27th Street and Summit Avenue
April 17, 2009 Union
City, N. J. will place a
historical marker at the
old residence of the
great Joe Jennette.
"The Real World's Champion"
Come Celebrate with
one of the greatest
fighters who ever laced
on a pair of gloves.
12:00 pm meet the
Mayor Brian P. Stack
West Hoboken Iron-Man
Before I start, I like to thank Sabrina Jennette, JoAnn Mostaccio, Joe Botti, Ben Hawes
and the Great Johnny Bos without them I could of never compiled all this information
about Joe Jennette.
My name is Gregory Speciale, I am the creator of JoeJennette.com.
My great-grandfather and his brothers were all trained by Joe Jennette and they also
trained fighters alongside Joe in this very gym. I first heard about Jennette when I
started looking into Hudson County History many years ago.
Last year, on the fiftieth anniversary of Joe Jennette’s death, my brother and I paid our
respect to Mr. Jennette at his grave site in Fairview. I could feel his presence on that day
as we lay flowers at his grave.
Just like that day I can feel his presence today and I know if he were here he would be
humbled with all this attention.
This great man wasn't only a great fighter, but he just might have been the greatest all-
around athlete who ever lived.
In my opinion he was the Jackie Robinson of Boxing. Jennette was a great fighter,
perhaps the greatest fighter in the world. More than that, he was a fine gentleman and
as clean living and decent a fellow as ever stood in shoe leather.
Joe came to the top of the heap in boxing in the dismal White Hope era which extended
roughly from the time Jack Johnson knocked out Tommy Burns, until Johnson was
himself knocked out by Jess Willard.
During this period four African American men reigned supreme in the ring: Jack
Johnson, Sam Langford, Sam McVey and Joe Jennette. Just which of these four fighters
was the best is a matter that never was settled.
Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Greatest Fight of the Century. That's right,
Joe Jennette vs Sam McVey at the Circle of Paris Arena, April 17th 1909 in the most epic
battle in the history of boxing.
In a radio broadcast interview in 1942, fight announcer Sam Taub asked Jennette to tell
him the details of the fight with McVey that went 49 rounds before Jennette was
declared the winner. “This was a finish fight, you know,”Joe Said. “But had it been
scheduled for a 40 round affair, like a lot of fights were signed for in those days, McVey
would have been way out in front on points scored.”
Those were the exact words of Joe Jennette.
That great fight was Joe’s crowning achievement and one that Joe was most proud of
but he still made a point to praise his opponent, McVey. That’s the kind of man Joe was.
They are and will always be connected not only by the epic battle that they fought but
also by the friendship that endures between them afterwards.
Sam McVey and Joe Jennette left this earth many years ago but today the memories of
these two great men are alive thanks to Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack.
It was the great reporter of The Hudson Dispatch another Union City Great, Ludwig
Shahbazian, known to millions as LUD. Who recognized in his lifetime that Joe Jennette
wasn't only the greatest fighter in New Jersey History but he was the greatest fighter
who ever lived. When Joe returned home the uncrowned champion because of Jack
Johnson's refusal to fight for the heavyweight championship it was Lud who recognized
the injustice when they drew the color line on both sides white and black. He posted on
the front page of the Hudson Dispatch these words, “The Real World's Champion”..
“Welcome Home Joe!”
Last but not least, Joe Jennette was an awesome family man, whether it was for the love
of his father Franklin who was the backbone of the family or his mother Sabina, who
gave him his spiritual nature.
The rock of his life was his beloved Adelaide, who met Joe at a dance in West Hoboken
and without her, there would be no Joe Jennette as we know him today.
Joe's heart also belonged to his 2 kids, Joe, Jr., and Agnes. He stated that all he ever
wanted was for his children to grow up strong and be able to receive a college education.
Joe's only other love wasn't just boxing or sports, it was cars, he loved cars and loved
working on them. Just imagine, Joe driving down Summit Ave and 27th Street honking
his horn and waving, while he drove by his home and gym. That's the legacy he's left
this world with. This great human being from Union City, N.J. - There will never be
another Joe Jennette.
I like to give a special thanks to Union City's very own, our great Mayor Brian P. Stack,
who without his undying commitment and passion, this day would have never taken
place, Thank You Mayor from the bottom of our hearts. Also, I like to thank
Commissioner Lucio Fernandez, Joe Botti of the Union City Boxing Club, Citizens of
Union City and the family of Joe Jennette.
Together they formed what I call a FIST, formed out of love and pride of one's city in
recognizing those people who made it great.
There is no greater tribute than to bring this great man (Jeremiah Joseph Jennette) to
the forefront in history.
There is no greater deed in this great state of New Jersey, then what is taking place here
today on this historic landmark.
I can only say if Joe was looking down on us right now, he would be filled with so much
pride and joy, that the beam of light that was Joe Jennette will now shine forever.
Thank You and God Bless America and God Bless Joe Jennette.