David Jaco

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David Jaco
Real nameDavid Lee Jaco
Height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Born (1954-01-24) January 24, 1954 (age 64)
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights50
Wins by KO19

David Lee Jaco (born January 24, 1954[1]) is a retired heavyweight boxer. He spent his career as a journeyman fighting boxers to build up their career records. He retired in 1994 with 24 wins (19 by knockout), 25 losses (18 by knockout), and 1 draw.[2] Although he lost bouts to Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Tommy Morrison, Carl Williams, Tony Tucker, Buster Douglas, Mike Weaver and Oliver McCall, he won bouts against the undefeated Donovan Ruddock, Rick "King Kong" Keller, and many more. [2]

Jaco was once profiled on ABC's Prime Time Live as a "Palooka",[3] or someone who never refused a fight for the money.[4] Jaco later said, "I was a palooka, one of those guys who basically goes in there looking for a big payday. I made thousands when I fought, but I didn't consider myself a palooka. I was a decent fighter."[3]


After winning a local amateur Toughman competition, Jaco trained for a year to turn pro.[1] His first fight was on January 6, 1981, and he defeated Vic Wallace by knockout in four rounds.[1] He went on to win his next eleven fights before a 1983 first-round knockout defeat at the hands of future title contender Carl "The Truth" Williams.[1]

Jaco continued to fight journeymen like himself for the next several months and won five more fights before his next defeat, a unanimous decision against Carlos Hernandez.[1] Jaco was dominated in that fight, losing all ten rounds on one judge's scorecard, eight on a second, and seven on a third.[5]

Jaco's first high-profile victory came against a young Canadian fighter and future title contender Donovan Ruddock, whom he beat on April 30, 1985 under controversial circumstances when Ruddock's corner threw in the towel in the eighth round.[1] According to the media, Ruddock later was found to have a respiratory illness that almost ended his career, which may have contributed to breathing problems that caused his corner to stop the fight. Regardless, Jaco won the fight and gained more publicity to further promote himself to fight big time opponents.

The victory over Ruddock was the last Jaco would see until 1988 as he was beaten in his next nine fights, seven times by knockout. Among the fighters he took on were contender Jose Ribalta, future titleholders Tony Tucker, Buster Douglas, and Mike Tyson, and former champion Mike Weaver.[1]

Jaco's losing streak was finally broken on March 11, 1988, when he knocked out previously unbeaten Zambian Michael Simuwelu in the first round. Again, it would be his last victory for an extended period. Six defeats followed, including fights against future champion Oliver McCall, an on-the-comeback trail George Foreman, and Tommy Morrison.

After his loss to Morrison Jaco went unbeaten in his next five fights, winning four times and drawing against former contender David Bey. After defeating Danny Sutton in the last of those five fights, Jaco never won again. His retirement fight resulted in him getting knocked out by Bey.[1]

Former manager Richard Conti said "David fought on guts. That was his biggest strength. He was never the quickest or the strongest fighter. He took a lot of beatings, but he always gave everything he ever had."[1]

Personal life[edit]

Jaco was born in Oregon, Ohio,[4] and grew up in Toledo where he worked at Interlaken Steel after graduating from Clay High School.[3][4] He was laid off in 1979, to earn money for his wife and two young sons he entered into an amateur "Toughman" competition.[3] He was so successful that he quickly turned pro and won every fight until his first loss to Carl "The Truth" Williams in June 1983.[3]

In 1986, Jaco used the money he made fighting Tyson to move to Florida where his twin boys lived from his first marriage.[6] He remarried and had an additional four daughters: Kaleigh, Brittany, Madison, and Sydney—all of whom grew up to be athletes. Today he is an independent contractor, transporting workers' compensation recipients to their doctor appointments.[6] He published a memoir of his boxing experiences titled Spontaneous Palooka and Mr. Mom (2012).[3]

Jaco's two sons also boxed.[2] His son Aaron runs a boxing gym in Sarasota, Florida; Aaron's first appearance on ESPN was in a fight against Hilario Guzman in 2004.[7]

In 2003, it was reported that Jaco ran a youth boxing program at the Manatee County Police Athletic League.[1] In October 2005, Jaco was fired from the position after he was arrested in a McDonald's parking lot for possessing 30 grams of marijuana.[8] Jaco said "I know the harm in taking medication in pills and painkillers, so I took to smoking marijuana to ease my pain and help me sleep at night."[8] The program head Michael Polin said Jaco was an "excellent" boxing instructor.[8]

Professional boxing record[edit]

24 Wins (19 knockouts, 5 decisions), 25 Losses (18 knockouts, 7 decisions), 1 Draw [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 24–25–1 United States David Bey TKO 8 17/09/1994 China Macao, China
Loss 24–24–1 Brazil Adilson Rodrigues UD 10 31/07/1993 Brazil Sao Paulo, Brazil 89-99, 89-100, 89-99.
Loss 24–23–1 Jamaica Melton Bowen TKO 2 29/01/1993 South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina, United States WBFo Intercontinental Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 2:58 of the second round.
Loss 24–22–1 United States "Smokin" Bert Cooper UD 10 11/07/1992 Florida Fort Myers, Florida, United States
Loss 24–21–1 Russia Alexander Zolkin PTS 10 12/06/1992 Ohio Columbus, Ohio, United States
Loss 24–20–1 Norway Magne Havnå TKO 4 14/03/1992 Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark
Loss 24–19–1 United States Mike "The Bounty" Hunter TKO 3 14/02/1992 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 24–18–1 United States Danny "Smiley" Sutton TKO 3 16/10/1991 Florida Bradenton, Florida, United States
Draw 23–18–1 United States David Bey PTS 10 07/09/1991 Florida Sarasota, Florida, United States
Win 23–18 Sweden Haakan "The Rock" Brock SD 6 11/06/1991 Florida Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 22–18 United States Greg Payne TKO 2 11/05/1991 Florida Orlando, Florida, United States
Win 21–18 United States Frankie Hines TKO 4 20/10/1990 South Carolina Charleston, South Carolina, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:03 of the fourth round.
Loss 20–18 United States Tommy "The Duke" Morrison KO 1 19/09/1989 Florida Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Loss 20–17 United States Alex "The Destroyer" Stewart TKO 1 18/02/1989 Hungary Budapest, Hungary
Loss 20–16 United States "Big" George Foreman TKO 1 28/12/1988 California Bakersfield, California, United States
Loss 20–15 United Kingdom Gary Mason TKO 4 24/10/1988 United Kingdom Windsor, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Loss 20–14 United States Oliver McCall UD 10 30/06/1988 Virginia Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States
Loss 20–13 United States "Mighty" Mike Evans TKO 9 21/05/1988 Indiana Gary, Indiana, United States Midwest Heavyweight Title.
Win 20–12 Zambia Michael Simuwelu KO 1 11/03/1988 Germany Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Loss 19–12 United States Philipp Brown UD 10 20/02/1988 Connecticut Trumbull, Connecticut, United States
Loss 19–11 United States Mike Weaver KO 2 29/07/1987 Cameroon Yaounde, Cameroon
Loss 19–10 South Africa Johnny Du Plooy KO 2 22/11/1986 South Africa Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Loss 19–9 United States Elijah Tillery KO 9 11/07/1986 New York (state) Swan Lake, New York, United States
Loss 19–8 Cuba Jose Ribalta KO 5 13/05/1986 Minnesota Bloomington, Minnesota, United States
Loss 19–7 United States James Douglas UD 8 19/04/1986 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 19–6 United States Mike Tyson TKO 1 11/01/1986 New York (state) Albany, New York, United States
Loss 19–5 United States Tony Tucker TKO 3 19/10/1985 Monaco Monte Carlo, Monaco
Loss 19–4 South Africa Pierre Coetzer KO 6 08/07/1985 South Africa Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Win 19–3 United States Donovan Ruddock TKO 8 30/04/1985 Canada Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Loss 18–3 United States Dion Simpson TKO 3 09/02/1985 Michigan Port Huron, Michigan, United States
Win 18–2 United States Rick Kellar KO 3 09/01/1985 Michigan Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Loss 17–2 Cuba Carlos Hernandez[disambiguation needed] UD 10 14/11/1984 New York (state) New York City, United States
Win 17–1 United States Cornelius Benson UD 8 24/10/1984 Michigan Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Win 16–1 United States Ken Penn KO 1 21/09/1984 Oklahoma Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Win 15–1 United States Ron Draper KO 3 14/09/1984 Iowa Iowa, United States
Win 14–1 Larry Landers KO 4 27/07/1984 Georgia (U.S. state) Macon, Georgia, United States
Win 13–1 United States Rick Kellar PTS 8 23/06/1984 Iowa Dubuque, Iowa, United States
Loss 12–1 United States Carl Williams TKO 1 30/06/1983 New Jersey Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 12–0 United States Melvin Hosey TKO 4 16/04/1983 Ohio Toledo, Ohio, United States
Win 11–0 United States Jeff Burg TKO 1 05/03/1983 Michigan Bay City, Michigan, United States
Win 10–0 United States David Starkey TKO 3 12/02/1983 Ohio Lima, Ohio, United States
Win 9–0 United States Vernon Bridges PTS 8 19/08/1982 Michigan Bay City, Michigan, United States
Win 8–0 United States Harold Johnson KO 2 17/04/1982 Ohio Dayton, Ohio, United States
Win 7–0 United States Harold Speakman KO 3 08/12/1981 Ohio Columbus, Ohio, United States
Win 6–0 Doug Meiring KO 3 09/10/1981 Ohio Toledo, Ohio, United States
Win 5–0 Otis Evans KO 2 08/08/1981 Florida Pensacola, Florida, United States
Win 4–0 United States Vernon Bridges PTS 6 29/07/1981 Michigan Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Win 3–0 United States Stanley Dollison KO 1 20/06/1981 Ohio Findlay, Ohio, United States
Win 2–0 United States Hubert Adams KO 1 13/02/1981 Ohio Lima, Ohio, United States
Win 1–0 United States Vic Wallace KO 4 06/01/1981 Michigan Pontiac, Michigan, United States


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Steven Ponall (June 22, 2003). "The Fights of His Life". The Bradenton Herald (Database: NewsBank Retrieved January 26, 2014).
  2. ^ a b c Graham, Tim (2005-06-09). "'Palooka' Jaco gained from suffering Tyson pain". ESPN.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mladinich, Robert (April 26, 2012). "Book Review: David Jaco, Spontaneous Palooka". Boxing.com. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Monroe, Mark (August 12, 2011). "Oregon native has a story to tell". Toledo Blade. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  5. ^ "David Jaco - Boxer". Boxrec.com. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Torre, Pablo (August 2, 2010). "life After Mike". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  7. ^ Ryan Boyd (July 24, 2004). "Network Debut: Aaron Jaco, Whose Dad Fought 50 Pro Bouts, Gets First Televised Fight". The Bradenton Herald (Database: NewsBank Retrieved January 26, 2014).
  8. ^ a b c Roger Mooney (October 4, 2005). "Pot-Smoking PAL Boxer: I'm Sorry". The Bradenton Herald (Database: NewsBank Retrieved January 26, 2014).

External links[edit]