Above are two images of Daniel Mendoza, on the left, a picture of the man in real life and on the right Ted Rawlings view of the boxer.
See The Victor issues 514 - 527; RP 905 - 918.
Writer:- The Victor editorial team. Artist:- Ted Rawlings.
Main cast:- Daniel Mendoza; Manny Morris.
Time period:- late 18th Century.
It would appear that many of the Victor bare-knuckle fighting picture stories to be published in the comic, are based on real people. Although, the stories in the comic probably don’t necessarily follow the fighters life accurately.
Daniel Mendoza, a brief biography (05th July 1764 to 03rd September 1836)
Mendoza, born in Aldgate, London, was the third son of seven children and was of Jewish descent. His ancestors had lived in Spain and Italy. Dan (as he was often known), married in May 1787 and his wife Esther bore him nine children. The Mendoza’s are a large family and have descendants in many countries. Mike Mendoza, a radio presenter is a direct descendant of Dan.
Richard Humphries (who appears in the Victor strip, as a villain), was Mendoza’s trainer in the early part of his boxing career. The two men fought three bouts between 1788 and 1790. The first Mendoza lost, but only because Humphries’ second Tom Johnson, a former champion blocked one of Dan’s fists. But there was no mistake in the second and third bouts, which Mendoza won. The pair of boxers must have fallen out at some point, as the third fight was fought against a background of aggressively written letters by each man, that were printed in the newspapers of the day. This form of ‘advertising’ resulted in spectators paying for the first time in history to watch a boxing fight.
Mendoza is an important figure in boxing as he worked out a new style of boxing. Prior to this boxing was a matter of brute force and stamina. The style was for boxers to stand still and exchange punches. Mendoza incorporated new ideas into his boxing bouts. Side-stepping to avoid punches, ducking, blocking and other ideas. His methods completely revolutionised the way that boxers fought. Weighing in at 160 pounds and only 5 feet 7 inches tall, Mendoza ’s successful style of fighting allowed him to defeat far heavier opponents. And he would have needed his new style of fighting to avoid being beaten.
Mendoza, was the sixteenth Heavyweight boxing champion of England between 1792 to 1795. He is still the only middleweight fighter to ever win the Heavyweight Championship of the World.
Dan opened his own boxing academy in 1789 and published a book about his new fighting style, The Art of Boxing.
Mendoza’s fighting career ended in 1795, when he lost a match for the Championship to ‘Gentleman’ John Jackson, at Hornchurch, Essex, England. Jackson being five years younger, taller and heavier than Dan, beat him by grabbing hold of his hair while he pounded his head with his other hand. The fight was stopped after nine rounds. And this is the reason why all boxers now have short hair when fighting in the ring. His last fight was against Tom Owen, which he lost after twelve rounds.
After losing the Championship Dan Mendoza sought out other jobs including being the landlord of the Admiral Nelson pub in Whitechapel, London, teaching boxing and other jobs.
Intelligent, charismatic but chaotic, he died at the age of 72, leaving his family in poverty.
Mendoza's fictional adventures in The Victor
The series concentrates on the initial friendship between Mendoza and Humphries and their later falling out with each other and their bouts in the ring. Certainly, there are no references to Mendoza's new fighting methods in the series. Instead there is loads of boxing action. Possibly Manny Morris (Mendoza's friend), was created for the series, but he may have been a real person or possibly based on someone.
In 1954 Mendoza was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Mendoza, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
In 1990 he was inducted into the inaugural class of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
The following adventures of Daniel Mendoza are from issues 907, 524, 913, 917.