Def. Bob Fitzsimmons 2-KO
Def. Fireman Jim Flynn 11-KO

Def. Tommy Burns 14-KO

Loss Jack Johnson 14-KO

Def. Jack Blackburn 6-D

Def. Billy Papke 10-D
Def. Hugo Kelly 3-KO

Loss Billy Papke 12-KO
Def. Billy Papke 11-KO

Dr. Philadelphia Jack O’Brien 6-DRAW
Def. Tony Ross 6-D
Def. Al Kaufman 10-D
Def. Stanley Ketchell 12-KO

Def. Philadelphia Jack O’Brien 10-D

Def. Philadelphia Jack O’Brien 3-KO

Def. Billy Papke 20-D

Loss Jack Johnson 12-KO

Dr. Jack Johnson 6-DRAW





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