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He was born Sidney Walker in Augusta, Georgia, on April 1, 1921, but it was under the ring name his 113 year old grandmother gave him–Beau Jack–that he electrified New York boxing fans like no other lightweight of his time.
Beau was a veteran of 112 ring encounters against some of the greatest fighters of all time. He fought such greats as Bob Montgomery, Sammy Angott, Ike Williams, Henry Armstrong, Tippy Larkin, Kid Gavilan, Lew Jenkins, and Fritzie Zivic. His rise to the top was meteoric, capturing the lightweight title only two and a half years after turning pro, (December 18, 1942).
Beau Jack’s career started while working as a caddy at the Augusta Nationals Country Club. It was there that he first put on a pair of boxing gloves. He impressed golfers Bobby Jones and Smiling Jack Demeret. They took up a collection and sent Beau to Springfield, Massachusetts, to learn the fistic trade.
From the beginning, Beau Jack was a crowd pleaser. The key to his appeal was his swarming, non-stop punching style. He continued to excite fans throuought his career, headlining more bouts at Madison Square Garden (21) than any other fighter in history. At one point (March 1944), he headlined three Garden bouts in one month! That year he won the coveted Ring Magazine Merit Award. The award goes to the boxer who has by his conduct, and fighting qualitites, earned the esteem of the sports public. On August 4, 1944 Beau Jack fought Bob Montgomery and drew almost $36 million. They did this to raise money for the war. One had to purchase a war bond to gain entry to the fight. Each fighter only received $1 as their purse. Beau Jack said that was his proudest moment.
Today, Beau Jack lives in Miami and is in declining health. However, he continues to make appearance and receive honors. He was enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1972. Beau Jack will never be forgotten by those who saw him fight or those who knew him.