Jackie Fields

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jackie Fields
Jackie Fields LOC.jpg
Real nameJacob Finkelstein
Height5 ft 7 12 in (171 cm)
Reach69 in (175 cm)
Born(1908-02-09)February 9, 1908
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 3, 1987(1987-06-03) (aged 79)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.[1]
Boxing record
Total fights84
Wins by KO31
No contests1

Jackie Fields (Jacob Finkelstein, February 9, 1908 – June 3, 1987) was an American professional boxer who won the World Welterweight Championship twice.[2] Statistical boxing website BoxRec lists Fields as the #19 ranked welterweight of all-time.[3][4] Fields was elected to the United Savings-Helms Hall of Boxing Fame in 1972, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1979, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1987, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.[5][6][7][8][9]

Early life and career[edit]

Jackie Fields, who was Jewish, was born Jacob Finkelstein on Maxwell Street, in Chicago, Illinois, on February 9, 1908. His father was a Jewish Russian immigrant who worked as a butcher.[10][11] Some of his initial boxing instruction came from the legendary black boxing trainer and former lightweight boxer Jack Blackburn, who would later train Joe Lewis. When his family moved to Los Angeles in 1921, Fields continued boxing at Jack Dempsey's Gym. He boxed as an exceptional amateur for the Los Angeles Sporting Club, under the instruction of George Blake, a master trainer who recognized Jackie's potential as early as the age of thirteen.[12] An exceptional boxer in Blake's stable, Fidel LaBarba, future world flyweight champion, sparred with the young Fields after he arrived in Los Angeles, and would spar with him on other occasions to improve his technique and speed.[7]

Amateur career[edit]

Over the course of Field's amateur career, he participated in 54 fights, winning 51 of them. Fields won a gold medal in featherweight boxing at the age of only 16 in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, becoming the youngest boxer to ever receive such an honor.[6]

Olympic results (1924)[edit]

Professional career[edit]

Early career loss to Jimmy McLarnin, 1925[edit]

Intrigued by a $5000 purse, but acting against the better judgement of skilled matchmakers, Fields took on the far more experienced Jimmy McLarnin, on November 12, 1925. With only six fights and nine months of professional boxing to his credit, Fields lost badly in a second-round knockout at Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. McLarnin floored him four times in the brief match, with Fields suffering a broken jaw in the humiliating defeat.[7] Dubbing him the "future lightweight champion", the Los Angeles Times recognized the mastery of McLarnin, who carefully studied Fields's style, letting him take the lead in the first, before knocking him down three times in the second with successive overhand rights. Never having been down before, Fields unwisely rose immediately from his first knockdown, only to be knocked to the canvas again. In his fourth knockdown, he remained on the canvas for the full count. Learning from the experience, and listening more carefully to his handlers, Fields never lost a match by knockout again.[13]

Fields suffered a rare early career loss to Jewish boxer, and former world featherweight champion Louis "Kid" Kaplan on June 15, 1927 in a ten round points decision at New York's Polo Grounds. Kaplan's two handed attack was unrelenting, and though the taller Fields scored with straight left jabs and a rapid right cross, they did not come frequently enough to gain a margin in points. Kaplan poured far more blows into Fields, taking the decision.[14]

He defeated Jewish boxing great, reigning world junior lightweight champion, Mushy Callahan in a non-title bout on November 22, 1927. Callahan was nearly knocked out in the second, ninth, and tenth, having difficulty remaining on his feet. Fields continually poured rights and lefts to the body and face, and was credited with six of the ten rounds. Callahan, possibly lacking conditioning, was returning to the ring after an illness of several months.[15]

In a rare early-career loss, Fields dropped a ten-round unanimous decision to reigning world lightweight champion Sammy Mandell on February 3, 1928. Fields led the first few rounds with a strong body attack, but Mandell found his range in the third with long lunging lefts to Fields's left eye. Fields's injury put him on the defensive, and in the late rounds he was forced to do more infighting and clinching. He tried to turn the tables in the ninth, but it was too late to even the points differential.[16] In their first meeting on April 4, 1927, before a disappointing crowd of only 5,000, Fields had fared far better against Mandell in a twelve-round newspaper decision at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, winning handily according to the Los Angeles Times. The paper awarded Fields eight of the ten rounds, with only two to Mandell. Fields staggered Mandell in the sixth with an overhand right to the jaw. The no-decision bout, however, was not for a title and Fields was over the lightweight limit, letting Mandell walk away with his championship intact. The San Francisco Examiner believed Mandell had won by the slightest of margins, but noted that the younger and less experienced Fields easily took the second and tenth rounds with harder punching, though he failed to follow up his advantage.[17]

Taking the NBA world welterweight title, March 1929[edit]

Fields won the world welterweight title in 1929 and 1932.[4] He defeated Young Jack Thompson before 9,000 fans on March 25, 1929 in a ten round unanimous decision in Chicago. Most sanctioning bodies considered the match a title bout. The Akron Beacon Journal wrote that Fields was "unstoppable in his offensive, unswerving in his determination, and completely the master of his foe". In the first two rounds, Fields nearly knocked out Thompson. Thompson courageously remained on his feet throughout the bout, repeatedly trying to throw his signature right cross, though he usually missed. Fields blocked a number of Thompson's blows with his gloves and forearms, and stopped a few in mid-air. His best and most frequent blows came from left handed jabs and hooks. In the third, Thompson made a brief showing when he scored with a few vicious right crosses, but he failed to carry his momentum into the next round. The eighth was interrupted by a riot that spilled into the ring, and the fighting was more even in the last two rounds with both fighters exhausted. The tenth found Thompson trying to score a knockout but most of his blows were blocked by Fields, who kept the round even.[18] Fields won decisively and was awarded seven of the ten rounds with only one to Thompson and two even.[19]

Prior to the bout, the world welterweight title had become vacant as the National Boxing Association stripped Joe Dundee of the title. California, and the National Boxing Association, but not the powerful New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC), officially recognized Fields as the champion on April 19, 1929. The NYSAC would not recognize Fields as champion until July when he faced Dundee.[7]

Champion Joe Dundee

On July 25, 1929 Fields faced Joe Dundee before a large crowd of 25,000 in a unifying match for the welterweight championship in Detroit. Fields was awarded the fight in the second round after Dundee, having been knocked down four times, delivered a foul blow while still down which left Fields incapable of continuing the fight. Dundee claimed that the foul was unintentional.[20] Fields stated he believed Dundee, but noted that it was the only bout he had ever won on a foul.[21] The win gave Fields unified recognition as world welterweight champion.[7]

Fields defeated black boxer William "Guerilla" Jones, future world "Colored" welterweight champion, on October 21, 1929 in San Francisco before a crowd of 10,000. In an action filled ten rounds, Jones took the early lead and rocked Fields several times with straight rights to the jaw, but Fields's stamina and aggressiveness wore Jones down in the closing rounds. Fields's clearly took the ninth and tenth, and had a clear edge in five rounds, but could not defend against repeated rights from Jones throughout the bout.[22][23] In a match two months later on December 13, the referee stopped the bout, complaining that Jones was not giving his "usual exhibition" and ordered the promoter to pay the purses for both fighters.[8] The Boston Globe felt the fight was legitimate, however, and that Jones's long arms against Fields's desire to fight at close range made the boxers look as though they were trying to avoid coming to blows.[24]

In their fourth meeting, Fields scored a decisive victory in a non-title bout on January 24, 1930 over Vince Dundee, brother of Joe, in a ten round unanimous decision at Chicago Stadium. Dundee was down four times in the third round, but weathered the full ten, making a comeback in the late rounds. In the third, Dundee was down once for a count of eight, once for a count of nine, and was saved by the bell as he went down at the end of the round. Fields was awarded five rounds with only three for Dundee, and two even.[25] Fields had defeated Vince Dundee in three previous ten round points decisions in Chicago on October 2, 1929, and in two meetings in Los Angeles on April 17, and February 14, 1928.

Fields lost his first bout in two years on February 22, 1930, against Young Corbett III in a ten round decision in San Francisco. Thrown off by his opponent's left hand stance, Fields fell behind in the early rounds and though he came back strongly late in the bout, the referee believed Corbett still held a margin on points. Since Corbett was two pounds over the welterweight limit, Fields's title was not at stake. Fields recovered his form two months later with a fourth round TKO against future welterweight champion Tommy Freeman before 8000 fans in Cleveland.[7] Though Freeman had the edge in the first two rounds, and dazed Fields with a right to the nose in the third, Fields shot a right in the early fourth that cut Freeman's lip so badly he could not continue.[26]

Loss of the world welterweight title[edit]

Before a crowd of 14,000, Fields lost his NBA world welterweight title to Young Jack Thompson on May 9, 1930 in a fifteen round points decision at Detroit's Olympia Stadium. Fields piled up a points lead in the early rounds, but Thompson came back with jabs and uppercuts in close fighting that badly wore down the reigning champion. In the seventh, Thompson's rights to the jaw sapped Field's strength, and a straight left opened a cut under his right eye. In the eleventh, an exhausted Fields clinched frequently. By the thirteenth, Fields was nearly defenseless, staggering and then falling into the arms of Thompson as the closing bell sounded. In the fourteenth, Fields made a struggling rally, but Thompson's margin in points was too great.[27] Thompson was awarded ten of the fifteen rounds by the referee, with only three to Fields. His victory was considered an upset, as Fields had beaten him in two previous bouts.[28][8]

He was first married on August 12, 1931. The couple separated in December 1940 and his wife, Martha Lynn, was granted a divorce in May 1944.[29]

In the early 1930's, Fields took on the well known manager Jack Kearns.

Regaining the world welterweight title, January 1932[edit]

Fields regained the NBA (National Boxing Association) world welterweight championship before an enthusiastic crowd of 11,200, defeating Lou Brouillard in a ten round unanimous decision on January 28, 1932 at Chicago Stadium. Fields began to take a lead in points in the sixth with vicious lefts and strong sweeping rights that traveled from his hips. Continuing his attack in the seventh and eighth, he connected with a wide variety of blows, increasing his margin over the reigning champion. The tenth may have gone to Brouillard by a shade, but Fields had taken a wide points margin and was stronger as the final bell sounded to end the match.[30]

Jackie was involved in a car accident in 1932 outside Louisville, Kentucky, that resulted in a detached retina, a serious injury to his left eye. Fields had lost most of his real estate fortune in the depression, and was reluctant to leave boxing despite the injury. Few realized it, but he had only partial vision in the eye, and would fight his next welterweight title bout with his vision impaired.[7] Subsequent operations failed to restore the eye, and in 1938, he lost it entirely.[31]

Loss of the world welterweight title, February 1933[edit]

Corbett (facing camera) vs. Fields at Seals Stadium

Fields lost his NBA welterweight title on February 22, 1933 against Southpaw Young Corbett III before 15,000 fans in a ten round points decision at Seals Stadium in San Francisco. He could not stop the leads of Corbett in close in fighting, unable to counter punch soon enough as his opponent waded in. He failed to box effectively in defense and remained flat footed most of the bout, possibly from fatigue.[32] The first five rounds belonged to Corbett, though Fields rallied in the sixth with shots to the face and body. In the seventh, Corbett rocked fields with lefts to the jaw four times at close range, slowing his opponent to a walk.[33] In the ninth, Fields made his last effort, pounding Corbett around the ring with a two fisted attack. Unable to overcome a slow start, the referee gave only three rounds to Fields, with six to Corbett.[8]

Three months after losing the welterweight title, Fields lost a points decision to Young Peter Jackson in May of 1933, and retired from boxing.[8][9]

Life after boxing retirement[edit]

After he lost much of his real estate investments in the depression, Fields lived for a while in the German town section of Philadelphia and worked from 1935 through the 1940's as a salesman for the Wurlitzer Juke Box company and a beer manufacturer, Hannah and Hogg Distilleries.[34]

While in Los Angeles, he appeared in the movies Battling Bunyan (1924), The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933), Big City (1937) and Heavyweight Championship of the World: Muhammad Ali vs. Floyd Patterson (1965).[35] He coached the boxing scenes in 1934's Personality Kid, appeared in the TV Movie Mohammed Ali vs. Ron Lyle (1975), as well as the TV programs, Wide World of Sports (1969), and Fight of the Week (1961). His movie entertainment jobs included work as a film editor for MGM and 20th Century Fox.[36][9]

In 1957, Fields moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and became part owner of the Tropicana Las Vegas.[4] He eventually sold his interest in the hotel, but stayed on as public relations director. In the 1960's, he worked as Chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.[7] In 1965, Fields coached the U.S. boxing team at the 1965 Maccabiah Games.[37]

While in Las Vegas, he married his second wife, a former New York model and Las Vegas on-stage performer, Marjorie Fields, with whom he raised several step children.[38]

Fields died in 1987 at the age of 79 at a nursing home in Las Vegas, Nevada.[5][39][40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Died in Las Vegas, not Los Angeles in Gustekey, Earl, "Ring Rivals Die", The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 58, 19 June 1987
  2. ^ "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". Cyber Boxing Zone.
  3. ^ All-Time Welterweight Rankings Archived October 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-11.
  4. ^ a b c "Olympian Fields dies at 79". The Palm Beach Post. June 20, 1987. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Jackie Fields". International Boxing Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Jackie Fields Inducted Into Helms Fame Hall". The Press-Courier. June 27, 1972. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Silver, Mike (2016). Stars of the Ring, Published by Roman and Littlefield, Los Angeles, pps. 151-53.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Jackie Fields Boxing Record". BoxRec. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Jackie Fields Boxing Record". Cyber Boxing Zone. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  10. ^ Taylor, Paul (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games. Sussex Academic Press. p. 228. ISBN 9781903900871. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  11. ^ Siegman, Joseph (2000). Jewish sports legends: the International Jewish Hall of Fame (3rd ed.). United States: Brassey's.
  12. ^ Moved to Los Angeles in 1921, "Fields Olympic Boxer at 16 Dies At 79", The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, California, pg. 103, 19 June 1987
  13. ^ "Jackie on Floor Five Times During Battle", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 41, 13 November 1925
  14. ^ "Fields is Defeated By Kaplan", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 37, 16 June 1927
  15. ^ "Fields Wins Over Fistic Title Holder", The Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, pg. 9, 23 November 1927
  16. ^ "Sammy Mandell Easily Licks Jackie Fields", Press and Sun-Bulletin, pg. 23, 24 February 1928
  17. ^ Kelly, Mark, "World Champ Victorious in Close Contest", The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, California, pg. 31, 5 April 1927
  18. ^ Dunkley, Charles, "Field is Called King Over Welterweights", Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, pg. 37, 26 March 1929
  19. ^ Eckersall, Walter, "Chicago Boys Left Hand to Good for Jack", Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ohio, pg. 29, 26 March 1929
  20. ^ Dunkley, Charles (July 26, 1929). "Jackie Fields Becomes Champ on Foul Blow". The Miami News. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  21. ^ Dunkley, Charles W. (July 26, 1929). "Jackie Fields Wins Title as Welterweight Champion on Foul from Joe Dundee". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  22. ^ "Jackie Fields Defeats Jones", St. Cloud Times, St. Cloud, Minnesota, pg. 12, 22 October 1929
  23. ^ "Fields Wins", The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, California, pgs. 23, 25, 22 October 1929
  24. ^ "Fields and Jones Ordered From Ring", Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, pg. 9, 14 December 1929
  25. ^ "Vince Dundee is Handed Beating By Jackie Fields", Quad-City Times, Davenport, Iowa, pg. 32, 26 January 1930
  26. ^ Schlemmer, James, "Jackie Fields Stops Freeman", The Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, pg. 26, 9 April 1930
  27. ^ Smith, Wilfred, "Colored Boxer Beats Jackie in Fifteen Rounds", Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, pg. 17, 10 May 1930
  28. ^ Dunkley, Charles, "Negro's Victory Startling Upset", Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek Michigan, pg. 8, 10 May 1930
  29. ^ "Mrs. Jackie Fields Is Granted Divorce". Youngstown Vindicator. May 24, 1944. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  30. ^ Lane, French, "Fifth Boxer to Take 147 Pound Crown", Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, pg. 23, 29 January 1932
  31. ^ "Jackie Champ Fields Lost Eye But Won Third Chance in Life", The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 36, 29 April 1969
  32. ^ Ritchie, Willie, "Jackie Doomed By Failure to Counter Punch", The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, California, pg. 20, 23 February 1933
  33. ^ Newland, Russell, J., "New Boxing King Wins Decisively in Coast Battle", Star-Gazette, Elmira, New York, pg. 19, 23 February 1933
  34. ^ Van Atta, Burr, "Boxers Joe Salas And Jackie Fields", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 6, 20 June 1987
  35. ^ "Jackie Fields Movies, imdb". IMDB. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  36. ^ "Jackie Champ Fields Lost Eye But Won Third Chance in Life", The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 36, 29 April 1969
  37. ^ "Jackie Fields Biography". Boxing Biographies. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  38. ^ "Obituary Marjorie Fields". Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  39. ^ Died in nursing home in "Jackie Fields", The Santa Fe New Mexican", Santa Fe, New Mexico, pg. 68, 20 June 1987
  40. ^ Died in Las Vegas not Los Angeles in Gustekey, Earl, "Ring Rivals Die", The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 58, 19 June 1987

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Joe Dundee
World Welterweight Champion
July 25, 1929 – May 9, 1930
Succeeded by
Jack Thompson
Preceded by
Lou Brouillard
World Welterweight Champion
January 28, 1932 – February 22, 1933
Succeeded by
Young Corbett III