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Everyone is familiar with boxers like Mike Tyson, Buster Douglas, Muhammid Ali, and Floyd "Money" Mayweather as these are just a few examples among many of black boxers who have been extremely successful. Who was the first to set the bar high and win a championship for the black boxing world? To have seen this happen, you would have to travel back in time to the year 1890 and watch Canadian born - George Dixon win the bantamweight championship bout. Standing at only 5 ft. and 3 inches tall, many consider Dixon to have been the greatest boxer of the 19'th century. Indirectly, the career of George Dixon could have paved the way for what we see today with so many successful black boxers. Dixon had a relatively short life; dying at the age of 38 in New York City and is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Massachusetts.


  • George Dixon in his prime
  • George Dixon Tombstone
  • Mt. Hope Cemetery

George Dixon was born on July 29, 1870 in the north end of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Growing up his sites were set on being a photographer.  His interest in boxing stemmed from other local boxers coming into his place of employment to be photographed.  His first knockout which came in 1886 led him to move to Boston shortly after to pursue his career.

 

It didn't take long for him to get going.  He performed well in 1887 in his 11 fights before being highly noticed after looking good against Hank Brennen "The pride of Boston".  His widest recognition came in 1890 after a 70 round draw against Cal Mcarthy who was was the bantam and featherweight champion in the U.S.  All of this was leading up to his first title which soon followed.

 

On June 27'th, Dixon defeated Nunc Wallace who was the British bantam and featherweight division after 18 rounds which was his first actual claim to the world bantamweight title.  Dixon didn't feel as though this was enough to be considered the champ by all.  In october, he the Rhode Island featherweight champion Johhny Murphy in 40 rounds. After that he met back up with McCarthy again and won it in 22 rounds.  He went on after that to knock out Abe Willis who was the Australian bantam weight champ to steal away that title. 

 

Dixon's claim to the title still wasn't fully accepted at this time so he didn't stop there. On June 27'th 1992, he beat Fred Johnson, the new British featherweight champion, in 14 rounds.  Shortly after that, he defeated Jack Skelly for what many called a featherweight title fight and won easily in 8 rounds.  He proved time and time again that he was a worthy title holder and now is considered one of the best boxers in the 19'th century by many. 

Dixon retired from the bantamweight division unbeated as the champion in 1892.  He kept his career going lightly after this however, losing his featherweight title to Solly Smith and then defeating Dave Sullivan who took the title back from Solly Smith.  Dixon retired for good in 1906 and is estimated to have earned a total of 250,000 dollars through his boxing career.  He died two short years later in a New York Hospital where his body was on display for two days before it was sent to be buried in Boston. He was elected into the Canadian hall of fame in 1955 and the American Ring hall of fame in 1968; the same year that a recreation center was named after him in Halifax. 

"Dixon, George "Little Chocolate" (1870-1909) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Dixon, George "Little Chocolate" (1870-1909) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. Web. 18 May 2016. "Biography – DIXON, GEORGE – Volume XIII (1901-1910) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography." Biography – DIXON, GEORGE – Volume XIII (1901-1910) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Web. 18 May 2016. "Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials." Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. Web. 19 May 2016.