James Scott (boxer)

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James Scott (born October 17, 1947[1]) is an American former boxer and former prison inmate. He is best known for having become a contender in the World Boxing Association's light heavyweight division while incarcerated at Rahway State Prison in Avenel, New Jersey.[2]

Early life[edit]

Scott, originally from Newark, New Jersey, spent much of his time behind bars starting at the age of 13, when he was sent to a reformatory for truancy.[3] He first took up boxing while serving time at Trenton State Prison and was released in 1968, but only pursued the sport seriously after a subsequent robbery conviction and being incarcerated again.[3]

As part of its rehabilitation system, the New Jersey prison system offered inmates a variety of job training programs—including training in boxing, whether as a fighter, a trainer, or a cutman.[3] Scott became the light heavyweight champion of the New Jersey prison system.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Rise in the rankings[edit]

In 1974, Scott was released on parole to pursue a professional boxing career.[3] Fighting out of Miami Beach, Florida, he won 10 bouts and had one draw between January 1974 and February 1975.[4] However, Scott returned to New Jersey where he was convicted of robbery.[5] An additional charge of murder resulted in a hung jury.

From then to the end of his career, all of Scott's professional fights were held in Rahway State Prison.[4] In Scott's third professional bout after returning to prison, he defeated Eddie Gregory, who was then the WBA's No. 1 light heavyweight contender.[3] (Gregory later changed his name to Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and gained the WBA light heavyweight championship in 1980.)

At least four of Scott's professional bouts held in prison were broadcast by NBC Sports, two by CBS Sports and one by HBO.[6][7] ABC Sports, on the other hand, declined to provide Scott with national television coverage due to his felony conviction and incarceration.[7]

Loss of ranking and later career[edit]

Although Scott was considered a potential challenger for the light heavyweight championship, the WBA removed him from its rankings in October 1979.[2] The WBA cited concerns that as an imprisoned convict, Scott did not set a "good example", and that his opponents were disadvantaged because they had to come to the prison for all of his bouts.[2] Sports Illustrated questioned whether those were the real motives for removing Scott from the rankings, given that the same conditions had applied when the WBA had started to rank him the year before.[2]

As a result of losing his ranking, Scott announced his retirement from boxing.[2] Nevertheless, Scott changed his mind shortly afterward and announced that he was "unretired" and would fulfill his contracts.[8]

On May 25, 1980, Scott had his first professional loss, an upset in which he was defeated by Jerry "Bull" Martin.[9] In January 1981 he was retried in the death of Everett Russ and was found guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison on March 20, 1981. The loss to Martin and subsequent conviction for murder marked the functional end of Scott's consideration as a serious contender for the light heavyweight title. [10]

Scott's last professional fight was on September 5, 1981, when he lost a unanimous decision to Dwight Braxton, later known as Dwight Muhammad Qawi. Qawi himself had formerly been an inmate at Rahway State Prison.[11]

Scott finished his boxing career with a record of 19 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw.[4]

Professional boxing record[edit]

19 Wins (11 knockouts, 8 decisions), 2 Losses (0 knockouts, 2 decisions), 1 Draw [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 14-1-1 United States Dwight Braxton UD 10 05/09/1981 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States 4-5, 3-6, 3-6.
Win 14-16-1 United States Dave Lee Royster TKO 7 10/08/1981 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 0:52 of the seventh round.
Loss 18-1 United States Jerry "The Bull" Martin UD 10 25/05/1980 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States 4-6, 4-6, 3-7.
Win 47-8 Mexico Yaqui Lopez UD 10 01/12/1979 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States 8-2, 7-3, 6-3.
Win 18-4-1 United States Jerry Celestine UD 10 27/10/1979 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States 9-1, 8-2, 9-1.
Win 30-4-3 Italy Ennio Cometti TKO 5 26/08/1979 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States
Win 52-11-1 Jamaica Bunny Johnson TKO 7 01/07/1979 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States
Win 35-4 United States Richie Kates TKO 10 10/03/1979 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:32 of the tenth round.
Win 29-3-1 United States Eddie Mustafa Muhammad UD 12 12/10/1978 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States
Win 12-2 United States Fred "Cleveland" Brown KO 4 09/09/1978 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States
Win 2-5-1 United States Diego Roberson KO 2 24/05/1978 New Jersey Rahway State Prison, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, United States
Win 8-0-1 United States Jesse Burnett UD 10 25/02/1975 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 10-8-2 Argentina Raul Arturo Loyola PTS 10 19/11/1974 Florida Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Draw 5-5 United States Dave Lee Royster PTS 10 10/09/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 2-7-1 The Bahamas "Beautiful" Bobby Lloyd PTS 10 09/07/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 6-5 Tonga Koli Vailea KO 5 14/05/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 35-11-2 United States "Sugar" Ray Anderson UD 10 23/04/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States 49-42, 49-44, 49-42.
Win 13-21-1 United States "Fabulous" Frank Evans PTS 10 02/04/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 33-9-2 The Bahamas Baby Boy Rolle TKO 8 05/03/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 20-34-2 United States Willie "The Invader" Johnson TKO 4 19/02/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 5-10-2 United States Hydra Lacy KO 3 05/02/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win 8-0 United States John L Johnson KO 6 22/01/1974 Florida Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States

Release[edit]

Scott was released from prison in 2005 after serving a 28-year term.[1] In 2012 he was inducted in the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. He currently suffers from dementia in a New Jersey nursing home. [12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McIlvanney, Hugh (2005-02-20). "Foreigners struggle on travels". The Sunday Times. London. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Scorecard". Sports Illustrated. 1979-10-15. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Putnam, Pat (1978-10-23). "Slambang Win In The Slammer". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Boxer: James Scott". Boxrec.com. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  5. ^ Putnam, Pat (1978-10-23). "Slambang Win In The Slammer". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ Dobie, Michael. "Boxing is getting punched out". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 5, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Benagh, Jim (1981-05-25). "Sports World Specials". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Scott to fight again". Wilmington Morning Star. 1979-10-10. p. 5–B. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  9. ^ James Scott loses to Jerry Martin, Boxstat. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  10. ^ http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2014/3/12/5496096/james-scott-jailhouse-boxer-profile
  11. ^ Bonapace, Ruth (1981-09-06). "Scott ring comeback a real flop". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. Associated Press. p. C1. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  12. ^ http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2014/3/12/5496096/james-scott-jailhouse-boxer-profile

External links[edit]