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Jimmy McLarnin

Titles: Welterweight champion 1933-1934 and 1934-1935

Record: 63-11-3 

Born: December 19, in Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland 

Years active: 1923-1936

Nickname:  Baby Facee

To show just how unique McLarnin is you only have to look at his last two 
fights. He defeated Hall of Fame boxers Tony Canzoneri and Lou Ambers....... 
and then retired! What other fighter can you name in the history of the sport 
who walked away from the game at age 29 while on a winning streak like that? 
McLarnin enjoyed "The luck of the Irish" outside of the ring to be sure but 
inside of the ring he was all skill and power. His title reign would only last 
two years but his reign as a great boxer spanned a decade, in it he dueled 15 
champions (beating 13) and defeated 5 reigning world champions in non title 
bouts. The Ring magazine (1996) rated McLarnin the 5th best welterweights of 
all time. A Irishman by birth McLarnin (one of 12 children) moved with his 
family to Vancouver Canada as a 3 year old child and began to box at the age of 
10 after getting into fights over his newspaper corner. He often stated that he 
fought his first fight for $1 but his last for $60,000. Jimmy owed much of his 
success to his mentor/trainer Charles "Pop" Foster who guided McLarnin to early 
success in boxing, they would remain life long friends. For 10 years McLarnin 
would be counted among the worlds best fighters because of his fast hard 
punching hands. Jimmy was a feared right-hand puncher and known most for it, 
but did carry power in both fists. He had too since his right was used less and 
less as his career progressed through injuries. Because of the hand injury he 
became a great boxer instead of just a banger. Jimmy's blows were delivered 
with more handspeed and accuracy then any welterweights of his era. His chin 
was also quite sturdy as proven by only being stopped in one bout via a cut 
while facing the best of his era. Jimmy turned pro as a flyweight at the age of 
16, he soon acquired the nickname of "Babyface" and fought the last seven years 
of his career at welterweight. McLarnin's first 9 fights were all fought in 
Canada before his trainer decided to gradually upgrade his competition by 
moving down the West Coast of America fighting 17 times in 1924. Among his 
fights in 1924 two were against Hall of Famer, Olympic Gold medal winner and 
future flyweight champion Fidel LaBarba. The first was a relatively easy 4 
round win for McLarnin who started fast and kept LaBarba backing up throughout 
the contest. A rematch saw LaBarba manage a 4 round draw. A third fight with 
LaBarba over 10 rounds would be the final decider as to who was the better 
boxer. Jimmy did get the better of LaBarba in the early rounds and was able to 
lure the smoother boxing Fidel into a late round brawl to walk away with a 
deserved decision win. 1925 saw McLarnin win the biggest fight of his 3 year 
career as he took on former champion Pancho Villa and decisioned him over 10 
fast paced rounds. In fact he posted wins over 3 champions over a six month 
span in 1925. He began it with the 10 round win over Villa before he knocked 
out future welterweight champ Jackie Fields and avenged a loss to future 
bantamweight champ Bud Taylor. The earlier loss to Taylor was the first in 32 
fights for McLarnin. Jimmy lost his first shot at the world title when he 
challenged Sammy Mandell. Jimmy was hailed by the press and fans for his 
toughness and willingness to fight the champ, but Jimmy was just not 
experienced enough to take the title. McLarnin would prove to be a fast learner 
and within the next two years won two 10 round non-title matches from Mandell. 
It would still be 5 years of boxing before McLarnin was to get his next 
opportunity because of boxing politics of the day. The era was also known for 
it's ethnic matches and McLarnin dominated the great Jewish boxers of the time. 
While waiting for his title shot McLarnin rode roughshod over the New York 
lightweights and welterweights like Sid Terry, Joe Glick, Ruby Goldstein and Al 
Singer. It only took McLarnin 1:47 to take out highly rated lightweight Sid 
Terry, Goldstein did not see the third round and Singer was knocked out in the 
third. On his way to the welterweight title McLarnin earned fame and attention 
by defeating comebacking Benny Leonard and a prime Billy Petrolle twice. Jimmy 
did loose his first fight with Billy Petrolle in New York City in vicious 
fashion. Jimmy was floored in the first round and never recovered, he absorbed 
a brutal beating that might have ended a lesser mans career. But in 1931 
McLarnin beat Petrolle twice and was never in trouble during either fight, 
those two fights were his only two of the year. After his two wins over 
Petrolle, Jimmy lost a fight against Lou Brouillard which was a blessing in 
disguise as legendary Benny Leonard saw the fight and made a match with 
McLarnin. It was a big mistake as the power of McLarnin got to the aging 
Leonard who could not stay away from the pursuing McLarnin wilting in the 6th 
round. It was a big win for McLarnin and gave him the much needed media backing 
to force a title bout. In 1933 McLarnin would win his first world title by 
beating Young Corbett II in just 2 minutes and 37 seconds. The fight took place 
in Los Angeles and McLarnin was supremely confident. In less than 20 second 
McLarnin had Corbett on the canvas via a right hook, three follow-up left hooks 
sent Corbett down again. Two more punches was all it took for McLarnin to knock 
Corbett down, and out this time. Because of his years chasing the title 
McLarnin avoided all boxing politics and instead of facing easy title defenses 
took on the best available boxer in his very next fight. It would prove costly 
but McLarnin will forever be linked to Barney Ross for their historic three 
fight series which captured the nations attention and drew huge gates. It must 
be counted as one of the best rivalries in any era or weightclass of boxing. 
The fights were also held successively which added to the hype of the fights. 
In the first title fight of their exciting 3 bout series, McLarnin and Ross the 
jr welterweight champ and former World lightweight drew 45,000 fans to the 
stadium. They saw a great evenly matched fight, both fighters traded knockdowns 
in the 9th. From there on however Ross controled the action to win the fight by 
split decision. In the second fight 4 months later in front of 26,000 fans 
McLarnin overcame Ross and a completely closed left eye from the 10th round on 
to win the unanimous decision. Anyone who thought McLarnin was a one 
dimensional puncher was surely impressed by the display of boxing Jimmy put on 
that night. Throughout the fight McLarnin was able to avoid the charges and 
flurry's of Ross using great footwork. He also managed to split the nose of 
Ross with one of his well timed counters. Their last meeting was probably the 
best and most brutal of the 3 bout series. Held before 40,000 fans and refereed 
by Jack Dempsey the two champs went at each other with wild abandon. Ross 
pulled away late taking the last 3 rounds to win a unanimous decision. The 
fight was up for grabs in the last round and McLarnin still claims he won this 
fight with his effort in the last round. The three fight series was great 
because in 45 rounds of action there were few which you can say either man 
dominated. The verdict in the final fight left a bitter taste in McLarnin's 
mouth but eventually he was persuaded to fight again by his manger. If you look 
at his career the last 16 fights on McLarnin's career spanned seven years, but 
because of McLarnin's huge popularity he still managed to earn a small fortune 
in each bout. After the last Ross bouts Jimmy only fought three more time. Yet 
he managed to beat Tony Canzoneri (and also loose to him once) and Lou Ambers 
(who was a lightweight champ at the time) two Hall of Famers in those three 
fights. McLarnin retired from the sport at the age of 29 as a very wealthy man 
thanks to his investments. After his ring career was over McLarnin opened a 
machine shop and would try his hand at acting, golfing and even lectured at 
Universities. When his old manager "Pop" Foster died in 1956 he left McLarnin 
his entire fortune of over $200,000 to add to McLarnin's own fortune. McLarnin 
is still alive today living in California, makeing him the second oldest living 
champion behind Max Schmeling. McLarnin is the kind of success story in and out 
of the ring that all boxers should aspire to be. 
     


Jimmy McLarnin

Career Record: 63 W, 11 L, 3 D (20 K.O's)


                                      1923

	George Ainsworth	BC			W 4
	Young Frye		BC			W 4
	Red Peterson		BC			W 4
	George Ainsworth	BC			W 4
	Mickey Gill		BC			W 4
	Hector McDonald		BC			W 4
	Young Wallace		BC 			W 4
	Red Peterson		BC			W 4
Dec 28	Mickey Gill		Vancouver, BC		W 6

                                      1924

Feb 13	Frankie Sands		Oakland			W 4
Feb 22	Eddie Collins		Oakland			KO 3
Mar 5	Joe Conde		Oakland			KO 3
Mar 19	Frankie Sands		Oakland			W 4
Mar 26	Sammy Lee		San Francisco		W 4
Apr 2	Jimmy Griffiths		Oakland			KO 2
Apr 9	Frank Grandetta		Oakland			W 4
Apr 23	Jockey Lightner		Oakland			W 4
Apr 30	Joe Dillon		Oakland			W 4
May 2	Jimmy Griffiths		Sacramento, CA		W 4
May 14	Abe Gordon		San Francisco		KO 2
Sep 30	Benny Diaz		Vernon, CA		W 4
Oct 7	Frankie Dolan		Vernon, CA		W 4
Oct 14	Young Nationalista	Vernon, CA		W 4
Oct 28	Fidel LaBarba 		Vernon, CA		W 4
Nov 11	Fidel LaBarba 		Vernon, CA		D 4
Dec 9	Memphis Pal Moore	Vernon, CA		D 4

                                      1925

Jan 13	Fidel LaBarba 		Los Angeles		W 10
Mar 25	Teddy Silva		Los Angeles		W 10
Apr 5	Young Farrell		Los Angeles		W 6
Apr 12	Eddie Ramies		Los Angeles		W 6
Jun 2	Charles "Bud" Taylor 	Vernon, CA		L 10
Jul 4	Pancho Villa 		Oakland			W 10
Aug 10	Mickey Gill		Oakland			W 10
Nov 12	Jackie Fields 		Los Angeles		KO 2
Dec 8	Charles "Bud" Taylor 	Vernon, CA		WDQ 2

                                      1926

Jan 12	Charles "Bud" Taylor 	Vernon, CA		L 10
Mar 3	Joey Sangor		Los Angeles		KO 3
Mar 17	Johnny Farr		Los Angeles		L 10
Sep 8	Sidney Glick		Los Angeles		W 10
Oct 15	Doc Snell		Vernon, CA		L 10

                                      1927

Feb 22	Tommy Cello		San Francisco		D 10
Apr 5	Tommy Cello		Los Angeles		W 10
May 6	Freeman Black		San Diego		KO 2
May 27	Johnny LaMar		Hollywood, CA		W 10
Jun 24	Lope Tenorio		Hollywood, CA		W 10
Sep 10	Charlie McBride		San Diego		KO 2
Sep 23	Don Long		San Diego		KO 3
Oct 18	Louis "Kid" Kaplan 	Chicago			KO 8
Nov 23	Billy Wallace		Detroit			W 10

                                      1928

Feb 24	Sid Terris		New York		KO 1
May 21	Sammy Mandell 		New York		L 15
	(For World Lightweight Title)
Jun 21	Phil McGraw		New York		KO 1
Aug 2	Stanislaus Loayza	New York		KO 4
Nov 30	Ray Miller		Detroit			KO by 8

                                      1929

Jan 11	Joe Glick		New York		W 10
Mar 1	Joe Glick		New York		KO 2
Mar 22	Ray Miller		New York		W 10
Oct 9	Sammy Baker		New York		KO 1
Nov 4	Sammy Mandell 		New York		W 10
Dec 13	Ruby Goldstein		New York		KO 2

                                      1930

Mar 1	Sammy Mandell 		Chicago			W 10
Mar 28	Young Jack Thompson 	New York		W 10
Sep 11	Al Singer 		New York		KO 3
Nov 21	Billy Petrolle 		New York		L 10

                                      1931

May 27	Billy Petrolle 		New York		W 10
Aug 20	Billy Petrolle 		New York		W 10

                                      1932

Aug 4	Lou Brouillard 		New York		L 10
Oct 7	Benny Leonard 		New York		KO 6
Dec 16	Sammy Fuller		New York		KO 8

                                      1933

May 29	Young Corbett III 	Los Angeles		KO 1
	(Wins World Welterweight Title)

                                      1934

May 28	Barney Ross 		New York		L 15
	(Loses World Welterweight Title)
Sep 17	Barney Ross 		New York		W 15
	(Regains World Welterweight Title)

                                      1935

May 28	Barney Ross 		New York		L 15
	(Loses World Welterweight Title)

                                      1936

May 8	Tony Canzoneri 		New York		L 10
Oct 5	Tony Canzoneri		New York		W 10
Nov 20	Lou Ambers 		New York		W 10