James Corbett was born in San Francisco, California on September 1, 1866. Although speedy and energetic, Corbett was a calculating boxer. He planned most of his moves deliberately and relied heavily on a defensive stance and sharp, unexpected jabs.
Corbett’s tasteful dress and polished demeanor earned him the nickname “Gentleman Jim.” Corbett’s noble presence accelerated public acceptance of boxing as a respectable sport. With his unique fighting style, Corbett knocked out John Sullivan to become the heavyweight world champion in 1892. He defended his title until 1897, when he faltered against Robert Fitzsimmons. After his retirement in 1903, Corbett enjoyed a successful acting career. He passed away in 1933.