2. Beau Jack vs. Bob Montgomery – May 21, 1943 to Aug. 4, 1944
In terms of ring styles, boxing fans couldn’t have asked for better than the combustible potion produced by Philadelphia’s Bob Montgomery and Augusta, Georgia’s Beau Jack. Jack’s relentlessness and powerful inside fighting propelled him to 21 Madison Square Garden main events – still the most in history – while “The Philadelphia Bobcat” fought as fiercely as his namesake but also boasted his share of science. Their series produced not one, but two Ring Magazine Fights of the Year in 1943 and 1944 and had the award existed they surely would have produced several candidates for Round of the Year.
Their first meeting at MSG was for the New York version of the lightweight title, which was awarded to Jack following the retirement of Sammy Angott, a move Angott later recanted. Montgomery claimed the belt with a decisive 10-3-2, 10-5, 9-6 decision and because of that margin he was installed as a 4-to-1 favorite in the rematch six months later, again at Madison Square Garden. Although Jack soaked up plenty of punishment his bruising body blasts and spectacular volume punching lifted Jack to a 7-6-2, 10-5, 10-4-1 decision that earned THE RING’s Fight of the Year designation. With the victory, Jack became only the second man to ever regain the lightweight title from the man who took it from him.
Thankfully for boxing fans, the third Montgomery-Jack fight duplicated the action of fight two as it featured tremendous two-way action worthy of THE RING’S Fight of the Year award for 1944. Also, Montgomery’s split decision victory allowed the Philadelphian to become the third lightweight to take back honors from his conqueror.
Their fourth and final meeting was the only one without a title on the line but it also was the most famous. That’s because this bout was benefiting the War Bond drive and tickets were available only to those who purchased bonds. Because tickets were bought for many times the face value, the eventual gate was an astronomical $35,864,900. Montgomery and Jack, by now privates in the U.S. Army, offered their services for free, as did everyone else associated with the show.
Before an audience of fellow soldiers (many buyers left their tickets to be picked up by servicemen who otherwise couldn’t afford them), Jack and Montgomery gave it their very best effort for 10 hard rounds. While judge Frank Forbes saw it 5-5, the other two officials – referee Billy Cavanaugh and judge Bill Healy – scored it 6-2-2 and 6-3-1 for Jack, which left the series tied at two fights apiece.