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“Keeping Lavigne Sober”
George Henry “Kid” Lavigne : Born 12/6/1869 Died 3/9/1928

Of all the fighters of the present day, Kid Lavigne is the one I most admire. He is the grandest little man of our time"

- John L Sullivan

Bay City, Michigan



Lightweight champion 1896-99

Fought 1886-1909

Total Bouts 56

Won 35

Lost 6

Draw 10

No Decision 5

KO 19

KO’d 4

W/F 0

L/F 0

NC 0


The second world lightweight champion, also known as the Saginaw Kid, Lavigne began boxing under his brother Billy’s tutelage in Michigan logging camps in sanctioned bare knuckle affairs. His first three fight, against Morris McNally, who he KO’d in Round 1, was under Queensbury Rules. His next two fights were also in Michigan against George Siddons and both ended in draws, the first fight after 77 rounds and the rematch in 55 rounds. His bouts in the 1880s were most likely fight with “skin tight” gloves, possibly under LPR rules and may have been broken up by police interference.

George’s later fights were sometimes fought under conditions which did not permit a decision. These conditions persisted until 1920, when The Walker decision legalized boxing. During the roughly 25-year “No Decision Era” newspaper decisions were often rendered by ringside writers. His trainer, Biddy Bishop, famously claimed that keeping him sober for 11 days was a “tremendous achievement.” The latter half of his career was plagued by lax training, larger men, and the deleterious effects of heavy drinking. Beyond the ring George continued to be plagued with alcoholism and worked odd jobs until he landed a night watchman job with Ford Motor Company in Detroit.

Notable Bouts

-2 draws with George Siddons, logging 132 rounds in Saginaw and Grand Rapids, Michigan

-A 30-round win over Joe Soto in San Francisco

-A 50-round draw with Jim Burge in San Francisco

-2 draws with Young Griffo in New York

-A “Negro-must-KO” fight with Joe Walcott in Maspeth, NY

-A KO of Dick Burge in London to win the World Lightweight Title

-A TKO of Joe Walcott in San Francisco

-An 18-round KO of Andy Bowen, resulting in Bowen’s death

The Punishing Art

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