LADY BE BAD: Gentleman Jackson

Rochdale lets young Toby watch him spar with Gentleman Jackson.

  • John Jackson was the bare-knuckle boxing champion of England in 1795, and retired to open a boxing club in London.

    “Gentleman Jackson” by Charles Turner, mezzotint published by Charles Turner and George Lumley, April 14, 1821. National Portrait Gallery, London.

    The club on Bond Street, next door to Angelo’s Fencing Academy, was a favorite haunt of Regency sportsmen, where it was an honor to spar with Gentleman Jackson himself. He was a popular sports celebrity whose gentlemanly manners and dress endeared him to the aristocracy. For George IV’s coronation, Jackson was recruited to assemble guards to keep order, and he gathered a group of eighteen prize fighters whose size and intimidating looks helped to keep the crowds in line.