Peter Jackson was a famous Australian boxer who lived from 1861 to 1901. He was born in Saint Croix, a Caribbean island that was part of the Danish West Indies at the time. His father was a free man and a descendant of slaves from Jamaica. Jackson started his boxing career in Sydney, Australia, where he worked as a sailor and quelled a mutiny with his fists. He won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 by knocking out Tom Lees in 30 rounds.
Jackson then moved to America, where he became the World Colored Heavyweight Champion by defeating George Godfrey in 1888. He was known for his scientific boxing style, which combined footwork, speed, and technique. He also taught boxing at the California Athletic Club in San Francisco. In 1889, he traveled to Britain and won the British Commonwealth title by beating Jem Smith, who resorted to wrestling tactics and was disqualified. Jackson also fought Peter Maher, a young Irish champion, in Dublin and knocked him out in three rounds.
Jackson's most famous fight was against James J. Corbett, who would later become the world heavyweight champion by defeating John L. Sullivan. The fight took place on May 21, 1891, in San Francisco and lasted for 61 rounds before it was declared a draw by mutual consent. Many observers believed that Jackson had the upper hand and deserved to win. However, he never got a chance to fight Sullivan or Corbett for the world title because of racial discrimination. Both Sullivan and Corbett refused to face him because he was black.
Jackson's career declined after his fight with Corbett due to health problems and lack of opportunities. He fought only a few exhibition matches until 1898, when he faced James J. Jeffries, who had become the world heavyweight champion after beating Fitzsimmons. Jackson was past his prime and suffering from tuberculosis at this point. He lost by knockout in three rounds and retired from boxing afterwards.
Jackson died on July 13, 1901, in Roma, Queensland, Australia. He was only 40 years old and had been living in poverty for several years before his death. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time and one of the pioneers of modern boxing. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.