- "It ain't how you hit the mat. It's how you get up."
- ―Jack Murdock[src]
Jonathan "Jack" Murdock was a boxer and the father of Matt Murdock. In an attempt to gain the respect of his son, he refused to throw a boxing match and allowed Matt to claim the winnings from his bet. But this action cost Murdock his life as he was murdered by Roscoe Sweeney and his men.
Raising Matt Murdock
- "Sometimes even when you get knocked down, you can still win."
- ―Jack Murdock[src]
Jonathan Murdock was a boxer under the moniker "Battlin' Jack Murdock". During his boxing career, he happened to run into a young nun named Maggie Grace who asked her to treat his wounds and support during one of his matches. The two quickly fell in love, got married, and had a son named Matthew. The marriage did not work out as Maggie suffered from postpartum depression and immediately returned to her life as a nun, leaving Jack alone with their son. As a father, Jack pushed Matt to always study so he could have a successful career and not struggle in life as he did.
Murdock would often accept bribes from local mobster Roscoe Sweeney to lose his boxing fights in exchange for cash. He would return home from his fights, including one devastating fight with Price, with severe injuries to his face and body, and have Matt stitch up his injuries, all the while telling his son that he should always show respect to his opponents, as they were just as brave for stepping into the ring. During one of these first aid sessions, Jack let Matt have a drink of scotch to stop his hands from shaking. Jack then admitted to Matt that he had accepted a bribe to lose the fight.
When Matt was nine, he was involved in a car accident as a result of pushing an old man out of the way. Murdock came to his son's aid and desperately tried to help him after seeing that the chemicals in the truck had splashed into his eyes; Jack tried to wipe away the chemicals and told Matt to shut his eyes. It was too late, however, as the chemicals seeped into Matt's eyes, destroying his vision and blinding him.
With his son terrified and badly injured, Murdock took him to the hospital for treatment and stayed by his bedside while he slept. When Matt Murdock awoke, scared of the fact he could no longer see and complaining that every sound around him was too loud, Jack ran to his aid and tried to comfort his son as best he could. Seeing his son was too scared to listen, Jack allowed him to touch his face and recognize his father, which did comfort the boy. Over the next few months and years, Jack helped his son with learning to cope with his disability.
Jack cared for Matt and comforted him when he was scared or appeared to be in pain due to his other senses being heightened. He still encouraged his son to study to ensure he never became a fighter. He was greatly impressed by how quickly Matt mastered reading in Braille. Jack continued to fight and accepted more bribes to lose fights, using the money to pay for Matt's education. In order to discourage his son from taking on a career in boxing, Murdock allowed him to touch his face and feel the damage done to him.
A Final Fight
One day while training at Fogwell's Gym, Jack spoke to Matt about how he was getting on with learning Braille; Matt explained that he was starting to make sense of it all, comparing the concept of reading Braille to predicting punches in a fight. They joked about how Matt would likely be able to read Braille faster than Jack could read normal books.
Murdock's employer, Roscoe Sweeney and his assistant Sammy Silke, approached him and offered his condolences over Matt's condition. Silke and Sweeney told him that they had booked him a fight against Carl "Crusher" Creel. Sweeney also told him that he would have to lose the fight in the fifth round as they were making bets against him. Although he was initially against the idea, as he wanted to prove he was a better man to his son, Murdock reluctantly agreed to throw the fight, seeing the benefits the money being offered would bring to him and his son.
Back at his apartment, Murdock received a parcel in the post which contained his uniform for his upcoming match. When Matt asked him to describe it, Murdock could only say that it was very red but allowed Matt to feel the fabric. Murdock continued to speak to the still optimistic Matt and became reminded that "Murdocks always get back up" and would never be defeated. Feeling inspired, Murdock decided to fight Carl Creel and win, ensuring that his son would get to witness his father being a winner.
At Fogwell's Gym, a few hours before the fight, Murdock called his friend Ed and told him to put all his bets on him to win the upcoming fight and then transfer the money to an account at M&R Credit Union in Matt Murdock's name. With the bet made and finalized, Murdock also called Maggie and, telling her he was about to do something stupid, asked her to look after Matthew. Feeling it could be his last time to speak about his son, Murdock told her that he was a good kid who deserved to feel proud of his father at least once.
The day of the fight, Murdock prepared to step out into the ring, wearing his new boxing uniform. As he made the walk out into the ring to face his final opponent, Murdock pumped himself up by pounding his fists together as he considered everything he was fighting for, not just his reputation, but his son's respect and future wellbeing. Once in the ring, Murdock fought Carl Creel and won in a brief but brutal match.
With the fight over, Murdock swiftly ran into his locker room and attempted to run away, pulling off his gloves in a panic. However, he was quickly found by a pair of hitmen sent by his employer Roscoe Sweeney, who was unhappy at his betrayal. As the crowd chanted his name, Murdock accepted his eventual fate and was beaten, shot and killed. His body was later found by Matt, who became heartbroken at the loss of his father. However, he used the money Jack earned through the bet to go to law school and become a successful lawyer with his own firm: Nelson and Murdock.
Matt Murdock's Future
The death of Jack Murdock would linger in the memory of his son, Matt, for the rest of his life and gave him a sense of abandonment in addition to his mother leaving him when he was an infant. But his murder would spark his interest in becoming a lawyer. Matt would restrain himself from fighting others to respect his late father's wishes, but was prone to do so in fits of anger during his teenage years. He later on in life confronted the man responsible for his death with the help of Elektra Natchios but ultimately didn't kill him as he believed it's not what his father would want him to do.
- "You know, Lexi, you remind me of a friend of mine. His dad was a boxer who got in way over his head and got himself killed. And for a long time, my friend thought his dad abandoned him, too. Until one day, he learned the truth, that his dad was actually killed because he wanted to stop being a criminal. Because he wanted his son to be proud of him."
- ―Jessica Jones to Lexi Raymond[src]
Jack Murdock was a deeply devoted father and wanted his son Matt to have everything that Jack didn't have while growing up. He was even willing to sacrifice his own life so that Matt would receive the winnings of his last fight. Jack was a simple man, who was forced into fighting just to pay the bills. He didn't have much luck in school which is why he wanted his son to "hit nothing but books" and ends up with a good career, unlike himself. Jack refused to throw a fight so that Matt could hear people actually cheer for his father at least once in his life.
Despite being a club-level boxer (with a professional record of 24 wins, 31 losses) and usually taking more hits than he gave, Jack always got back up and never lost to a knockout, instilling a life lesson he wanted Matt to learn: "Murdocks take a lot of hits, but they always get back up."
- "He was a fighter. Old school. Boxing. Lost more than he won. Had a 24-31 record before he, uh... but he could take a punch. Jesus, he could take a punch."
"Sorry, Father. Yeah, guys he went up against used to say it was like hitting oak. And nights when he was outmatched, my dad's strategy was to let 'em hit him till they broke their hands. He never got knocked out, my dad. Knocked down, sure. But he, uh, always got back up. He was always on his feet when he lost. Every now and then though, uh... every now and then, he'd get hit and... something inside him would snap."
- ―Matt Murdock and Paul Lantom[src]
- Expert Combatant: Despite losing most of his bouts, Jack was a highly skilled boxer. He was able to take tremendous amounts of punishment without going down. During certain moments he was able to rise above himself and could suddenly completely dominate and knock out his opponent. Using his willpower, he was even able to defeat Carl Creel.
|Appearances for Jack Murdock|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, Jack Murdock died when his son Matt Murdock was attending Law School.
Behind the Scenes
- Jack Murdock in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the second live-action incarnation of the character, following an incarnation portrayed by David Keith.