Henry Jackson Jr. (December 12, 1912, Columbus, Mississippi - October 22, 1988, Los Angeles, California) was a world boxing champion who fought under the name Henry Armstrong. He is universally regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time by many boxing critics and fellow professionals.
Henry Jr. was a boxer who not only was a member of the exclusive group of fighters that have won boxing championships in three or more different divisions (at a time when there were fewer weight divisions than today), but also has the distinction of being the only boxer to hold three world championships at the same time. He also defended the Welterweight championship more times than any other fighter.
In 2007, The Ring ranked Armstrong as the 2nd greatest fighter of the last 80 years.
A native of Columbus, Mississippi, Armstrong was born December 12, 1912 and moved as a youngster with his family to St. Louis, Missouri, where he developed his boxing skills. The son of a Henry Armstrong a sharecropper of African American, Irish, and Native American descent, and America Jackson, an Iroquois Native American. Armstrong graduated from Vashon High School and was later inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Armstrong's two nicknames were Hurricane Henry, and Homicide' Hank.
Armstrong started out as a professional on July 28, 1931, being knocked out by Al Sorvino in three rounds. Just like Alexis Argüello, Bernard Hopkins, and Wilfredo Vazquez in the future, Armstrong was one world champion who started off on the losing end. His first win came later that year, beating Sammy Burns by a decision in six. In 1932, Armstrong moved to Los Angeles, where he started out losing two four round decisions in a row, to Eddie Trujillo and Al Greenfield. But after that, he started a streak of 11 wins in a row, a streak which expanded to 1933, until he lost again, to Baby Manuel. Then he went 22 straight fights without a defeat, going 17-0-5 in that span, including a win in a Sacramento rematch with Manuel, and five wins over Perfecto Lopez. After that, he moved to Mexico City, where in his first fight there, he lost to former world bantamweight champion Baby Arizmendi. He had four more fights there, going 2-2 and losing to Arizmendi in what was considered by Mexico and California a world title bout (thus Armstrong losing on his first championship try), and to Baby Casanova by a five round disqualification. He then moved back to California, where he went 8-1-1 for the next ten bouts.
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