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Jimmy Goodrich

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Taken from a dead link at Boxing Depot


Jimmy Goodrich Forgotten Fighter

For more than seven years, Benny Leonard held a monopoly—a legal monopoly that no court could dissolve - the world lightweight championship. Leonard monopolized the crown simply by being so good that he was unbeatable. But then, in the summer of 1924, seemingly with no more worlds to conquer, Leonard announced his retirement as undefeated titleholder. This set off a scramble among the best 135-pounders in the world for the vacant crown, and a young fighter of Irish-German ancestry, toughened in the steel mills, emerged on top as the successor to Benny Leonard. His name was James Edward Moran, but in the ring he was called Jimmy Goodrich.

Jimmy was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the turn of the century—July 13, 1900. He grew up in the steel mill country, and as a youngster went to work at the Lackawana Steel PIant as an apprentice toolmaker. But fate intervened and Jimmy didn't work too long as a steelman. Another worker tried one day to bully him into doing some extra work that was actually the responsibility of this worker, and not Jimmy, so he refused. The other fellow then wanted to fight him. Jimmy found an experienced ex-fighter who taught him how to box.He started fighting at smokers, and, along with numerous workers from the steel plant, his would-be foe attended one of these smokers. That night, Jimmy scored a KO that was so devastating that he broke the ankle of his opponent with the knockout punch. After that, he never had any more trouble with his challenger from the steel plant, who abandoned his plans for a fistfight with Goodrich.

This was in 1916, when Jimmy Goodrich was just 16 years old and already fighting professionally. His record for the first six years, in which he had perhaps one hundred or more fights, went unrecorded. Most of these were either newspaper decisions or KO's in his favor. In 1922, he was stopped in one round by Bobby Michaels in Buffalo. It was to be the only time Jimmy would be stopped, according to the record, in his career. He went on to defeat Mixer Mitchell, Freddy Jacks, and Rube Cohen, Chubby Brown, Pal Moran, and boxed a no-decision with Sid Barbarian. On August 9, 1923, he met junior lightweight champion Jack Bernstein in a non-title bout, and held Bernstein to a draw after ten rounds. The previous year, Goodrich had dropped a ten-rounder at Toronto to junior lightweight king Johnny Dundee in a non-title go. Johnny, of course, went on to become Featherweight champ.

Little more than a month after the Bernstein draw, Jimmy clashed in New York with featherweight champion-to-be Louis Kid Kaplan on Sepember 28, 1923, coming out on the short end of the decision after ten rounds. Not discouraged, Jimmy went through seventeen fights in 1924, winning eight, while fighting three draws and three no-decisions, while losing just three times. He began 1925 with a ten round win over Sammy Berne in Buffalo on New Year's Day. But thirteen days later he lost a l2-round decision to Sid Terris in New York. But following this, Goodrich was about to launch himself on a seven bout winning streak that would climax in his winning of the world lightweight title.

On May 18, 1925, Goodrich met Sammy Mandell in a contest between two future lightie kings. After six rounds, Jimmy was the winner over Mandell on a foul. By this time, Leonard had been retired for several months, and Goodrich was in the midst of an elimination series. His consistent winning finally led him to the elimination final for the vacant crown. On July 13, 1925, in New York, Jimmy Goodrich and Stan Loayza- faced each other in the ring with the title on the line. The bell rang for the first round, then for the second round. It would ring no more that night. After less than six minutes of battle, by virtue of a knockout, Jimmy Goodrich had become the new world lightweight titleholder.

He then engaged in three non-title bouts, a draw with Pep O'Brien, a no-decision against Gene Johnson, and a win over Clonie Tait. Five months after winning the crown, he put it on the line against Rocky Kansas in Buffalo. On December 7, 1925, after fifteen rounds, Goodrich was an ex-champion, succeeded by Kansas.

The next month, Jimmy fought ten no-decision rounds with Solly Seaman in Milwaukee, but in April and May of 1926 he lost two decisions to Mushy Callahan, then just a few months away from becoming junior welterweight king. In February and April of I927 he lost two fights to old foe Jack Bernstein, the first in New York and the second upstate in Buffalo. On May 13, 1927 Jimmy lost a six-rounder to Ruby Goldstein, then the Jewel of the Ghetto. On August 11, however, he beat Cuddy DeMarco on a foul in the tenth round, and followed this with a win over Eddie Kid Wagner.

Rocky Kansas, after a brief reign as champion, was followed by Sammy Mandell. Mandell took the title in 1926. Mandell agreed to meet Goodrich in Flint, Michigan, on September 24, 1928. It was agreed that this would not be a title fight, with Mandell's crown not on the line. Lucky for Sammy, for in the second round, as the two men fought, Mandell's collar bone was broken, and Jimmy was awarded a KO moments later. (Mandell held the title until Al Singer took it from him in 1930.) Next, Goodrich beat Phil Goldstein in Buffalo, but lost to Bruce Flowers.

In 1929 he boxed a no-decision sixer with Paul Pirrone on February 5, but then lost to Kid Kaplan in their second meeting, two weeks after the Pirrone fight. A no-decision contest with King Tut followed, and then on June 17, Jimmy took on Mushy Callahan and won a big fifteen-round decision in Buffalo. Less than six weeks later he met Billy Petrolle in Duluth, July 26, 1929, losing a decision to the Fargo Eixpress. More fights followed, but Jimmy began to lose more than he was winning. Seeing the writing on the wall, he retired after a 1931 loss to Pete Suskey.

Record books credit him with 110 fights of which he won 44, drew 15 times, fought 18 no-decision bouts, and lost 33 times. Jimmy, however, claimed he had more like 225 fights, of which he estimated he won about 80 percent, counting newspaper decisions. He recalled his toughest fight was against Billy DeFoe. They met, as featherweights, in 1922 at Scranton and the verdict was a draw. Naturally, they were rematched. "We were both cut up pretty bad," Jimmy recollected of that rematch. "I had him on the floor in the ninth round for a nine count, and won the decision."

Jimmy and his wife, Ursula, were married in 1921. Jimmy's grandson, of whom he spoke proudly, was a Marine who served in VietNam as a gunner on a helicopter and was decorated several times.

In 1931, following his retirement, Goodrich became a referee, handling wrestling and boxing, including one of the Maxie Rosenbloom-Lou Scozza fights. He refereed until 1945. In 1933 he opened a cocktail lounge in upstate New York. He ran it for some years, then went to Miami briefly. After a few months there, he returned to New York, and opened a combination hotel-restaurant-bar in the resort area of Angola. Located on a lake, Jimmy also had a powerboat franchise. He sold this business in 1960, and retired to Ft. Meyer's Beach, Florida. His hobbies included gardening and boating.

In 1970, Jimmy Goodrich was honored when he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame.

He died September 24, 1982.

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