US (Canadian-born) heavyweight boxer champion – 1906-1908
1881 – Born- Canada
1904 – After starting his boxing career under his real name, Brusso took the Irish-sounding name of
1906 – Although only 5 feet 7 inches tall and about 175 pounds, size did not stop him from becoming the world heavyweight boxing champion. When Burns met Marvin Hart for the heavyweight championship of the world on Burns was a 2:1 underdog and the betting was 10:7 that he would not last ten rounds. Burns won, and would go on to defend his title eleven times within a period of less than two years.
1908 – Burns became the first fighter to agree to a championship bout with a black boxer in December,
Jack Johnson, to whom he lost his title in a disputed championship match held in Sydney, Australia. The fight lasted fourteen rounds before being stopped by the police. The title was awarded to Johnson as a technical knockout by the referee, but in truth, Burns had been handily beaten by the bigger man. In a filmed interview, Burns named Johnson as the second best boxer up to his time, he named James J. Jeffries as the best.
1920 – Burns continued to box occasionally after dropping the title. Just a month before his 39th birthday,
he challenged British champion Joe Beckett. Burns lost the fight in what was officially his only knockout loss, but took in one last big payday before retiring.