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John L. Sullivan: The Boston Strong Boy Bare-knuckle boxer John Lawrence Sullivan reigned as America's first sports hero at the end of the 19th century. In July 1889, when challenged by Jake Kilrain of Baltimore, Sullivan was still unbeaten despite his heavy drinking. About 3,000 fans gathered in the blazing sun of Richburg, Mississippi, for what was to be the last championship bare-knuckle fight. The marathon match went 75 rounds and lasted 2 hours and 16 minutes before the battered Kilrain...