Aaron, Young Barney
The son of Hall of Famer Barney Aaron, Young Barney became the first Jew to win a ring championship in America. Like his father before him, Aaron was a hard-hitting bare-knucked fighter, but he fought in a new era under different rules than his famous father. The elder Aaron battled under "Broughton's Rules"; Young Barney fought under the Pugilistic Society's "London Prize Ring Rules," which had been developed in 1838. Modified in 1853, only three years before young Barney began his professional career, the Rules stated the ring should be 24 square feet, surrounded by two ropes. Any knockdown marked the end of the round, and the downed fighter had 8 seconds to "come to scratch" unaided, or the fight was over -- under Broughton's Rules, a fighter had 30 seconds to return to the center of the ring, and had the help of his handlers. Therefore, bouts were recorded according to the number of rounds and length of time; 3-minute rounds were not developed until the late-19th Century.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1836 - d. June 4, 1907
After learning the "science" of boxing from his father, Barney Aaron, Young Barney emigrated to the United States in the mid-1850s and won his first professional bout in 1856 (it lasted 80-rounds). On April 11 the following year, he defeated a boxer named Evans in New Orleans in a bout that lasted only 15 minutes. In September 1957, Young Barney then beat the American lightweight champion Johnny Moneghan in a bout in Canada, a contest that lasted 80 rounds, and took 3 hours and 20 minutes.
In 1858, Aaron lost the title on a foul to "Scotty" Patrick Brannagan. He was inactive for the next 7 years because no fighter would face him; but Young Barney made a comeback on June 20, 1866 against Sam Collyer in a bid to regain the American lightweight championship. The seven-year layoff was too much for Aaron, though -- he lost the bout (which took place in Pohick Landing, Virginia) in 47-rounds. After an excruciating 2 hours and 5 minutes; both men were taken off on stretchers. The following year, Young Barney returned the favor, winning the title back by defeating Collyer in 68-rounds, in a contest that took 2 hours to complete.
According to the New York Times obituary of Aaron, his most famous fight took place in 1878 at Mississippi City against Arthur Chambers, a bout that Young Barney won in 17 rounds. After leaving the ring, Aaron became a referee -- he officiated a 1883 bout between John L. Sullivan and Australian Herbert Slade in New York City -- and lived in Long Island until his death in 1907.
Use links below to navigate through the boxing section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co, 1965)
Fistiana, or, The oracle of the ring : results of prize battles from 1700 to December, 1867 (London: W.H. Crockford, 1868)
John L. Sullivan and his America, by Michael T. Isenberg (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1988)