Lang­ford’s box­ing legacy lives on

Sam Lang­ford’s story ‘Chas­ing Cham­pi­ons’ com­ing to the Marc Lescar­bot The­atre

Tri-County Vanguard - - THEN AND NOW - AMANDA DOUCETTE DIGBYCOURIER.CA

Sam Lang­ford was born in Wey­mouth Falls in 1882 and died in the United States in 1956, but his mem­ory is still very much alive to­day.

Lang­ford or, as some called him, the Bos­ton Tar Baby, was a pro­fes­sional boxer who fought 642 fights in his 24-year ca­reer. By the time of his last fight he was blind. He had to lis­ten to the sound of his op­po­nent’s feet ap­proach­ing in or­der to get a swing in.

He lost sight in his left eye in 1917 but con­tin­ued fight­ing un­til his fi­nal fight in 1926 that had to be can­celled in the first round be­cause he couldn’t see a thing.

The Wey­mouth Water­front De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee in part­ner­ship with the Univer­sité Sainte-Anne and the Ship’s The­atre Com­pany are bring­ing Lang­ford’s story to the Marc Lescar­bot The­atre through the play Chas­ing Cham­pi­ons.

Jeanne Nes­bit, the sec­re­tary of the Wey­mouth Water­front De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee, works at Sis­si­boo Land­ing in Wey­mouth, where they have a life-sized cutout of Lang­ford.

“When rel­a­tives come in they say, ‘Oh, that’s cousin Sam, or great un­cle Sam.’ They’re very proud of his story and we all are.”

Although some box­ers wouldn’t get in the ring with Lang­ford be­cause of his race, or be­cause they knew he would win, he still had a very suc­cess­ful ca­reer and con­tin­ues to be named ‘a great’ long af­ter his death.

“He has a very colour­ful story to tell and we’re hon­oured to be able to share his story fur­ther through Chas­ing Cham­pi­ons,” says Nes­bit.

Chas­ing Cham­pi­ons is an award-win­ning pro­duc­tion by Ja­cob Samp­son. The play vis­its the world of box­ing in the 1910-1920s and flashes back to Lang­ford’s early life grow­ing up in Wey­mouth.

CON­TRIB­UTED BY NOVA SCO­TIA MU­SEUM AND THE SPORTS HALL OF FAME OF NOVA SCO­TIA

Sam Lang­ford of Wey­mouth Falls fought 642 fights in his ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional boxer.

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