Art » Art Exhibits » Boxing's Golden Age

Boxing’s Golden Age: a Photo Exhibit

No amount of hype from the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight could possibly revive contemporary boxing, but it does remind us that it once held a position of prominence in 20th Century America.   This photo exhibit is evidence of its sporting (and artistic) significance.

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Boxing’s Golden Age

 

A photo exhibit illustrating the essence of sports during the first third of the American century — featuring forty photos from the Harry E. Winkler Photographic Collection.

 

Lou Nova

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About the Collection

 

The Harry E. Winkler Photographic Collection includes more than 7,500 different boxing related images in various formats. Winkler was a longtime Los Angeles area fight figure and California correspondent for Ring magazine from 1939 to 1953. He is best remembered, however, for his extensive collection of boxing photographs, many of which were acquired by the University Libraries of Notre Dame in 1977.

Highlights of the collection include close to 4,000 4 x 5 inch glass negatives, mostly taken in California in the 1920’s and 30’s. These are typically posed portraits, of individuals or groups — virtually no fight scenes are included. Among the boxers represented in the collection are Sgt. Sammy Baker, Newsboy Brown, Tony Canzoneri, Bert Colima, Jack Dempsey, Joe Dundee, Tommy O’Brien, Baby Sal Sorio, and Mickey Walker.

The Winkler Collection also includes close to 1,000 4 x 5 inch and 8 x 10 inch film base portrait negatives. Most of these date from the 1940’s and 50’s, while some are second-generation negatives of late nineteenth and early twentieth century prints.

For the most part, the portraits in the Winkler Collection are of boxers who fought professionally in the United States c. 1920-1960, with a very decided emphasis on fighters with a California connection. Also in the collection are over 1,000 4 x 5 inch film base negatives (with contact prints) showing fight action — most of the bouts involved were held in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1940’s. #

A database to Winkler Collection portraits is currently in preparation. For more information, visit the collection at the University Libraries of Notre Dame.

 

Many thanks to the University Libraries of Notre Dame for their cooperation in the publication of this exhibit.

 

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Photograph captions include fighters name (and nickname), his hometown, the division he fought in, his career span, and his record. No photo credits are available.

Boxer statistics and biographies provided by BoxRec.com

“[Native Son author] Richard Wright paid tribute to his hero, Joe Louis, with the lyrics of a blues song, ‘King Joe.’ Count Basie wrote the music, and Paul Robeson, for the first time in his life, sang the blues. Wright was proud of their collaboration. Recorded by John Hammond on the Okeh label, ‘King Joe’ was for sale in mid-November (1941), released on two sides of a ten-inch 78 RPM record. The New York Times critic thought it ‘mighty good’ jazz. The New Masses declared it ‘swell to dance to.’ By mid-January, forty thousand records had been sold.”

Hazel Rowley, from Richard Wright, The Life and Times.

 

Listen to Count Basie’s orchestra play King Joe, with vocalist Paul Robeson

 

 

 

“Do you recognize me?” the old opponent asked. Willie looked hard and considered before finally replying “Lie down so I can recognize you.”

– Willie Pep, talking to an old opponent years after each retired

 

 

 

Pedro Amador (left) and Santiago Zorilla

 

Pedro Amador

Colon, Panama

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Lightweight, 1926 – 1929

Won 21 (4 ko’s) – Lost 14 – 6 draws

 

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Santiago Zorilla

Culver City, California

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Featherweight, 1925 – 1933

Won 45 (6 ko’s) – Lost 32 – 8 draws

Lou Ambers

Herkimer, NY

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“Herkimer Hurricane”

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Lightweight, 1932 – 1941

Won 94 (31 ko’s) – Lost 8 – 7 draws

Henry Armstrong

Columbus, Mississippi

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“Homicide Hank”

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Welterweight, 1931 – 1945

Won 151 (100 ko’s) – Lost 21 – 10 draws

Max Baer

Livermore, California

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“Livermore Larupper”

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Heavyweight, 1921 – 1941

Won 71 (53 ko’s) – Lost 13

Billy Barnes

Salt Lake City, Utah

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Welterweight, 1935 -1938

Won 9 (4 ko’s) – Lost 7 – 2 draws

Hank Bath

Fort Morgan, Colorado

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Heavyweight, 1935 – 1941

Won 6 (5 ko’s) – Lost 6

 

Panama Al Brown

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“The Elongated Panamanian”

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1922 – 1942

Won139 (66 ko’s) – Lost 19 – 16 draws

Tony Canzoneri

New York, New York

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Featherweight, lightweight, 1925 – 1939

Won 137 (44 ko’s) – Lost 24 – 10 draws

Primo Carnera

Sequals, Italy

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“The Ambling Alp”

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Heavyweight, 1928 – 1961

Won 87 (69 ko’s) – Lost 14 – 1 no decision

Jack Dempsey

Manassa, Colorado

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Heavyweight, 1914 – 1928

Won 64 (53 ko’s) – Lost 6 – 9 draws, 5 no decisions