Titles: bantamweight champion 1899-1900, featherweight champion 1900-1901 Record: 60-4-4 with 10 no decisions Born: March 9, 1880 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania (USA) Years active: 1897-1908 Nickname: Terrible Terry or The Brooklyn Terror Two of the early boxing historian ranked McGovern as the best...... in two separate divisions. The Ring founder Nat Fleischer had Terry as the best featherweight of all time while Charley Rose ranked Terry number 1 all time at bantamweight. This is a testament to the skills and more importantly the power of McGovern, who should also be ranked among the hardest hitters to ever campaign in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Even now 80 years after he last fought McGovern was ranked the second best featherweight of all time by "The Ring" magazine in 1996. He also had a legendary temper which contributed to at least two of his 4 lifetime losses (Corbett and Callahan) in the ring. Like his ringstyle, McGovern's championship reigns were short but sensational. Terry loved to box and was fearless, fighting anyone, anytime and anywhere just so he could fight. His style, if it can be called a style was to bowl forward throwing punches at his opponents from all angles. What he lacked in grace he made up for with his power and swarming style.McGovern was also one of the first fighters to be known for his body punching, often throwing combination punches to the stomach after ducking low to avoid blows. He was best described by early writers who called him a two fisted terror. McGovern grew up in South Brooklyn, New York and never saw the inside of a classroom, instead taking odd jobs and as a newspaper boy. At age 15 he took a job in a lumber yard and there got into a occasional fight in which he fared well. The owner of the lumber yard saw potential and told Terry to think about boxing. McGovern did so and at the age of 17 turned professional. In two years time he made people in the media capital of New York take notice of his offensive style, it did not take long for him to become a fan favorite and highly ranked contender at bantamweight. In his first 62 bouts, 38 men could not last the distance against him. Bantamweight contenders like George Munroe, Harry Forbes, Austin Rice and Casper Leon all fell to the pressure of McGovern. In a time where it took boxers decades to get title shots, McGovern managed to do it in two years! In 35 fights before challenging Palmer, Terry had only lost once, by disqualification, when he knocked out Tim Callahan on the break after his opponent called him a "Irish son of a bitch." In 1899 McGovern would knock out 11 consecutive opponents inside of three rounds, a incredible feat for the time. also in 1899, two years after his debut McGovern faced world bantamweight champion Tom "Pedlar" Palmer. Pedlar was a experienced veteran who had yet to loose a fight but could not even get out of the first round against McGovern. Terry charged from his corner at the opening bell and swarmed Pedlar who seemed amazed at the aggression of McGovern. The first punch nearly ended the fight and it was over in less than 2 minutes with a right hand ending the matter. McGovern had won his first world title in spectacular fashion. McGovern only made one defense of the title, knocking out Harry Forbes. The next year, 1900, saw McGovern move up in weight and take on a fading but still crafty technician in George Dixon who had held the featherweight title for 10 years. The bout was held in the Broadway Athletic Club and it brought out the best in McGovern. The onslaught of McGovern was simply too much for Dixon to stay away from. Dixon gave in to the pressure in the 8th round after doing good work in the early rounds. Dixon (who had never been knocked down in 14 years) tried gamely but absorbed a terrible beating and his manager threw in the sponge after his man had been down 6 times in the eighth round. McGovern had now won two titles in two years. A fighter named Eddie Santry was recognized by some as the featherweight at the time but McGovern soon cleared up that matter by knocking him out in 5 rounds. McGovern would go on to defended the title 6 times within 16 months, all by knockout. This included a win over Joe Gans in just two rounds which was widely believed to have been fixed. Later it was proven to be fixed when Gans admitted to taking a dive so his manager could collect on bets. Also McGovern was floored and in big trouble against Oscar Gardner but thanks to questionable refereeing survived the round and came back to knock Gardner out. McGovern might have become the first three division champion if his fight with lightweight champion Frank Erne had been for the title. In that fight Erne scored a flash knockdown of McGovern early, but Terry got up and blasted Erne out in the 3rd round. McGovern seemed invincible. In 1901 McGovern meet a young fighter from Denver who went by the name of Young Corbett II, he matched Terry in attitude. Before the featherweight title fight in Hartford, Corbett got McGovern so incensed he entered the ring with uncontrollable rage. Before the fight Corbett unnerved McGovern with his confidence and by insulting him at a restaurant the afternoon of the fight. As Corbett walked by the champions dressing room on his way to the ring he shouted out "Come on out you Irish Rat, and take the licking of your life." McGovern charged from the corner at the opening bell as was his custom but left himself much more open to counters because of the extra wide hooks he was throwing. Corbett countered and put McGovern on his pants in the first round. McGovern would have his moment however as he knocked Corbett down in the same round, but it did not shake the confidence of Corbett. In the next round McGovern again came out swinging wildly and was again knocked down, this time he could not recover and Corbett finished him off in the second round and took his title. After McGovern was revived with smelling salt Corbett added to his misery by stating "You can keep your title, Terry. I am satisfied just to be known as the guy who kayoed Terry McGovern." Like many fighters who suffered their first K.O loss McGovern never seemed to be the same fighter again, going into a steady decline. Many think that perhaps he was not the same man because in 1903 and 1904 his two daughters ages 1 and 3 died within months of each other. A rematch with Corbett in 1903 ended in similar fashion, but this time it took 11 rounds. Corbett again insulted McGovern, his mother, his wife and anyone else he could think of during clinches. McGovern controlled himself better in this fight but still did not have the speed to overcome Corbett. Over the next 5 years McGovern fought sporadically but never again found the kind of accuracy his punches would need to fight at the highest levels. At only 28 years of age when most boxers enter their prime Terry was a shot fighter. After his ring career McGovern sadly entered several sanitariums for mental problems and erratic behavior. McGovern died where he left his greatest impression, in the ring, while refereeing a fight in a World War I army camp. McGovern was dead of pneumonia at the age of 38. A sad end to a brilliant beginning.
1897 Apr 3 Jack Shea Brooklyn, NY KO 1 Apr 24 Frank Barnes Brooklyn, NY W 10 May 3 Eddie Avery New York, NY W 4 May 22 Kid Dougherty Brooklyn, NY W 10 Jun 7 Tom McDermott Brooklyn, NY W 10 Jun 12 Tommy Sullivan Brooklyn, NY D 10 Aug 16 Eddie Goodbody Brooklyn, NY W 10 Aug 23 Billy Barrett Brooklyn, NY W 10 Sep 18 Jack Leon Brooklyn, NY KO 7 Oct 2 Jack Reagan Brooklyn, NY W 6 Oct 9 Jack Doyle Brooklyn, NY W 6 Oct 22 Eddie Goodbody Brooklyn, NY D 4 Nov 13 Harry Peterson New York, NY W 6 Dec 18 Charles Roden New York, NY W 6 Dec 31 Jack Kelly Brooklyn, NY KO 2 1898 Feb 25 Billy Maynard Yonkers, NY W 8 Mar 12 Pinkey Evans Yonkers, NY W 8 Apr 15 Fred Mayo Waterbury, Ct TKO 6 May 5 George Munroe Yonkers, NY D 20 Jun 11 George Munroe Brooklyn, NY KO 24 Jul 23 Tim Callahan Brooklyn, NY L D.Q 11 Aug 4 George Munroe Brooklyn, NY W D.Q 7 Aug 20 Tim Callahan Brooklyn, NY D 20 Sep 15 Eugene Garcia Brooklyn, NY KO 5 Oct 1 Harry Forbes Brooklyn, NY KO 15 Nov 19 Tim Callahan Brooklyn, NY KO 10 Nov 26 Paddy Donovan Philadelphia, Pa KO 3 Dec 17 Jimmy Rose Brooklyn, NY KO 2 Dec 31 Austin Rice Brooklyn, NY KO 14 1899 Jan 30 Casper Leon Brooklyn, NY KO 12 Feb 18 Fred Snyder Philadelphia, Pa W 6 Mar 14 Patsy Haley New York, NY KO 18 Apr 28 Joe Bernstein New York, NY W 25 May 26 Sammy Kelly New York, NY KO 5 Jun 8 Billy Barrett New York, NY KO 10 Jul 1 Johnny Ritchie Tuckahoe, NY KO 3 Sep 12 Thomas "Pedlar" Palmer Tuckahoe, NY KO 1 -Bantamweight Championship of the World; Sep 29 Fred Snyder Philadelphia, Pa KO 2 Oct 9 Billy Rotchford Chicago, Il KO 1 Nov 18 Patsy Haley Chicago, Il KO 1 Nov 18 Bill Smith Chicago, Il KO 3 Nov 30 Eddie Sprague Hartford, Ct KO 2 Dec 12 James J. Corbett Jr. Chicago, Il KO 2 Dec 18 Charlie Mason Cincinnati, Oh KO 2 Dec 18 Freckles O'Brien Cincinnati, Oh KO 1 Dec 22 Harry Forbes New York, NY KO 2 1900 Jan 9 George Dixon New York, NY TKO 8 -Featherweight Championship of the World Jan 29 Jack Ward Baltimore, Md KO 1 Feb 1 Eddie Santry Chicago, Il KO 5 -Featherweight Championship of the World Mar 9 Oscar Gardner New York, NY KO 3 -Featherweight Championship of the World Mar 15 Eddie Lenny Philadelphia, Pa KO 2 Apr 17 Tommy White Chicago, Il ND 6 Apr 20 Tommy Warren New York, NY KO 1 May 21 Elwood McCloskey Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 Jun 12 Tommy White Brooklyn, NY KO 3 -Featherweight Championship of the World Jun 23 George Dixon Chicago, Il W 6 Jul 16 Frank Erne New York, NY TKO 3 Nov 2 Joe Bernstein Louisville, Ky KO 7 -Featherweight Championship of the World Nov 13 Kid Broad Chicago, Il W 6 Dec 13 Joe Gans Chicago, Il KO 2 1901 Apr 30 Oscar Gardner San Francisco, Ca KO 4 -Featherweight Championship of the World May 29 Aurelio Herrera San Francisco, Ca KO 5 -Featherweight Championship of the World Nov 28 Young Corbett II Hartford, Ct Ko by 2 -Featherweight Championship of the World; 1902 Feb 22 Dave Sullivan Louisville, Ky TKO 15 1903 Feb 6 Joe Bernstein Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 Feb 25 Billy Maynard Philadelphia, Pa KO 4 Mar 31 Young Corbett II San Francisco, Ca KO by 11 -Featherweight Championship of the World Sep 26 Lew Ryall Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 Oct 3 Billy Willis Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 Oct 20 Jimmy Briggs Boston, Ma W 15 Dec 19 Billy Willis Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 1904 Jan 1 Leo Henninger Allentown, Pa KO 2 Apr 10 George Barton St. Paul, Mn L 6 Oct 10 Eddie Hanlon Philadelphia, Pa TKO 4 1905 Oct 18 "Harlem" Tommy Murphy Philadelphia, Pa TKO 1 1906 Mar 14 Oscar "Battling" Nelson Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 May 28 Jimmy Britt New York, NY ND 10 Oct 17 Young Corbett II Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 1908 May 16 Young Loughrey Philadelphia, Pa ND 6 May 27 Frank "Spike" Robson New York, NY ND 6