Re: Is Date Of Jeffries v Griffin Fight Kosher?
By 1936, Jeff isn't going to have the best memory of when he had what fight. Most likely, Jeff was at least 17 or 18 when the Griffin fight happened, which would have been about 1893. I think it was most likely 1893 or 1894, with an outside chance of early 1895.
In his first autobiography, My Life and Battles, written in 1910, Jeff said that he was 17 years old at the time, which would have been about 1892-1893. In the much later Two Fisted Jeff (written in 1929), Jeffries said that he was about 19 years old, which would have been 1894-1895. He has also said that he did not fight professionally again until a couple years later, in 1896, when he was 21.
An 1898 San Francisco Chronicle reproduction of Jeffries’ record lists an 1893 bout against Hank Griffin in Los Angeles as a 15-round knockout victory for Jeffries. That was the earliest listing of the fight.
It is clear that in 1894, Jeff was training and sparring with Gallagher. Whether Jeff had boxing experience of some sort before the Griffin fight or only after is debatable. Jeff at varying times said he had no training or knowledge, but I suspect he at least had some boxing sparring experience at the Los Angeles Athletic Club before the Griffin bout.
BTW, great catch Boilermaker re that 1894 scheduled sparring exhibition with Gallagher. That makes perfect sense and is consistent with what I have found re Jeff claiming he sparred and trained with Gallagher, who thought highly of him and wanted him to turn pro and continue fighting pro. Jeff said after the Griffin bout, his mother insisted that he not fight pro again, and could not do so until he was of technical age, which was 21 back then. Hence Jeff fully embarking on his pro career in 1896.