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The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia -- Old Timer

Jack Skelly
(John D. Skelly)

BORN   February 8 1870; Brooklyn, New York (Some sources report Flatbush, Long Island)
DIED May 28 1953; New York, New York (Some sources report May 24 1953)
WEIGHT 115-127 lbs
BACKER William H. Reynolds
TRAINER Herman Hattenhorst

Skelly was a combination boxer-puncher and always a crowd pleaser; He made his professional debut against a world champion in a title bout; He was one of the "Three Fighting Jacks" along with Jack Dempsey and Jack McAuliffe; All three began their careers at the same time while working at Palmer's Cooperage in Brooklyn

William H. Reynolds, Skelly's backer, once said, "I know of no better boy than Jack. He neither drinks nor uses tobacco in any form. He is as modest as he is sincere and straightforward. He is true as steel ...

***** Amateur Bouts *****

1884
       Harry Bartlett              New York, NY                     W 12

1885-1888
       George Brown                New York, NY                     W  3
       Matt McCormick              New York, NY                    KO  2
       Jim Haggerty                New York, NY                    KO  4
       Walter Delaney              New York, NY                    KO  1 
       Tom Mitchell                New York, NY                     W  6
       Billy Farley                New York, NY                    KO  2
       H. McAllister               New York, NY                     W   
       Sam Kellerman               New York, NY                     W   
       John Roche                  New York, NY                     W   
       Mike Mulroy                 New York, NY                     W  3
       Jack Collins                New York, NY                     W   
       Mike Leonard                New York, NY                     W   
       Joe Gallagher               New York, NY                     W  7
       Bill Murphy                 New York, NY                     W  5
       Jimmy O'Brien               New York, NY                     W  5
       Frank Chenovick             New York, NY                     W  4
       Frank Naegel                New York, NY                     W  3
          -Some sources report "Frank Neiger"
       an unnamed opponent         Newburgh, NY                     W   
       an unnamed opponent         Newburgh, NY                     W   
       an unnamed opponent         Newburgh, NY                     W   
          -Skelly won the New York Amateur Bantamweight Championship
           by defeating the previous three men
       Frank Naegel                New York, NY                    KO  2
          -Some sources report "Frank Neiger"
   
1888
Apr  3 Joe Ryan                    Brooklyn, NY                    EX  3

1889
Mar  3 Matt Seaman                 Brooklyn, NY                    EX   
Apr  3 Frank Naegel                New York, NY                     W   
Apr  3 Sam Freeth                  New York, NY                     L  4
          -The previous 2 bouts were part of an amateur featherweight tournament
       Tom McCarthy                New York, NY                     W   
       Eddie Burns                 New York, NY                     W   
       Dick Rafferty               New York, NY                     W   
          -Skelly won the International Amateur Bantamweight Championship
           of America
       Johnny Gorman               New York, NY                     L  3
Oct 10 -Skelly participated in a boxing tournament of the National AC,
           at the Labor Lyceum, 11 Cedar Street; The AC was first 
           organized on February 8, 1888
Nov    -Skelly won the National AAU Featherweight Championship 
        
1890
Mar  3 J. McCarthy                 Brooklyn, NY                     W   
Mar 15 Frank Naegel                Brooklyn, NY                    TK  2
Mar 27 Tom Dempsey                 Brooklyn, NY                    EX   
Mar 31 George Soder                Brooklyn, NY                    EX   
Jul  6 -Philadelphia (Pa) Item reported that Skelly challenged any 
           120 lbs man and Dave O'Leary to a bout
Jul 31 John McTiernan              Brooklyn, NY                    TK 10
          -Police intervened
Sep 26 -Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle reported Skelly was barred from 
           amateur events due to his participating in illegal amateur activities
Oct 11 Charles Burns               Brooklyn, NY                    EX   
Oct 18 -Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle reported Skelly in connection with an
           amateur tournament which indicates that he was not barred from
           all amateur activities
Dec  6 Danny McVeigh               New York, NY                   SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known

1891
Jan 18 -Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle reported that Skelly was an ex-amateur
           so he must have been barred from competing as an amateur
Feb 17 -Skelly was entered in the 120 lbs competition in the Brooklyn, NY
Feb 28 Frederick Bird              Brooklyn, NY                    EX   

1892
Mar  1 -Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle reported that Skelly was scheduled to fight
           Johnny Gorman
Apr 19 John Mahan                  Brooklyn, NY                   SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Jun 27 -Skelly attended the George Dixon-Fred Johnson bout in Brooklyn, NY
Aug    Jack McAuliffe              Bay St. Louis, Ms               EX   
Aug 31 Johnny T. Griffin           Bay St. Louis, Ms               EX  6
          -Some sources report "W 6" at "New Orleans, La"

***** Professional Bouts *****

1892
Sep  6 George Dixon                New Orleans, La                 LK  8
          -Featherweight Championship of the World;
           Weights: 116 1/2-118; In this title bout, 
           Dixon was an overwhelming favorite at 3-to-1 
           odds against a boxer who was having his 
           professional debut and was referred to as 
           the “Brooklyn Amateur;” Despite the fact 
           Skelly was aggressive, Dixon won easily enough; 
           Skelly was down once in the third round, twice 
           in the seventh, and once in the eighth; Note - 
           There was a large crowd; There were black 
           “sports” in the gallery
Sep 30 -Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle reported that the 
           Brooklyn (NY) Arcadia AC would hire Skelly 
           as its Sparring Instructor
Oct  3 George Dixon                Brooklyn, NY                    EX   
Nov  4 John Mulligan               Brooklyn, NY                    EX  3
Nov 18 George Pink                 Brooklyn, NY                    EX  4
Dec    George Dixon                Brooklyn, NY                   SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled to be held during Dec 6-9; 
           The outcome is not known
Dec  8 -Skelly seconded Maxie Haugh vs. Tom Creed in Buffalo, NY
Dec 16 Mike Brophy                 Brooklyn, NY                   SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known

1893
Jan 29 -Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle reported that Skelly 
           would meet all-comers this week at a Brooklyn, NY 
           (Williamsburg) Theatre
Feb 25 Jim Daron                  Brooklyn, NY                     KO  1
Mar  6 Jim Daron                  Brooklyn, NY                    SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Mar 13 George Siddons             Coney Island, NY                SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known;
           Some sources reported 3/20/93
Aug 10 George Siddons             New York, NY                      W  4
       George Siddons             Brooklyn, NY                     KO  2
Oct    an unnamed opponent        Saratoga, NY                     EX   
Oct 24 -Skelly and nine members of his troupe were arrested 
           for leaving and not paying their bills at the Noonan 
           House in Saratoga, NY
Dec 18 -Skelly's troupe was scheduled to appear at the People's 
           Theatre this week; Authorities would not permit the
           sparring
Dec 29 -Skelly offered to participate in any sparring exhibition 
           for the benefit of the poor

1894
Jan 18 Charley Gehring                                            SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Feb  9 -Jack McGrath challenged Skelly and Johnny T. Griffin to a bout
Feb 24 George Dixon               New York, NY                    SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
       Tom Haley                  Albany, NY                       KO  3
       Tom Creed                                                    W  7
Aug 30 -Skelly was challenged to meet Fred Johnson in London, England
Sep 17 Johnny Gorman              Coney Island, NY                  W  6
          -Some sources report "W 8"; Apparently, the bout was 
             stopped by authorities; Gorman wrote a letter to the 
             Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle contending that he had the 
             better of the bout and should, at least, have gotten 
             a "draw"
Oct 17 -Jack Skelly attended a bout at in Newton with a friend, 
           the bar tender at Brown's Saloon; Following the contest, 
           Jack, the bartender, Tommy Creed, and George Maloney, 
           lightweight fighters, stopped off at Brown's Saloon;
           After a few drinks, they got into a squabble and a 
           fight ensued; After going outside, Skelly was stabbed 
           in the back of the neck with a fork by Creed; They 
           wrestled and Maloney jumped on Jack, driving the fork 
           deeper into his neck
Nov 27 -Skelly trained Oscar Gardner vs Solly Smith in Buffalo, NY

1895
Jan 29 -Skelly was manager of a trio of boxers who toured and 
          gave exhibitions; He also instructed boxing at the
          Melrose Hotel, opposite Prospect Park in Flatbush
Mar 11 -Skelly refereed the Jimmy Gorman vs George Ross bout in Paterson, NJ
Mar 16 -Skelly trained Maxie Haugh vs Jack Wrenn in Brooklyn, NY
Mar 15 -Skelly challenged any 118 pound man to a bout 
Mar 26 -Skelly was scheduled to spar in New York, NY 
Apr  8 -Skelly was training for his bout vs Johnny Gorman 
           at Sutter's Hotel in Flatbush; Jimmy Nelson and
           Christie McManus were his trainers
Apr  9 -Skelly started to train for his bout with Johnny Gorman 
          at Lyon's Hotel, on the boulevard, at Parkville
Apr    Tom Gaffney                New London, Ct                     SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Apr 22 Johnny Gorman              Brooklyn, NY                         D  8
Jun  8 Johnny Young               New York, NY                       SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Aug 26 Frank Erne                 Maspeth, NY                         LK  7
Sep  1 -Skelly was scheduled to spar at Bath Beach (Amusement Park) 
Sep 22 Johnny Gorman              Brooklyn, NY                         D  8
Oct  4 Frank Erne                 New York, NY                        LK  9
Nov 30 Eddie Sweeney              Brooklyn, NY                         W  8 
Dec 28 Sam Bolan                  Brooklyn, NY                         W  6

1896
Jan  2 -Skelly was challenged by Jack Downey to a bout 
Jan 20 Jack Grace                 Maspeth, NY                        SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Jan 23 Tommy Dixon                Brooklyn, NY                       SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Jan 28 Eddie Loeber               Brooklyn, NY                       SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Feb  7 -Skelly was engaged as boxing instructor at the Long Island (NY) AC
Mar  7 Martin Flaherty            New York, NY                         D  6
Mar 16 William "Kid" McPartland   Long Island City, NY               SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Mar 12 Jack Downey                New York, NY                        ND  4
          -Some sources report 3/12/95
Mar 21 Danny McBride              Brooklyn, NY                         D  6
          -The bout was originally set for ten rounds;
           McBride refused to fight under those conditions;
           It was then set for six rounds and it was to be
           called a "draw" if both men were standing at the end;
           During the fight, referee Johnny Eckhardt sent both
           men to their corners in the middle of round five;
           He said they were faking; McBride claimed an injured
           hand; Skelly said he was scientific and not a heavy
           hitter; Then, they continued
Apr 11 Jack Burge                 Brooklyn, NY                         W  6
          -Some sources report "D"
Apr 25 Tommy Creed                Long Island, NY                      D  6
          -The bout was scheduled for eight rounds but only
           six were fought; It was for blood; Mike Martin was 
           the referee; Skelly was cleverer; Creed fought foul
           all the way; At the end of round six, Creed struck 
           Skelly twice (apparently foul blows); The referee
           called the bout a "draw"; Skelly refused to shake 
           hands with Creed
May  4 -Skelly was scheduled to perform with his boxing company 
          at Maspeth, NY (Empire Theatre) in "O'Grady's First Lesson" 
          during the week; It was a comedy play
May  4 Charley Barnett            Maspeth, NY                         EX  3
          -This bout was part of the play, "O'Grady's First Lesson"
Jul  6 Charley Barnett            Brooklyn, NY                        EX  3
Nov 23 Elwood McCloskey           Philadelphia, Pa                     W  6
          -Some sources report 1895
Dec  9 Charley Barnett            New York, NY                        EX   

1897
Jan 23 Tommy White                New York, NY                        LK  5
Feb 13 Danny Shields              Philadelphia, Pa                     L  4
Jul 27 -Skelly wasappointed manager and matchmaker of the Brooklyn (NY)
          Greenpoint Sporting Club at 144 Greenpoint Avenue
Oct 19 Tommy Dixon                Brooklyn, NY                        EX  4 
Dec 28 -Skelly appeared at the Ewen Street Police Court on
          charges that he assaulted Clarence Gillespie on 
          December 20; Skelly pleaded not guilty; Justice 
          Lemon dismissed the case
Dec 29 -Skelly terminated his position at the Greenpoint
          Sporting Club; The club was not satisfied with 
          bouts Skelly had been promoting

1898
Jan 12 -Skelly was manager of the Trenton (NJ) Palace Sporting Club

Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization
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