Titles: Never a world champion Record: 63-15-12 and 2 N.C's Born: May 17 1884, in Oxnard, California (USA) Years active: 1902-1921 Nickname: None Could Sam McVey a 5 foot 10 1/2 , 210 pound man have become the heavyweight champion of the world in the 1910's if it were not for the racial barriers put in front of him? That is a hard question to answer but good results against the best boxers of his time shows that he had the ability. McVey would have had to battle "The great foursome" of Black heavyweight of the time, that counted Jack Johnson, Sam Langford and Joe Jeannette as the other 3. During his 82-bout career, which lasted from 1902-1920, McVey fought all over the world including, England, Australia, Cuba, Panama, Chile and Argentina. There are no films of McVey who was said to be a naturally strong man who used it to his advantage in the ring. McVey was built much as Tyson was in his prime. Sam also learned all the tricks of boxing while boxing the other great black boxer of the era in round robin tourneys. A very strong and powerful puncher McVey was known to be a slugger who was drawn into brawls and that could usualy beat other big punchers. Slick boxers did give him a lot of trouble however. His own defensive skills were said to be above average. McVey seldom fought white fighters and never fought for the a world title. This was because of his great ability as much as his skin color. Many do not take into account that McVey's prime came during the heavyweight title reign of Jack Johnson. During this reign, Johnson put his title on the line 11 times, but only once, against a black challenger. Surley Johnson remembered the tough time McVey gave him in the ring and decided to sidestep the tough McVey. The white champions that followed and their fans were not in a hurry to face black challengers. In only his eighth fight as a pro McVey fought a spirted but losing effort against the great Jack Johnson, a sign that nothing would come easy for McVey. McVey would meet Johnson 3 times and learn from all three losses. Having met two times previous, with Johnson winning decisions, expectations were not high for their third meeting. Since the previous two bouts, held in Los Angeles, showed Johnson had badly beaten McVey. In the second bout; billed as the Black heavyweight Championship, one reporter noted that McVey went through the "worst hell" ever witnessed in a Los Angeles prize ring. This was to be the final match between the two, although some eight years later, with Johnson then world champion, McVey nearly got a title bout in Australia, but finances fell through and Johnson went on to fight Jim Flynn. In this third match, Jack Johnson put on twenty magnificent rounds of boxing, then with twenty seconds remaining in the twentieth and final round, Johnson unleashed a left right combination that knocked McVey out cold. Afterwards, McVey asked his manager "Was it a draw?", to which Spider responded, "Yes and they robbed us." It is also vital to note that McVey fought all three of his fights with Johnson before his 20th birthday and was only going to get better. The greatest rival McVey faced was Sam Langford whom he fought 15 times in countries like Australia, France, Argentina and of course America between 1911 and 1920. McVey also fought the great Joe Jeanette (my vote as most underrated heavy of all time) five times going 1-1-2 including a famous bout in 1909. It would become both of their most memorable bout, a fight which I think might be the greatest fight of all-time. Joe Jeannette overcame 22 knockdowns in the first 37 rounds to stop McVey. The endurance of Jeannette in this fight was phenomenal as he kept coming back and in the 39th round he finally put McVey down for the first time. Yet Jeannette was to go down another 18 times while McVey hit the canvas 6 more times. Finally in the 49th round a exhausted McVey got of his stool and collapsed without a punch being landed. The fight had lasted 3 hours and 12 minutes by the time the 46 knockdown fight had ended! There was no loser in this fight. It is a shame that there is not much information regarding McVey's life and many of his fights since it was not covered by the white press with any regularity. Also much of his prime was spent overseas where he fought other black fighters of the time. McVey would die on Dec. 23, 1921 in New York City, still a active heavyweight. He was only 37 years old at the time of his passing.
1902 Apr 12 George Sullivan Oxnard, Ca KO 6 Jun 19 Jack McCall Oxnard, Ca KO 3 Jul 19 Herb McKell Oxnard, Ca KO 5 Oct 9 Jack Fogarty Oxnard, Ca KO 5 Nov 1 Fred Russell Oxnard, Ca KO 5 1903 Jan 6 Toothpick Kelly Los Angeles, Ca KO 4 Jan 31 Jack Lavelle Oxnard, Ca KO 1 Feb 26 Jack Johnson Los Angeles, Ca L 20 May 5 Kid Carter Los Angeles, Ca KO 11 Sep 15 "Denver" Ed Martin Los Angeles, Ca KO 1 Oct 27 Jack Johnson Los Angeles, Ca L 20 1904 Apr 22 Jack Johnson San Francisco, Ca LK 20 Aug 12 "Denver" Ed Martin Los Angeles, Ca L 10 1906 Jan 25 "Denver" Ed Martin San Diego, Ca KO 4 Feb 24 Tornado Smith Bakersfield, Ca KO 1 Nov 29 Matt Turney Vallejo, Ca KO 2 1907 Feb 28 "Denver" Ed Martin Sacramento, Ca KO 16 Apr 15 Joe Jeannette New York, NY ND 10 Jun 3 Ben Taylor London, Eng KO 3 --- Frank Craig Paris, Fr KO 3 --- Marc Gaucher Paris, Fr KO 4 Dec 28 Jack Scales Paris, Fr KO 2 1908 Mar 23 Joseph "Jewey" Smith Paris, Fr KO 3 Apr 15 Ben Taylor Paris, Fr KO 11 --- Harry Shearing Paris, Fr KO 4 Sep 19 Harry Shearing Paris, Fr KO 1 --- Herbert Synott Paris, Fr KO 3 1909 Jan 23 Billy Rikard Paris, Fr KO 1 --- Herbert Synott Roubaix, Fr KO 5 Feb 20 Joe Jeannette < Paris, Fr W 20 Apr 9 "Cyclone" Bill Warren Paris, Fr KO 2 Apr 17 Joe Jeannette Paris, Fr LT 49 Jun 26 Jim Barry Paris, Fr WF 15 --- Georges Rampazzi Biarritz, Fr KO 3 --- Bill Harris Marseille, Fr KO 5 Dec 11 Joe Jeannette Paris, Fr D 20 1910 Jan 27 Fred Drummond LeHavre, Fr KO 5 Feb 11 Arthur Bennett Brussels, Bel KO 5 Feb 26 Al Kubiak Paris, Fr KO 10 --- Arthur Bennett Nancy, Fr KO 4 Apr 16 Jim Stewart Paris, Fr TK 6 Jun 25 Joe Grim Paris, Fr KO 12 Jul 22 Peter Price Paris, Fr KO 5 Aug 7 "Battling" Jim Johnson Neuilly, Fr D 15 Oct 22 Sergeant Sunshine Paris, Fr KO 1 Nov 19 "Battling" Jim Johnson Paris, Fr KO 21 1911 Apr 1 Sam Langford Paris, Fr D 20 --- Andrew Dixon Lille, Fr KO 3 Jul 20 George "Boer" Rodel Liverpool, Eng KO 1 Aug 3 Alf Langford Sheffield, Eng KO 7 Sep 30 Jack Lester Sydney, NSW, Aus W 20 Oct 28 Bill Lang Sydney, NSW, Aus KO 2 Dec 11 Jack Lester Brisbane, Que, Aus KO 8 Dec 26 Sam Langford Sydney, NSW, Aus W 20 1912 Mar 16 Jim Barry Sydney, NSW, Aus W 20 Apr 11 Sam Langford Sydney, NSW, Aus L 20 Aug 3 Sam Langford Sydney, NSW, Aus L 20 Oct 10 Sam Langford Perth, WA, Aus LT 11 Dec 26 Sam Langford Sydney, NSW, Aus LK 13 1913 Mar 24 Sam Langford Brisbane, Que, Aus D 20 Apr 19 Colin Bell Adelaide, SA, Aus TK 16 Dec 26 Colin Bell Sydney, NSW, Aus KO 2 1914 Jun 13 Arthur Pelkey Melbourne, Vic, Aus KO 4 Dec 10 "Battling" Jim Johnson New York, NY ND 10 Dec 20 Harry Wills New Orleans, La W 20 1915 Feb 20 "Battling" Jim Johnson Havana, Cu W 20 Apr 27 Joe Jeannette Boston, Ma D 12 May 19 Harry Wills New York, NY ND 10 Jun 9 "Battling" Jim Johnson Montreal, Que, Can ND 10 Jun 29 Sam Langford Boston, Ma W 12 Aug 10 John "Sandy" Ferguson Boston, Ma TK 8 Sep 7 Harry Wills Boston, Ma L 12 Sep 30 Sam Langford Denver, Co D 20 Oct 15 Jeff Clark Kansas City, Mo W 10 Nov 23 Sam Langford New York, NY ND 10 1916 Feb 17 Sam Langford New York, NY ND 10 Apr 7 Sam Langford Syracuse, NY ND 10 Apr 14 Jack Thompson St. Louis, Mo ND 8 May 2 Sam Langford Akron, Oh ND 12 Aug 12 Sam Langford Buenos Aires, Arg D 20 Sep 3 Bob Devere Santiago, Chi D 20 Sep 20 Bob Devere Santiago, Chi W 10 1917 Jan 10 Kid Norfolk Colon, Pan ND 6 Mar 11 Jim Barry Panama City, Pan TK 7 May 13 Jeff Clark Panama City, Pan W 20 Jul 15 Jeff Clark Panama City, Pan KO 15 Aug 12 "Battling" Jim Johnson Panama City, Pan W 20 Oct 14 "Battling" Jim Johnson Colon, Pan W 20 1918 Feb 17 Harry Wills Panama City, Pan LK 5 1920 Aug 5 Pinkey Lewis Tulsa, Ok L 10 Aug 14 Sam Langford East Chicago, In ND 10 Sep 1 Jack Ward Atlanta, Ga KO 2 Sep 8 Harry Wills Philadelphia, Pa NC 6 1921 Mar 15 Jack Thompson Detroit, Mi NC 6 Mar 21 Jeff Clark Columbus, Oh W 12 Jul 7 Jeff Clark Atlantic City, NJ ND 10 Aug 2 Jeff Clark Lancaster, Pa ND 10