“Terrible” Terry McGovern was born in Johnston, Pennsylvania on March 9, 1880. He began his professional boxing career at 17, competing in the bantam- and featherweight divisions. Despite his small size, McGovern became a success in the ring due to his ferocious speed and devastating counterpunches. In 1899, McGovern defeated British boxer Thomas Palmer to earn the bantamweight title. The following year, he added the featherweight title when he defeated George Dixon in eight rounds.
McGovern successfully defended his title for six years, until Young Corbett bested him in 1901. Previously confident and self-assured, McGovern struggled to recover from the defeat at Corbett’s hands. He boxed irregularly until his retirement in 1908; once his boxing career ended, McGovern suffered from various mental problems and spent significant time in institutions. He passed away in 1918. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.