How good was Jem Smith?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by SimonLock, May 13, 2022 at 12:34 AM.

  1. SimonLock

    SimonLock New Member Full Member

    Nov 15, 2018
    James “Jem” Smith was unbeaten for the first few years of his career at the lower weights.

    He won an open heavyweight competition in December 1885, and beat Jack Davis for the English title.

    He fought Alf Greenfield in February 1886, and is reported to have dominated the fight before spectators eventually entered the ring and it was declared an official draw.

    In December 1886 he fought Jake Kilrain, in what was essentially an elimination bout where the winner would face Sullivan. The bout lasted for 106 rounds before a draw was agreed, but Kilrain won the newspaper decision and went on to fight Sullivan for the title.

    Later he would lose to Jackson and Slavin in 1889, arguably the 2 top contenders in that year.

    If rankings existed at that time, where would you have ranked Jem Smith when he fought Kilrain in 1886?
    cross_trainer and choklab like this.
  2. SimonLock

    SimonLock New Member Full Member

    Nov 15, 2018
    It was reported in 1886 and 1887 that John L Sullivan wanted to fight Smith, and it seems that challenges were exchanged and accepted. However, when Sullivan arrived in England in November 1887 Smith was already scheduled to fight Kilrain, and his draw/loss in that fight seems to have derailed plans for him to meet Sullivan.
    choklab likes this.
  3. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    Jem smith was definitely a good fighter.