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Jim Jeffries, A National Hero

-ยป

STAFF CORRESPONDENT

NEW YORK, March 7.-Former world heavyweight champion, Jim Jefferies, was buried this week near his home in Burbank, California, while another ring "great," Tom Sharkey, his closest friend and former opponent, lay near death in a San Francisco hospital.

Sharkey is too ill to be

told of his friend's death at 77 this week.

His memories of "Big Jim" Jeffries, one of the last of the old time prize fighters, would probably be the most vivid of any

man alive.

Jeffries had comparatively little of that intangible quality which the sports world knows as

colour.

But the attributes he did pos- sess^-a devastating punch and a powerful physique-made him a

national hero.

Jeffries was one of the few heavyweight champions to retire undefeated, and his record would have remained untarnished had he not been forced by public demand to come out of his re- tirement to fight the Negro, Jack

Johnson.

"Big Jim" was a product of an era of out-and-out slugging for slim purses.

It was an era sandwiched be- tween the bare knuckle crusades

of men like John L. Sullivan and the golden era of boxing pre- sided over by the Jack Demp- seys, the Gene Tunneys, and Joe Louises. ,

Jeffries reigned as heavy-, weight champion from 1899.

until 1904.

Six years later he came back to be floored for the first time in his life by the crafty Johnson. .'

Tex Rickurd, the promoter, said that Jeffries collected 101,000 dollars for the slaughter, but his entire ring earnings after expense had been paid barely touched 200,000 dollars.

In 1923 Jeffries went into vol- untary bankruptcy with assets of 130,000 dollars and liabilities of 192,000 dollars.

It took him many years to be- come solvent, swallowing his pride and touring with his friend,

JIM JEFFRIES,

in a recent photograph

Tom Sharkey, as vaudeville fight-

ers.

His vaudeville tour with Tom

Sharkey was a minor success, but ^

soon he went back to stock farm- ing on what was left of his pro- perty after it had been sub- divided to pay his debts.

Some of his bitterness was dis- sipated in his later years when he became deeply interested in the amateur fighters he trained in "Jeffries's Barn," an old stable near his home.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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