was born in Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...
. Gans was rated as the greatest lightweight
Light-weight is a class of athletes in a particular sport, based on their weight.-Professional boxing:The lightweight division is over 130 pounds and up to 135 pounds weight class in the sport of boxing....
boxer of all time by boxing historian and Ring Magazine founder, Nat Fleischer
Nathaniel Stanley Fleischer was a noted American boxing writer and collector. Fleischer inaugurated in 1922, encouraged by Tex Rickard, the Ring Magazine publication...
and was known as the "Old Master". He fought from 1891 to 1909.
Gans started boxing professionally about 1891 in Baltimore. In 1900, Gans quit with an eye cut in the twelfth round of the world lightweight title bout against champion Frank Erne. In their rematch two years later, Gans knocked Erne out in one round to capture the lightweight title.
Gans reigned as champion from 1902 to 1908. In an important title defense he defeated the "Durable Dane", Oscar "Battling" Nelson on a foul in 42 rounds on September 3, 1906 in Goldfield, Nevada by promoter Tex Rickard. When they fought again two years later Gans lost by a knockout. He died in August 1910, of tuberculosis and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Baltimore. His monument is maintained by the IBC (International Boxing Commission) and sits just to the left of the main entrance of the cemetery. Gans is generally considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time, pound-for-pound.
"I was born in the city of Baltimore in the year 1874, and it might be well to state at this time that my right name is Joseph Gant, not Gans. However, when I became an object of newspaper publicity, some reporter made a mistake and my name appeared as Joe Gans, and as Joe Gans it remained ever since."
This is confirmed by primary sources, such as The Sun (Baltimore, MD) on October 24, 1893 - "Joseph Gant and Buck Myers, colored"; The Sun (Baltimore, MD) on November 28, 1893 - "A six-round sparring match between Wm. Jones and Joseph Gant, colored light-weights", etc.