By Ken Hissner: Though he never won a world championship Sam “The Boston Bonecrusher” Langford may have been the most feared boxer ever per many. Two of them that were are heavyweight champions Jack “The Manassas Mauler” Dempsey and Jack “The Galveston Giant” Johnson.
Langford’s record was 178-30-38 with 126 stoppages. The 5:07 boxer started at lightweight and worked his way up to heavyweight. He was born in Weymouth, Nova Scotia, Canada in March of 1883 and passed away in Boston in January of 1956 at the age of 72.
Langford turned professional in April of 1902 in Boston. He was 10-0-7 losing his first fight. In December of 1903, he defeated one of the all-time greatest lightweights in Joe Gans, 136-8-7 when he was 16-1-7, over 15 rounds.
In September of 1903, Langford fought to a draw with the welterweight champion Joe Walcott, 87-15-17, but didn’t get a rematch. In April of 1906, he lost to Colored champion and future world champion Jack “Galveston Giant” Johnson, 35-5-6, over 15 rounds. He weighed 156 to Johnson’s 185.
In November of 1907, Langford defeated Young Peter Jackson, 75-27-24, billed as Colored Middleweight title who he lost to in a previous fight.
In May of 1909, Langford defeated William “Iron” Hague, 17-1-1, in London, UK, billed as an English heavyweight title fight weighing 158 to 196 for Hague.
In April of 1910, Langford defeated middleweight champion Stanley “The Michigan Assassin” Ketchell, 46-5-3, in a non-title bout over 6 rounds. In August of 1911, he stopped former light heavyweight champion Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, 147-13-25, in 5 rounds.
Langford retired in August of 1926 losing to Brad Simmons, 15-8-2, due to blindness. In former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey’s autobiography he wrote, “There was one man….I wouldn’t fight because I knew he would flatten me. I was afraid of Sam Langford.”
Langford was inducted into the IBHOF. Ring Magazine as the third greatest puncher of all time. Also, he was listed the seventh greatest heavyweight of all time. He was the greatest boxer to never win a world title.
Langford fought great boxers like Harry “Black Panther” Wills, 70-9 (56), 18 times, Sam “The Oxnard Cyclone” McVea, 74-14-10 (60), 15 times, Joe Jeannette, 84-10-9 (69), 14 times and “Battling” Jim Johnson, 27-18-7 (23), 11 times.