James Archibald McLarnin (19 December 1907 – 28 October 2004) was an Irish-Canadian professional boxer who became a two-time welterweight world champion and an International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee. McLarnin has been referred to as the greatest Irish boxer of all time. BoxRec ranks McLarnin as the 11th best pound-for-pound fighter of all-time, the second best Canadian boxer of all time after Sam Langford, and the third greatest welterweight of all time.
|Real name||James McLarnin|
|Nickname(s)||Baby Faced Assassin|
The Belfast Spider
The Jew Killer
The Jew Beater
The Irish Lullaby
|Weight(s)||Flyweight to welterweight|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Reach||67 in (170 cm)|
|Born||19 December 1907|
Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland
|Died||28 October 2004 (aged 96)|
Richland, Washington, US
|Wins by KO||21|
There was often confusion over McLarnin's exact place of birth and his date of birth. McLarnin himself was unsure as to the exact location and at various times claimed to be born in Inchicore, Dublin or the Lisburn Road in Belfast. Adding to the confusion he went by nicknames the Dublin Destroyer and Belfast Spider. It was Irish boxing historian Patrick Myler who later unearthed McLarnin's birth certificate which showed that McLarnin was born in Hillsborough, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1907.
McLarnin's father, Sam McLarnin, a Methodist from Dublin, was described as 'a typical Dublin Irishman' and traveled throughout Britain and Ireland for work. He later married Mary Ferris from Belfast and they settled in County Down before being drawn into Belfast. When McLarnin was three years of age the whole family emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada via Liverpool. The McLarnins started out as a wheat farmers, but years later, following a particularly harsh winter, the family moved to Vancouver where they opened a second-hand clothes store in Vancouver's east end.
McLarnin was prodigious athlete, his main sports were football, baseball and boxing and was considered a model of propriety by Rev. A.E. Roberts at the Methodist mission in Vancouver. He took up boxing at the age of 10 after getting into a fight defending his newspaper-selling pitch. Former professional boxer Charles "Pop" Foster recognized McLarnin's talent at the age of 13. He constructed a makeshift gym for McLarnin to train in, sure that he would one day be the champion of the world. The two of them would remain close, and when Foster died, he left everything he had to McLarnin.
Following a successful start to his career in Vancouver, McLarnin's grew aggrieved at the low pay he was receiving for bouts and decided to move south. "We had to go to the United States to make our money. We owe Vancouver nothing" said McLarnin.
Foster took McLarnin to San Francisco, where his youthful appearance made it difficult to get a fight until he lied about his age. It is for this reason that McLarnin was known as the "Baby-faced Assassin". Despite his youthful appearance, McLarnin had incredible power with both fists, his right being particularly feared. However, like many similar fighters McLarnin suffered several hand injuries throughout his career. Towards the end of his career McLarnin was forced to become more of a scientific boxer to reduce further injuries to his hands.
McLarnin lost his first title shot on 21 May 1928 in New York against world lightweight champion Sammy Mandell. However, he did go on to beat him twice in the following two years. It would be five years before McLarnin would next get a title shot, during which time he knocked out gifted Jewish fighters Al Singer, Ruby Goldstein, and Sid Terris.
McLarnin's second title shot came against welterweight champion Young Corbett III. McLarnin won by knockout after only 2 minutes 37 seconds. Following his title success, McLarnin fought an epic three-fight series with Barney Ross. The first fight, on 28 May 1934, was won by Ross, but McLarnin regained his title in their next match four months later. In the deciding fight on 28 May 1935, McLarnin lost his title for the final time in a narrow decision.
McLarnin retired in November 1936 still at the top of his game, having won his last two fights against all-time greats Tony Canzoneri and Lou Ambers. His record was 54 wins, 11 losses, and 3 draws in 68 contests. In 1996 Ring Magazine voted McLarnin the fifth-greatest welterweight of all time.
Life after boxingEdit
McLarnin never returned to the ring despite large incentives for him to do so. Unlike many boxers, McLarnin invested his money wisely and retired a wealthy man. He opened an electrical goods store, and also did some acting, golfing, and lecturing.
In 1938, he appeared in a background gymnasium scene for the successful 1938, MGM boxing movie, The Crowd Roars with boxers Abe "The Newsboy" Hollandersky, Joe Glick, Maxie Rosenbloom, Jack Roper, and Tommy Herman.
In 1946, he appeared in Monogram Pictures' boxing movie, Joe Palooka, Champ, with cameos by real boxing greats Joe Louis, Henry Armstrong, Ceferino Garcia, and Manual Ortiz. Heavyweight Jack Roper appeared as the character Waldo. The simple plot involved young boxer Joe and his girl resisting mob influence while Joe trains to fight the champ.
Professional boxing recordEdit
|69 fights||55 wins||11 losses|
|69||Win||55–11–3||Lou Ambers||UD||10||1936-11-20||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|68||Win||54–11–3||Tony Canzoneri||UD||10||1936-10-05||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|67||Loss||53–11–3||Tony Canzoneri||UD||10||1936-05-08||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|66||Loss||53–10–3||Barney Ross||UD||15||1935-05-28||Polo Grounds, New York City, New York||Lost The Ring and lineal welterweight titles|
|65||Win||53–9–3||Barney Ross||SD||15||1934-09-17||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York||Won The Ring and lineal welterweight titles|
|64||Loss||52–9–3||Barney Ross||SD||15||1934-05-28||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York||Lost The Ring and lineal welterweight titles|
The Ring magazine's "Fight of the Year" (1934)
|63||Win||52–8–3||Young Corbett III||TKO||1 (10), 2:37||1933-05-29||Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California||Won lineal welterweight title|
Won inaugural The Ring welterweight title
|62||Win||51–8–3||Sammy Fuller||TKO||8 (10), 2:58||1932-12-16||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|61||Win||50–8–3||Benny Leonard||TKO||6 (10), 2:55||1932-10-07||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|60||Loss||49–8–3||Lou Brouillard||SD||10||1932-08-04||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York|
|59||Win||49–7–3||Billy Petrolle||UD||10||1931-08-20||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York|
|58||Win||48–7–3||Billy Petrolle||UD||10||1931-05-27||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|57||Loss||47–7–3||Billy Petrolle||UD||10||1930-11-21||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|56||Win||47–6–3||Al Singer||KO||3 (10), 2:21||1930-09-11||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York|
|55||Win||46–6–3||Jack Thompson||UD||10||1930-03-28||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|54||Win||45–6–3||Sammy Mandell||UD||10||1930-03-01||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois|
|53||Win||44–6–3||Ruby Goldstein||KO||2 (10)||1929-12-13||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|52||Win||43–6–3||Sammy Mandell||UD||10||1929-11-04||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois|
|51||Win||42–6–3||Sergeant Sammy Baker||KO||1 (10), 2:01||1929-10-09||New York Coliseum, Bronx, New York|
|50||Win||41–6–3||Ray Miller||UD||10||1929-03-22||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|49||Win||40–6–3||Joe Glick||KO||2 (10), 1:37||1929-03-01||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|48||Win||39–6–3||Joe Glick||UD||10||1929-01-11||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|47||Loss||38–6–3||Ray Miller||RTD||7 (10)||1928-11-30||Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan|
|46||Win||38–5–3||Stanislaus Loayza||KO||4 (10)||1928-08-02||Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan|
|45||Win||37–5–3||Phil McGraw||TKO||1 (10), 2:45||1928-06-21||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|44||Loss||36–5–3||Sammy Mandell||UD||15||1928-05-21||Polo Grounds, New York City, New York||For lineal lightweight title|
|43||Win||36–4–3||Sid Terris||KO||1 (10), 1:47||1928-02-24||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|42||Win||35–4–3||Billy Wallace||PTS||10||1927-11-23||Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan|
|41||Win||34–4–3||Louis Kaplan||KO||8 (10)||1927-10-18||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois|
|40||Win||33–4–3||Don Long||KO||3 (10)||1927-09-23||San Diego Coliseum, San Diego, California|
|39||Win||32–4–3||Charlie McBride||KO||2 (10)||1927-09-09||San Diego Coliseum, San Diego, California|
|38||Win||31–4–3||Lope Tenorio||PTS||10||1927-06-24||Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California|
|37||Win||30–4–3||Johnny Lamar||PTS||10||1927-05-27||Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California|
|36||Win||29–4–3||Freeman Black||KO||2 (10)||1927-05-06||San Diego Coliseum, San Diego, California|
|35||Win||28–4–3||Tommy Cello||PTS||10||1927-04-05||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California|
|34||Draw||27–4–3||Tommy Cello||PTS||10||1927-02-22||Recreation Park, San Francisco, California|
|33||Loss||27–4–2||Doc Snell||PTS||10||1926-10-15||Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California|
|32||Win||27–3–2||Joe Glick||PTS||10||1926-09-07||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|31||Loss||26–3–2||Johnny Farr||PTS||10||1926-03-17||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California|
|30||Win||26–2–2||Joey Sangor||KO||3 (10)||1926-03-03||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California|
|29||Loss||25–2–2||Bud Taylor||PTS||10||1926-01-12||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|28||Win||25–1–2||Bud Taylor||DQ||2 (10)||1925-12-08||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|27||Win||24–1–2||Jackie Fields||KO||2 (10)||1925-11-12||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California|
|26||Win||23–1–2||Pancho Villa||PTS||10||1925-07-04||Oaks Park, Emeryville, California||Villa died days later of tooth infection complicated by fighting McLarnin|
|25||Loss||22–1–2||Bud Taylor||PTS||10||1925-06-02||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|24||Win||22–0–2||Eddie Spec Ramies||KO||6 (6)||1925-04-18||Recreation Park, San Francisco, California|
|23||Win||21–0–2||Young Farrell||PTS||6||1925-04-11||Lyceum A.C., Los Angeles, California|
|22||Win||20–0–2||Teddy Silva||PTS||10||1925-03-24||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|21||Win||19–0–2||Fidel LaBarba||PTS||10||1925-01-13||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California||Pacific Coast Flyweight Title|
|20||Draw||18–0–2||Memphis Pal Moore||PTS||4||1924-12-09||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|19||Draw||18–0–1||Fidel LaBarba||PTS||4||1924-11-11||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|18||Win||18–0||Fidel LaBarba||PTS||4||1924-10-28||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|17||Win||17–0||Young Nationalista||PTS||4||1924-10-14||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|16||Win||16–0||Frankie Dolan||PTS||4||1924-10-07||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|15||Win||15–0||Benny Diaz||PTS||4||1924-09-30||Vernon Arena, Vernon, California|
|14||Win||14–0||Mickey Gill||MD||10||1924-8-15||Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia|
|13||Win||13–0||Abe Gordon||KO||2 (4)||1924-05-14||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|12||Win||12–0||Jimmy Griffiths||PTS||4||1924-05-02||L-st Arena, Sacramento, California|
|11||Win||11–0||Jockey Joe Dillon||PTS||4||1924-04-30||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|10||Win||10–0||Johnny Jockey Lightner||PTS||4||1924-04-23||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|9||Win||9–0||Frankie Grandetta||PTS||4||1924-04-09||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|8||Win||8–0||Jimmy Griffiths||PTS||4||1924-04-02||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|7||Win||7–0||Sammy Lee||PTS||4||1924-03-26||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|6||Win||6–0||Frankie Sands||PTS||4||1924-03-19||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|5||Win||5–0||Joe Conde||TKO||3 (4)||1924-03-05||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|4||Win||4–0||Eddie Collins||TKO||3 (4)||1924-02-22||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|3||Win||3–0||Frankie Sands||PTS||4||1924-02-13||Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California|
|2||Win||2–0||Mickey Gill||MD||7||1923-12-28||Hastings Gym, Vancouver, British Columbia|
|1||Win||1–0||Young Fry||KO||1 (6)||1923-12-19||Hasting Gym, Vancouver, British Columbia|
- "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". Cyber Boxing Zone.
- "All-time World welterweights". from BoxRec.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- Glynn Evans (18 December 2015). "9 Greatest Irish Boxers of All-Time". BoxNation. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- Brendan Galbraith (28 June 2013). "Relative of the great Jimmy McLarnin in action in Belfast tonight". Yahoo Sport. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- Jack Cavanaugh (10 November 2004). "Jimmy McLarnin, Top Boxer Called Baby Face, Dies at 96". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- Mike Lewis (11 November 2004). "McLarnin and Ross" (PDF). The Boxing Biographies Newsletter. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "Obituaries : Jimmy McLarnin". The Observer. 11 November 2004. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "Obituary: Jimmy McLarnin". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Boxrec. "Jimmy McLarnin". Boxrec Fighter Page. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- Mike Lewis (11 November 2004). "Jimmy McLarnin". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
- "IMDB Cast of Big City". IMDb. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- "Pretty Boy to HeMan", Dallas Morning News, pg. 12, Dallas, TX., 9 August 1938.
- "IMDB Cast of Joe Palooka, Champ". IMDb. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- Jimmy McLarnin, Top Boxer Called Baby Face, Dies at 96
|Awards and achievements|
Young Corbett III
| World Welterweight Champion
29 May 1933 – 28 May 1934
|Inaugural Champion|| The Ring Welterweight Champion|
29 May 1933 – 28 May 1934
| World Welterweight Champion|
17 September 1934 – 28 May 1935
| The Ring Welterweight Champion|
17 September 1934 – 28 May 1935