As a young boy, Jimmy Perrin’s mother enrolled him in dancing lessons, which led other boys in his neighborhood to tease him. The teasing stopped when a determined Perrin put his fancy footwork, and a few swift jabs, to work in winning the New Orleans featherweight boxing championship in 1932 at age seventeen.
Born James LaCava on February 3, 1915, in New Orleans, Perrin took his stepfather’s name when his mother married Ernie Perrin, who would later become his manager. He attended St. Aloysius High School and won the city and state featherweight tournaments, followed by the 1932 Southern AAU Championship. However, Perrin's hopes of winning a place on the 1932 Olympic boxing team fell short when he lost to Lou Salica from Brooklyn, New York, in the National AAU Championship tournament.
Perrin made his professional debut on February 6, 1933, against Tony Feraci at the Coliseum Arena in New Orleans, winning a four-round bout on points. He fought his way through the featherweight division, including a ten-round unanimous decision over future boxing Hall of Famer Sixto Escobar on August 14, 1939, at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans.
Perrin was in line for a title shot against then-champion Joey Archibald when the National Boxing Association (NBA) required him to fight another boxer first. Perrin never did fight the boxer the NBA wanted him to, and though seven months later he met and defeated Archibald in a nontitle match, he never got another chance at the title.
Over the next eight years he compiled a record of fifty-four wins, eight losses, and seven draws.
Perrin became a New Orleans policeman after he retired from boxing and also worked for a short time for an amusement company in public relations. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (1965) and the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame (1979).
Perrin died in New Orleans on April 14, 1997, at the age of eighty-two.
Cite This Entry
Chicago Manual of Style
Gisclair, S. Derby. "Jimmy Perrin." In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published January 27, 2014. http://www.knowla.org/entry/1659/&view=summary.
Gisclair, S. Derby. "Jimmy Perrin." KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 27 Jan 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
Would you like to learn more about this topic from books and other reading materials?
Fleischer, Nat, and Sam Andre. An Illustrated History of Boxing. New York: Citadel, 2002.
Mullan, Hardy. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. London: Carlton Books, 2007.
Sugar, Bert Randolph. Boxing’s Greatest Fighters. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2006.