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John L. Sullivan Slugged His Way To Boxing...

Glax0r's Photo Glax0r 01 Dec 2014

John L. Sullivan Slugged His Way To Boxing's Top


John L. Sullivan became the first modern heavyweight boxing champion by punching hard.
And he pushed just as hard to improve the sport.

"When Sullivan entered the ring in the 1870s, prizefights were savage, bare-knuckled affairs, outlawed all across the country," Christopher Klein, author of "Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America's First Sports Hero," told IBD. "By force of personality and his championing of gloved fighting under rules that limited the brutality and the rounds, he delivered the sport from the backwoods to the front pages. He was able to kick-start boxing popularity, sell out venues such as Madison Square Garden repeatedly and earn a fortune."

Sullivan learned to leverage his celebrity into income from a wide variety of sources such as product endorsements and starring in plays, bringing in an estimated lifetime income of $1 million (worth over $26 million today).

Sullivan (1858-1918) was born in Boston to Irish immigrants....

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