This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Real name||Joseph Paul Zukauskas|
|Nickname(s)||Boston Gob, Sharkboy|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Reach||72 in (183 cm)|
|Born||October 26, 1902|
Binghamton, New York
|Died||August 17, 1994 (aged 91)|
|Wins by KO||13|
Sharkey was born the son of Lithuanian immigrants, in Binghamton, New York (his birth surname is sometimes given as Cukoschay), but moved to Boston, Massachusetts as a young man. Sources report little of his early life until, at the outset of World War I, teenaged Joseph repeatedly tried to enlist in the Navy. Turned down because of his age, he was not able to enlist until after the end of the war.
It was during his tenure in the Navy that he first showed interest in boxing. Tall and husky for a man of his generation, Joseph was encouraged by his friends in the service to box. He quickly established notoriety as the best boxer aboard any vessel on which he served. During his brief returns home to Boston he took part in his first fights for pay, the first on January 24, 1924, against one Billy Muldoon, whom he knocked out in the first round. By the time of his honorable discharge just short of a month later, he had won a second fight and was already earning write-ups in the Boston papers.
He took his ring name from his two idols, heavyweight contender Tom Sharkey and heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. He won an important fight in 1926 over black heavyweight contender Harry Wills, but his first big year was 1927, when he defeated former light heavyweight champ Mike McTigue in twelve rounds and Boston rival Jim Maloney in five. That put him in the ring on July 21, 1927, with his idol, Dempsey, the winner to meet heavyweight champion Gene Tunney for the title. For six rounds Sharkey out-boxed Dempsey, who probed low with his punches. In the seventh round Sharkey turned his head to complain to the referee about Dempsey's low punches and Dempsey landed a classic left hook that knocked Sharkey out.
In 1928 Sharkey defeated heavyweight contender Tom Heeney and former light-heavyweight champion Jack Delaney. Early in 1929, signed in a Tex Rickard promotion to fight Young Stribling in Miami, Sharkey and all involved suffered a scare when Rickard died unexpectedly. All preparations ceased, as Rickard was laid to rest in New York. Unhappy with the uncertainty of it all, Jack complained to sportswriter Dan Parker, "That man isn't in his grave yet, and already they're trying to break my contract." In fact Bill Carey, president of Madison Square Garden saved the day by appointing Jack Dempsey himself to the task. Dempsey, a close personal friend of Rickard, had never handled a promotion, before, but did so now with what might be called "large and largesse". Between leasing the Carl Fisher mansion on Miami Beach, as well as the George Washington Hotel, the latter of which was equipped for the press with a 24-hour bar, the Sharkey-Stribling fight at the old Flamingo Park, drew 40,000 fans, including 423 writers, and did $405,000 at the box office, an amount unsurpassed in the South, until television receipts for Clay vs. Liston in 1964, managed a richer gate.
A fight held in Yankee Stadium later that year, gave Sharkey the United States heavyweight title, when he knocked out former light-heavyweight champion Tommy Loughran. This victory earned him the opportunity to fight for the vacant world title against the German contender, Max Schmeling on June 12, 1930. Sharkey was disqualified in the fourth round after delivering a punch that landed below Schmeling's belt. This was the first time in boxing history when the heavyweight championship was won on a foul since Joe Goss in 1876.
In October 1931, Sharkey defeated Italian heavyweight, Primo Carnera, and was then given another chance to fight for the title. On June 21, 1932, at the Madison Square Garden Bowl in Long Island City, New York, Sharkey defeated Schmeling in a controversial split decision to win the championship. Sharkey lost the title on June 29, 1933, in his second fight with Primo Carnera. This meant that Sharkey was the first heavyweight champion in history to both win and lose the championship against a European fighter. Floyd Patterson repeated this feat when regaining the title against Ingemar Johansson, having lost it to the Swede in their first fight. Oliver McCall then became the third such Heavyweight champion when beating Lennox Lewis for the WBC title in 1994, before losing it to Lewis' countryman, Frank Bruno the following year. In recent years, with the proliferation of European Heavyweight champions, fighters such as Chris Byrd and Hasim Rahman have also won and lost their championships against European opposition. Sharkey's distinction is noteworthy, however, as Schmeling and Carnera were, respectively, only the third and fourth Europeans to win the World Heavyweight championship.
Later in life, Sharkey would allege both of his second fights with Schmeling and Carnera were fixed. He took a year off, fought four mediocre fights, and then fought Joe Louis on August 18, 1936, losing by knockout in the third round. This made him the only man to fight both Dempsey and Louis.
Sharkey then retired with a record of 38-14-3 with 13 knockouts. As the Cyber Boxing Zone website describes him, "Sharkey had good skills, could hit with power, box well and take punishment when he set his mind to fight; But, he was an erratic, 'up-and-down' boxer who never seemed to put all his skills together consistently; when he was good, he was very good but when he was bad, he was awful." 
Life after boxing
Sharkey saved most of the money he earned in the ring and, in retirement, owned a bar, worked as a boxing and wrestling referee in the United States and Canada, often earned money from personal appearances, and entertained troops in North Africa during World War II. He also pursued his love of fly fishing, and teamed and toured with baseball great Ted Williams in fly fishing promotions. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994 and died a few months later, on August 17, age 91, due to respiratory arrest. After Max Schmeling, the man he beat to become Heavyweight champion, Sharkey is the second longest-lived Heavyweight champion in history.
While demonstrating fly fishing at the New York Sportsman Show in 1965, he was asked if he preferred fly fishing to boxing. "It doesn't pay as much", he replied, "but then the fish don't hit back."
Notable bouts refereed
Ex-world heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey refereed the world light heavyweight title defense by Archie Moore against Yvon Durelle on December 10, 1958, at The Forum, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, one of boxing's first championship televised bouts. Moore came off the canvas three times in the first round, and again in the fifth round, to knock out Durelle in the eleventh round. Sharkey also refereed the rematch at The Forum, in which Moore knocked down Durelle four times in the third round before knocking him out on August 12, 1959. Both bouts were world televised in black and white from Canada, with commentary and post-fight interviews.
Professional boxing record
|38 Wins (13 knockouts, 25 decisions), 14 Losses (4 knockouts, 10 decisions), 3 Draws |
|Loss||38-14-3||Joe Louis||KO||3 (10)||18/08/1936||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States||Sharkey down twice in the 2nd round, and twice in the 3rd round.|
|Win||38-13-3||Phil Brubaker||UD||10||25/06/1936||Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts||Sharkey down in the 1st round.|
|Draw||37-13-3||Tony Shucco||PTS||10||14/04/1936||Boston Garden, Boston|
|Loss||37-13-2||Tony Shucco||PTS||10||07/02/1936||Boston Garden, Boston|
|Win||37-12-2||Unknown Winston||KO||2 (10)||22/11/1935||Boston Garden, Boston|
|Loss||36-12-2||Tommy Loughran||SD||15||27/09/1933||Phillies Ballpark, Philadelphia, United States||Sharkey down in 10th. After a "drab fight" one judge had it 7-4-4 for Loughran, the other 7-6-2 for Sharkey while the referee had it a draw (6-6-3) but, as the rules then allowed, gave his decision for Loughran. (New York Times)|
|Loss||36-11-2||King Levinsky||UD||15||18/09/1933||Comiskey Park, Chicago||Sharkey down in the 1st round. The referee scored it 55-45 for Levinsky, and the referees had it 53-47 and 56-44. Sharkey appeared to win rounds 4, 6, and 7, and Levinsky took all the others.|
|Loss||36-10-2||Primo Carnera||KO||6 (15)||29/06/1933||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York||Lost NYSAC, NBA and lineal heavyweight titles|
|Win||36-9-2||Max Schmeling||SD||15||21/06/1932||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Brooklyn, New York||Won NYSAC, NBA and lineal heavyweight titles;|
As a result of the controversial decision of this bout, the NYSAC barred any but "boxing experts" (sports writers, referees, judges) from broadcasting descriptions of future matches.
|Win||35-9-2||Primo Carnera||PTS||15||12/10/1931||Ebbet's Field, Brooklyn, New York||Carnera was knocked down in the 4th round.|
|Draw||34-9-2||Mickey Walker||PTS||15||22/07/1931||Ebbet's Field, Queens, New York||There were no knockdowns recorded during this contest, despite a mythical 12th round knockdown supposedly scored by Sharkey.|
|Loss||34-9-1||Max Schmeling||DQ||4 (15)||12/06/1930||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York|| For vacant NYSAC, NBA and lineal heavyweight titles;|
Sharkey disqualified because of a low blow late in the 4th round. This was the first heavyweight title in history to change hands via a foul. Attendance: 79,222
|Win||34-8-1||Phil Scott||TKO||3 (15)||27/02/1930||Madison Square Garden Stadium, Miami||Scott went down for a count of six in the 2nd, and three times from body blows in the 3rd before he finally gave up.|
|Win||33-8-1||Tommy Loughran||TKO||3 (15)||26/09/1929||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York||Attendance: 45,000. Won American Heavyweight title.|
|Win||32-8-1||Young Stribling||PTS||10||27/02/1929||Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida||Attendance: 40,000.|
|Win||31-8-1||K O Christner||PTS||10||25/01/1929||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Win||30-8-1||Arthur De Kuh||PTS||10||10/12/1928||Arena, Boston|
|Win||29-8-1||Leo Gates||KO||3 (10)||21/06/1928||Battery A Arena, St. Louis, Missouri|
|Win||28-8-1||Jack Delaney||KO||1 (15)||30/04/1928||Madison Square Garden, New York||Attendance: 15,000.|
|Loss||27-8-1||Johnny Risko||SD||15||12/03/1928||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Draw||27-7-1||Tom Heeney||PTS||12||13/01/1928||Madison Square Garden, New York||Attendance: 17,000. Judge George Kelley voted for Sharkey, Judge George Patrick called it a draw, and Referee Denning gave Heeney the verdict.|
|Loss||27–7||Jack Dempsey||KO||7 (10)||21/07/1927||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York||Sharkey took the count of ten after going down from a vicious left hook to the jaw. This was a heavyweight tournament elimination bout, with the winner to meet current World Champion Gene Tunney for a shot at his title.|
|Win||27–6||Jim Maloney||TKO||5 (15)||20/05/1927||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York|
|Win||26–6||Mike McTigue||TKO||12 (15)||03/03/1927||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York||McTigue would have probably gone the distance but the referee stopped it because he had suffered a dangerous gash.|
|Win||25–6||Homer Smith||TKO||7 (10)||15/12/1926||State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse, New York|
|Win||24–6||Harry Wills||DQ||13 (15)||12/10/1926||Ebbet's Field, Queens, New York||Wills was disqualified for illegal use of a backhand blow. "Wills was battered about the ring from the start." (AP) Wills suspended 20 days for the foul.|
|Win||23–6||George Godfrey||PTS||10||21/09/1926||Mechanics Building, Boston|
|Win||22–6||Orlando Reverberi||TKO||3 (10)||13/09/1926||Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey|
|Win||21–6||Bud Gorman||DQ||1 (10)||25/06/1926||Braves Field, Boston|
|Win||20–6||Pat McCarthy||PTS||10||19/04/1926||Arena, Boston||This was an easy win for Sharkey.|
|Win||19–6||Emilio "King" Solomon||PTS||10||01/04/1926||Mechanics Building, Boston|
|Win||18–6||Eddie Huffman||PTS||10||12/02/1926||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Win||17–6||Mexican Joe Lawson||KO||2 (10)||18/01/1926||Armory, Hartford, Connecticut|
|Win||16–6||Jim Maloney||PTS||10||11/12/1925||Mechanics Building, Boston|
|Win||15–6||Johnny Risko||PTS||10||17/09/1925||Mechanics Building, Boston|
|Loss||14–6||Bud Gorman||PTS||10||17/08/1925||Arena, Boston|
|Win||14–5||Emilio "King" Solomon||PTS||10||31/07/1925||Braves Field, Boston|
|Win||13–5||Jim Maloney||DQ||9 (12)||05/06/1925||Braves Field, Boston||Sharkey led on points for 7 rounds, but was floored five times in round 8 and once in the 9th before being fouled.|
|Win||12–5||George Cook||SD||10||25/05/1925||Mechanics Building, Boston||According to The Boston Globe, Cook won decisively and deserved the decision.|
|Win||11–5||Jack Renault||PTS||10||06/04/1925||Arena, Boston||Some controversy, as one Massachusetts paper, the Lowell Sun, had Renault winning majority of rounds. This was a major blow to Renault's career.|
|Loss||10–5||Charley Weinert||PTS||10||10/02/1925||Mechanics Building, Boston|
|Win||10–4||Sully Montgomery||UD||10||20/01/1925||Mechanics Building, Boston|
|Win||9–4||Jack DeMave||PTS||10||08/01/1925||Manhattan Casino, New York|
|Loss||8–4||Charley Weinert||NWS||12||15/12/1924||113th Regiment Armory, Newark, New Jersey||Weinert won the newspaper decision according to The Ring and various newspaper sources.|
|Loss||8–3||Jim Maloney||PTS||10||05/11/1924||Mechanics Building, Boston||Maloney was reported by The Boston Globe to have won clearly, as Sharkey fought too carefully.|
|Loss||8–2||Quintin Romero Rojas||KO||9 (10)||29/08/1924||Mechanics Building, Boston||This was reported in The Boston Globe to have been a terrific battle.|
|Win||8–1||Young Jack Johnson||NWS||6||20/08/1924||Fair Grounds Auditorium, Bangor, Maine||Sharkey won the newspaper decision according to The Boston Globe.|
|Win||7–1||Al Roberts||PTS||10||23/07/1924||Kinsley Park, Providence, Rhode Island|
|Win||6–1||Homer Smith||PTS||10||15/07/1924||Braves Field, Boston|
|Win||5–1||Floyd Johnson||PTS||10||23/06/1924||Mechanics Building, Boston||Johnson was down in round 1 and took a bad licking.|
|Win||4–1||Eddie Record||KO||7 (10)||25/04/1924||Arena, Boston|
|Loss||3–1||Eddie Record||PTS||10||18/03/1924||Grand Opera House, Boston|
|Win||3–0||Dan Lucas||KO||2 (10)||26/02/1924||Mechanics Building, Boston|
|Win||2–0||Pat Hance||DQ||2 (10)||08/02/1924||Mechanics Building, Boston||Hance was floored 4 times, then went down twice without being hit and was disqualified.|
|Win||1–0||Billy Muldoon||TKO||1 (8)||29/01/1924||Mechanics Building, Boston|
- Samuels, Charles (1957). The Magnificent Rube (pre-ISBN First ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. p. 4.
- Jones, Jimmy (1969). King of the Canebrakes (pre-ISBN First ed.). Macon, GA: Southern Press, Inc. pp. 40–41.
- "Cyber Boxing Zone -- Jack Sharkey". cyberboxingzone.com.
- Archie Moore vs Yvon Durelle I (Full fight). YouTube. 6 May 2012.
- Archie Moore vs Yvon Durelle 2nd fight. YouTube. 25 May 2010.
- "BoxRec – Jack Sharkey". boxrec.com.
| World heavyweight champion
June 21, 1932 – June 29, 1933
| Oldest living heavyweight champion
May 31, 1983 – August 17, 1994