Claudette Boissoneault's LineageLineage of Aline Sabourin


By TOM KEENAN
Sault Star Sports Editor

They called him Jack McAuliffe, II, from Detroit, Michigan, and billed him as the next heavyweight champion of the world, but he was Harry Bussineau from Dunn's Valley, north of Bruce Mines.

Harry, or Jack, was born Aug. 9, 1898, and when he was 14 he was five feet, 10 inches and weighed 210 pounds. He had plenty of power in his huge frame and he used to lift his father's hay rack on and off the wagon. It was just part of the day's routine for him.

When he was 17 he was six feet and a half inch and tipped the scales at 228 pounds. Hardly a day went by that he didn't have to whip five or six boys who jumped him after smart remarks about his size.

Harry left Algoma District at age 18 to work in the steel mills of the United States, and was picked up by in Detroit by Mark Shaughnessy, a noted fight promoter.

Shaughnessy found Harry on a Detroit street one night. He spotted him out of thousands of people for big wonderful build and arranged an engagement with him to cone up to his training headquarters. Harry was wearing a Palm Beach suit and taking a lady friend to the opera when Shaughnessy spotted him.

Accepting the invitation more out of curiosity than, anything, Harry found himself in the ring training within a week. Shaughnessy figured the Algoma boy needed a name to be a fighter so he selected the name Jack McAuliffe, II, the namesake of a popular boxer in the United States prior to Harry's arrival.

Harry won his first five professional bouts and was scheduled to meet Tommy Gibbons in Madison Square Garden On March 17, 1923, but he came down with the flu and the bout was canceled.

While in hospital for the flu Harry had his tonsils removed. After being out of hospital two months Harry was scheduled to fight Luis Firpo. The winner, was to meet Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight boxing championship of the world.

Here Harry's ring fortunes took a turn for the worse. Four days before the fight Shaughnessy sold Harry's contract for $15,000 to Benny Friedman, a real estate operator in New York.

Harry became disillusioned. He couldn't figure out why Shaughnessy would do such a thing at such a time. So, the night he fought Firpo, Harry had a manager that knew nothing about boxing, and a second who knew even less, in his corner.

The night of the fight there were 87,000 people jammed into the stadium in New York. Let Harry's own words describe the, fight Firpo, the man, was to go on and fight Jack Dempsey in the fight that has been judged the greatest fight of all time.

Harry related his story to Dave Cohen, former director of advertising at The Sault Star, and Harry's brother-in-law.

"In the third round my head hit the canvas before any other part of my body. And look what Firpo did to Jack Dempsey later on. He knocked him out of the ring just like taking a piece of paper and throwing it out the window."

For two rounds Algoma's hope left jabbed and left hooked the Argentinean dizzy, had one of his eyes partly closed and was winning easily until the third round when he went into a slugfest with Firpo . This was his undoing.

Harry was a boxer, not a slugger, His second told him to get in and slug, and he was knocked out.

Following the Firpo fight Harry laid off work for a month and then returned to the ring stronger than ever. He won a series of fights and then left the fight game for a few years and returned in 1928 and won decisions over some big names, including Battling Levinsky, former world's light heavyweight champion.

Harry then ended up going on the road with Primo Canera, the Italian giant, as a sparring partner, also engaging in boxing exhibitions. Following this tour, Harry's boxing career ended and he worked for a car plant in Detroit. Harry passed away in 1967 in Detroit.

The people of Detroit liked to think that Harry was born and raised in Detroit and sports writers didn't go out of their way to tell them any different.

He may have fought under the name Jack- McAuliffe, II, but he was Harry Bussineau, and for anybody that, asked him where he was born, his reply was quick, "I'm an Algoma boy from Dunn's Valley."


Please note: My grandfather went by many names, Henry, Harry, and Jack. His birth name was Henry.

Henry's Professional Bouts

Go back to Henry's page