Lee Groves

10: Best Over-40 Fighters

9. Jack Britton: Record after age 40 – 30-11-3 (0) with one no-contest

Boxing’s first three-time welterweight champion was a master boxer who used an educated jab to score points, dictate distance and thoroughly frustrate the opposition. He is best known for his legendary 20-fight series with Ted “Kid” Lewis but by the time he turned 40 on October 14, 1925 he was forced to fight on because of failed Florida land investments. His dire circumstances had no effect on his performance, for after more than 300 fights the moves and nuances of boxing had been indelibly ingrained and thus were still deftly executed.

Britton relied heavily on science because he lacked sock – only 30 knockouts in 345 recorded fights according to Boxrec. But even at 40 and beyond his ring instincts were solid and his chin had a Gibraltar-like consistency; his only KO defeat took place in just his third pro fight in 1905 when Steve Kinney dusted him in one round. Though Britton could be out-scored he seldom found himself seriously rattled, neither physically nor emotionally.

His over-40 campaign began after a 14-month layoff but that didn’t stop Britton from going 27-4-1 (with one five-round no-contest against Floyd Hybert) in his first 32 outings. Typically, all of Britton’s victories came by decision and he strung streaks of seven, eight and seven fights in 10 and 12-round affairs. Despite his success Britton never got close to securing a final crack at the welterweight title, and by July 1929 the ravages of time finally were tightening their grip. In his last 12 fights Britton was 3-7-2, including a 0-6-2 stretch and following a 10-round loss to Rudy Marshall on July 29, 1930 Britton finally hung up the gloves two-and-a-half months shy of 45.

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