Name: CORBETT, JAMES J. ORIGINAL THEATER POSTER (GENTLEMAN JACK-1894)
History: James John "Gentleman Jim" Corbett (September 1, 1866 – February 18, 1933) was an Irish-American heavyweight boxing champion, best known as the man who defeated the great John L. Sullivan. He also coached boxing at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He stood at 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), with a reach of 73 inches (185 cm). Dubbed by the media as "Gentleman Jim Corbett," he graduated from Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco and was rumored to have a college education. He also pursued a career in acting, performing at a variety of theatres. He has been called the "Father of Modern Boxing" because of his scientific approach and innovations in technique. Some think that he changed prizefighting from a brawl to an art form. On May 21, 1891, Corbett fought Peter "Black Prince" Jackson, a much-heralded bout between cross-town rivals, since Corbett and Jackson were boxing instructors at San Francisco's two most prestigious athletic clubs. They fought to a draw after 61 rounds. The fight's outcome did much more for Corbett's career than Jackson's since reigning heavyweight champion, John L. Sullivan, drew the color line and refused to defend his title against black fighters. The win vaulted Corbett to even greater national prominence and the public clamored for a contest between him and John L. Sullivan. The champion reluctantly agreed and the fight was finally set. Corbett went into rigorous training and was even more confident of his chances after sparring with Sullivan in a short exhibition match on a San Francisco stage. Despite the contest being held with both men attired in formal wear, it confirmed what Gentleman Jim had long suspected - he could feint Sullivan into knots. On September 7, 1892 at the Olympic Club in New Orleans, Louisiana, Corbett won the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship by knocking out John L. Sullivan in the 21st round. Corbett's new scientific boxing technique enabled him to dodge Sullivan's rushing attacks, and wear him down with jabs. Jim Corbett did not prove to be a "Fighting Champion" in today's terms, meaning he defended the title very rarely. What must be remembered is this was an era before boxing commissions and the regulation of the sport was minimal at best. Boxing was outlawed in most states so arranging a time and place for a bout was a hit or miss proposition at best. Corbett treasured his title and viewed it as the ultimate promotional tool for his two main sources of income, theatrical performances and boxing exhibitions. Corbett was by no means the first athlete to appear on stage. John L. Sullivan had done so before him and numerous fighters in the future would follow. What Corbett had over his fellow pugilists, past and present, was an above average competence as an actor. While no threat to the Barrymore's, Corbett was far superior to the other athletes from all sports who tried to make a dollar on the stage. In fact, the bulk of Corbett's income after he left the ring would be made as an actor in plays, on vaudeville, personal one man shows recounting his boxing career, and in silent films. Offered here is an original poster advertising the appearance of James J. Corbett at the Queens Royal Theatre in London, England during the week of July 4, 1894 in the dramnatic play, GENTLEMAN JACK!.
Full description: This is an original, paper, theatrical poster for James J. Corbett in Gentleman Jack. Professionally linen backed. No rips, tears, or creases. Clean. Bold color and print. Very minor restoration at original folds. Extremely rare poster of Corbett as champion, possibly unique. 10" x 30."
Size: 10 x 30
Categories: Posters & Broadsides & Lobby Cards - Corbett, James J. -
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