Jack Bernstein

Jack Bernstein

Jack Bernstein born John Dodick, saw the light of day in New York City, on November 7, 1898, where his next door neighbor was the future lightweight boxing champion of the world, Benny Leonard, Jack attended Public School No.64 and since there were seven Dodicks in the family he did not complete his studies because he had to do his bit in the battle for bread. He got a job as errand boy in a printing establishment and at nights would go to the Boys Club and look on at the crowds of boys boxing. One night he persuaded Knockout Brown, then in the heyday of his career, to put on the gloves with him and in the sparring tilt which followed Jack received the cauliflower car he sported till his death.

Bernstein fought his first professional fight at the age of 14 with Young O’Leary in a three round preliminary, receiving 50 cents for his effort. In 1914 he fought a no-decision six round bout with Benny Leonard.

When trouble developed along the Mexican border in 1916, Bernstein enlisted and fought in the service under the name of Kid Murphy. It was here that he won the Border Championship, defeating the Mexican champion, Nick Gundy, in El Paso, Texas, in the 20 grueling rounds.

After the war Bernstein lived at 498 Van Cortlandt Park Avenue. Fighting under the name Jack Bernstein, he went into the ring 91 times against the top names in the boxing world. His darting left hand and airtight defense made him one of the most dangerous and sought after boxers in the game and the name Bernstein became a household word with sports headline writers throughout the nation. He subdued such famous fighters as Sammy Mandell, Johnny Dundee, Tony Russo, Jack Zivic, Pal Moran, Luis Vicentini, Billy DeFoe, Young Britton, John Darcy, Rocky Kansas, Babe Herman, and Yung Fulton

His moment of international glory came on Memorial Day, 1923 when he won the Junior Lightweight boxing championship of the world from Johnny Dundee at the New York Velodrome. He lost his title back to Johnny Dundee at the Madison Square Garden in what many sports writers consider the most unjust decision ever given in a world’s championship fight.

When he retired from the ring he participated in many Yonkers charity affairs and staged many boxing programs for philanthropic causes. He was an active member of many local organizations, including the Broadcasters Club, Yonkers Post Seven of the American Legion, Yonkers Post of Jewish War Veterans, and the Section Five Club.

He died on December 26, 1945, at the age of 47.

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