|Clint Jackson, 1976 Boxing Olympian
By Ken Hissner (Feb 4, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Clint Jackson was one of the most decorated amateur boxers in the history of the United States. He won the National AAU title from 1974 thru 1977. In addition to this he won the National Golden Gloves from 1974 thru 1976. In 1975 he won a Gold medal in the Pan American Games in Mexico City. He was a 1974 World Amateur Boxing Championships Silver medalist in Havana. In 1976 he represented his country in Montreal as a member of possibly the greatest Olympic team the USA has produced and scored two victories before losing to the eventual Silver medalist in the quarterfinals.
In 1971 Jackson came from his home in Evergreen, Alabama to fight a team from Knoxville, Tennessee. This is where Ace Miller noticed the man with the “big hands”. Miller said, “biggest hands of anyone you will ever see.” Adding, “I would use 2 ½ rolls of gauze which was double what most fighters were allowed.” He would eventually go back and forth so many times Miller called him “Suitcase”. His record was 139-14. As a professional his record was 25-7 (19). He also was a southpaw.
In the Montreal Olympics in 1976 Jackson got a bye in the first round. In the second round he won all five of the judge’s scores to shut out Poland’s Zbigniew Kicka. In the third round he knocked out Haiti’s Wesley Felix in the first. Teammate Howard Davis, Jr. said “he knocked that fighter out cold.” Adding, “we watched the bouts on a monitor while waiting to fight.” In the third round he was beaten 3-2 by the eventual Silver medalist Pedro Gamarro, of Venezuela. Gamarro was a Bronze medalist in the Pan American Games in 1975 when Jackson took the Gold. Future world champion Mike McCallum lost in the same quarterfinals representing Jamaica.
In the pro ranks Ray Leonard told Miller “we will fight Clint because he whipped my brother (Roger) so many times.” It wouldn’t be until 1978 that his brother defeated Jackson in the AAU finals. Some the team members from the 1976
team had this to say about Jackson. Davey Armstrong: “Clint and I were at the Pan Am Games together. He was outgoing around us but not the public. He had the biggest set of hands and was a real hard hitter.” Charles Mooney: “Clint was a loner who wore these moccasin boots. He was soft spoken and could knock you out with one punch.” Leo Randolph: “Clint was funny and liked to laugh.” Louis Curtis: “We called Clint “The Sheriff” because that is what he was back then.” Chuck Walker: “Clint and I had a special relationship; we were good buddies. Back then he was a really straight arrow. He tried to counsel kids away from drugs and set a good example. He was the kind of guy who could jive with the best of them and then you could talk politics with him. He was a deputy sheriff and was really into law enforcement.”
Miller was with Jackson for his first 8 fights. He won his debut in August of 1979 by decision over Rafael Corona. “After winning his debut he scored 6 KOs in a row. One of those knockouts was against seasoned veteran Jimmy Heair (77-19-1). In his next fight he met Ray Hammond (17-5-1) of New York. This was a hell of a fight. Hammond was a very good boxer. This would be the last fight I would train him.” Miller added, “I saw him fight Tony Braxton (7-0-1), Dwight’s brother, in Atlantic City.” He may have figured he needed a knockout. “He got stopped late (9th round) in the fight.” He then went on an 8 fight winning streak including a stoppage of durable Mario Maldonado in the 8th round in Atlantic City. He was matched with USBA middleweight champion Frank “The Animal” Fletcher (14-2-1) losing in 12. Jackson only weighed 154 for this bout. Jackson defeated Marvin Hagler’s half brother Robbie Sims (15-1), two fights later in late 1982 by decision. This was one of his better wins.
Jackson had a 5 fight win streak broken by future IBF light middleweight champion Buster Drayton (14-6-1), of Philadelphia, being stopped in 2 rounds. It was the first time in 9 fights he had lost in the state of Tennessee. This started a 4 fight losing streak that all but ended his career. In his next fight he fought for the vacant NABF title against another Philadelphia fighter, James Shuler (18-0, 16 KOs) and loses in 12. He returned home to Alabama and lost to a club fighter named Sammy Floyd (11-23-2). To be fair it was the start of a 9 fight winning streak for Floyd.
Jackson’s only overseas fight was with future WBA middleweight champion Sumbu Kalambay (32-1-1) in France in December 1984. He lost an 8 round decision. In his last year boxing in 1985 he won 2 out of 3 bouts. He lost to Don Shiver (17-0) whose only career loss the following year would be to Mark Breland. In his last bout he stopped Gary Jones (2-14-1) in 3 rounds in of all places Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In 1989, Jackson was convicted of kidnapping an Alabama banker in an extortion scheme. He is serving a life sentence currently at Bullock Prison, in Union Springs, Alabama. In contacting the authorities in Alabama I was informed he went before the parole board in 2006 and was denied parole. His next parole hearing will be in 2011. I recently was in touch with his sister Lillie Pierson. She informed me “I have been trying for the last several years to get him out, but nothing has happened.” As a collective group, six of the 1976 team members whom I have interviewed are banding together in hope to get Jackson released.
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