One hundred sixty-one years ago, on October 12, 1853, one of the most notorious bare-knuckle boxing matches in American sports history was held in an abandoned brickyard in Boston Corners, NY. James “Yankee” Sullivan fought a 37-round fight with John Morrissey that The New York Times described as a “brutal exhibition,” “sickening,” and “a hideous affair.”
According to the referee, Morrissey won the fight. Newspapers from coast to coast proclaimed him to be the new American boxing champion. He went on to win political fame in New York City, and a horse racing and gambling fortune in Saratoga Springs, NY. Sullivan went on to San Francisco, CA where he either committed suicide or was murdered, while he was in jail waiting trial on charges of rigging elections by stuffing ballot boxes.
Over the course of the next few weeks, more details about this fascinating blip in New York State’s history of blood sports will appear here.