Unbeaten But Never a Champ Was Packey McFarland!

By Boxing News - 03/21/2023 - Comments

By Ken Hissner: Going to Boxrec, it shows Packey McFarland 106-1-6 out of Chicago, IL. Then going to his record, it shows 70-0-5 with 50 knockouts.

McFarland was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 7, 1992, under the Old Timer Category. He was considered to be one of the greatest fighters to never win, or even fight for a world title.

Boxing Historian Tracy Callis wrote: “Packey McFarland was a fast and clever boxer with exceptional skills. He possessed an educated left jab, stiff punches, fast feet, and a savvy of boxing that always kept him a step ahead of his opponent. Packey was one of the greatest fighters to hail from Chicago.”

Callis and Herbert Goldman, former editor of the Ring Record Book and Encyclopedia, both rated McFarland as the seventh best lightweight of all time.

In his book The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time, Bert Sugar listed McFarland as the 32nd greatest fighter of all time.

McFarland lost only one bout in his career. On July 13, 1904, 16-year-old McFarland, 8-0, lost to a fighter named Dusty Miller, 11-3-2, by an 8 round decision. Some report this result as a fifth-round knockout, while others claim it was a newspaper decision and even by disqualification.

The list of outstanding fighters McFarland defeated includes Benny Yanger, 52-8-20, Freddie Welsh, 34-7-6, Phil Brock, 24-7-4, Leach Cross, 25-10-5, Cyclone Johnny Thompson, 70-23-22, Jack Britton, 73-15-20, Tommy Kilbane, 17-7-16, Young Ahearn, 20-7-4, Tommy Devlin, 36-9-13, Young Erne, 156-45-43, Mat Wells, 20-1-2, Ray Bronson, 54-10-23, Harlem Tommy Murphy, 75-22-20, Owen Moran, 71-9-7, Lockport Jimmy Duffy, 31-1-17, and in his last fight Mike Gibbons, 68-5-8.

After losing to Miller McFarland won 43 straight before a draw with Freddie Welsh, 35-8-6. Then he had 5 wins before a draw with Dave Deshler, 23-15-16. Then he had a win and another draw with Ray Bronson, 31-4-15. Then he had two wins and another draw with Freddie Welsh, 50-8-8, for the British version of the World Lightweight title. Then five more wins and a draw with Jack Britton, 48-13-16. Then he had 12 wins and a draw with Tommy Ginty, 12-11-6. Then he won his last 30 fights.

McFarland’s final bout took place when he was 26 years old. On September 11, 1915, he was awarded a ten-round newspaper decision win over Mike Gibbons in Brooklyn, New York. Both were inducted into the IBHOF at the same time.

Although he never fought for a world title, McFarland made a lot of money. In April 1912, it was reported he had earned $200,000 since becoming a professional boxer eight years earlier. He made $110,000 from boxing matches and $90,000 from theatrical appearances.

After retiring from boxing, McFarland became a very wealthy man in the contracting and brewing business and served for a time as director of the Joliet National Bank.

McFarland remained close to boxing. He tutored a young Barney Ross and was appointed to the Illinois Athletic Commission by Governor Henry Horner on January 27, 1933.

On September 22, 1936, McFarland died at his home in Joliet, Illinois of a streptococcus infection that had attacked his heart. He had been ill for two months.

Patrick “Packey” McFarland was survived by a widow, three daughters, and a son.