Best Boxing Figure To Die In The Past Twelve Months - 2000
Beau Jack, born Sidney Walker in Augusta, Georgia, was one of the most exciting fighters in the world during the Forties, a time many consider boxing's golden age. He fought the best part of his 112 professional matches before sellout crowds in Madison Square Garden, winning and losing the lightweight title twice (record: 83-24-5). Jack lived his last 44 years in Miami, where he operated a shoeshine stand in the Fontainebleau Hotel and later trained fighters and managed Miami Beach's famed Fifth Street Gym. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991, and this past December an Associated Press panel voted him one of the top ten lightweights of the century. In his last years, afflicted with Parkinson's disease, Jack was toasted at gala banquets and sweet-science affairs around the nation, where he traveled with the help of his long-time friend, Miami boxing historian Hank Kaplan. Jack died at age 79 on February 9, 2000, in a Miami nursing home. "Goodbye, Beau Jack," New York Daily News sportswriter Bill Gallo wistfully concluded in a column eulogizing the fierce-punching brawler. "They don't hardly make fighters like you anymore."