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Young Griffo

Titles: Featherweight champion 1890-1893

Record: 69-12-43 with 48 No Decisions

Born: April 15, 1869 in Sofala, Australia

Years active: 1986-1911

Nickname: None

How good was Griffo? His first loss came in his 168th and it was said to be 
a bad decision! Griffo  has been compared favorably with Pep and Saddler 
for his ring skills the difference being that Griffo reportedly rarely 
trained. Griffo began life on board of a freighter on it's way from England 
to Sydney. As a newspaper boy he began to box after successful street 
fights. Griffo was happy go luck man who used boxing to ensure he was able 
to buy himself as much drink as he wanted. He was recognized as the 
featherweight world champion when he defeated Torpedo Billy Murphy and
must be considered a all time great for his abilities. Griffo was a 
featherweight but in those times he was allowed to take on all comers, 
which he did with zeal. Early accounts of his career have Griffo fighting 
a young black boxer Called Pluto and they drew in two contests with the
longest going 70 rounds! National recognition came when Griffo weighing 
112 pounds won a tourney for 140 pound boxers, that was followed by a 
Australian title wining effort against Niper Peakes. Now he challenged the 
best of Australia the most notable of which was a win over Billy Murphy for 
a version of the world title in a 15th round knockout. After one title 
defense Griffo set sail for America in search of bigger money and more 
recognition. He earned immediate recognition in fights that were declared
draws against very the good Solly Smith, George Lavigne and Johnny Herst. 
It is accepted that he did get the better of each of those opponents 
however. Fights with Joe Gans, George Dixon and Jack McCauliffe would soon 
follow. By 1900 his drinking was catching up with him rather than the fights 
he was in since he did not get hit very much in his bouts. Hugh Bean knocked 
him out when he traveled to New York and Joe Gans repeated that later in the 
year. In retirement the wise cracking who earned more than $100,000 from 
boxing spent it all on drink and women. In his last years he was seen pan
handling in Times Square and lived in a basement room in New York City. After 
his death it is said legendary promoter Tex Richard paid for his funeral. 
Griffo was also famous for boasting that he could stand on a handkerchief and 
not be hit......and he would then prove it.