Born: Isaiah James Chase

Born: Sherman, Texas - January 27 1914

Died: Washington, 1972

Height: 5'8 (some sources indicate 5'9)
Weight: Welterweight - Light-heavyweight
Manager: Babe Shosky (Colorado), Johnny Kelloff (California)

Another of the solid West Coast fighters campaigning throughout the 1930s and 40s Jack Chase appeared to have something of the devil about him. Starting out as a teenager fighting in the tough mining town of Walsenburg, Colorado he is reported to have stretched out an unbeaten run of some sixty plus fights before losing to South African Eddie Pierce.

With close to half of his victories coming via the short route this Rocky Mountain socker proved that he could box as well as punch and by 1937 Young Joe Louis, as he was calling himself, was rated in the top ten in the country by the Ring magazine. Unfortunately for him a seemingly unstoppable march towards higher honours and greater recognition came to an screeching halt when the young fighter found himself caught up in a 'situation' and ended up paying his debt to society in a Colorado prison cell. Further misfortune befell him upon his return to ring action in 1941 when opponent Roy (Jack) Gillespie died as a result of a knockout blow. After one more fight in the Rocky Mountain region Young Joe Louis took himself and his eighty-something record to California where he became Jack Chase.

During the 40s the professional fight game on the West Coast could boast some of the best fighters in the United States - if not the world and the new arrival soon found himself trading leather with Archie Moore, Eddie Booker, Lloyd Marshall, Tiger Wade and Charley Burley. A veritable 'Who's Who' of 1940s black fistiana.

Chase quickly established himself and won the California State Middleweight title by defeating Eddie Booker over fifteen rounds. He then lost and re-won the title in two bouts with the inimitable Archie Moore. Two successful defences against Lloyd Marshall were notched up before Jack ran into the great Charley Burley. Chase was stopped twice by the Pittsburgh great in two title fights and lost an earlier encounter on points.

Chase beat some of the top names in the game at the time, but two guys he just couldn't beat were the aforementioned Burley and the sadly neglected Holman Williams who topped Jack on four separate occasions.

Early in 1944, a shooting incident involving fellow middleweight 'Tiger' Wade had him in the news for reasons other than fighting -- although Wade recovered sufficiently to continue with his career. Jack put some more hurt on Wade a few months later when he knocked him out in ten rounds.

After losing his state middleweight title to Charley Burley, Chase won the state light heavyweight crown in a match with Watson Jones over fifteen rounds. After 1944 however, the number of bouts and the number of victories began to dwindle; losses to Archie Moore and the solid 'Oakland' Billy Smith finished him as a top-flight attraction. What is noticeable about the record of Jack Chase is the absence of practically all of the big-name white fighters at middleweight and even light heavyweight. As with the rest of the black fighters around during the same period, fighting amongst themselves was the only way for these long-forgotten boxing stars to make a living.

© (Harry Otty)