Gunboat Smith

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Gunboat Smith
GunboatSmithLOC.jpg
Statistics
Real name Edward Smith
Nickname(s) Gunboat
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Reach 72 in (180 cm)
Nationality United States
Born (1887-02-17)February 17, 1887
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died August 6, 1974(1974-08-06) (aged 87)
Leesburg, Florida
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 140
Wins 81
Wins by KO 38
Losses 46
Draws 13

Edward "Gunboat" Smith (February 17, 1887 – August 6, 1974) was an Irish American boxer and later a boxing referee. Smith's career record reads like a veritable Who's Who of the early 20th century boxing scene, facing 12 different Hall of Famers a combined total of 23 times. Among the all-time greats he faced were the legendary Jack Dempsey, Harry Greb, Sam Langford, and Georges Carpentier.

Boxing career[edit]

Smith (right) during his first encounter with Arthur Pelkey

Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent much of his youth in orphanages, working on farms and on the railroads. He joined the U.S. Navy, where he began boxing and won the heavyweight championship of the Pacific Fleet.

In 1910, Smith became known in the Oakland and San Francisco areas by serving as a sparring partner for Jack Johnson and Stanley Ketchel before their heavyweight title fight there.

From 1912–1915, Smith established himself as a leading candidate for the heavyweight title, beating, among others, British and British Empire champion Bombadier Billy Wells and future world champion Jess Willard, and beating and losing to Sam Langford in two fights (this is especially notable since many white fighters refused to fight black opponents). He fought many other ranked fighters, but before his death, Smith was asked to name the greatest fighter he ever met. His response: Langford, in his words, “The best of all of them.”[1]

In 1914, Smith won the "White Hope" heavyweight championship. This title, created by boxing promoters due to the unpopularity of the black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, was never widely recognized. He lost the "title" to Georges Carpentier later that year in a bout with a purse of 9,000 pounds sterling.[2]

After 1916, Smith's career suffered a decline; in 1917, he suffered a loss by decision to future champion Jack Dempsey in a hotly contested four-round fight. A year later, he was knocked to the canvas 9 times by Dempsey, suffering a one-sided second-round knock out.

In 1920 and 1921, Smith suffered a string of KO losses and retired after suffering a one-round knockout to the great heavyweight contender Harry Wills. He finished with a record of 81 wins, 46 losses, and 13 draws, a total of 140 bouts. “Not a great record on paper,” Dave Allen remarked, “but one that becomes much more impressive when you take into consideration that he fought the very best of his era.”[1]

Smith was lean and scrappy, an excellent boxer who moved well and hit sharply with both hands. Among the men he defeated were Willard, Langford, Wells, Battling Levinsky, Carl Morris, Frank Moran, and Fireman Jim Flynn.

Professional boxing record[edit]

52 Wins (38 Knockouts), 28 Defeats (12 Knockouts), 10 Draws, 1 No Contest[3]
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss 52-28-10 United States Harry Wills KO 1 (20), 1:07 1921-10-10 Cuba Stadium, Havana, Cuba
Loss 52-27-10 United States Bob Martin KO 3 (10) 1921-05-30 United States Huntington, West Virginia
Loss 52-26-10 United States Al Roberts KO 10 (12) 1921-03-09 United States Commonwealth Sporting Club, New York, New York
Loss 52-25-10 United States Harry Greb KO 1 (10) 1920-10-21 United States Springbrook Park, South Bend, Indiana
Loss N/A United States Bob Roper NWS 10 1920-09-06 United States Springbrook Park, Fort Worth, Texas Newspaper decision
Draw 52-24-10 United States Bob Roper PTS 15 1920-08-09 United States Columbus, Ohio
Win N/A United States Texas Tate NWS 12 1920-08-03 United States Panther Park, Fort Worth, Texas Newspaper decision
Loss N/A United States Chuck Wiggins NWS 10 1920-07-15 United States Ramona Baseball Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan Newspaper decision
Win N/A Italy Tony Melchior NWS 10 1920-06-26 United States Ramona Baseball Park, East Chicago, Indiana Newspaper decision
Loss 52-24-9 United States Lee Anderson PTS 4 1920-05-13 United States San Francisco Coliseum, San Francisco
Loss 52-23-9 United States Fred Fulton KO 2 (10) 1920-04-07 United States Milwaukie Coliseum, Milwaukie, Oregon
Win 52-22-9 United States Andre Anderson PTS 4 1920-03-10 United States American Legion A.A, Fresno, California
Loss 51-22-9 United States Bill Tate PTS 4 1920-02-25 United States Oakland Auditorium, Oakland, California
Win 51-21-9 United States Willie Meehan PTS 4 1920-02-04 United States Oakland Auditorium, Oakland, California
Win 50-21-9 United States Carl Morris PTS 4 1920-01-23 United States American Legion A.A, Fresno, California
Draw 49-21-9 United States Ole Anderson PTS 4 1919-12-11 United States San Francisco Coliseum, San Francisco
Draw 49-21-8 United States Carl Morris PTS 4 1919-12-03 United States Oakland Auditorium, Oakland
Win 49-21-7 United States Fat LaRue PTS 4 1919-11-19 United States Oakland Auditorium, Oakland
Loss 48-21-7 United States Frank Farmer PTS 6 1919-11-05 United States Seattle Arena, Seattle, Washington
Loss 48-20-7 United States Boy McCormick PTS 4 1919-10-30 United States San Francisco Coliseum, San Francisco
Loss 48-19-7 United States K.O. Kruvosky PTS 4 1919-10-23 United States San Francisco Coliseum, San Francisco
Loss 48-18-7 United States Jack Dempsey KO 2 (8) 1918-12-30 United States Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York
Loss N/A United States Billy Miske NWS 8 1918-07-12 United States International League Ballpark, Jersey City, New Jersey Newspaper decision
Draw 48-17-7 United States Tom McMahon PTS 15 1918-07-04 United States Highland Park, Dayton, Ohio
Loss N/A United States Leo Houck NWS 6 1918-05-27 United States Erne Club, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Newspaper decision
Loss 48-17-6 United States Billy Miske PTS 10 1918-04-12 United States Atlanta Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia
Loss N/A United States Clay Turner NWS 10 1918-04-01 United States Majestic Theatre, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Newspaper decision
Loss N/A United States Hugh Walker NWS 12 1918-03-08 United States Joplin, Missouri Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Emmett Kid Wagner NWS 10 1918-02-18 United States Majestic Theatre, Wilkes-Barre Newspaper decision
Loss 48-16-6 Austria Charley Weinert PTS 12 1918-01-09 United States Marieville Gardens, North Providence, Rhode Island
Loss 48-15-6 United States Fred Fulton TKO 7 (10) 1917-11-27 United States Arcadia Rink, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Loss 48-14-6 United States Jack Dempsey PTS 4 1917-10-02 United States Recreation Park, San Francisco
Win N/A United States Frank Moran NWS 10 1917-09-07 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York Newspaper decision
Loss N/A United States Kid Norfolk NWS 10 1917-08-20 United States Airdome A.C., Rochester, New York Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Bill Tate NWS 10 1917-08-10 United States Brown's Gym A.A., Queens, New York Newspaper decision
Draw N/A United States Kid Norfolk NWS 10 1917-08-03 United States Urban Liberty Park, Buffalo Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Jack Clifford NWS 10 1917-06-02 United States Clermont Avenue Rink, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Draw N/A United States Bob McAllister NWS 10 1917-05-29 United States Pioneer Sporting Club, New York Newspaper decision
Loss 48-13-6 United States Jack Dillon PTS 20 1917-02-16 United States Louisiana Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Draw 48-12-6 United States Jack Moran PTS 12 1917-01-31 United States Saint Louis, Missouri
Loss N/A United States Battling Levinsky NWS 10 1917-01-01 United States Clermont Avenue Rink, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Loss N/A United Kingdom Tom Cowler NWS 10 1916-12-25 United States Flower City A.C., Rochester, New York Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Frank Moran NWS 10 1916-12-18 United States Clermont Avenue Rink, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Loss 48-12-5 United States Battling Levinsky PTS 12 1917-01-01 United States Arena (Armory A.A.), Brooklyn
Win N/A United States Joe Cox NWS 10 1916-10-03 United States Broadway Arena, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Win N/A United Kingdom Tom Cowler NWS 10 1916-09-26 United States Broadway Arena, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Win N/A Republic of Ireland Jim Coffey NWS 6 1916-09-23 United States National A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Newspaper decision
Win 48-11-5 United States Cleve Hawkins TKO 3 (10) 1916-09-18 United States Clermont Avenue Rink, Brooklyn
Win N/A United States Tom McMahon NWS 10 1916-07-10 United States Rochester, New York Newspaper decision
Win 47-11-5 Canada Arthur Pelkey PTS 8 1916-06-07 United States Phoenix A.C., Memphis, Tennessee
Loss N/A United States Battling Levinsky NWS 6 1916-05-15 United States Olympia A.C., Philadelphia Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Bob Devere NWS 10 1916-04-28 United States Syracuse Arena, Syracuse, New York Newspaper decision
Loss 46-11-5 United States Carl Morris PTS 10 1916-05-15 United States Tulsa, Oklahoma
Loss N/A United States Dan Flynn NWS 10 1916-03-30 United States Manhattan Opera House, New York Newspaper decision
Loss N/A United States Jack Dillon NWS 10 1916-03-14 United States Broadway Arena, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Loss 46-10-5 Republic of Ireland Jim Coffey KO 4 (10), 1:55 1915-11-29 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
Win N/A United States Joe Cox NWS 8 1915-11-09 United States Saint Louis Coliseum, Saint Louis Newspaper Decision
Loss 46-9-5 Australia Colin Bell PTS 10 1915-10-07 Canada Sohmer Park, Montreal, Quebec
Win N/A United States Al Reich NWS 10 1915-10-04 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Sailor Jack Carroll NWS 10 1915-09-04 United States Broadway S.C, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Jack Hemple NWS 10 1915-08-18 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York Newspaper decision
Win N/A United Kingdom Tom Cowler NWS 10 1915-07-28 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York Newspaper decision
Loss N/A Austria Charley Weinert NWS 10 1915-07-01 United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Dick Gilbert NWS 12 1915-05-10 United States National A.C, Denver, Colorado Newspaper decision
Win 46-8-5 United States Tom McCarty PTS 12 1915-04-20 United States Arena (Atlas A.A.), Boston, Massachusetts
Win N/A Austria Charley Weinert NWS 10 1915-04-13 United States Broadway Arena, Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Jack Reed NWS 10 1915-03-27 United States Irving A.C., Brooklyn Newspaper decision
Loss N/A United States Jack Dillon NWS 10 1915-03-16 United States Milwaukee Auditorium, Milwaukee Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Fireman Jim Flynn NWS 10 1915-02-01 United States Cincinnati, Ohio Newspaper decision
Win 45-8-5 United States Battling Levinsky PTS 20 1915-01-27 United States Greenwall Theater, New Orleans
Draw 44-8-5 United States Battling Levinsky PTS 12 1915-01-01 United States Waterbury Auditorium, Waterbury, Connecticut
Win 44-8-4 United States Chick Carsey TKO 3 (10) 1914-12-28 United States Long Acre A.C, New York
Win 43-8-4 United States Tom McCarty TKO 4 (10) 1914-12-23 United States Manhattan Casino, New York
Win N/A Republic of Ireland Jim Coffey NWS 10 1914-12-15 United States Madison Square Garden, New York Newspaper decision
Loss 42-8-4 Canada Sam Langford KO 3 (12) 1914-10-20 United States Arena (Atlas A.A.), Boston
Loss N/A United States Battling Levinsky NWS 10 1914-10-09 United States Manhattan Casino, New York Newspaper decision
Win N/A United States Cyclone Johnny Thompson NWS 6 1914-09-28 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Newspaper decision
Loss 42-7-4 France Georges Carpentier DQ 6 (20) 1914-07-16 United Kingdom Olympia, Kensington, London Lost "White" heavyweight title
Win N/A United States Jack Blackburn NWS 6 1914-05-20 United States National A.C., Philadelphia Newspaper decision
Win 42-6-4 Canada Arthur Pelkey TKO 15 (20) 1914-01-01 United States Coffroth's Arena, Daly City, California Won "White" heavyweight title
Win 41-6-4 Canada Sam Langford PTS 12 1913-11-17 United States Arena (Atlas A.A.), Boston
Win 40-6-4 United States Charley Miller KO 3 (10) 1913-10-31 United States Atlantic Garden A.C, New York
Win 39-6-4 Italy Tony Ross KO 10 (12), 1:30 1913-10-21 United States Arena (Atlas A.A.), Boston
Win 38-6-4 United States Carl Morris DQ 5 (10) 1913-10-09 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
Win 37-6-4 United States Fireman Jim Flynn TKO 5 (10) 1913-08-08 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
Win 36-6-4 South Africa George Rodel TKO 3 (10) 1913-06-27 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
Win 35-6-4 United States Jess Willard PTS 20 1913-05-20 United States Eighth Street Arena, San Francisco
Win N/A South Africa George Rodel NWS 10 1913-04-11 United States New Amsterdam Opera House, New York Newspaper Decision
Win 34-6-4 Canada Fred McKay KO 2 (10) 1913-04-02 United States Fairmont A.C., Brooklyn
Win 33-6-4 United Kingdom Bombardier Billy Wells KO 2 (10) 1913-03-14 United States Madison Square Garden, New York

After boxing[edit]

After his retirement, Smith went on to have a variety of jobs: runner on Wall Street, private policeman at Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium, and an actor in several small roles in silent films, including The Great Gatsby and Wings, the first Academy Award-winner for Best Picture.[4] He also refereed boxing matches, such as the Harry Greb vs. Tiger Flowers middleweight championship bout in 1926 and the controversial Max Schmeling vs. Jack Sharkey return heavyweight championship contest in 1932.

He died in 1974 in Florida.

Partial filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Allen, Dave, “Gunboat Smith,” Ring News, April 20, 2011 http://www.ringnews24.com/index.php/boxing-news/boxing-history/18408-gunboat-smith.html#axzz1kcXrZ1ee
  2. ^ Heller, Peter (1994). In This Corner...!. New York, New York: Da Capo Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-306-80603-7. 
  3. ^ Gunboat Smith's Professional Boxing Record. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-03.
  4. ^ Heller, Peter (1994). In This Corner...!. New York, New York: Da Capo Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-306-80603-7. 

External links[edit]

Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Arthur Pelkey
World White Heavyweight Champion
January 1, 1914 - July 16, 1914
Succeeded by
Georges Carpentier