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Famous Like Me > Actor > L > Sam Langford

Profile of Sam Langford on Famous Like Me

Name: Sam Langford  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 4th March 1883
Place of Birth: Weymouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Sam Langford (b ~1883 - d. 1956) is considered the greatest fighter to never hold a world title. Langford was originally from Weymouth Falls, a small community in Nova Scotia, Canada. Known as the "Boston Bonecrusher" or the "Boston Tar Baby," Langford stood only 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) and weighed 150 lb (68 kg) in his prime. He fought greats from the lightweight division right up to the heavyweights, beating many champions in the process. However, due to several factors, he was never able to secure a world title for himself.

The primary reason for this was boxing's "color line," the unspoken glass ceiling that hampered blacks from advancing in boxing from the time of Sullivan to the rise of Louis. Age, size, experience, or any combination of the three were considered requisite in order for black fighters to secure important title fights against their white counterparts. A black fighter of Langford's skill level still made good money in the ring despite this setback, and at the height of his prime, Langford lived the high life.

Langford spent most of his career repeatedly fighting black boxers like Sam McVey, Battling Jim Johnson and Joe Jeanette, who experienced similar situations in their careers. He squared off with Dempsey antagonist Harry Wills on 22 separate occasions. Langford defeated lightweight champion Joe Gans in 1903, drew welterweight champion Joe Walcott in 1904, lost to future world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in 1906, and knocked out former light-heavyweight champion "Philadelphia Jack O'Brien" in 1911, with scores of contender fights in between. His last fight was in 1926, when failing eyesight finally forced him to retire.

Those who saw Sam said he had very fast hands, especially his jab, and a relaxed defensive style. He was considered flashy. One story characterizing his career involved Langford walking out for the 8th round and touching gloves with his opponent. "What's the matter, Sam, it ain't the last round!" said his mystified opponent. "Tis for you son," said Sam, who promptly knocked his opponent out.

Langford eventually went completely blind and ended up penniless, living in Harlem, New York City. In 1944, a famous article was published about his plight and money was donated by fans to Langford's situation.

Langford was enshrined in the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1955. He died a year later in Cambridge, Mass., where he had been living with his daughter's family.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Sam Langford