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Jack Fiske, Reporter, 1917-2006


PhilBoxing.com




Jack Fiske, widely recognized as the Dean of Boxing Writers in the United States and beyond, epitomizes the essence of what a sportswriter should be.

“Jack has a style akin to Pierce Egan’s—stinging, swift, sufficient—much like a left hook from Joe Frazier or Muhammad Ali’s jab,” my father once said of his friend.

Jacob Quincy Finkelstein was born on July 15, 1917, in New York City and grew up in the rough and tumble streets of the Bronx. He enlisted during WWII and served as a medic in the Army Air Forces in Australia and New Guinea. After his military service, he enrolled at the University of Alabama and later managed the school boxing team.

Mr. Fiske worked for The Birmingham Post (Alabama), Newport News Daily Press (Virginia), Daily Press, Trentonian (New Jersey), Alameda Times-Star, and Richmond Independent (California) before joining The San Francisco Chronicle in 1950. He wrote about boxing for over 40 years. His widely-circulated and syndicated column, "Punching The Bag," was the premier source of boxing information in the United States from 1947-1992.

His house on Robblee Street was a veritable boxing museum filled with rare books, artworks, photos, and memorabilia he amassed during his adventures in and around the squared circle.

Renowned for his concise and hard-hitting analysis, Mr. Fiske covered notable ring battles, including the first Muhammad Ali - Sonny Liston bout (February 25, 1964), Sandy Saddler - Gabriel “Flash” Elorde at the Cow Palace (January 18, 1956), and wrote about the rise of Filipino greats Luisito Espinosa in the San Francisco Bay Area (1988-90) and Morris East (1992).

Mr. Fiske possessed a keen eye for detail and dove headfirst into the brutality of boxing. A representative of the old school of journalism, he submitted his vivid fight descriptions via payphones, relying on notes hastily written on whatever sheet of paper was at his disposal. Fight fans eagerly awaited and were always ready to devour "The Chronicle's Perspective."

Near the end of his storied career in sportswriting, he collaborated with his friend Hermie Rivera and co-wrote about the great Filipino boxers of the past.

The following articles inspired the development of our very own Philippine Boxing Hall of Fame.


"Little Brown Dolls: A Gallery of Philippine Boxing Champions" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 20, 1994)


"The Best Of A Nation: The All-Time Top 10 Of The Philippines" (The Bible of Boxing, The Ring), August 1994).

The Philippine Boxing Historical Society honors Mr. Jack Fiske for his dedication and integrity in chronicling the sport of boxing.

Notes:

The photo of the late Jack Fiske was taken by his equally late friend Hermie Rivera and is part of our collection. The attached photos and the articles both men have co-authored have been republished for non-commercial use and are in accordance with the United States Fair Use Doctrine.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.


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