In Memoriam: Jimmy Bivins
Jimmy Bivins, a 24-year Teamster and heavyweight boxer who defeated many of the greatest fighters of his time, died last week on July 4. He was 92.
Bivins was the boxer that everyone loved to hate. From 1940 to 1955, Bivins’ flying fists and 79 inch wingspan helped him beat eight future world champions. At one point during his career, Bivins was a top contender in both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. His remarkable lifetime boxing record totals 86 wins, 25 losses and one draw. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.
Born in 1919 and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Bivins realized his knack for fighting at a young age. As a means of self-defense, Bivins beat up his peers who made fun of his dedication to his schoolwork. He entered organized boxing in 1936 and turned pro four years later.
Despite playing the villain throughout his boxing career, Bivins became well-loved and respected by many, especially those in his local community. In his spare time Bivins counseled young boys in the art of boxing and the ways of the world.
Bivins joined Teamsters Local 52 during his retirement in the 1950s when he began driving trucks delivering baked goods and snacks.
According to David Dudas, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 52, Bivins joined the Teamsters less than a year after retiring from boxing. He started as a Teamster driver with Laub Baking Company in 1956 and worked there until it went out of business in 1974. Shortly after that, he started work as a Teamster driver with the Dan Dee Potato Chip Company. He retired in 1980.
“He was one of the last of the blue-collar workers in boxing,” Gene Glen, president of the Lake Erie Association of USA Boxing, told Cleveland Live last week.
Bivins is survived by his daughter, Josette Banks; four grandchildren and many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.