Known as the “Colorado Giant,” Denver Ed Martin was born September 10, 1881, in Denver, Colorado. For almost 22 years, Martin would become known for his incredible boxing power and ring awareness.
Like many other Black boxers pre-Joe Louis’s World title win, he would face the same competition several times over. A number of his opponents would lay claim to the World Colored Heavyweight title as well.
Denver Ed Martin vs. Bob Armstrong
He would start his career in June 1899 with a second-round KO loss to “The King of the Battle Royal” and World Colored Heavyweight champion Bob Armstrong. In the future, the two would meet up several more times. Their March 1900 encounter in Philadelphia ended in a 6-round draw. Two years later in England. Denver Ed Martin managed to defeat Armstrong in 15 rounds by points.
Their bout at the end of 1902 in Philadelphia was another victory for Martin in six rounds. The fifth and final bout between the two was a flashback to Martin’s debut as he lost in round three by knockout. Their record against each other was 2-2-1.
The interesting thing about the early career of Denver Ed Martin in relation to Bob Armstrong was his winning the World Colored Heavyweight title. “The Crafty Texan” Frank Childs was 14 years older than Martin at 34 but he was also the man younger Bob Armstrong simply couldn’t beat. In their three encounters in 1897, 1898, and 1899 Armstrong failed each time–the last two times by KO.
The contrast here is that Childs was unable to defeat Martin in two bouts, losing both by points. Their first bout in February 1902 would see Martin take the World Colored Heavyweight title. Eventually, he ran into his own white whale in Jack Johnson, losing the almost a year after he won it.
In the first encounter, Martin’s footwork and stamina managed to keep him in the bout in this battle against giants. The second match in 1904 saw him lose in the second round. Despite that second loss, it was a common belief that Denver Ed Martin was one of the Black boxers Johnson dodged when he won the World Heavyweight title in 1908.
In 1914, Denver Ed Martin lost to Tom Cowler in Canada and hung up the gloves. Seven years later at 39, he made a return picking up three against another boxer who was making a comeback and two tomato cans competition-wise. Martin would hang up the gloves for good after a first-round knockout to World Colored Heavyweight champion Harry “The Black Panther” Mills.