Name: Frank Erne
Birth Name: Erwin Erne
Hometown: Buffalo, NY, USA
Age at Death: 79
Nebraska State Journal
24 March 1900
Erne Triumphs Over Gans
Buffalo Boy Still The Lightweight Champion
NEGRO RENDERED HELPLESS
New York March 23
Frankie Erne of Buffalo successfully defended his title of lightweight champion of the world against Joe Gans (colored) of Baltimore before the Broadway athletic club tonight. Erne did most of the heavy fighting displaying better judgment and more skill than his opponent. Gans receive his punishment gamely until the twelfth round when his left eye was started from its socket by a terrific right hand swing from the Buffalo boy. Gans was helpless and there was no alternative for the referee but to award the decision to Erne.
Both were careful. Erne forced Gans into his corner and tried left and right, but Gans blocked. Erne forced again and landed a straight left to the stomach, getting away cleverly. Then he tried left and right for the head, but failed to land. At the close of the round Gans landed a straight left on the face.
Erne opened with a rush and forced Gans into his corner again. The Buffalo lad was very quick and sent right and left to the head, cleverly blocking a left hook which Gans attempted. Erne then forced Gans across the ring and landed three straight swift left jabs on the face and uppercut the negro under the chin with his right
Erne kept Gans in his corner and landed a light left on the wind Gans tried a straight left as he jumped to the centre of the ring, but Erne dodged it. Gans placed his right to the body. An exchange of lefts on the face followed Erne leading Gans countering. Both blocked cleverly until Gans landed straight left on the Jaw.
Erne led his left for the head but was blocked. Gans sent a well directed left swing to the jaw, but Erne stepped in quickly and planted his right on the wind at close quarters. Erne swung a light right to the wind and Gans hooked a very light left to the face. Erne led his left to the face and at close quarters Gans sent his right three times rapidly over the kidneys. Gans sent right and left to the wind Just before the bell.
Gans begins To Fight
Gans landed a left on the face and Erne returned a straight left. Gans sent his left to the head and followed with a right hard on the body and again to the head. Erne sent back a left swing on the jaw to which Gans replied with a short left to the face and right over to the head.
There was a lot of fiddling. Gans breaking ground. The negro stopped suddenly and swung his left to Erne's right eye, cutting It. Gans then went in sending right and left swings to the head and Erne surprised everybody by replying with similar blows. Erne was bleeding from the mouth and nose at the bell.
Erne rushed and staggered Gans with a right swing on the head. He tried a left, but fell short and stepped in and shot his right up to Gans' chin. Erne sent a hard left to the body and Gans planted a good right on the head. Gans swung his left to the jaw and Erne staggered, but quickly recovered and rushed back with a left and right to the body.
Erne put a straight left to the face and hooked it again to the ear Gans failed to counter, and Erne reached the body and head with his left, forcing Gans to break ground. Gans stopped after falling short with the left and uppercut Erne on the face with his right.
Erne rushed, sending his right over to the head Both men let their arms go like windmills. Erne having- the better of the mixup. Erne hooked three lefts to the ear and Gans reached the body with his left lightly.
Erne Hitting The Hardest
Erne landed his left to the wind. He tried for the head and Gans slipped and almost went through the ropes. Erne stepped in, sending a hard left to the stomach and Gans failed to reply. Gans then swung his left to the head and Erne countered. Erne sent straight left and right swing to the face Gans planted a left on Erne’s body.
Erne opened with a right hook on the head, Gans countering: on the ribs. Gans landed a light right on the ear and right and left to the body. Erne Jumped in with a left to the body and a right to the jaw. Erne then came like a whirlwind, starting Gans with a left swing on the jaw and both went at it hammer and tongs until the bell separated them, with Erne having- the call by long- odds.
Erne opened with a left smash on the eye and followed with one on the other optic. Then he smashed his right to the stomach and Gans started toward Frank's corner, staggering blindly. He dropped his hands to his sides and Referee White, seeing: that the negro was in distress, caught hold of Gans, who said:
"I'm blind; I can't see any more."
White threw up both hands and told Erne to go to his corner, He then led the colored man to his corner and for the first time saw that Gans' left eye was out of its socket. "Erne wins," shouted White, as Dr. Creamer jumped into the ring and replaced the injured optic. "My right did the trick," said Erne as he left the ring, and the Buffalo crowd carried him to his dressing room.
The Syracuse Herald
3rd May 1911
Inside The Ring With Great Fighters
By Charley White
Frank Erne.was a strong, sturdy fellow and he always believed in having plenty of food, whether he was in or out of training. He was particularly fond of heavy, rich foods, and he seldom sat down to eat a meal but what he partook of some light wine.
Erne's father, an old Swiss patriot, was a vineyardist at Zurich when Frank was born in 1875. As soon as Erne had made some money he bought a vineyard near Buffalo for his father. No matter where Frank might be his father always kept him supplied with home-made wines.
I remember the time when Erne was training for his fight with McGovern. Frank had agreed to weigh 128 pounds ; ringside, and as he was a full-fledged lightweight it seemed that he would have to diet .and abstain from drinking any more than be could help if he was to make the weight. He was training over at Oceanic, N. J., and one day I went over there to watch him do his training. I remained for dinner and saw Erne drink a Quart of his father's wine.
"Better have some of this; It's very .fine." said Erne. "Honest, Frank, I don't see how you can expect to make the weight if you drink so much wine," I remarked-to him "It don't hurt me at all—I work it right off. Besides, I've always taken wine with my meals." he replied.
Hard to Reduce.
But five days before the fight was to take place Erne started to punish himself terribly. It was cruel. I doubt that he either ate or drank anything: during those last days. Big weight forfeits were up, and he found "128" was almost impossible for him to make. As he dropped to the weight he found it impossible to do any roadwork. He was too light to do any boxing, and for hours each day he would sit out In the sun in a rowboat, baking out every ounce moisture the heat could draw through his dried up frame.
Erne, when he found the bad condition he was getting into, should have called off the bout. McGovern was anxious to get a crack at Frank that he would have fought him at any weight. But Frank, a game and very sensitive fellow, believed he could whip featherweight Champion McGovern under any Circumstances. Besides agreeing to make the low weight it was agreed that Erne could knock out Terry in ten rounds or lose the decision. The fight took place before a record-breaking house in Madison Square Garden July 16th, 1900, and was one of the last big fights to be held before the Horton law went out.
It was terribly hot in the Garden that Night and there was not a man in the place who didn't remove his coat. Ten cent fans sold for a dollar. Eight thousand colored shirtwaists were exposed to view, and the sight was one never to be forgotten.
I had been chosen referee, and when The men were ready to weigh in I was on the job. Erne balanced the scales exactly at 128 pounds, and Terry was slightly under weight. As Frank stepped off the scales I felt sorry for him. Every blue vein showed through his skin, and it was plain he had made a bad bargain when he agreed to reduce himself to the stipulated weight.
Turning: to "Terrible Terry," Erne grasping- McGovern by the hand said: "There's going to be some hard fighting tonight . Terry" .
Terry's reply to Erne was: "Well. Frank, you can't stop me in ten rounds , you want to watch out that I don't get you."
"This will never go ten rounds." Said Frank as he started for his dressing room ".Somebody will hit the boards." Perhaps Frank had some premonition as to what was going to happen that night.
The fight proved a great surprise. Without any preliminary sparring McGovern Rushed at Erne.. This was just what Erne had hoped for, but little expected. He realized he couldn't last through ten hard rounds of milling.
Rights and lefts flew fast and furiously . It was the greatest mix-up I had ever seen. Instead of Erne trying to last ten rounds he was trying to score a knockout in one round. Erne’s cleverness and hard hitting was beautiful to watch. Suddenly he landed a right to Terry's head, and the latter went down. The crowd thought the little Brooklynite was surely out. but McGovern got up at the count of nine, and tore Into Erne. It was the fiercest rally I had ever teen. Terry had a shade the best of the round, and it was evident that Erne's strength was fast. going, and he was suffering intensely from the dreadful heat.
The second round was a repetition of The first almost up to the last minute. Then Terry suddenly landed a fierce right hander to Erne’s body. Reeling from the shock, with his eyes ablaze, Erne landed an uppercut that almost tore McGovern’s Head from his shoulders. In the following round McGovern drove Powerful rights and lefts to Erne’s body. He went down. As Frank recovered his feet Terrv sent another in the body and Erne with his mouth opened like a cellar door, again went down. He was done for. I then stopped the fight.
Was a Real Fight.
The battle had been one of real fighting, and although it lasted less than three full rounds the crowd was satisfied Terry McGovern was proclaimed a hero, and poor Erne was almost entirely forgotten. They each received $7,500 for the four minutes of fighting.
Erne was discouraged over the outcome of the fight with McGovern, and took life very easy after that affair.