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Larry Gains

Titles: Never a world champion

Record: 116-23-5 with 5 no contests

Born: December 12, 1901 in Toronto, Canada

Years active: 1923-1941

Nickname: None

Never heard of Larry Gains? Don't feel bad you are not in the the minority. 
Gains is one of the quality black fighters who did not get much recognition 
in his time, Sam McVey, Sam Langford, Joe Jeanette and Harry Wills are the 
more prominently covered fighters of that era. There is a good reason for 
this. The other African American fighters I mentioned all fought in the 
United States while Larry Gains took his skills to England and Europe to 
display his skills and thus has been somewhat ignored by history because 
of this. Gains was born in Canada where established a good amateur record 
before leaving for England on a cattle boat to start a pro career as a 
boxer at the age of 21. He promptly lost that first fight in England then 
traveled across Europe fighting the big men of various nations while basing 
himself out of Germany. He quickly gained acclaim for his powerful physique 
and a hard hitting right hand. During those 3 years one of his knockout 
victims was a young Max Schmeling who only lasted 2 rounds with Gains. At 
24 he moved to Leichester England established himself with some good wins 
then capped the year of by wining the Commonwealth title from Phil Scott 
in 2 one sided rounds. Two roughly fought defenses against Don McCorkindale 
and George Cook earned him fans within the country. Now Gains crossed the
Atlantic again...this time on a luxury cruise line, to win the Canadian 
heavyweight title from Soldier Jones in Toronto. He also sparred with Jack 
Dempsey who admittedly told people he could not hit Gains. In 1929 Gains 
returned to Europe and for the next 4 years only lost 1 fight defeating 
future champion Primo Carnera and dew with former light heavyweight champ 
Mike McTigue. The smooth boxing Len Harvey was given a disputed decision 
over Gains for the Commonwealth title the next year, a return match with 
Len Harvey saw Gains defeated again and the very talented Peter Jackson 
also defeated Gains who was now on the downside of his career. Gains would 
box on for 7 years until the age of 41 but never for any popular titles. 
Gains was a well respected man in his times noted for his gentlemanly
behavior thruout his career.