BILLY IRWIN IN TRAINING (1896-98)
This photo shows Billy Irwin, in boxing attire, with two trainers. It was probably taken in Aspen circa 1896-98. It seems that one trainer is simulating a left jab while counseling Billy to dodge the blow and follow up with a hard left swing to the mid-section. The other trainer in the background seems to be pensively looking on.
Billy spent his earliest boxing years in Leadville where, for the most part, boxing matches within the city limits, had been frowned upon and thus prohibited. So what “Training” Billy did have came to him “piecemeal” via such venues as: clandestine, illegal matches on Leadville’s outskirts…local Leadville gymnasiums…saloon fights…or at impromptu change of shift exhibitions at the mines.
Circa 1895 Billy relocated to the more “prize fight friendly” town of Aspen. And at Aspen circa 1895 Billy’s professional boxing career began in earnest. It was also at Aspen during this time frame that Billy’s matches were held openly and legally while being recorded in local newspapers.
According to the Aspen newspapers Billy was “seconded” and “trained” by a number of named people. The name most mentioned as “second” was Frank Bruin. The name most mentioned as “trainer” was “Parson” Hatton and William McHatton. Could “Parson” Hatton and William McHatton be one and the same person?
It seems reasonable therefore to postulate that, within the realm of possibility, these two “trainers” pictured with Billy Irwin could be Frank Bruin pensively looking on in the background while William “Parson” Hatton/McHatton counsels Billy to dodge a blow and follow up with a left swing to the mid-section?