Journeyman Heavyweight Dave Jaco - The Man Who Beat "Razor" Ruddock

By James Slater: There have been a number of prominent journeymen heavyweights in recent boxing history, men like James "Quick" Tillis, Everett "Big Foot" Martin and Rick "Rocky" Sekorski. In the past, articles on each of these ever fearless big men have appeared on this web site; today a heavyweight trier by the name of Dave Jaco gets the same treatment..

Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1955, Jaco turned pro in Michigan in January of 1981. Standing an impressive 6'6," and weighing around 220-pounds, Jaco won his first twelve bouts, all but two of them by KO. But after this early promise, Jaco moved up in class and took on the also unbeaten Carl "The Truth" Williams in June of '83. A 1st round TKO loss later, Jaco's fate was pretty much set. After tolling up five post-Williams wins, again, as with his first few fights, these wins coming against no-names, Jaco was to lose seventeen of his next twenty fights.

By now an established journeyman who had fought all over the United States, as well as in countries such as South Africa, England, Canada, Monaco and Hungary, Jaco met a number of top names. Pierre Coetzer, Tony Tucker, Mike Weaver, George Foreman, Alex Stewart, Gary Mason, Tommy Morrison and Mike Tyson all stopped him during this period. While James "Buster" Douglas and Oliver McCall out-pointed him. Quite simply, the thirty-something fought EVERYBODY. The big guy may have lost to them all, but on occasion he gave a good account of himself. And there is a slight twist in the story of Jaco.

It didn't mean all that much at the time, but in April of 1985, just before his long losing streak set in, Jaco met and defeated a fighter from Canada known as Donovan Ruddock. Years later, when known as "Razor" Ruddock, the Canadian would become a household name thanks to his battles with Mike Tyson, Michael Dokes and Lennox Lewis. Back in 1985, however, he was losing by 8th round TKO to Dave Jaco. An asthma attack was the reason for Ruddock's loss, but take nothing away from Jaco. No-one knew it at the time, the fighter included, but he had scored THE win of his entire career.

Unfortunately, Jaco would only see his hand raised a further five times in his entire career. Managing to go 4-0-1 after his September 1989 1st round loss to Tommy Morrison, Jaco picked up another so-so result. Holding the by now ancient, but still recognisably-named, David Bey to a ten-round draw in September of 1991, Jaco fought well. Sadly, this brief defeat-free period would soon end. Battling on into the mid-90's, Jaco lost his last seven - four of them by stoppage. Losing to good men, Mike "The Bounty" Hunter, Bert Cooper and Alexander Zolkin, among others, Jaco once again showed his heart. Somewhat ironically, it was a rematch with Bey that prompted Jaco to retire.

Picking up his passport once again, Jaco met Bey for a return fight held in China - this time he was TKO'd in 8 rounds. Both heavyweights hung up their gloves for good after the September 1994 bout. Bey went out a winner, Jaco, as he had grown accustomed, went out a loser. Still, today and for the rest of his life, the man who was born in Toledo some 53 years ago, can hold his head up high.

His overall record, at 24-25-1(19) isn't much to look at, and Jaco never won even a regional title in his career. But there are few heavyweights who can say they boxed as many world champions/world title challengers as he has done.

Article posted on 16.08.2008

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