Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Boxing History: On This Day: Jackie Graves Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Jackie Graves, nicknamed ‘The Austin Atom’ was a hard-hitting southpaw, featherweight, who mixed it with some of the best 126-pounders of the 1940s and 50s. Graves was born, John Thomas Graves, on September 12, 1922, in Austin, Minnesota. Following an amateur career, which saw him win a number of titles, Graves turned professional at the age of 22 in 1944. Graves hard-punching, all-action style made him a big hit with the fans.

During his professional career, Graves fought name fighters such as, Harry Jeffra, Charlie Riley, Luis Castillo, Tony Olivera, Jose Gonzalez, Victor Flores, Charley Cabey Lewis, Jackie Wilson, Jackie Callura, Lefty Lachance, Jimmy Joyce, Clint Miller, Spider Armstrong, Harry Lasane, Harold Dade, Willie Cheatum, Manny Ortega, Bobby Bell, Humberto Sierra, Teddy Davis, Glen Flanagan, Ernesto Aguilar, and Manuel Ortiz,

During the late 40s, Graves was ranked highly in the world by “The Ring” magazine, yet was never able to secure a shot at the World featherweight title. The closest Graves came to a world title chance was when he fought the World featherweight champion, Willie Pep, on July 25, 1946, in a non-title fight. This is the fight in which Pep is said to have won a round (the 3rd) without throwing a punch, but just by dodging Graves' punches, but this was proven false by several sources who were at the fight.

Various accounts of this fight say that both Pep, and Graves, were on the floor. Graves put up a brave display, but was eventually stopped in the 8th round.

In an interview with Jake Wegner, Graves spoke of his greatest memory of his career.“They all were great. But my fight with the Featherweight Champion of the world, Willie Pep. Regardless of the outcome, that was my greatest moment of my career. I just wish I could do it all over again-all of it. I used to joke with Willie that his name is Pep, and he has a lot of pep. (laughs) Lordi, that man never ran out of gas. He was great.”

Graves fought on until 1956, with his last fight being a 3rd round knock out defeat to Glen Flanagan on March 22, 1956. Graves' final record was (82-11-2, 48koes).

Jackie Graves died on November 15, 2005, after a long bout with Alzheimer's Disease. 

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1 comment:

  1. Boxing is one of my favorite sports. And Jackie Graves is surely one of the greatest boxers of all time. He will be remembered in the history of Boxing forever.