The following has been adapted from a series of articles published in 1919. By Jack Monroe
A history of Boxing
Has there ever been a championship fight between heavyweights In the American prize ring that didn't bear the label "The Ring Battle of the Century ?" If there has it's one me. And I've followed the game from both the boxer's and the spectator's standpoint for many years.
The trite phrase has accompanied each ring conflict from the first battle for the title between Jake ( Jacob ) Hyer and Tom Beasley in 1816 down to the scheduled mill in Toledo on the Fourth of July as seemingly an important a Part of the mechanism of big fisticuffs as a main spring is to a watch. Oddly, enough, though, every championship encounter waged within the past century has contained some feature which seems to justify such a title. Ever stop to think of it.
The Ring Battle of the Century.
As a preface to the articles which follow it is Interesting to consider this point as well as the remarkable
progress of boxing since its origin.,The latter is chock full of tooth'some "dope" for the fight fan and It has a material bearing on the coming contest, showing it in its true light of importance as a modern athletic event. The Jeffries-Johnson bout in 1910 appeared to quality in every department the supreme contest of its kind during the last century. Certainly there never was such a fight that aroused one quarter of the public enthusiasm manifested in big Jeff's bungling attempt to snatch the supremacy of the ring for the white race from his cagey black antagonist. Along with the attraction of mixed colors and races was the towering fistic reputation of each; the question from a scientific standpoint of a marvelous athlete's ability to "comeback" after a lay off of seven years; and the hitherto unheard of "amount of the purse offered by Tex Rickard who valued the contest at $121,000.
Yet along comes the Willard-Dempsey affair preserving old traditions and presenting its own singular characteristic of the largest purse and the shortest number of scheduled rounds ever connected with a championship wrangle. Viewed from the monetary standpoint it can thus lay claim as have former famous battles to the glory of "The Ring Battle of the Century." Considering the approaching bout' in the halo of such pugilistic renown naturally invites comparison with ring events of other days. It is from such an analysis that the remarkable
progress of boxing is best illustrated as well as the lofty plane on which the impending combat is to be conducted.
Brutality in Early Days of Boxing.
The earliest form of boxing dates back to the age of the ancient Greeks.These hardy people held the sport in the highest repute and in their primitive fashion were very skillful with their hands. Gladiators in the day of Homer fought with the a gauntlet composed of rawhide thongs usually weighted with lead to lend force (and usually fatality) to the blow. Needless to say few of these courageous pugs lived through many well-placed blows from such a deadly "glove " Quite a contrast the harmless, well upholstered mitts with which Willard and Dempsey will make passes at each other. In those times little attention was paid to science. He who dealt the first murderous blow claimed the laurels Jim Corbett could have annihilated the entire Greek nation had he lived in the day of the gauntlet.
The foregoing, however, represents but the crude beginnings of boxing It is so different from latter day methods that it hardly deserves classification under such a head. James Figg the firstEnglish champion in 1740 is the generally accredited "father of boxing." From his time on we run across some astounding ring incidents which reveal the humane principles regulating ring engagements of today. Figg conducted a school in which boxing and sword play were taught and bouts between any and all were staged. These matches, advertised as
"tests of manhood" were a curious mixture of sword play and boxing. When the former was terminated through broken weapons the contestants went at it with their fists. A generous tincture of wrestling was added to determine the end of a round. Figg reigned supreme in his day, his characteristic challenge calling for a fight "for love and bellyful." It surely takes more than that to promote a championship in these days of $127,000 purses.
Until the introduction of Queensberry rules early ring encounters were contested with bare knuckles and wrestling played an important role in the proceedings. A round ended when either or both principals went to the ground. "Cross buttocks," "flying mares" and a variety of holds were used to accomplish an opponent's downfall That there was considerable brutality associated with the bare knuckles epoch is ,not to be questioned We have the following pen picture of the mill waged between Joe Hood and McDonald in 1775. "MacDonald fought bravely; he was beaten so dreadfully before he gave in, that both eyes were closed and it was found that his jaw was broken "
Modern Boxing Not Dangerous.
Having dwelt on the brutality attending the bare-knuckle days let us examine the character of fighting which has marked the decisive ring battle since the advent of the boxing glove. Prize fighting became an extinct pastime with the first glove contest. When poor old dissipated John L. Sullivan sank to the damp sand of the new Orleans ring under Corbett's relentless right handers to the jaw he was far from being a badly punished boxer. True, the Old Roman was physically in a state of collapse, but this was as much due to poor condition as to the effect of his conqueror's blows. Sullivan was not even unconscious when counted out. He was merely badly dazed .and his seconds restored him to a normal condition after a few moments of face sponging. Before they had even finished their task John shambled over to the ringside and raising his hand said "I've tried once too often. I am glad the championship remains in America."
Corbett didn't receive a Genuinely hard blow from Sullivan during the whole bout. When Corbett in turn succumbed to Fitzsimmons' solar plexus at Carson he was clear-headed although the punch had paralyzed his muscles. He was totally unable to make a move to regain his feet but he bore no marks from the fourteen rounds of desperate boxing.
Boxers Knocked Out Quickly Recover.
Fitzsimmons while rendered unconscious by Jeff when the Californian stretched him on the floor at Coney Island was anything but a gruesome sight Bob sported a discolored optic and a puffed mouth as souvenirs of Jeff's jib-boom left. But he revived from the knockout quickly and was out of the arena fifteen minutes after Jeff's right had laid him prostrate on the floor. Jeff's finish at Reno against Johnson was greatly similar to the downfall of Sullivan. The White Hope had a much battered appearance owing to his left eye being closed. But in reality he received little no punishment worth mentioning. His vitality had deserted him and he fell before a blow he would have laughed at in his palmy days.
When Tommy Burns, lost the title to Johnson he was actually on his feet. Johnson's physical advantages were plainly too much for the Canadian and the bout was stopped to prevent the plucky little Burns from receiving punishment he was unable to avoid and because he was giving none in return. Johnson's defeat at Willard's hands was somewhat similar to Jeff's downfall at Reno. He simply consumed all his strength pounding away at the big Kansan's anatomy. when he was entirely played out Jess unloosed the finished. The negro, badly exhausted collapsed, as much from over-exertion as the force of Jess' smite.
Strenuous Training of Old-Time Fighters.
Another interesting phase of primitive boxing methods was the amazing systems of training in vogue then. It represented a "grilling" equal only to that sustained in the fight itself. Back in the era of Deaf Burke we learn that fighters plodded for miles holding to the rear of a fast driven cart. This conditioning stunt ended only when the pugilist collapsed from sheer exhaustion. He was then toted back to his tavern and revived with copious dashes of cold water, followed by a glutton's meal of raw beef, ale and stale bread. What a rumpus Willard and Dempsey would kick up at the thought of exchanging their well ventilated gym’s, skipping rope, punching bags, sparring partners and motor cars for such a strenuous routine. So much for progress in the matter of boxing and training.
The Era of "Frenzied Finance" In Boxing.
Roughly speaking boxing may be divided into three epochs denoting its development to the present high plans. These are the era of Figg who introduced bare fist fighting to supplant deadlier -weapons; the Sullivan-Corbett era with the arrival of Queenberry rules and the passing of London Prize Ring Rules; and the existing period of "frenzied finance" in the .promotion of glove contests. Tex Rickard, the Prince of Promoters" is the outstanding figure of the last named interval. It dates from l910 when the Texan, a direct throwback of Bret Harte's Argonaut types of early California gold-mining days put up $121,000 for Jeffries and Johnson at Reno. The sporting and even the financial world was "taken by the ears" so to speak at Rickard's financial boldness at that time.
Accustomed, now to Tex's big way of doing things comparatively little wonderment is manifested In his astounding offer of $127,000 to Willard and Dempsey. Likewise his refreshing businesslike methods of insuring the contest, principals and even himself with Lloyd’s In London is taken as a matter of course. But wouldn't old-timers turn over in their graves if they could hear of the way things are done nowadays Imagine the mighty Heenan and Sayers battering each other with naked fists for more than two hours in a windswept field for a paltry 1,000. Or the same Tom Sayers beating Bill Perry "for $1,000 aside and a new belt." Even the great John L. Sullivan and James Corbett were only given a purse of $25,000, the boxers making the go worth the strife by adding a 20,000 stake.
Willards Place In Fistiana
It is possible to compare boxing and training tactics of the past with the present but not pugilists themselves. Willard's chief claim to fame, it appears to me, is his great size and strength combined with the ability to give and take punishment, particularly the latter. There are scores of former ring kings who base claim to lasting renown on the same grounds. Therefore it would be a sweeping statement to say that Willard is the greatest of these.
For instance, Charles Freemen, the first American champion was considerably taller and heavier than the present heavyweight title holder. His height was seven feet three inches and he scaled 333 pounds— a genuine giant to be sure. Looks as if he might have given Jess a rub had the burly Kansan been breathing in 1820 or thereabouts. As for Willard's ability to assimilate heavy blows it is doubtful if he excels Jim Jeffries in the latter's palmy days. Even previous to this we have the giant John Jackson back in 1778 who is said to have lifted ten
hundred weight and a quarter and written his name with eighty-four pounds suspended from his little finger. That is an exhibition of strength which might interest the present Colossus of the squared circle.
Jess proved that he could "take it" when Johnson dealt him a healthy beating almost up to the moment of the negro's defeat at Havana. Nevertheless it was nothing compared to the punishment administered to Jeffries by Bob Fitzsimmons when the latter made his heroic attempt to win back the title at San Francisco in 1902. The modern ring hasn't an instance of a man surviving; a thrashing such as Jeff received in that bout and finally bring down his tormentor with almost a single punch. And Willard, to my way of thinking will have to furnish more; startling proofs than his knockout of the aged and dissipated Johnson to demonstrate that he delivers a harder blow than Sullivan. Jeffries, or Fitzsimmons did in their prime. However, this is not meant as any particular disparagement of Willard as a fighter. It is merely an attempt to classify him in the certain rank of famous sluggers which his particular talents suggests. After all it is glory enough, probably, for Jess that he has risen to the top of his profession by defeating" the best men of his day. You can't ask much more than that from anyone.
The Phenomenal Challenger for the Title.
With Jack Dempsey, the sensational challenger in the forthcoming struggle the case is somewhat clearer. His pugilistic attainments are of a marked order. Never in the history of the ring has a boxer earned the right to championship competition by such an amazingly brilliant record. He appears capable of unlimbering a punch the effectiveness of which is comparable to the foremost of pugilism's dreaded punchers. Even Sullivan and Fitzsimmons, who featured their combats with displays of heavy smiting and quick finishes do not approach the astonishing performance of the Colorado terror.
Because of the amazing quickness with which he has disposed of one antagonist after another Dempsey has never been forced to take much punishment. Whether he can survive a beating such as Jeffries did with Fitz and recover to whip his man has yet to be demonstrated. There are those who even believe he is an overrated performer, personally, however, I do not agree with these critics. Dempsey by his deeds has proved himself one of the most formidable men that ever challenged for the title. He will fight himself and make Willard fight from start to finish.
Part 2 deals with the early career of Jess Willard
Jess Willard is a unique champion even though many pugilistic sharps can't figure him in a class with our great kings of the squared circle. For a man who has earned the highest honor the "game" offers along with all its coveted reward's reward Is certainly far from being Impressive. And yet, strangely enough, it's the underlying secret of his mediocre, and often worse, showing which must catalogue the giant Kansan as one of the most extraordinary title holders the world has ever known.
And now let me disclose the afore mentioned secret which has to do with the champions shabby ring feats up to the time has made amends for them all by laying Johnson low under the blistering Cuban sun and restoring again the mastery of the ring to the white race. I think you will then agree with me that Willard's ring talents what they may, as compared to his predecessors of the last three decades or so he is entitled, when we consider the circumstances governing hi rise, to mere praise for his success than any champion since Sullivan’s day. Willard. unlike any other champion never took a boxing lesson up to the time of the Johnson fight and never in his life did he participate In a preliminary or semi-final bout If you can name any other boxer who ever reached the top with as little ring learning I'll take back my statement that Willard is a unique ring champion. But I don't think even the heaviest dyed in the wool fight can do that
Ketchel’s Case Similar to Willard’s
The nearest thing to Jess Willard’s case is that of the late Stanley Ketchel who almost became The worlds champion when his pile driver right put Johnson down and nearly out. Oddly enough Both Ketchel and Willard were formally cow boys, Jess being the first to honor that calling with a world's pugilistic championship. I happened to be in Maryland back in 1907 when Steve blew down from Montana via the "bumpers" and in some mysterious way convinced "Coast promoters that he could beat Joe Thomas, then holder of the middleweight crown. Ketchel had never taken a boxing lesson in his life either, although he had received the benefit which comes with many preliminary bouts. Sparring partners and trainers were total strangers to him yet he astounded sportdom by getting a twenty round draw with the great Thomas eventually beating Joe for his crown. Ketchel trained for the bout largelv on doughnuts his gym being the back of a saloon kindly donated the "stranger" by a Marysville Boniface I mention this early parallel case of Ketchel's because it Is the only one to my knowledge which in any wav approaches Willard’s.
OTHER CHAMPION'S WELL SCHOOLED
As for other champions of the past four decades their preparation for the final effort which brought the championship has in every instance been complete. Sullivan had a lengthy list of struggles with some of the most formidable men of its day before he beat Paddy Ryan for the title. Jim Corbett although. the greatest natural boxer the ring has ever known, was tutored in the elementary principles of boxing by Prof Walter Watson of the Olympic Club of San Francisco, Corbett too scapped some of the hardiest of Sullivan’s contemporaries before facing the Boston Strong Boy at New Orleans . Bob Fitzsimmons was a veteran of thirty five with seventeen bitter years of milling behind him when his great solar plexus punch vanquished Corbett at Carson. Jeffries picked up a lot of ring knowledge as Corbett’s sparring partner, Johnson had been through eleven years of al descriptions of ring work when he met Jeffries for the championship.
WILLARD LEARNED BY FIGHTING
But how different with Willard A somewhat shiftless cow puncher on the Kansas prairies he never thought of boxing as a career until the "white hope" craze was inaugurated by Jeff's downfall There was never any atmosphere of the ring in Willards early life for few prominent ringsters ever visited the Kansas plains where Jess eased out his living branding cattle. Most great fighters have been born or have lived in a square circle environment so to speak and this a hereditary advantage not to be scoffed at.Willard was plying his cow punching trade in Oklahoma when the idea of becoming a "White Hope" seized him. Jess didn’t take himself very seriously however at least not to immigrate to New York which was the Mecca for all the aspiring heavies who would bear the "White Mans Burden". At that time the burly Al Palzar had won the "White Hope" tourney and Frank Moran and Tom Kennedy were sounding their claims for recognition as a opponent for Johnson.
Carl Morris also had gained renown by stopping the venerable Mike Schack. Jess’s idea of becoming a hope crystallized into action in the spring of 1911 when he selected one Louis Fink for his victim. The bout was stage and Jess lost out on a foul in the tenth round.jess was so unspeakably clumsy that in threshing his huge arms through space in an effort to find a vulnerable spot on his opponent he committed a foul Jess s 'ardor for ring gloves was dampened a bit. He went back to His cow punching for a whole month before donning the mitts again.
JESS' FIRST KNOCKOUT
Our hero then took on Ed Burke, a boxer with some local repute in Oklahoma. In the third round Jess delivered a terrific upper cut with his right and Burke broke the ropes And crashed into the spectators – out cold. In his first knockout Jess told me he discovered that his best punch was the right upper cut and he has employed it with damaging effects ever since. Encouraged by his showing Willard sought out his first by his showing Willard sought out his firsts antagonist of his ring debut Fink and flattened out with the same punch in the same round. Jess now laid his branding iron away for good and concentrated his entire attentions on boxing. He had no manager but followed his own simple training rules and fought fairly regularly. Being a married man with a family kept Jess in a serious frame of mind concerning getting ahead in his new undertaking. However even this early he displayed some of the timidity and lack of confidence which marred some of his later battles. After thrashing Louis Fink he scored successive knockouts Al Mardino, Ben Schiller and won ten decions over Frank Lyons and Mike McKimminsky.
WILLARD GOES AFTER THE BIG ONES
Then in 1912 a spirit of rivalry for the Oklahoma favorite prompted Jess to wade out into the deeper waters of pugilism, Carl while Jess was exchanging wild haymakers with Oklahoma "hicks" was making a name for himself in Gotham True he had taken the most brutal beating a boxer ever received in New York at the hands of Jim Flynn in his first start, but he won thousands of friends for his remarkable gameness. He had gone right on fighting and had scored knockouts over third raters and make a good showing with Jim Stewart. Gunboat Smith was attracting attention just then with his famous "occipital" punch. Al Palzer was going great guns too Having cleaned up Tom Kennedy, AlKaufman. Sailor White and Bombardier Wells. Then Lute McCarty snared the spot-light from all of them by dropping Willard's rival Carl Morris in six rounds. That settled all doubts in Jess’s mind evidently about attracting notice by his feats in Oklahoma rings. He felt that it was up to him to match his pugilistic wares with the toughest on the market in New York.
NEW YORK VIA INDIANA AND ILLINOIS
But there still must have been a lingering doubt in Jess’s unsophisticated mental machinery. He didn't go direct Instead he hit Ft. Wayne, Ind , and added to his growing store of ring confidence by connecting his powerful right uppercut with the Louis Fink and flattened that person made the connection in the sixth round after a stubbornly fought bout.
Our hero then meandered over to Chicago where he loafed about for a month looking for an opponent which suited his Discriminating fancy. However the unquenchable thirst of Mr Young who had tasted big Jess’s dozy right in Ft Wayne decided for him. He gave Young another chance and this time Young met the Sandman a round earlier. Jess by this time had perfected a pretty good stiff jab out of his shaggy and ponderous left arm. With it he cropped Young's rushes and then finished him off with the favorite right uppercut. While putting in time around. Chicago gymnasiums Jess made the acquaintance of Charley Cutler, the wrestler. Cutler looked Jess over carefully and came to the conclusion that Willard was made of at least " White Hope" timber. Cutler offered to take the embryo champ to New York after the rings' big game. Jess rather liked the idea of Cutler as his mentor and manager—the first he had ever had—and told him to dig up some sort of a match—"I'm not particular whit it's with , just to keep busy" was the way the thumper put it.
HIS VICTORY OVER PELKEY
About this time Arthur Pelkey a rugged, slow moving Massachusetts slugger had attained some distinction by knocking out the veteran Jim Barrv and tough Soldier Kearns He was fairly well thought of in New York but Culler who had seen Pelkey perform figured he would find Willard's height and baffling left jab with the soporific uppercut too much for him. It was a well made match and Willard owes this following big battles in the metropolis to Cutler's clever management. Willard's how to Knickerbocker s fight fans was quite an auspicious one
Willard was wholly unknown to both Pelkey and New York, the latter taking Cutler's word for it that Willard could make Pelkey extend himself. Pelkey who had never seen nor heard of Willard felt no especial alarm in the match. He regarded it as one more step toward a match with Johnson for the world's title.
JESS ASTOUNDS NEW YORKERS—AND PELKEY
But when the lowering Jess with no bath robe—he hadn't acquired such a degree of opulence yet but just a Turkish towel covering his massive shoulders, parted the ropes New Yorkers gasped. So did Pelkey for that matter. Here was a bigger man even than Jim Jeffries and huskier also than the rising Carl Morris who was presumed to run about as large as anything in the way of a White Hope. Everyone was anxious to see what the giant stranger could do. Also what Pelkey who looked like a pygmy compared to his husky antagonist would do.
Arthur's first rush told the story The Chicopee bruiser came out of his corner lickoty split intending to mow the big rube down with one fell swoop. But Willard was ready for him and performed a bit of swooping himself. Jess brought his left back almost on a line with his shoulder and thrust it forward squarely into Pelkey's left eye. His rush was stopped short and for the moment he was badly hurt But big Jess untaught in the art of following up advantages allowed his man to recover. Pelkey recovered , physically but from the moment of impact of Jess' first left jab Arthur realized that beating the mammoth opposed to him was out of the question.It was as much out of the question as keeping out of reach of Jess’s long left.
The bout went the full ten rounds and was a slovenly fought affair. Nevertheless the honors went to Willard and New York was made to understand that the big Kansan would have to be considered in future White Hope wrangles.
MATCHED WITH MCCARTY
Cutler immediately got In touch with Billy McCarney, Luther McCarty's manager and suggested a match between McCarty and Willard. McCarty at the time was the reigning sensation owing to his being the first man to put Carl Morris down for the full count. McCarney had seen Willard in one of his Oklahoma "Fights" and picked him for a "set up" for Luther, not taking into consideration the fact that Willard had improved some since then. Willard who seemed to have acquired a complete store of confidence was delighted at his New York prospects. A sample of his faith in his ability is found in his answer to a friend who reminded him. In comparison, of Jim Jeffries miserable showing on his first New York bout when he boxed Bob Armstrong back in 1898before winning the Championship. "Oh I'm a better man than Jeffries was then!" Willard snapped back.
No 3 Jack Dempsey
HE HAS THE K, 0, ABILITIES
Challenger of Willard Called Big Terry McGovern
HE IS NOT A LITTLE MAN
Big Scrapper a Success From the StartEARLY RING CAREER OF JACK DEMPSEY
"He's a big Terry McGovern!"
How often have we heard that glorifying phrase applied to some big fellow -who has created a sensation by victories gained in a slam bung style of fighting. It is a custom of the ring sharps to characterize about every bruiser who isn't a Jim Corbett or a Kid McCoy in the maker of ring generalship a "big Terry McGovern." But In reality the term has been very grossly misused—as well as abused.
There never was a "big Terry McGovern"— as I knew that dauntless little fighting machine— until the present Jack Dempsey who faces Willard On the Fourth of July at Toledo arrived, pugilisticaly speaking. But that Jack Dempsey may rightfully enjoy the appellation is not to do disputed. He is the long looked for ''big Terry McGovern.". His record punctuated with fourteen knockouts in twenty-six engagements since his defeat by the veteran Jim Flynn in 1917 is even more impressive that of the once wonderful little king of the ring now passed away.
THE IDEAL FIGHTING CHAMPION
People, have been looking for the "big Terry McGovern" for a long While. That, such a combination of diabolical fighting fury , terrific punching and reckless Disregard of opponents blows in a heavy weight would win the championship has always been contended.
Several times we thought he had appeared with all of the McGovern trappings. Tom Sharkey and Kid Carter back In the olden days were perhaps the nearest to approach a heftier edition of McGovern. Both worked a slam bang fashion and their wild wallops .were knockouts when they landed. Stanley Ketchel and Billy Papke infused considerable of the MCGovern technique and their hitting was tremendous. Al Palzer's knock-down and drag out style was something of a. reminder of Terry on an enlarged scale but he was too unskilled although a
heavy hitter. Carpentier, the agile French heavy with his determined rushing and snappy hitting is a better specimen of the successful "rip and tear" fighter. And for a time it did look as if Gunboat Smith, who had acquired the habit of stretching his opponents with his swishing "occipital" clout behind the ear, would become the McGovern of his class. He employed a devil-may care attitude n the ring and his one thought was to drop the other fellow which he usually did. However eventually he ran afoul of one of Sam Langford's crushers and his decline thereafter was rapid.
THE KNOCKOUT KNACK
But all of these boxers although possessing some elements of that hitherto mythical "big Terry McGovern"seemed to have lacked what Jack Dempsey possess in the amazing degree that terry exhibited when in action against his foes. What is the knockout knack for quick finishes which is the inevitable production of a natural born fighter with a natural born fighting style. It is a punch that, is half planned and half executed before it is planned so to speak. The. "knockout knack." as it may best be termed comes with such a style as spontaneously as wheels with a wagon.
The style is neither scientific in a studied sense nor is it wholly crude and chance taking either though the relentlessness of its a attack it creates natural openings for intuitives and naturally driven blows that contain the knockout, sting. As Dempsey himself said when asked to explain his remarkable knockout ability
"I haven’t got any regular system for getting the other fellow. I just send t hem in as often and as hard as I can until something drops. Then I know I've got over the old K.O"
STUDENTS AND NATURAL BORN FIGHTERS
What, is the difference between the students exponent, of the knockout art and the natural fighting man with a style of milling inborn. Ask Kid McCoy or Bob Fitzsimmons how they scored their knockouts and they would have analyzed a series of moves and feints leading up to the psychological moment for the winning smash.
DEMPSEY NOT A LITTLEMAN
Jack Dempsey, therefore considered in the light of his thrilling ring Deed is unparalleled in the annals of challengers for the World's heavy weight championship. He may or may not be a greater fighter than some of the champions and near champions of by gone days. But his record, our only criterion, seems to argue that he is. Dempsey has been called a "Little Man" but this is only in comparison with the bulk of the giant Jess Willard, the biggest man of modern ring times. Dempsey is a trifle over six feet tall and strips at 197 pounds solid fighting muscle.
How can such an individual be called a "Little man"?, Jem Mace, Britain’s greatest, scaled only 180 at his best and Fitzsimmon’s weighed but 158 when he whipped Corbett. Sullivan in his best days never carried more than 190. Paddy Ryan and Jake Kilrain weighed the same as Sullivan. Jim Jeffries was the first title holder who was a bigger man than Dempsey, he scalling an exact 205 when he whipped Fitz for the championship at Coney Island.Jack Johnson tipped off the team at 190 to 200 when in his finest physical trim.
DEMPSEY THE KNOCKOUT KING
Dempsey in thirty five recorded fights has terminated twenty eight of them by knockouts. His bouts have averaged about two and a fraction rounds – a singularly phenomenal record. Even Bob Fitzsimmons generally considered the greatest heavyweight the ring ever produced and the heaviest hitter doesn’t quite class with today’s challenger as a quick finisher.. After winning the middle weight title the great Cornishman in eighteen ring conflicts with the heaviest of his period dealt knockouts right and left but on averaging them up I find that each fight lasted about five and a half rounds —about two rounds longer than those of Dempsey's. The Colorado terror may never win the world's title but that he is the present knockout king is beyond denial.
Jack Dempsey is twenty-four years old, is of American parentage and first saw the light of day in West Virginia.When he was a mere stripling his folks moved to Grand Junction, Colorado. After he had pursued knowledge far enough in the Grand Junction public schools, the youthful Jack forsook the light of knowledge for the darkness of a Colorado coal mine. Jack plied the pick several years building cushions of good muscle on his robust frame by daily swinging the pick and driving the point into nature's resisting rock formations. But young Jack has a romantic nature and unloosening coal soon grew irksome. He finally prevailed upon his family to move to Salt Lake City. There Jack worked at odd jobs , carpentering, railroading and other occupations which always contributed to his physical growth.
SIGNIFICANCE OF FIGHTERS PREVIOUS EMPLOMENT
Its a curious fact to note in connection with the previous occupations of stars of the ring that only one, to my knowledge, has ever relinquished a sedentary position and taken up the rough life of the ring and made good. Usually people who punch other folks faces for their bread and butter have been identified with some job that has endowed them with muscles and stamina to withstand the buffeting of the ring.
James J. Corbett was the exception. He was a sallow faced, stoop shouldered bank clerk when he first got the notion he would like to shine as a fighter. Jim then gave up the bank cage for the great out doors where he built up the physique that enabled him to vanquish John L. Sullivan th "Boston Strong Boy".
Sullivan himself was a tinner’s apprentice. Bob Fitzsimmons developed his matchless fighting machinery as a blacksmith. Jim Jeffries acquired additional power to his great natural strength by battering the resisting iron in his boiler making trade. Jess Willard , Lute McCarty and the marvelous Stanley Ketchel stored up energy in the active life of cow boys.
Peter Maher one of the stiffest punchers that ever donned the mitts built up his driving power tossing beer barrels about. Tommy Burns developed a great amount of stamina as a professional hockey player in Canada. Loading river boats as a stevedore on the Galveston waterfront laid the foundation of Jack Johnson’s splendid muscular make up and fed the strength to force the mighty Jeffries arms behind the Californians back while coming out of the clinches.Outside of George Carpentier, and Bill Lang .
Dempsey is the first, ex-miner of today to win renown in pugilism.
THE CASE OF KID McCOY
One of the best illustrations of a boxer lacking the physical qualifications yet having every
thing else was the famous Kid McCoy. McCoy, who lived on his wits, (of which he had plenty both in and out of the ring), never did a lick of the hard work that toughens the body and puts breadth of chest and sturdy muscle on a man. McCoy, perhaps the trickiest and foxiest gladiator that ever parted Queensberry ropes, never weighed over 160 pounds in his life. After Fitzsimmons graduated into the heavyweight class McCoy was recognized by some as the middleweight king but the calculating kid had bigger aims. He wanted to feature the heavies too. His boundless ring craft and terrific corkscrew wallop rendered him a menace to the best of them, but the lack of a better physique barred the way to his lofty ambitions.He could never get past Tom Sharkey and the bigger Jim Corbett.
DEMPSEY JOB FITTED HIM FOR FIGHTING
Jack Dempsey, however, has had the benefit of previous development in earlier pursuits. No better looking man than the challenger ever stripped for hostilities in a modern prize ring. Above the waist he is built like a Fitzsimmons with arms even more powerful and shoulders almost as broad as Lanky Bob's. His well formed head and square jaw repose on a seventeen inch neck constructed it would seem especially for absorbing blows without the shock of insensibility. Jack’s legs are those of a runner, tapering ankles which would do credit to a high school girl and accounting for his fast footwork.
JACK A SUCCESS FROM THE START
From the start Jack Dempsey was an astonishing success as a fighter. Fighting was all he knew or wanted to know. He never pinned for cleverness. This is demonstrated by the fact that from his first ring fray with Freddie Woods, as town bully in Montrose Colorado . jack registered eighteen consecutive knockouts. In the bunch there wasn’t anything better than third raters and jack wasn’t more than that himself.But his victories proved that he had the "kick" and Salt lake sports were loud in their praise of the youngsters fighting ability. Dempsey himself must have formed a fairly good estimate of his worth for he packed a carpet bag of lurid hue and New York to carve out a glittering fistic reputation for himself.
STACKS UP AGAINST JOHN LESTER JOHNSON
However like many others who have built air castles of fame in Gotham Dempsey’s dreams never materialized. Jack participated in several small bouts and then went up against John Lester Johnson the giant Harlem Negro who had quite a name at the time. Dempsey, practically a novice, held the big black almost even and was given an ovation when he left the ring. New Yorkers were predicting a future not very far away for the scrappy stranger when Dempsey packed up all his belongings in the colorful carpet bag and pulled stakes for Salt Lake without the fame or fortune he had designed for himself when leaving the west.
PUT OUT JIM FLYNN
On top of Jack’s indifferent success in the east his first start back home was a calamity. Dempsey took a knockout from the ancient Jim Flynn whose victory caused a mild sensation in the sporting world, not so much because Dempsey was his victim but because it was believed that there was no one left that the once tough fireman could dispose of. Dempsey was badly discouraged and announced his retirement. He drifted down Frisco way and there ran into Jack Kearns and the collision was certainly the making of Dempsey.
Kearns at the time was promoting a wrestling tourney in Oakland and he allowed Jack to fool around with the wrestlers. Dempsey had some ambition of becoming a wrestler and did quite a lot of mat work in preparation for a carrer with the toe twisters.
TACKLES THE FOUR ROUND GAME IN FRISCO
Kearns however induced him to take up boxing again and secured a four round bout for him with Willie Meechan. The latter had created quite a furor with his peculiar style of milling and comical appearance but for all that he was rated as a fighter. Dempsey surprised the four round fans by thrashing the pudgy "gob" and getting the verdict at the end of four fast rounds, that time there was a fellow in Frisco named Al Norton who was looked upon by many as a coming world beater. Norton was burly chap fairly clever and a hard hitter and had cleaned up the cream of the coast heavyweights. He was beginning to consider New York and the big game when a promoter induced him to stay on the coast long enough to pad out his record with a KO alongside the name of Jack Dempsey .
Norton acquiesced and Dempsey and the new coast wonder, who was to keep green by his performances the memories of other California ring immortals, Jeffries, Corbett, Choynski, Berger and Kaufman – came together in a four round tilt.
THE KNOCKOUT OF NORTON
Norton rushed from his corner with the obvious intention of annihilating the stranger from Colorado. Jack ducked a brace of wild haymakers and drove a stiff left to Al’s mid section followed with crushing right hook to the point of the jaw. Norton hit the canvas like a big tree felled by a woodsman’s axe. It was a cold knockout. Dempsey became a ring idol on the coast over night.
Jack followed up the Norton knockout by administering similar treatment to Charlie Miller, the big motorman, and clever Bob McAllister. Gunboat Smith who had been hanging around the coast after a series of reverses in the East was the next victim. Most of the fans in spite of Dempsey sensational defeats of Norton ,Miller and McAllister picked the seasoned Gunner to drop the newcomer. And the gunner Came near to doing it.
In the first round gunboat connected with his famous occipital and Dempsey almost went to the floor. However Jack recovered and when Smith saw that his heaviest punch had failed to stop Dempsey he became disheartened. Dempsey went after Gunboat full tilt and dispensed a thorough beating to the once formidable heavyweight. Although out weighed by more than a hundred pounds Dempsey next essayed a four round tilt with tough Carl Morris who was still claiming a right to the heavyweight crown.
Dempsey gave Morris one of the worst flailings that the much punched boxer ever received, battering the ring mammoth all over the enclosure and even having the upper hand in the roughing which was a feature in every bout that Carl had a glove in. Dempsey had now attracted attention throughout the country and began to turn regularly to the sporting page to find out the latest news about his ring doings.
Ring Career of Jess Willard Heavyweight Champ to the Present
Jess Willard and Lute McCarty, the reigning ring sensation back in 1912, came together in the ring at Madison Square Garden, I happened to be sitting in a balcony seat with a friend watching clever Jim Savage eliminating Tom Kennedy from Championship consideration in the second bout of the evening. Joe Jeanette, the colored boxer, had polished off an aspiring white biffer in the first bout and McCarty the recognized white heavy weight champion, and the comparatively unknown Willard were carded to appear in the final.Willard, who bad not yet Invested in a bath robe, and clad only in short, tight-fitting blue trunks, suddenly emerged from the upstairs dressing room and recognizing me came over and took a seat by my side. I had happened to be present at his first New York appearance against Pelkey several weeks previously and 1 congratulated him on his creditable showing then.
Down below in the ring the referee had just stopped the Savage-Kennedy bout, poor Tom being almost completely blinded and wholly at the mercy of Savage. The latter had displayed the phantomlike cleverness of Jim Corbett and his blows carried the punishing power of a Kid McCoy. He had peppered big Kennedy's rugged countenance with a left which worked like the easy mechanism of a locomotive piston rod. Jim was only awaiting the psychological moment to register a knockout when the referee halted the carnage.
JESS A CONFIDENT TYRO
I turned to Jess and said, I thought Savage's boxing was a mighty fine exhibition and I asked the big Kansan as to what he thought he could do with the flashy Jerseyman. "I can more than hold my own with the best of these 'White Hopes,' " declared Willard, "even though I've still got a lot to learn about boxing." ; "Savage is a wonderful boxer though" mused Jess as Jim stepped from the arena amidst the cheering throngs. I couldn’t help but to reflect as I pictured in my mind the clumsy lumbering Willard against Pelky that it was probably the embryo champion's good fortune that he hadn't been in Tom Kennedy's shoes against the Orange scrapper on that occasion. Fighting in the form that Savage displayed that night I honestly believe he could have whipped any heavy weight living at the time, barring only, perhaps. Jack Johnson.
Then Jess tapped my shoulder and aroused me from my "White Hope" soliloquy, "Well I see McCarty comin" down the isle, guess I'd better be goin' down to get ready for him. I know you think he's going to beat me Jack, but don’t fool yourself he’s going to get the surprise of his life. And with that Jess picked his way along the balcony aisle and descended the steps.for a boxer with little experience Between the ropes as Willard, I was amazed at his confidence and air of self-sufficiency. Over-confidence, or confidence on a false foundation, has been the undoing of many a fighter who if his shortcomings had been pointed out to him might have achieved success instead of failure. That was largely my case when I faced Jeffries the second time.i thought I knew enough to cope with the champion but a dozen battles more would have taught me many things with which I could have mastered little difficulties that more than matched my comparatively limited experience, and so I thought it would be with Willard .
MCCARTY A HOT FAVORITE OVER WILLARD
McCarty although had not engaged in many more fights than Willard possessed a much more impressive record. He had knocked out the gigantic Carl Morris in six rounds – the first man to turn the trick – and had bested Jim Stewart among others. He and Al Phalzer were rated the kings of the struggling white hopes.
JESS STARTLING IMPRESSION ON McCARTY
McCarty had never before seen Willard until Jess shouldered his way through the ropes. His was a study as he walked briskly over to Inspect the taping of his ponderous opponent's hands. Luther was far from being afraid of any man living and himself was as finely developed as a Greek gladiator of old. Nevertheless unless I am mistaken there was just a bit of astonishment in his gaze after he had returned to his corner and intently watched the massive cowboy tug on the ropes to quicken his battle spirit.
McCARTY DIDN’T TAKE STARCH OUT OF WILLARD
However, astonishment was soon replaced by a berserk fighting fury when Luther heard the brazen clang of the gong. McCarty always opened his fights with a rush and a brace of heavy punches to take the starch out of his opponent. That's just what he did with Jess, excluding that little detail about the starch. McCarty, like Pelkey ran Into one of the most annoying things that can befall a rushing pugilist bent on destruction. That is a stiffened straight left Jab, the impact of which is of redoubled shock when it nails the object coming in.
Luther pounded back on his heels. An expression of bewilderment and surprise spread over his features. Then he swept forward again carrying Jess to the ropes. Big jess however, merely leaned back out of range while McCarty endeavored vainly to reach him with a damaging wallop. McCarty set the pace ceaselessly for seven rounds while big Jess coolly measured at least three quarters s of Lute's advances with his punishing left jab and right uppercut, or else leaned far back from the waist .out of reach from the deadly barrage of McCarty's gloves.
Although he never ceased to land The right that had flopped Carl Morris, McCarty, inflicted practically no damage on Willard. Jess’s weak points as a boxer were revealed in high relief in the first even round Of the battle for McCarty was more than once on Queer Street from the effects of the ponderous Kansan's blows. But either Jess' untrained eye failed to detect Luther's condition or a natural spirit of unnecessary caution prevented him from following up his advantages.
WILLARD CARRIES BATTLE TO McCARTY
However, either Jess himself or Charley Cutler his second concluded that the time was ripe, at the beginning of the eighth, to carry the battle to McCarty. The crowd which had been amazed at McCarty's Inability to do anything with the towering Westerner was almost stricken dumb when Willard himself opened the eighth with a rush. Jess swung McCarty to the ropes and belabored Luther with rights and lefts. Poor McCarty was almost entirely on the defensive until the finish of the bout. Only his great gameness enabled him to endure Willard's terrific swings and right upper cuts. Willard was an easy winner when the bell clanged at the end of the tenth.
All New York was now acclaiming Willard as the logical white opponent for Johnson after he had brushed up a bit on his boxing.
JESS AN UNSOPHISTICATED CONQUEROR
Jess showed what an unsophisticated ringster he was after the bout Almost any other pug who had won a victory over the recognized best white heavyweight of the time would have made to the bar room to play the ”Good Fellow” and drink in the flattery of a great fighter's parasited to the accompaniment of tinkling champagne glasses. Not so Jess. I had expected to find him in the little café adjoining the Madison Square Garden arena.
I shouldered my way in and looked around for the "good fellow" with the golden future. But Willard was no where along the rail, thought that probably he bad not yet finished dressing soI strolled on out the Madison avenue entrance, and who should I see but big Jess propping himself against one of the Garden pillars, surrounded by a gaping mob of ring fans and street urchins.
Jess was silently looking off toward the twinkling lights of Madison Square. He was clad in a remarkably loose fitting, unkempt suit of clothes and sported a good old sombrero of the Kansas plains. After Jess figured he had amply provided for the crowd's curiosity he suddenly threaded his way-through .the press and made off down Broadway. I caught up with him and asked where he was going to celebrate the McCarty victory.
"Guess I'll go to bed, Jack, there's nothing doing around town this hour if the night," Jess replied. It was then about a quarter to twelve—Just about the time I made up my mind that If Jess Willard ever became Champion he would never manufacture superficial popularity over the brass rail of a bar.
Jess Cultivates The Knockout Habit
Jess now had a big name as a White Hope. He next tackled the rough and ready sailor White and upheld his reputation by flattening the seaman with a well directed right uppercut in the opening round. About this time an individual greatly resembling Tom Sharkey to looks and action was creating a furor by the manner in which he was disposing of tough opponents. This gentleman was Soldier Kearns, who was army champ and who also keeled over One Round Davis and the “Hard Boiled” Andy Morris in a round each.
Jess and the Soldier were matched and the wise acres whispered that a certain cow puncher congesting Broadway, would soon be roping cattle again down Oklahoma way. Some of the reform element Even tried to halt the match on the grounds that it was nothing short of a crime to pit and innocent , overgrown cowboy against a man eating type like Kearns. But the match came to pass.
WHAT HAPPENED TO ONE SOLDIER KEARNS
For the first few rounds Jess was very cautious. Kearns tore into the big fellow and made quite a showing despite Jess' big advantage in size.
It was about an even thing when the Two squared off for the eighth round. Jess was content to lean far back out of range, while avoiding the burly dough-boy's haymakers and didn't make a great attempt to inflict damage on his foe. He smiled a lot and now and then poked Kearns a stiff jab or rapier-like uppercut by way of diversion. It looked as if it would go to the limit unless Jess ran into one of the soldier's wild swings which were frequently swishing through the air.
The eighth was about half over when Kearns drove a terrific left to Willard’s Stomach. Jess beaming good nature was changed to a boiling fury with the wallop.The cow boy drew a long breath and shot a straight right to Kearns's jaw. It was one of the hardest raps I've ever seen delivered in or out of the ring Kearns's heels went high in the air and he landed in almost vertical position, with his head where his feet should be, on the other side of the ring. It was a clean knockout.
This bout proved conclusively that Willard was a genuine fighter when he felt like Unlimbering his ring artillery and pounding the enemy.
WILLARD ENCOUNTERS ADVERSITY
Jess was now enjoying some degree of fame as a promising candidate for Jack Johnson's honors. But he was soon to run afoul of the New York State Boxing Commission. Early in 1913 he Journeyed to his old stamping ground in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and polished off Fred Bauer and Jack Leon in five and four rounds respectively. Previously he had been matched with One Round Davis for a set to at Buffalo, but Willard injured his hand on Leon and was unable to entertain the One Round artist. Jess didn't even bother about notifying! the Buffalo Club that he couldn't go on. For this he drew a suspension from the New York authorities.
FORMS PARTNERSHIP WITH TOM JONES
However, about this time Jess ran across the astute Tom Jones. Tom explained to the crest fallen rancher that New York wasn't the only place a pug could make a rep. He suggested a trip to the Pacific coast and Jess pulled stakes for the land of sunshine under the management of the man who was to pilot him to a world’s championship. However misfortune was not yet through with big Jess. He tackled the formidable Gunboat Smith who had been dumping heavyweight aspirants right and left with his terrible “Occipital” swing as his manager described it. The Gunner had a knack of connecting his crusher early and Jess had been warned by Jones to watch for it.
Willard was getting along famously bending back out of the patch of Smith’s comet like lift and inflicting some damage of his own. But in the fifth Smith connected with his swing. Willard said afterward that it was the hardest smack he had ever bumped into. It was almost a knockout although Jess didn’t go to the floor.
WHIPPED BY GUNBOAT SMITH
At that it really won the fight for the Gunner. Willard became so wary of a similar swipe that he lost all the thought of fight and was content to stick twenty rounds with Smith.Gunboat received a well earned decision.Willard greatly discouraged told Jones he was going to quit fighting. For almost a month he lay idle and moped.Then Jones aroused him to action again, picking an easier match in Charlie Miller the big motorman. Jess and Miller went four rounds to a draw.
A couple of months later Willard encountered another mishap. At Vernon, California, he knocked out Bill Young in the eleventh round, the bout ending in the latter's death. Jess was put under arrest, but eventually was exonerated of blame for the unfortunate ending of the mill.
The realization that an opponent Had died from the effect of one of his blows increased Willard's natural cautiousness inside the ropes. It was nearly three months after Young's death before Jess donned the gloves again. He then just managed to win over George Rodel. Later something of the old fighting spirit returned and he dropped Jack Reed in two rounds and One Round Davis in the same number, and polished off Boer Rodel In nine.
But interspersing these feats were a sloppy ten round burlesque with Carl Morris and the worst showing of Jess' ring career—his twelve round defeat by Middle weight Tom McMahon. Willard, however, restored himself to public favor by scoring knockouts over the giant Dan Daily and George Rodel. Daily who had but a few weeks previous put Al Palzer away in two rounds went out in 9 sessions. It took Jess but six to eliminate Boer Rodel
WHEN THE TITLE CAME BACK TO THE WHITE RACE
The public was now convinced that Willard was the logical opponent for Johnson. The latter, ostracized from his native country by reason of shameful Misconduct, and badly in need of cash received the suggestion of a battle with Willard with open arms. Jess by this time had acquired a real gladiators spirit. He felt confident he could beat the black were they to meet in the ring. That fight is history now and everyone is familiar with the details of the fray which marked the downfall of one of the greatest colored boxers the prize ring has ever produced.
Willard fought the champion pretty, much as he did his other opponents —Johnson couldn't rattle him, often couldn't hit him, and for the first time in his life was obliged to carry the fighting to his opponent. Jess attempted no rushes and smiled at Jack’s cunning tricks to draw him out.
JOHNSON SEES HANDWRITING ON WALL
For the first time since he won the title Johnson fought with the desperation of a man who had met his match. Jack tried every conceivable method of beating down his giant white opponent. Out boxed At long range by Willard’s long left he switched to in fighting. But Willard simply Leaned back rom jack’s famous upper cut and when the champ resorted to roughing he gave him a plenty of the same.. Toward the end of the fight Johnson fagged out, gathering All his strength together and finally feinted into an excellent opening. Like a flash Johnson hooked a terrific left to the point of Jess’s jaw and as the cowboy’s head rolled to the left Jack threw all his power into a crashing right uppercut. Jess was doubled over like a Jack knife. The spectators arose as one with a chorus of “Ohs” expecting to see Willard stretched out on the canvas.
JESS ABSORBS JOHNSONS BEST
But instead he straightened up unloosened a fearful right just below Johnson’s heart , almost sending the colored man to the floor. Jack realized he had shot his bolt after the failure of his terrific combination clout. Jess had taken his best and then delivered something just as good.. Discouraged and physically wearied Jack finally wore himself down to a point of exhaustion in the twenty-sixth when, Jess, comparatively fresh despite the scores of terrific blows he had taken, finished "Lil Artha" with his favorite right uppercut.
JESS A REAL CHAMPION THEN
Jess was the champion of the world and a genuine one. In the condition he was in that day it is doubtful if Dempsey at his best could have even disturbed Jess -with a punch. But can he attain that same wonderful form after a three years lay? That Is the question which makes the Dempsey battle interesting. Those who have seen him, say he has and perhaps it is so. But didn't they say the same of Jeffries when he prepared for the Reno disaster?
Willard's battle with Moran In New York is hardly worth mentioning Frank had no business in the same ring with Jess. But it can be said for Moran that he was a though one Jess broke his right hand on Moran's jaw trying to put the blond Pittsburger out. Some Jaw! But think what a wallop it must have been.
RING CAREER OF JACK DEMPSEY
When Jack Dempsey walked to his corner at the end of the fourth round of that "go" with Carl Morris on the Pacific coast in 1917 the news was flashed countrywide that a new heavyweight phenom had appeared on the horizon of Fistiana. Any man, it was argued, who could belabor such a Goliath of the squared circle as rough and tough as Carl Morris must have at least the makings of a champion.
Jack Kearns, Jack's benefactor and mentor also was convinced that he had struck "gold" in the ex-miner from Colorado. Offers came from all parts of the country for Dempsey to fight The astute Kearns, however, reasoned that it would be well to take his protege along easy paths for a while, storing up confidence and experience en route to tougher game. So he accepted a match with Homer Smith at Racine, Wis. Homer was a big fellow with a local reputation. The scrap with Dempsey bore- out the latter's reputation admirably. Jack rocked Homer into the arms of Morpheus in less than a minute of mixing.
JACK GETS REVENGE ON JIM FLYNN.
"Get me Jim Flynn again" Dempsey begged of Kearns, "1 want to even up that old score with him." So Kearns got in touch with the venerable fireman who asserted that he would be more than delighted to barter swats with the lad he had stowed away in one round some time before. But the winds of circumstance had shifted now. Dempsey had been coming to the forefront with leaps and bounds. With the old war horse, Flynn, things were different. He had been on the decline for some time.
The two came together at, Fort Sheridan in 1918 and it was a sorry day for Flynn. The fireman was amazed at the transformation in former victim. Dempsey dashed out of his corner at the opening bell, catching the Pueblo thumper as he was rising from his chair. Jim barely had time to shoulder his way into a clinch, taking a ringing Jolt on the ear before affecting that happy stratagem, Jacks' first blow evidently had scuttled Flynn's chances for he continued to hold on to Jack after the referee had ordered "break".
Dempsey disentangled himself from the veteran's clutch and shot a left to Jim's jaw. Flynn tottered back and Dempsey quickly hooked a crashing right to the same place. Flynn hit the mat and was not on his feet until bolstered up by his seconds. Jack's revenge for Flynn's victory when he was but a novice was now complete.
HOW THE SALT LAKE KO HAPPENED
Dempsey once explained to me about how Flynn happened to score that knockout over him in Salt Lake "I wasn't out at all, but Just merely taking the count from a blow 1 would never have received had I not been careless. I made the mistake of walking into Flynn with my guard down and henailed me. I was only a beginner and didn't know any better.
At that I have always blamed my brother for losing that bout. Almost as soon as I went down he threw a towel in the ring. Whether he was just excited or thought that I was knocked stiff and reasoned it was best to avoid a K. O. on my record I don't know, At any rate it is the last time that any member of my family gets in my corner when I fight."
Carl Morris, after Dempsey had thrashed him, gave vent to loud yelps that he was In no condition to fight that exhibition on the coast and that he could knock Dempsey galley-west in a longer bout. Carl's reputation as a fighter was pretty good at the time despite the four round beating Jack had dealt him. Carl was more or less of an in and outer with a style of rough-house all his own and with a galvanized iron jaw and mid-section thrown in just to make him more formidable. Luther McCarty was the only man who had ever put the burly engineer down for the full count, and most people had forgotten about that with the unfortunate death of the cow-boy.
CARL MORRIS TAKES HIS SECOND THRA8HING.
Dempsey and Morris met for the second time in Buffalo. Carl figured that in a bout of longer duration than those coast soirees of four rounds he could wear Dempsey down.Morris in action is somewhat elephantine. He rushes, roughs, buts, unloads his two hundred and fifty pounds on his opponent's shoulders, and has been known to foul his antagonist.
Carl had just a conflict all mapped out for the unsuspecting Dempsey. His first bull-like advance however, was met with a surprising rebuff. Carl managed to propel himself into a clinch and was about to enact the aforementioned process of unloading avoirdupois on the Dempsey frame when Jack shot over a terrific left to the Oklahoman's eye, throwing Carl unceremoniously out of the clinch.
Then Jack took the aggressive, Carl was simply snowed under by the avalanche of wallops from Dempsey's fists. Morris scarcely landed a clean blow on the Colorado boy, his whole time being concentrated on vain efforts to g»t In close and wrestle his smaller opponent around.
Even when he was able to accomplish close fighting Jack demonstrated that he could out rough the big fellow. With no alternative but to fight blindly in the best fashion he could. Carl was merely a punching bag for the, whirlwind before him. The referee stopped the uneven bout
in the fifth round. Morris in this battle took the worst beating since the celebrated slaughter by Jim Flynn when the engineer first hit New York and attempted to prove himself the genuine "White Hope."
BILL BRENNAN HEARS THE SANDMANS STORY
About this time Bill Brennan, a sensational heavyweight managed by the resourceful Leo Flynn, issued a defi to Dempsey. Brennan was a husky chap with a string of knockouts to his credit. Notwithstanding Dempsey’s great showing with Morris in Buffalo, many people looked for
Brennan to put the youngster away. Leo Flynn bet heavily that way himself So it can be understood that Brennan was anything but a "setup" for Dempsey. Brennen's real name was Brenner. He was a Dutchman but he needn't have swiped an Irish name to look the part of a scrapper.
He had all the earmarks of a coming champion.
Dempsey's and Brennan's fighting styles were verysimilar. Neither believed in wasting time or blows. Jack floored Brennan four times in the second round after furious flurries of fighting in which Bill asked for quarter landed his best in stock with the new phenomenon. But Jack's clouts were a bit more effective .Brennan was a beaten man after The second round but he gamely battled along. Dempsey ended the fray in the sixth when Bill went down and out from a light hand clip on the chin.
HEAD PUNCHING THAT BROKE AN ANKLE
When they dragged Brennan to his corner it was discovered that one of the defeated boxer's ankles was broken. Leo Flynn had been greatly impressed by Dempsey's hitting power. Massaging the bad ankle with some ointment Brennan's chief second remarked "Bill must have turned it when he went down that last time, eh.Leo" Flynn examined a. large welt that, had arisen alongside his prostrate charge's chin and then and answered: "Turned it nothing. That last belt on the chin broke his ankle, that's what it did."
Out Joplin way there was a bruiser doing biffing business under the name of Tom Riley and he was considered a blue ribbon in that neck of the woods. In fact he was so well appraised that he had been matched to exchange knocks with Fred Fulton the giant plasterer who had set the sport world agog with a glittering array of quick knockouts. But big Fred dodged out of the match for something more appetizing and Dempsey volunteered to fill the plasterers' place. Dempsey cleaned up Riley in slightly more than a minute. This feat added to his growing fame which by this time had reached the ears and pocket books of theatrical magnates. For the first time in his life Dempsey was offered a job on the stage just to "show himself and say a few lines."
A TOUGH ENCOUNTER WITH B.SHIRT.
One of the toughest encounters of his whole career occurred at this junction of his upward toiling. Dempsey was carded to appear In "glad rags" for the first part of his program which was with a burlesque show. "Gee! I had the time of my life getting that rig" explained Jack to a friend afterward. "I didn't know which end of the shirt went on first. At that it almost sent me down for the full count. Jack Kearns just managed to scoop me going out of the wings all dolled up In a pair of low tan shoes, too! I'd rather fight five Carl Morris 'than go through the grueling it takes to sneak Into one of those boiled fronts."
MISKE A STUMBLE BLOCK FOR DEMPSEY.
After Dempsey had put in a few weeks forgetting lines but not punches on his sparring partner Jack relinquished the Idea of elevating the drama. Instead he signed up for a bout with Billy Miske the St. Paul light heavyweight who is still thought by many to be a logical candidate for the highest honors of pugilism.
Miske had proven his worth by taming such ring worthies as Jack Dillon. Charley Weinert and others. The bout was scheduled for ten rounds and it went the limit, with Dempsey receiving most of the newspaper verdicts. This to me is one of the things that I cannot understand in Dempsey's ring exploits. While 1 regard Miske as a great fighter in his class I think that he is far from being a world beater. To my mind if Jack Dempsey is the sterling performer that I am inclined to think he is, he should have scored a knock out over Miske. But he didn't nor did he when they met later in a six round bout.
Dempsey has explained that Miske would not fight and that he held on etc. Later he came out and admitted that Miske was a tough one."
MATCHED WITH BIG FRED FULTON
Now comes the bout which more than any one achievement stamped Dempsey as the next man to challenge Willard sovereignty over the knights of the knuckle. This is the match with Fred Fulton. Fulton, whose record was quite as brilliant as Jack's, met the Colorado sensation in the Federal League Ball Park in Harrison, New Jersey. Opinion was divided pretty evenly as to a probable winner. Fulton towered over Dempsey by several inches and was his physical superior in everyway. He had demonstrated that he was possessed of the knockout knack and in a comparatively short time had picked up no little cleverness as a boxer. He had stopped such good performers as Andre Anderson, Al Reich, Charley Weinert ,and Frank Moran. Fred had experienced the humiliation of but one knockout up to the time. Al Palzer had managed to bring down the lanky plasterer shortly after Fred had laid away the hod for the mitts. But there were just two things that the public had misgivings about in Fred.
One was his ability to take hard knocks. The other was his willingness to.
Fred had been badly dazed more than once from heavy punches on the chin. Reich had him almost out, but his fear of Fulton's punch prevented him from following up his advantage. Then there were a number of people who thought that Fred didn't relish the furious fighting put out by Carl Morris when they met in New York. Fred won that scrap on a foul and there were those who thought that he was mighty glad to get away with it on that score. I saw that bout and personally I dont' blame Fulton for objecting to Morris' foul tactics which have no business in the make-up of a fair fighting man.
DEMPSEY WON BOUT BEFORE IT STARTED.
Dempsey to my mind won the fight before it started. I had a seat very near to Freds' own corner. He was the first man to enter the ring.
Shortly afterward Dempsey arrived on the scene. Jack had on a bath-robe and a cap pulled rakishly on one side of his head. Jack then peeled off the robe and with boyish enthusiasm began pounding his chest with his powerful fists. The resounding thuds of knuckles on solid muscle evidently attracted the attention of plasterer.
I remember that a second was obstructing Fred's view of the diagonal angle and Fulton craned his head considerably to one side in order to get a look at his man. If I am not mistaken the color in Fulton's face disappeared and took on a hue almost white, although he had been training in the open for several weeks.
"WE'LL COME OUT FIGHTING."
Then came the little stratagem, if it was meant for such, which, I think was as instrumental in winning the fight as the finishing blow itself. Dempsey strode nonchalantly over to Fulton, gave the tall plasterer a lot marked: "We'll shake now. Then we can come out fighting." That maneuver probably calculated to worry Fulton, gave the plasterer a lot to think about in the few minutes before the clang of the bell announcing hostilities.
THE QUICK KNOCKOUT OF FULTON.
Eighteen and three-fifths seconds after the brazen notes of the gong had died away Fulton was stretched senseless on the canvass. This would seem to bear out the argument that big Fred was licked before the gong rang although it is true that quick knockouts are often registered with both men enthusiastic for battle. Jack's first blow as he rushed In close was a pile-driving left to Fulton's body. Fulton with an agonized expression doubled from the waist line and Dempsey, in the old, Jim Corbett fashion, whipped the same hand to Freds' long, lean angular jaw. Fulton swayed to the left from the deadly impact, fairly in the path of Dempsey's swishing right which also connected with precision. Fred collided with the canvas in a sort of sitting position his neck again against the rope. From this posture he gradually moved until almost flat on his back. It was also as clean a knockout as I've ever witnessed.
Fulton has since stated that the bout was a "frame-up," but to the best of my knowledge and belief it bore no evidence of a pre-arranged affair. Getting back to Dempsey's little trick before the gong sounded reminds me of Another battle which was won in almost the same manner.
ONE OF KID MCOYS TRICKS
I remember seeing Kid McCoy scare the wits out of Jim Stewart who later developed into one gamest men In the ring and was the only thing that enabled the crafty Kid to win the bout. He was long since through physically. The men were called to the center for instructions and while the referee laying down the law to bout the Kid stepped in front of the arbiter.
"Pardon me, just a minute" interrupted McCoy, "but I'd like to your attention to a few things also must be prohibited, Mr referee.
With this McCoy wedged shoulder under Stewart's and up suddenly almost dislocating shoulder, at the same time pushing Stewart to the ropes. "And there is to be none of this," continued the Kid, as he back-laced Stewart with the lacing of his glove. The referee called a halt on McCoy's illustrated interpretation of the rules. He understood the trick. It worked to perfection too. Stewart was too scared to fight and wheezy old Kid McCoy got the decision at the end of the six rounds.