Ed Martin (boxer)
|Denver Ed Martin|
|Real name||Ed Martin|
|Nickname(s)||The Colorado Giant|
|Height||6 ft 3.5 in (1.92 m)|
September 10, 1881|
|Wins by KO||17|
Denver Ed Martin was an African American boxer who was the World Colored Heavyweight Champion from 24 February 1902, when he beat Frank Childs, until 5 February 1903, when he lost his title to the great Jack Johsnon, the only colored heavyweight champion (and first African American) to win the world's heavyweight championship.
Known as "The Colorado Giant", Martin was born in Denver on 10 September 1881. His height was listed as 6'3½" while some sources report that he was 6'6" or 6'6½" tall.
Martin was a strong boxer with renowned footwork who was a strong puncher.
World Colored Heavyweight Champ
Martin made his debut against former colored heavyweight champ Bob Armstrong on 6 June 1899 at the Lenox Athletic Club in New York City and was knocked-out in the second round. He became the colored heavyweight champ when he beat title-holder Frank Childs in a bout in Chicago on 25 February 1902, out-pointing the champ in a six-round contest.
"Martin proved the cleverer and never gave his opponent a chance, being declared an easy winner on points at the close of the fifteenth round; Martin, it is announced, will challenge the winner of the Jeffries-Fitzsimmons fight in San Francsico."
World heavyweight champ James J. Jeffries, who had fought Armstrong and other African American boxers on the way up through the ranks, maintained the color bar erected by bare-knuckles champ John L. Sullivan, though Martin was not given a title shot. Instead, he met Armstrong for a rematch in Philadelphia on 10 December. According to the Daily Gazette and Bulletin:
"The bout was fast from the start and both men narrowly escaped a knockout. The bell saved Armstrong in the third and fifth and Martin was floored six times in the fourth round."
The six-round bout ended in a no decision. In his next fight, Martin lost his title to Jack Johnson in a decision after 20 rounds. The two fighters treated each other cautiously in the first 10 rounds, but Johnson dropped Martin in the 11th with a right hand to the neck. It was the first of five times he hit the canvas in that round. With his footwork, Martin managed to go the distance, but lost the title.
Martin met Johnson in a rematch for the colored heavyweight title match in Los Angeles on 18 October 1904 and was KO-ed in the second round. In addition to the colored heavyweight title, he shared the distinction with Johnson of having beaten future Oscar-winner Victor McLaglen in the ring, before the pugilist turned to acting, though Johnson beat McLaglen in a six-round exhibition in 1909. The Colorado Giant KO-ed McLaglen in the third round of a scheduled 20-round bout in Aberdeen, Washington the year before.
Johnson would break the color bar in 1908 when he beat Canadian Tommy Burns and became the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. As the heavyweight champ, Johnson dodged African American heavyweights too, though it was on the basis that a fight between two black boxers would prove a bust at the box office. Just like Jim Jeffries, He did not give Martin a shot at the world heavyweight title, either.
Retirement & Comeback
Martin retireed in 1914, after a loss to Englishman Tom Cowler, "The Cumberland Giant", who KO-ed him in the second round. He moved to the Portland, Oregon area, where he kept his hand in the fight game and refereed fights. He staged a come-back in Oregon in 1921, winning three fights, all by knock-outs. None of the fights went more than four rounds.
Martin's last fight was similar to his first in that it involved a fellow colored heavyweight champ. On 18 November 1921, he met colored heavyweight champ Harry Wills in a 10-round bout in Milwaukie, Oregon. Wills knocked Martin down six times before knocking him out in the 1st round. He retired with a record of 23 wins (17 by KO), nine loses (eight by KO) and three + draws. He also won two newspaper decisions.
- ""Denver" Ed Martin (the "Colorado Giant")". Cyber Boxing Zone. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- Cox, Monte D. "Jack Johnson, The Galveston Giant..."Master of Ring Science"". Cox's Corner Profiles. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Denver Ed Martin: Record". BoxRec. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
|Awards and achievements|
|World Colored Heavyweight Champion
24 February 1902 – 5 February 1903