Tiger Flowers

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Tiger Flowers
Tiger Flowers portrait LOC.jpg
Statistics
Real name Theodore Flowers
Nickname(s) Georgia Deacon
Weight(s) Middleweight
Nationality United States United States
Born (1895-08-05)August 5, 1895
Camilla, Georgia
Died November 16, 1927(1927-11-16) (aged 32)
New York City, New York
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 161
Wins 136
Wins by KO 56
Losses 15
Draws 8
No contests 2

Theodore "Tiger" Flowers (August 5, 1895 – November 16, 1927) was the first African-American middleweight boxing champion, defeating Harry Greb to claim the title in 1926. Nicknamed the "Georgia Deacon", he was a devoutly religious man who would recite a passage from Psalm 144 before every bout.[1] The International Boxing Research Organization rated Flowers as the number 12-ranked middleweight of all time, while boxing historian Bert Sugar placed him 68th in his Top 100 Fighters catalog.[2][3] The Bleacher Report named him the number six-greatest southpaw in boxing history.[4] He was inducted into The Ring Hall of Fame in 1971, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1976, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Theodore Flowers was the son of Lula and Aaron Flowers. Aaron and Lula Flowers were married in Camillia in December 1888. Theodore Tiger Flowers has an older brother named Carl born August 1890. He also has two sisters, O.C and Gertrude. Theodore married Willie Mae Spellers and had a daughter, Verna Lee.

Professional career[edit]

Flowers (left), posing with Mickey Walker before their 1926 title bout

Flowers began boxing professionally in 1918 at the age of 23 while working at a Philadelphia shipbuilding plant. During his career, Flowers met many high-caliber fighters, including Sam Langford, Kid Norfolk, Jamaica Kid, and Mickey Walker. In 1924, Flowers was rated the number-one contender for Harry Greb's middleweight title by The Ring. Flowers earned a shot at Greb after losing a questionable decision to light heavyweight champion Mike McTigue.

World middleweight champion[edit]

On February 26, 1926, before a crowd of 16,311 at Madison Square Garden, Flowers dethroned Greb by unanimous decision, and repeated the victory in August, although both results were considered questionable. Tiger's next bout came against Mickey Walker in Chicago. Flowers lost the bout, but it was a controversial decision in the eyes of many, which later was investigated by the Illinois Athletic Commission, but the decision was not be overturned.[6]

Death[edit]

While trying to obtain a rematch with Walker, Flowers was hospitalized in November, 1927, to have surgery to remove scar tissue from around his eyes. Complications from the surgery resulted in his death on November 16, 1927, reminiscent of the circumstances that caused the death of Greb the year before. He was buried in Atlanta's Lincoln Cemetery.[6]

Notable bouts[edit]

Result Opponent Type Round, Time Date Location Notes[7]
Draw United States Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 1927-11-09 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win United States Pete Latzo UD 10 1927-09-30 United States Artillery Park, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Draw United States Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 1927-07-04 United States Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois
Loss United States Mickey Walker PTS 10 1926-12-03 United States Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois Lost World Middleweight Title
Loss United States Maxie Rosenbloom DQ 10 1926-10-15 United States Mechanics Building, Boston, Massachusetts
Win United States Harry Greb SD 15 1926-08-19 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City Retained World Middleweight Title
Win United States Harry Greb PTS 15 1926-02-26 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City Won World Middleweight Title
Loss Republic of Ireland Mike McTigue SD 10 1925-12-23 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Win United Kingdom Frank Moody PTS 10 1925-12-10 United States Mechanics Building, Boston, Massachusetts
Loss Canada Jack Delaney KO 4 (12) 1925-02-26 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Loss Canada Jack Delaney KO 2 (12) 1925-01-16 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Win United States Johnny Wilson TKO 3 (10) 1924-12-09 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Loss United States Harry Greb NWS 10 1924-08-21 United States Legion Stadium, Fremont, Ohio Newspaper decision
Win Panama Panama Joe Gans NWS 12 1923-05-25 United States Toledo Coliseum, Toledo, Ohio Newspaper decision
Loss United States Kid Norfolk KO 1 (12) 1924-08-21 United States Springfield, Ohio For World "Colored" Light Heavyweight Title
Draw United States Kid Norfolk PTS 8 1922-07-04 United States Memphis, Tennessee
Loss Canada Sam Langford KO 2 (10) 1922-06-05 United States Ponce de Leon Ballpark, Atlanta, Georgia
Loss United States Kid Norfolk KO 3 (10) 1922-01-30 United States Atlanta Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia
Loss Panama Panama Joe Gans KO 5 (15) 1921-12-15 United States Atlanta Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia
Loss Panama Panama Joe Gans KO 6 (15) 1921-08-08 United States Atlanta Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tiger Flowers Bio". International Boxing Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  2. ^ All-Time Middleweight Rankings IBROresearch.com Retrieved on 2014-04-29
  3. ^ Bert Randolph Sugar (2005). Boxing's Greatest Fighters. Lyons Press. ISBN 978-1-59228-632-4. 
  4. ^ Seekins, Briggs. "Manny Pacquiao and the 25 Greatest Southpaws in Boxing History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Cyber Boxing Encyclopedia - Tiger Flowers CyberBoxingZone.com Retrieved on 2014-04-30
  6. ^ a b Kaye, Andrew (May 8, 2003). "Tiger Flowers (1895-1927)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  7. ^ Tiger Flower's Professional Boxing Record BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-18.

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrew M. Kaye, "The Canonisation of Tiger Flowers: A Black Hero for the 1920s," Borderlines: Studies in American Culture 5, no. 2 (1998): 142-59.
  • Andrew M. Kaye, The Pussycat of Prizefighting: Tiger Flowers and the Politics of Black Celebrity (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004).
  • Herman "Skip" Mason Jr., Black Atlanta in the Roaring Twenties (Dover, N.H.: Arcadia, 1997).

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Harry Greb
World Middleweight Champion
February 26, 1926 – December 3, 1926
Succeeded by
Mickey Walker