Lee Groves

10: Notable Philadelphia title fights

3. July 12, 1948, Shibe Park — Ike Williams KO 6 Beau Jack I, world lightweight championship


Setting the Stage: This was the first of what would be a scintillating four-fight series but this was the only one with a championship on the line. This was Williams’ third defense of the undisputed title (his fifth if one counts the two NYSAC sanctioned bouts) while the ultra-aggressive Jack was making his first attempt to regain the title he held for 10 months and one defense in 1943-1944. Since then Jack turned back the likes of Bummy Davis, Bob Montgomery, Sammy Angott, Tony Janiro and Johnny Bratton while also suffering losses to Janiro, Buster Tyler and Terry Young. Given the styles, a fantastic fight was at hand.

What Happened: This one lived up to all the hype — and more. Williams’ stiletto jabs bounced off Jack’s forehead in the first round while most of his follow-up rights whizzed over the ducking Jack’s head. The challenger tried his best to break through Williams’ defense with hacking blows from an extreme crouch, but the champion’s thicket of punches served as an effective fence. Following an even fourth round Jack launched an all-out blitz in the fifth, pushing Williams to the ropes and breaking off a tooth during one vicious exchange.

The pain pulsated through Williams’ body, pushing him to levels of violence even he couldn’t have imagined. In the sixth Williams launched himself from the corner and unleashed explosive combinations from every angle like a man possessed. As Jack tottered toward the ropes, a follow-up right caused him to skitter with his hands dangerously low. Williams seized the moment by battering Jack to the point where he turned to referee Charlie Daggert and silently asked him to stop the fight. After Daggert refused, Williams slipped under Jack’s outstretched left and delivered four more blows to an unprotected skull, persuading Daggert to intervene. It was an assault worthy of the host city’s sporting legacy.

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