Sam "The Boston Tar Baby" Langford boxing's greatest uncrowned champion VERY RARE vintage black & white 5 1/2" x 3 1/2" photo postcard sat alongside Perry Wiley.
Condition excellent (Sam Langford & Perry A Wiley is inscribed on reverse in ink)
Sam Langford - Highlights
Sam Langford (March 4, 1883 - January 12, 1956) was a Black Canadian boxing standout of the early part of the 20th century. Called the "Greatest Fighter Nobody Knows," by ESPN. He was rated #2 by The Ring on their list of "100 greatest punchers of all time". Langford was originally from Weymouth Falls, a small community in Nova Scotia, Canada. He was known as the "Boston Bonecrusher", "Boston Terror" or by his most infamous nickname the "Boston Tar Baby," Langford stood only 5 ft 6½ in (1.69 m) and weighed 185 lb (84 kg) in his prime.
Langford who fought greats from the lightweight division right up to the heavyweights, beating many champions in the process. However, he was never able to secure a World title for himself. The primary reason for this was that heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, after winning their first match, repeatedly refused rematches against Langford, who was considered by some to be the most dangerous challenger for Johnson's crown, although Johnson cited Langford's inability to meet his $30,000 appearance fee. Despite the fact Langford never received his rightful chance at the heavyweight title because of Jack Johnson's refusal to risk his crown against Langford, Ring magazine founder Nat Fleischer rated Langford as one of the ten best heavyweights of all time.
Langford's most memorable fights were his numerous encounters against fellow Black boxers Sam McVey, Battling Jim Johnson and Joe Jeanette, who all experienced similar barriers in their fighting careers. Langford fought Harry Wills on 17 separate occasions. Langford defeated lightweight champion Joe Gans in 1903, drew with welterweight champion Barbados Joe Walcott in 1904, lost to future world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in 1906, and knocked out former light-heavyweight champion Philadelphia Jack O'Brien in 1911, with scores of contender fights in between. His last fight was in 1926, when his failing eyesight finally forced him to retire.
In 1923, Sam Langford fought and won Boxing's last "fight to the finish" for the Mexican Heavyweight title.
Films exist of Langford fighting Fireman Jim Flynn and Bill Lang. One story characterizing his career involved Langford walking out for the 8th round and touching gloves with his opponent. "What's the matter, Sam, it ain't the last round!" said his mystified opponent. "Tis for you son," said Langford, who promptly knocked his opponent out.
Life After Boxing
Langford eventually went completely blind and ended up penniless, living in Harlem, New York City. In 1944, a famous article was published about his plight and money was donated by fans to help Langford. Eventually funding was obtained to pay for successful eye surgery. Langford was enshrined in the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1955. He died a year later in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he had been living in a private nursing home.
Perry Wiley as a young man was an amateur boxing and wrestling champion. Wiley retired from the ring in 1905 and from then until 1920 worked for varisous Pennslyvania newspapers. In 1920 he settled in Holmes, Pennslyvania and opened his own printing shop. Also, he was a professional photographer. Over the years he photographed most of the fighters who trained at Byron Doughtery's Leiperville facility and many of the famous wrestlers of his time.