Born On This Day: Jack Chase, AKA Young Joe Louis; ‘Murderers’ Row’ Legend

By James Slater - 01/27/2024 - Comments

Fight fans of a certain age spoke in hushed tones about the legendary crop of largely avoided fighters that made up the “Murderers’ Row.” These special, super-tough, hungry and talented fighters comprised of – Charley Burley, Lloyd Marshall, Holman Williams, Herbert “Cocoa Kid” Lewis Hardwick, Jack Chase, Eddie Booker, Aaron Wade, and Bert Lytell.

Famously, and unfairly, not one of these greats fighters was ever afforded a shot at a world title. The saying, ‘too good for his own good,’ applied to each one of these superb fighting machines. The sublime Burley, who legend has it even the incomparable Sugar Ray Robinson swerved, is generally regarded to have been the best of the avoided bunch, yet the subject of this article, Chase, was perhaps the wildest of the group. In and out of the ring.

Born on this day 110 days years ago, this in Sherman, Texas, Chase would fight under the name Young Joe Louis, before changing his ring name to Jack Chase. Chase stood 5’10” and he sported a chiselled physique. Chase was good enough, or great enough, to defeat Archie Moore and also hold him to a draw, and Chase was great enough to defeat fellow ‘Murderers’ Row’ dudes Booker, Wade, and Marshall. In a 119-fight pro career (this officially, with people saying Chase had something like 40 additional fights that went unrecorded), Chase won 81, he drew 12, he boxed 2 no-contests, and he was beaten 24 times. Chase was stopped just three times.

Going pro in January of 1936, when he fought in Colorado, Chase boxed as Young Joe Louis (Chase having wicked power that was comparable to that of the heavyweight king) until 1942. Starting off as a welterweight, Chase won the Colorado State title at 147 pounds, but he was at his best as a middleweight, where he won the Colorado State title in his thirteenth fight. By the time he lost the Colorado State middleweight title, this in 1937, Chase was 22-2-2 He had been fighting for just 13 months.

Several run-ins with the law and subsequent stints behind bars would serve to hold Chase back, with him even shooting rival and fellow ‘Murderers’ Row’ member, Wade. Serving time in jail in California in 1944, Chase would go on to score a 10th round KO over Wade in June of 1944, with the two boxing a draw in August of that year; the two having first fought in 1943, with Chase winning on points.

By this time, Chase had fought Moore some four times (the win over Moore coming in their third fight, the win seeing Chase become a two-time California State middleweight champ), and Chase had beaten Booker (W15), he had lost to Burley (L10 and KO by9), he had drawn with and defeated Marshall (D15, W15), and he had fought Williams, who always gave Chase hell, four times (L10, L12, L15, L12).

Prior to the second fight he had with Burley, Chase had been badly knocked out by heavyweight Turkey Thompson, this in sparring. Thompson flattened Chase, with the stricken fighter remaining out for half an hour, Chase coming to with a dislocated jaw. Of course a fighter today would pull out of the fight.

After the draw with Wade, Chase, by now aged 30 and sporting a 67-14-8 record, would lose again to Burley (TKO by 12) and he would be bested by Marshall (L10). You can see the pattern – Moore aside, the only great fighters Chase got a chance at were fellow ‘Murderers’ Row’ warriors. On top of this, Chase was slightly past his best when fighting after 1943.

In October of 1944, Chase would drop a decision against Cocoa Kid, while he would, in 1946 and 1947, again lose to “The Ol’ Mongoose;” these two having now fought six times in total, with Moore only able to stop Chase in their final fight, this in the ninth round. Chase had managed, in late 1944, to win the California State light heavyweight title, this with a win over Watson Jones.

A June 1947 points loss to “Oakland” Billy Smith ended Chase’s time as an elite-level fighter, with Chase fighting just eight more times, with him winning four. Chase retired in August of 1948. He died in 1972, aged just 58, this due to arterial complications brought on by him being a diabetic.

Chase, like his fellow ‘Murderers’ Row’ rivals, ranks as one of the greatest fighters never to have been given a single world title chance. Only Burley and Moore ever managed to stop Chase.

In retirement, Chase appeared in two boxing films, ‘So Dear to My Heart,’ and the classic ‘The Set-Up.’

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