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James J. Jeffries

1899-1905

Jeffries, exceptionally well built and athletic even by modern standards, had the stamina to outlast most of his opponents. Add his size (6-foot-1½, 225 pounds) and power in both hands (he was a natural left-hander who fought orthodox) to the package, and he proved virtually unbeatable.

In fact, after Jeffries knocked out Bob Fitzsimmons (whom he outweighed by almost 40 pounds) to take the heavyweight title in 1899, he made eight official defenses before retiring with an undefeated record in 1904. Six years later, after being pressured to return to the ring for a much-hyped but ill-advised bout against new champ Jack Johnson, a woefully out-of-shape Jeffries eventually relented, and then paid for it, by losing a lopsided 15th-round TKO.