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WBA Title Bouts
Jack Blackburn CH (27-3-1) vs Frank Erne #4 (39-17-4)
Blackburn applied the pressure early on, working both on the inside and the outside, piling up an early points lead. Erne got more aggressive as the bout went on, coming on strong in rounds 7 and 8. Blackburn managed to stay out of trouble, and Erne had to contend with one eye swelling up. The judges gave the nod to the champ in a close decision: 144-142, 143-143, 144-142. Blackburn by MD 15.
Jack Blackburn CH (28-3-1) vs Young Donahue #7 (21-4-1)
Already running out of legitimate title contenders for his 10th defense, Blackburn offers Donahue another title shot. Blackburn pounded away on the outside to establish an early lead, then moved inside in rounds 3 and 4. Donahue, already trailing badly, tried to get more aggressive in the middle rounds. Strong defense by Blackburn thwarted the challenger's best shots. As the bout entered the later rounds, Donahue ran out of gas, leading to a stoppage in the 13th. Blackburn by TKO 13.
Jack Blackburn CH (29-3-1) vs Battling Nelson #1 (45-7)
Blackburn gives the #1 ranked contender a rematch, and overall this is Nelson's 5th shot at the WBA LW title (his best result to date being a SD loss to Gans in 1904). Blackburn fought from the outside, Nelson working on the inside. Blackburn floored Nelson in Rd 2, and the Dane rose at 9 but also sported a gash over the right eye. Good corner work kept the cut under control, but after this the Dane became tentative, which allowed the champ to build up a big points advantage. The cut was re-opened in Rd 6, and then Blackburn decked an overly-aggressive Nelson again in Rd 7. Nelson recovered to win rounds 8 and 9, but Blackburn persisted, and a re-opening of the cut in round 10 spelled the end for the Danish challenger. Blackburn by TKO (cuts) in 10.
Jack Blackburn CH (30-3-1) vs Jem Driscoll #5 (31-5)
This was the first meeting of the two, and Blackburn journeyed to the challenger's home turf in London for the bout, looking for his 14th win in a row in his 12th title defense. Driscoll moved inside in round 2, the champ content to counter from the outside. The British challenger landed some bombs of his own from the outside in Round 5, then moved inside in rounds 7 and 8, while the champ was suffering from some swelling under the left eye. Driscoll seemed poised to take the belt, but an excess of caution in rounds 10-11 as Blackburn was running out of gas allowed the champ to stage a strong barrage of punches from the inside as well. Good defense by the stronger Driscoll held off the champ in the later rounds, with the Brit scoring a KD in round 14 with a strong cross to seal the win. Driscoll takes the crown by MD 15 (143-141, 142-142, 144-140).
Jem Driscoll CH (32-5) vs William "Kid" Parker #7 (31-12)
Excellent defense by Driscoll kept the challenger at bay in the early rounds, and by the end of the third, Parker had a gash over his right eye. The cut was re-opened in round 5 and bothered Parker throughout the bout. Driscoll kept pounding away at the cut and also caused swelling under the challenger's left eye as well. After the cut was re-opened for the third time in round 8, the bout was stopped. Driscoll by TKO 8 (cuts).
NABF: Title changed hands as Canada's Fighting Dick Hyland added the NABF belt to his CBU title, edging Young Erne in a SD 12.
USBA: Jewey Cooke kept right on going, winning two UD 12 verdicts over Art Simms and Young Tommy Coleman.
CBU: Fighting Dick Hyland defended once, in Australia, versus TC Mike Dempster of Canada (KO 6).
GBU: Freddie Welsh defended versus TC Stan Sturbridge (TKO 3).
EBU: Battling Nelson topped Driscoll early in the year (SD 12) for his second straight split decision win over the Brit, who later in the year became World Champ. Will the two be facing off in 1909 with more at stake, i.e. Driscoll's WBA belt?
Jan. 1909 Rankings (perf pts and changes from prior year in parens)
Champ Jem Driscoll 33-5 (27) (1048) (up 5)
1. Jewey Cooke 53-10-1 (28) (1026) (up 1)
2. Jack Blackburn 30-4-1 (14) (1013) (down 2)
3. Battling Nelson 45-8 (26) (1010) (down 2)
4. Freddie Welsh 16-2 (10) (723) (NC)
5. Frank Erne 29-19-4 (28) (633) (down 2)
6. Harlem Tommy Murphy 19-6-1 (9) (579) (up 1)
7. Art Simms 26-18-1 (14) (575) (up 4)
8. Fighting Dick Hyland 19-5-2 (13) (572) (NC)
9. Young Otto 21-4-2 (10) (567) (up 9)
10. William Parker 31-13 (22) (525) (up 6)
All the top guys are in Prime except for Erne (Post-Prime) and Welsh (Pre-Prime for two more fights). As the PP numbers indicate, the top 4 (Driscoll, Cooke, Blackburn and Nelson) have really separated themselves from the rest. Cooke has now won four in a row, 10 of his last 11 (coming up short in his one title bout with Blackburn). Three boxers who dropped out of the top 10 in 1908 were Young Erne (slipping one spot from #10 to #11); Donahue (down from #6 to #13 mainly due to a SD loss to Young Otto); and Matty Baldwin (down from #9 to #12 after losing his only bout of the year, to Driscoll). Young Otto made the biggest strides, beating Harlem Tommy, Donahue, and Arthur Douglas while being held to a draw by Kid Black -- he seeks a title shot in 1909. Simms bounced back from a loss to Cooke to reel off three successive wins to reach the Top 10. Parker had three wins to set up his late year title shot, most notable a KO 7 over "young gun" Ad Wolgast. Welsh, who had a win over Frank Erne in 1908, could move up to the elite group once his Prime career stage kicks in.
Speaking of prospects, Charley White sports a 12-0 (7) record, counting fellow prospect Tommy O'Keefe and Johnny Allen among his victims. Knockout Brown is a power puncher with an impressive 10-0 (8) mark, but all wins except Johnny Frayne have been against TCs. Leach Cross ran up a 12-0 mark before losing to Coleman and Eddie Wallace. Wolgast is now 12-1, recovering to post another win after his loss to Parker. Willie Ritchie has looked good thus far, with a 9-0 (6) record albeit almost all of it versus TCs. Paul Koehler is 8-0 versus Frayne and several TCs. Lockport Jimmy Duffy is 7-0 (5)--he handed Special Delivery Hirsch (4-1) his only loss. Hop Harry Stone and Jack Curley have each reeled off six wins against TC opposition.
No retirements among the LW ranks in 1908, but Jig Stone and George Jansen are now in the End stage of their careers. Fewer newcomers will grace the division in 1909, led by Americans Willie Beecher and Terry Brooks plus Aussie Herb McCoy.