GEORGE (KID) LAVIGNE is the second lightweight champion under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. The first was Hall of Famer Jack McAuliffe.
Lavigne turned pro in 1886 at the age of 16 in Saginaw, Michigan. Because of his age and that many of his early fights were in Saginaw, he earned the nickname, "The Saginaw Kid." And while he began boxing early, he went unbeaten in 46 fights and did not suffer his first loss until 1899. While there were quite a few draws on his record, many of those took place when boxing was illegal and were the result of police intervention.
After McAuliffe retired, Lavigne claimed the American version of the lightweight title by virtue of wins over Andy Bowen, Joe Walcott and a 20-round draw with Young Griffo.
A match was set up in London for Lavigne to meet British champion Dick Burge in 1896. Burge was described as a "scientific boxer" while Lavigne was portrayed as an "aggressive, savage fighter." The action was constant as Burge managed to draw blood from Lavigne's nose and mouth. But the American never faltered and eventually scored a 17th-round knockout and claimed the world title.
A terrific puncher, Lavigne retained the title with knockouts against Jack Everhart, Eddie Connolly and Walcott. The title challengers who lasted the distance were Kid McPartland, Jack Daly, Frank Erne and Tom Tracy.
In 1899, Lavigne moved up in weight in a bid to capture the welterweight title and was knocked out by champion "Mysterious" Billy Smith. Later that year, he lost the lightweight crown as well when Erne decisioned him over 20 rounds in a rematch.
Lavigne fought just six times over the next 10 years and retired in 1909.
Born: Dec. 6, 1869
Died: March 9, 1928