Mike "Twin" Sullivan

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Mike "Twin" Sullivan
Real nameMichael Sullivan
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
NationalityIrish American United States
Born(1878-09-23)September 23, 1878
Cambridge, Massachusetts
DiedOctober 31, 1937(1937-10-31) (aged 59)
Boxing record
Total fights63
Wins by KO17

Mike "Twin" Sullivan (September 23, 1878 – October 31, 1937) was an American boxer frequently credited with taking the Welterweight Championship of the World on April 23, 1907 when he soundly defeated William "Honey" Mellody in Los Angeles in a twenty-round bout. He vacated the title in the late fall of 1908, when he could not make weight. Many, though not all sanctioning bodies active today recognize his claim to the title during this period.

Sullivan is most recognized as a world champion among American boxing historians. He had an impressive knockout percentage and record and fought some of the greatest boxers of his era including Joe Gans, while he was the reigning lightweight champion, as well as welterweight champion Harry Lewis, and leading welterweight contenders Jimmy Clabby, and Jimmy Gardner whom he defeated.[1]

Early career[edit]

Mike "Twin" Sullivan was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 23, 1878, and resided in neighboring Boston for much of his career. He had a twin brother Jack, the origin of his nickname, "twin", and was the youngest in an Irish family of several siblings. His twin Jack was an accomplished middleweight boxer as well, once claiming the Middleweight Championship of the World when he defeated Tommy Burns on March 7, 1905. Jack fought top talent as did Mike, and they shared a few of the same opponents. His brother Dan was a less well known boxer.[1]

The "Twin" began his career around March 25, 1901, by defeating Jack Dwyer in Boston, Massachusetts in ten rounds. The following month he beat Belfield Wallcott, brother of Joe, at the same Business Man's Athletic Club in Boston in another ten-round bout.[1][2][3]

Joe Gans, Lightweight Champion

Sullivan had three historic bouts with Hall of Famer and reigning lightweight champion Joe Gans, in September 1905 and January and March 1906 with the first in Maryland and the last two in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Significantly, Sullivan lost the last two bouts to the lightweight champion by knockout and technical knockout, though their first bout was a close draw. In the San Francisco fight, Sullivan's first sanctioned Welterweight World Title match according to BoxRec, Gans won by knockout in the fifteenth of twenty rounds. In an important note, the Rock Island Argus wrote of the San Francisco fight, "Gans showed wonderful form and was easily the master of his white antagonist at all times." It did allow that the first three rounds were fairly even fighting. After his fights with Gans, Sullivan met Rube Smith, an accomplished welterweight contender three times in April, July, and August 1906 in Colorado, winning in an eighteenth round knockout in April, but drawing in the other two matches.[1][4]

Sullivan lost to future welterweight Harry Lewis on February 21, 1907 in a ten-round points decision in Denver. Lewis would use this victory and his subsequent knockout of Honey Mellody one year later on April 20, 1908 to establish what most boxing historians consider a legitimate claim to the World Welterweight Title. Many boxing sanctioning organization today simply fail to list World Welterweight champions prior to 1910 or 1915, as most of these organizations did not exist during that period, and there was less widespread recognition of world champions.[1]

Winning the Welterweight World Title[edit]

Honey Mellody, World Welterweight Champ

Sullivan met Honey Mellody, probably in his most historic bout, on April 23, 1907 in a Welterweight World Title match in Naud Junction Pavilion in Los Angeles. He won the twenty round bout refereed by Charles Ayton. The Shreveport Caucasian wrote of the bout, "At all stages Sullivan showed unmistakable superiority and out generated Mellody in infighting. Mellody's tactics were confined to rushes generally ending in clinches where Sullivan used right upper cuts and short hand jabs to the face with telling effect".[5] The Washington Evening Star noted that "during the early rounds Mellody had an even break with his clever opponent", but "Sullivan came back strong and from the twelfth had it all his own way."[6] "The "Twin" was immediately recognized as a World Champion in the state of California, and has since been recognized widely by American boxing historians including widely recognized authority Nat Fleischer and a host of newspapers. Sullivan relinquished the title around October or November 1908 according to BoxRec as he was above the welterweight limit.[7][8]

Boxing two leading welterweight contenders[edit]

He fought Jimmy Gardner , a welterweight contender at least four times. Gardner was another welterweight during the period who attempted to claim the world title as his own. They met on December 18, 1902 and January 27, 1903, with one fifteen round draw, and one five round newspaper win. On November 24, 1905, he beat Gardner on points in 20 rounds in San Francisco. He beat Gardner again in what was deemed a Welterweight Title match on April 22, 1908 in a twenty five round points decision at Jeffries Arena in Vernon, California, with the legendary heavyweight ex-champion Jim Jeffries as referee. Sullivan fought Gardner again on November 29, 1909 at the Grand Opera House in New Haven, Connecticut, in a twelve round draw by newspaper decision of the Boston Globe.[1]

Sullivan fought Jimmy Clabby on February 4, 1910 at the National Athletic Club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a ten round draw by newspaper decision. According to the Calumet News, Sullivan was ten pounds heavier than Clabby, demonstrating that Sullivan was fighting above the Welterweight limit, and according to BoxRec had been fighting above the Welterweight limit since around December 1908. Clabby was a serious contender for the Welterweight Championship himself, and one of several boxers who believed he had a claim to it in later years, though his claim was never widely recognized. Sullivan fought Clabby again on June 3, 1911, in Buffalo, in a close ten round bout that the Buffalo Times, wrote Clabby had a "slight shade," implying he won by a small margin.[1][9]

World Middleweight Title bout with Stanley Ketchel[edit]

Stanley Ketchell

Fighting as a light middleweight at 150 pounds, he lost a Middleweight Title Bout against reigning Middleweight Champion Stanley Ketchel by first round knockout, on February 22, 1908 at Mission Street Arena in Colma, California. It was rare for Sullivan to lose by knockout, and made the bout more memorable for supporters of Ketchel. Some boxing critics believe that Sullivan's career began a slow descent after this loss.[1]

On September 1, 1910, Sullivan fought a bout with contender Paddy Lavin, which resulted in a draw. There was an edge by Sullivan in the ten round bout in Buffalo, New York, according to the Los Angeles Herald of September 3. Sullivan showed his power, knocking Lavin to the canvas for a count of eight in the first round. The two fought another ten round bout at the same location on October 6, with the Buffalo Times giving their decision for both fights to Sullivan.[1][10]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
63 fights 28 wins 6 losses
By knockout 17 5
By decision 11 1
Draws 16
Newspaper decisions/draws 13
All Newspaper decisions are regarded as “no decision” bouts as they have “resulted in neither boxer winning or losing, and would therefore not count as part of their official fight record."
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
63 Loss 27–6–16 (12) Roddy MacDonald KO 4 (12) Feb 15, 1914 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
62 Draw 27–5–16 (12) Mickey MacIntyre PTS 12 Jan 01, 1914 Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
61 Win 27–5–15 (12) Paddy Lavin Imposter KO 2 (10) Dec 15, 1913 American Hall, Dover, New Hampshire, U.S.
60 Win 26–5–15 (12) Joe Geary NWS 6 Nov 14, 1913 Portland, Maine, U.S.
59 Win 26–5–15 (11) Jack Tresser KO 4 (10) Jan 22, 1913 Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
58 Win 25–5–15 (11) Jim Kince KO 5 (10) Jan 05, 1913 Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
57 Win 25–5–15 (11) Joe Baker KO 1 (10) Dec 20, 1912 Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
56 Loss 24–5–15 (11) Kid Henry TKO 2 (10) Jun 12, 1911 Knickerbocker A.C., Albany, New York, U.S.
55 Loss 24–4–15 (11) Jimmy Clabby NWS 10 Jun 03, 1911 International A.C., Buffalo, New York, U.S.
54 Loss 24–4–15 (10) Jack Dillon NWS 10 Mar 17, 1911 International A.C., Buffalo, New York, U.S.
53 Loss 24–4–15 (9) Bob Moha NWS 10 Mar 10, 1911 Shubert Theater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
52 Win 24–4–15 (8) Dixie Kid NWS 10 Jan 17, 1911 Harmonia Hall, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
51 Win 24–4–15 (7) Young Loughrey NWS 10 Jan 02, 1911 International A.C., Buffalo, New York, U.S.
50 Win 24–4–15 (7) Paddy Lavin NWS 10 Oct 06, 1910 International A.C., Buffalo, New York, U.S.
49 Win 24–4–15 (6) Paddy Lavin NWS 10 Sep 01, 1910 International A.C., Buffalo, New York, U.S.
48 Win 24–4–15 (5) Dennis Tighe NWS 10 Aug 25, 1910 Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
47 Draw 24–4–15 (4) Jimmy Clabby NWS 10 Feb 04, 1910 National A.C., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
46 Draw 24–4–15 (3) Jimmy Gardner NWS 12 Nov 29, 1909 Grand Opera House, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
45 Win 24–4–15 (2) Terry Martin PTS 12 Sep 21, 1909 Armory A.A., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
44 Draw 23–4–15 (2) Harry 'Kid' Krantz PTS 6 Jul 13, 1909 Piedmont Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
43 Draw 23–4–14 (2) Kyle Whitney TKO 8 (10) May 25, 1909 Dreamland Pavilion, San Francisco, California, U.S.
42 Win 23–4–13 (2) Allen Mahoney TKO 8 (10) Nov 05, 1908 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
41 Win 22–4–13 (2) Tom Foley PTS 10 Jul 23, 1908 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
40 Win 21–4–13 (2) Jimmy Gardner PTS 25 Apr 22, 1908 Jeffries' Arena, Vernon, California, U.S. Retained world welterweight title
39 Loss 20–4–13 (2) Stanley Ketchel KO 1 (25) Feb 22, 1908 Mission Street Arena, Colma, California, U.S. For world middleweight title
38 Win 20–3–13 (2) Kid Farmer KO 13 (20) Nov 27, 1907 Naud Junction Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, U.S. Retained world welterweight title
37 Win 19–3–13 (2) Frank Fields TKO 20 (20) Oct 31, 1907 Goldfield, Nevada, U.S.
36 Win 18–3–13 (2) William "Honey" Mellody PTS 20 Apr 23, 1907 Naud Junction Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, U.S. Won world welterweight title
35 Loss 17–3–13 (2) Harry Lewis PTS 10 Mar 21, 1907 Denver, Colorado, U.S.
34 Win 17–2–13 (2) Jack Dougherty KO 19 (20) Sep 03, 1906 Butte, Montana, U.S.
33 Draw 16–2–13 (2) Rube Smith PTS 20 Aug 15, 1906 Denver, Colorado, U.S.
32 Draw 16–2–12 (2) Rube Smith PTS 10 Jul 03, 1906 Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
31 Win 16–2–11 (2) Rube Smith KO 18 (20) Apr 18, 1906 Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
30 Loss 15–2–11 (2) Jimmy Gardner TKO 10 (20) Mar 17, 1906 Chutes Park, Los Angeles, California, U.S. For world welterweight title claim at 142lbs
29 Loss 15–1–11 (2) Jimmy Gardner KO 15 (20) Jan 19, 1906 Woodward's Pavilion, San Francisco, California, U.S. For a claim to the world welterweight title at 142lbs
28 Win 15–0–11 (2) Jimmy Gardner PTS 20 Nov 24, 1905 Woodward's Pavilion, San Francisco, California, U.S.
27 Draw 14–0–11 (2) Joe Gans PTS 15 Sep 15, 1905 Lyric Theater, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
26 Win 14–0–10 (2) Beth McCloud TKO 6 (15) Jul 19, 1905 Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
25 Win 13–0–10 (2) Tom Corcoran KO 4 (10) Apr 27, 1905 Portland, Maine, U.S.
24 Win 12–0–10 (2) Otto Sieloff TKO 5 (12) Mar 24, 1905 City Hall, Lewiston, Maine, U.S.
23 Win 11–0–10 (2) Joe Angeli TKO 7 (10) Sep 30, 1904 Woodward's Pavilion, San Francisco, California, U.S.
22 Win 10–0–10 (2) Gus Gardner TKO 10 (15) May 16, 1904 Burt's Opera House, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
21 Win 9–0–10 (2) Sammy Phillips KO 5 (10) May 12, 1904 West End A.C., Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
20 Win 8–0–10 (2) Billy Moore PTS 6 Apr 08, 1904 Battery D Armory, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
19 Win 7–0–10 (2) Dick Fitzpatrick PTS 6 Mar 26, 1904 Chicago A.C., Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
18 Draw 6–0–10 (2) Jack Blackburn PTS 15 Dec 31, 1903 Chelsea A.C., Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S.
17 Loss 6–0–9 (2) Willie Fitzgerald NWS 6 Nov 14, 1903 National A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
16 Draw 6–0–9 (1) George "Elbows" McFadden PTS 10 Mar 24, 1903 Criterion A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Prearranged draw
15 Draw 6–0–8 (1) Belfield Walcott PTS 10 Feb 24, 1903 Health & Physical Culture A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Prearranged draw
14 Win 6–0–7 (1) Jimmy Gardner NWS 5 Jan 27, 1903 Bay State A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
13 Draw 6–0–7 Jimmy Gardner PTS 15 Dec 18, 1902 Alameda, Bath, Maine, U.S.
12 Draw 6–0–6 Belfield Walcott PTS 15 Sep 23, 1902 Alameda, Bath, Maine, U.S.
11 Draw 6–0–5 Belfield Walcott PTS 15 Sep 16, 1902 Bath, Maine, U.S.
10 Draw 6–0–4 Jack Carrig PTS 10 Jul 03, 1902 Cambridge A.A., Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
9 Win 6–0–3 Dan Littlejohn TKO 9 (15) Jun 25, 1902 Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
8 Win 5–0–3 Arthur Cote PTS 15 May 09, 1902 National Hall, Biddeford, Maine, U.S.
7 Draw 4–0–3 Billy Gardner PTS 6 May 05, 1902 Bowdoin Square A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
6 Draw 4–0–2 Tim Kearns PTS 6 Apr 19, 1902 Lenox A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
5 Draw 4–0–1 Arthur Cote PTS 15 Apr 17, 1902 Lewiston, Maine, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 Jack McKeever TKO 14 (15) Jan 21, 1902 Bath, Maine, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 Joe Flaherty PTS 6 Jan 20, 1902 Lenox A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 Belfield Walcott PTS 10 Apr 08, 1901 Business Men's A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 Jack Dwyer PTS 10 Mar 25, 1901 Business Men's A.C., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Mike "Twin" Sullivan". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 June 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Paloolian, Mark, Brutality, (2007). Copyright by Mark Paloolian, First Choice Books, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Pgs. 86-89.
  3. ^ "After Bouts for Brothers", Bismarck Daily Tribune, Bismarck, North Dakota, pg. 6, 17 February 1910
  4. ^ "Joe Gans Proves the Better Man", Rock Island Argus, pg.7, Rock Island, Illinois, 20 January 1906
  5. ^ ""Twin" Sullivan Wins",The Caucasian, pg. 3, Shreveport, Louisiana, 25 April 1907
  6. ^ "Sullivan Bested Honey Mellody",Washington Evening Star, pg. 9, Washington, D.C., 24 April 1907
  7. ^ Callis, Tracy, and Johnston, Chuck, Boxing in the Los Angeles Area, 1880-2005, (2009), Trafford Publishing, Victoria, B.C., Canada, pg. 25
  8. ^ Fleischer, Nat, and Andre, Sam, An Illustrated History of Boxing, (1959). Kensington Publishing Corporation, New York, New York, p.264
  9. ^ "Sullivan and Clabby Draw", Calumet News, pg. 1, Calument, Michigan, 5 February 1910
  10. ^ "Mike Twin Sullivan and Lavin Have Ten Rounds", Los Angeles Herald, p.10, Los Angeles, California, 3 September 1910.
Preceded by
William "Honey" Mellody
World Welterweight Champion
April 23, 1907 – October 1908
Title last held by
Waldemar Holberg

External links[edit]