John L. Sullivan
John L. Sullivan was one of America’s first sports idols and could whip any man alive. A flag-waving patriot, he reflected the spirit of a vibrant, young nation. Confident, strong, and aggressive; Sullivan was a natural outspoken showman.
He knocked many men "cold" broke jaws and bashed in faces with abandon. John Flood, Paddy Ryan, Jake Kilrain, John Laflin, and Frank Herald were among those who had to be carried from the ring wearing distorted features in the years following a Sullivan pounding. Paddy Ryan said "When Sullivan hit me, I thought a telegraph pole had been shoved against me endways" (see Durant and Bettman 1952 p 79; Durant 1976 p 22). Some report that The Boston Strong Boy knocked out over 200 men during his career while fighting lumberjacks, blacksmiths, local strong boys, and professional fighters.
“Sullivan was a boxing immortal, the link between bare-knuckles and glove fighting, and the first great American sports idol; He was powerful, quick, could hit with either hand but had exceptional strength in his right, and could take punishment; John L. could break a man's jaw with a single punch.”