Jack Sharkey is the only man to have fought both Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis. But he may be best remembered for a pair of controversial title fights with Max Schmeling.
Sharkey, a heavy-handed boxer, defeated George Godfrey and Harry Wills in 1926 to earn a number three ranking in the heavyweight division. The following year he knocked out former light heavyweight champion Mike McTigue but was knocked out by Dempsey in July and remained inactive for six months.
When Sharkey returned with a busy schedule in 1928. He drew with Tom Heeney, lost to Johnny Risko, knocked out Jack Delaney and decisioned Arthur DeKuh. He carried that momentum into 1929 when he beat top 175-pounder Young Stribling and knocked out former 175-pound champ Tommy Loughran to win the American heavyweight title.
Sharkey fought for the vacant world title in 1930 against German contender Max Schmeling but was disqualified for hitting below the belt in the fourth round. He fought twice in 1931, battling to a draw with former middleweight champion Mickey Walker and decisioning future heavyweight champ Primo Carnera.
In a 1932, he Schmeling once again. The champion appeared to have a clear decision but the fight was awarded to Sharkey on a split decision.
In his first title defense, Sharkey was knocked out by the mob-connected Carnera in the sixth round. As he did in 1931, Sharkey began by easily outboxing Carnera for the first five rounds. But he was floored with a right uppercut in round six and counted out. Many felt the fight was fixed but Sharkey denied the accusation until his death.
Born: Oct. 26, 1902
Died: Aug. 17, 1994