Born James Carney in Birmingham, England on November 5, 1856 to Irish parents. The 5'5” Carney began boxing in 1878. In 1881 he toured America where he engaged in boxing exhibitions in Boston, Philadelphia and a salon run by Owney Geoghegan at the Bowery in New York City.
He was undefeated before challenging Jake Hyams for the English lightweight championship on December 20, 1884. Carney won the title after a 45-round battle that lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes. In June 1887 he beat Jimmy Mitchel over 11 rounds on a barge in Long Island Sound, NY. Five months later he engaged in his most famous battle, a 74-round draw with Jack McAuliffe for the World lightweight championship in Revere, MA. One of the most grueling duels ever contested at that weight in the U.S., friends of McAuliffe stopped the action after 3 hours and 40 minutes. Many observers of the day felt Carney was taking the lead at the time the bout was halted. In 1891 he lost his English lightweight title to Dick Burge on a foul in the 11th round.
Carney retired after the Burge fight and became a bodyguard for millionaire George Alexander Baird. He died on September 8, 1941 in London.
Born: Nov. 5, 1856
Died: Sept. 8, 1941