Jimmy Jacobs is primarily known to boxing for his vast collection of fight films, but he was also a fight manager and, as a young man, a handball champion. Born in St. Louis in 1930, Jacobs grew up in Los Angeles and, while he excelled in baseball, football, and basketball, his primary sport was handball. He was a six-time national singles handball champion and a six-time national doubles champion. Handball experts credit him with first using the ceiling shot.
Jacobs was also a boxing enthusiast and, in his travels to other countries to give handball exhibitions, he began to acquire films of old fights which were no longer available in this country. In 1961, Jacobs joined forces with another collector, Bill Cayton, to restore and preserve the films. Their corporation, The Big Fights, Inc., produced over one thousand boxing features with the old films as a base. Three of their productions were nominated for Academy Awards.
In addition to his film collecting, Jacobs also managed fighters with Cayton. The pair handled three world champions: Wilfred Benitez, Edwin Rosario and Mike Tyson. As a manager, Jacobs was content to let the trainer determine the fight strategy and training regimen.
Jacobs died on March 23, 1988 after a long struggle with leukemia. He was hailed in both the boxing and handball worlds for his successes and fine character. Along with his spot in the Boxing Hall of Fame, Jacobs is an inductee of the Handball Hall of Fame.
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Excerpted with permission from 'The Boxing Register' by James B. Roberts and Alexander G. Skutt, copyright © 1999 by McBooks Press. All rights reserved.
Died: Mar. 23, 1988