Considered the first welterweight champion, Paddy Duffy, like John L. Sullivan, was an Irish-American from Boston. His first fight, at age nineteen, was a knock-out victory over Skin Doherty in 1884.

Duffy won his first four bouts before fighting three draws with Paddy Sullivan. After one loss in a bout with Jack C. McGee, Duffy never lost again. He fought in Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia in 1886 and 1887 before returning to Boston, where he entered a four-fight series with Jack McGinty. Their first two fights ended in draws. Duffy won a six-round decision in the third fight and solidified his reputation by knocking out McGinty in the ninth round of the fourth fight.

At this point, Duffy sported a record of 21-1-11, which earned him the right to face William McMillan, the English welterweight champ. Fighting at Fort Foote in Vancouver, Canada, Duffy knocked McMillan out in seventeen rounds to claim the world title.

In Duffy’s next fight, he faced Tom Meadows, the Australian champion, in San Francisco. At the time, the welterweight division had an upper weight limit of 142 pounds. Duffy tipped the scales for this bout at 140 while Meadows came in at 143. The two battled for 45 rounds before Duffy won on a foul. Duffy never fought again and died in 1890 at the age of 25.

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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.
Born: Nov. 12, 1864
Died: July 10, 1890
Induction: 2008
Paddy Duffy