He was simply thirty-two when he left this world but when, because the outdated noticed goes, solely the great die younger, then Tiger Flowers might by no means have escaped his destiny. If ever there was a person of advantage and integrity to be discovered inside the squared circle, it was Theodore Flowers, the son of non secular, God-fearing mother and father, a person who needed to flip his cheek many instances exterior of the ring, such being the plight of any black man in America at the moment. However nobody might ever mistake Flowers’ kindness and godly methods for weak point; this was a born warrior who fell in love the second he first laced up a pair of hitting gloves, a boxer who competed an astonishing 141 instances in lower than a decade.
Flowers was from Atlanta, but it surely was the legendary battle metropolis of Philadelphia that launched to fisticuffs the person who would go on to turn into certainly one of boxing’s best ever southpaws. Younger Theodore had travelled to “The Metropolis Of Brotherly Love” throughout World Warfare I to work within the shipyards and kind of by probability, he wandered right into a fitness center which occurred to be owned by no much less a boxing luminary than Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, who, because it occurred, was not prejudiced and allowed males of any color or creed to coach there. The previous gentle heavyweight champion of the world was impressed with the youthful man’s pure expertise and inspired him to maintain coaching.
Theodore fell in love with the game and when he returned to Atlanta he set about pursuing an expert profession, regardless of the objections of his church and his mom. “I’m an expert pugilist as a result of I imagine God meant me to be what I’m,” said Flowers. “The Bible tells me that it isn’t improper for a person to battle for his livelihood.” He turned professional in 1918 although his profession actually didn’t get shifting till 1921. He fought 13 instances that 12 months and by the top of it he was a pressure to be reckoned with, greater than holding his personal towards critical skills reminiscent of Panama Joe Gans and Child Norfolk.
His nickname of “The Georgia Deacon” was fully applicable. He carried his personal little bible with him always, although he by no means prayed for victory within the ring. “I would meet a greater and stronger man and lose the battle. Then I is likely to be tempted to doubt the Lord, so I at all times wait till the battle is over after which I give thanks for the power that has introduced me safely by way of.”
Regardless of the consequence, Flowers accepted the choice of the officers with no phrase of grievance or protest. However on this regard, his religion was examined many instances as he was the sufferer of various prejudiced verdicts throughout his profession. Alas, this was simply routine enterprise for a black fighter at the moment. However irrespective of the top outcome, Flowers at all times shook his opponent’s hand and supplied courtesy and respect.
In the course of the battle was one other matter fully although, as his different nickname, “Tiger,” was equally applicable. A transformed southpaw, he battled furiously, throwing a storm of leather-based at his adversary whereas proving laborious to hit in return. He had an unconventional fashion all his personal. Artful, slippery and amazingly busy, his sense of timing and distance, alongside along with his pace, awkwardness and nice bodily power, made him a world champion and an all-time nice middleweight. His solely notable weak point was a lower than iron-clad chin.
Like all black pugilists of that point, Tiger Flowers discovered it tough to acquire matches with white fighters and sometimes needed to battle his fellow “coloured” boxers many instances over as a way to make a residing. In the long run, untimely because it was, he compiled a document of 132 wins, 17 losses, 8 attracts, and 4 no-contests over the course of little greater than 9 years, an astonishing fee of exercise. Flowers’ most well-known fights are his battles with Harry Greb and Mickey Walker, however he additionally boasts wins over top-notch skills reminiscent of Lou Bogash, Johnny Wilson, Frank Moody and Jock Malone, to not point out quite a few battles with gentle heavyweights and even the large males. Like the entire greats of that point, Tiger was greater than keen to combine it up with males a lot bigger and heavier.
In 1924 Flowers met fellow all-time nice and present middleweight champion Harry Greb. To the shock of many, Flowers received the higher of it after ten rounds, although the one approach he might have obtained an official win was if he had knocked “The Smoke Metropolis Wildcat” mindless. As a substitute the title stayed with Greb although many thought he was lucky to not have misplaced it. Greb himself advised author B.W. Dickerson, “Flowers is the best boxer I ever confronted within the ring. He can beat heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey … He gave me a battle I’ll always remember and it confirmed me numerous issues about boxing that I by no means knew earlier than.”
Spurred on by his capacity to greater than maintain his personal with the world champion, Tiger persevered. He answered the bell an astonishing 31 instances in 1925, beating the likes of Lou Bogash, Jock Malone, Frank Moody and Allentown Joe Gans. In February of 1926 and at New York’s Madison Sq. Backyard he received his second probability at Greb, and this time he made probably the most of it, profitable by unanimous resolution. Flowers was the primary black American since Jack Johnson to win a world title, the primary ever to say the middleweight championship.
He beat Greb within the rematch six months later although the choice this time was notably unpopular. This might show the ultimate battle of Greb’s profession as just some months later the legendary “Pittsburgh Windmill” died on the working desk whereas present process minor surgical procedure to reverse facial harm sustained from his boxing profession.
Because the document ebook states, Tiger Flowers misplaced his middleweight title to fellow all-time nice Mickey Walker lower than 4 months after the second Greb match, but it surely’s well-known that the choice in favour of “The Toy Bulldog” was extremely questionable, with many first-hand reviews declaring Flowers to be the sufferer of an egregious theft. Walker prevented a return bout whereas Tiger went about doing what he at all times did: combating ceaselessly and piling up wins. A rematch with Walker was on the horizon when Flowers had surgical procedure carried out to take away scar tissue from round his eyes. Sadly, the previous champion suffered the identical destiny as his rival Greb the 12 months earlier than, dying on the working desk from unexpected issues.
“The Georgia Deacon” is thought to be each an all-time nice fighter and one of many best southpaws to ever step by way of the ropes. He’s, and at all times will likely be, a real legend of the ring. — Robert Portis