Mike O'Dowd, from St. Paul, was one of the toughest and most aggressive boxers of his time.
After turning professional in 1913, at the age of 18, he immediately won several fights. A fourth round knockout of Labe Safro in September of 1914 was a key victory that caught the attention of boxing promoters.
In November of 1917, in Brooklyn, New York, O'Dowd knocked out Al McCoy in the sixth round to claim the middleweight title, which he held until 1920
In November of 1919, O'Dowd faced St. Paul-rival Mike Gibbons at the St. Paul Auditorium in a bout that was labeled the Fight of the Century in Minnesota. The fight was officially called a draw, although some newspaper reporters felt that O'Dowd had won the fight. The fight set the state record for gate receipts ($41,426). That record stood until 1957.
He retired in 1923. According to the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame, O'Dowd's official record is 51 victories, 7 losses and three draws "but when including the newspapers decisions, his records jumps even more impressively to 94-17-5 with one no-decision."
The Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame said, "Pre-eminent historian George D. Blair, rates Mike O'Dowd as the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in state history, behind only Mike and Tommy Gibbons."
He was inducted into the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014.