By Steven Laffoley
George Dixon was the finest boxer of his generation and arguably among the finest boxers ever. His accomplishments in the ring were extraordinary: the first black boxing champion, the first Canadian boxing champion, the first boxing champion of multiple weight classes, and the first boxing champion to lose regain his title. He defended his title more than any other champion – then or since – and he reportedly fought in an unprecedented 800 bouts. Making these achievements more astonishing was the context within which these achievements were earned: George Dixon publicly fought and beat hundreds of white boxers in an age when black men were routinely lynched for simply being black.
Boxing historian and Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer once said of Dixon, “For his ounces and inches, there never was a lad his equal. Even in the light of the achievements of John L. Sullivan [the first heavyweight champion in boxing, the critics of his days referred to ‘Little Chocolate’ [George Dixon as the greatest fighter of all time. I doubt there ever was a pugilist who was as popular during his entire career.”
Simply put, said Fleischer, “He had everything.”