When Jackie Beard was honored as Co-Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1979, the seventeen-year-old senior at Jackson Central-Merry High School was already an established national boxing champion and international competitor. A native of Jackson, Tennessee, the 119-pound bantamweight boxer came into his own in 1978 when he captured a National Golden Gloves title in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in March and followed that with an Amateur Athletic Union crown at Biloxi, Mississippi, in April. But there was even more celebration that year, as a Sports Festival Championship came in August at Colorado Springs, Colorado. Beard boxed the Cuban world champion in Madison Square Garden, losing a disputed decision, then defeated England’s 119-pound champ in an international bout in London, England, in November. Four of Beard’s fights were broadcast on national television. From 1970 through 1978, Beard produced a 65-7 record. He won district and regional Junior Olympic championships in 1974 and 1975, and added West Tennessee and Mid-South Golden Gloves crowns in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Along with boxing, Beard was also an excellent wrestler, captaining his high school team and doing well in the state tournament. No Tennessee boxing fan will soon forget Jackie Beard and the year 1978, when the Golden Gloves champ from Jackson was a true knockout!