John L. Sullivan

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John L. Sullivan
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Sullivan, John L.
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John L. Sullivan was the last heavyweight American prizefighter to win his championship without wearing gloves ('bare knuckle'). He won by defeating Jake Kilrain at Richburg, Mississippi on August 7, 1889. He was the son of Irish immigrants who became rich, which probably explains why General Compson uses him in Absalom! as a point of comparison with Thomas Sutpen, the 'immigrant' to Yoknapatawpha (34-35). His name also occurs in "Lion" and again in Go Down, Moses as a way to describe how the hunters in Yoknapatawpha feel about their sport: "Boon and the conductor and the brakeman talked about Lion and Old Ben as people talked about Sullivan and Kilrain or Dempsey and Tunney" (187, 218).