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The Boxing Biographies Newsletter

Volume 2- No 4                 29th January 2008


Herald and News

19 July 1875

letters from different persons wanting  information respecting the late Allen and Rooke fight, I here give you the particulars from the first. On January 10th, ,1875 George Rooke,, of Newark, N. J, conceived a plan by which he hoped to enrich himself at the expense of Tom Allen.  This Rooke never done anything only with third and fourth-class men, -but he had the impudence to send a challenge to Allen to do battle with him for $2500 a side. The task of defeating a man  forty pounds heavier and with the following brilliant record, was what this Rooke contracted to perform. Rooke knew, at the time he challenged Allen, that Tom was very corpulent — in fact, a second Falstaff; and had made up his mind, in December, 1874, to retire from the ring. But this Newark duffer had mistaken his man, Tom Allen promptly authorized Arthur Chambers to accept the challenge, and on the 16th of February articles of agreement were drawn up and signed by all parties at Harry Hill's, .Houston, street, New York, who was the stakeholder for the time being.

After this was done Rooke wanted the stakes reduced to $1000, a side but Tom would not agree, but accommodated him at  $1,500, the other to be made good at the battle ground. On June 1st the final deposit was made good at Harry Hill’s, New York and  John Chamberlain was chosen final stakeholder. The day  for the fighting, June 17, was fast approaching and as Tom had won the choice of ground  Rooke began  to think it was time to put some plan of operation in order; he never having intended to meet Allen.His plan was to get Allen arrested, and they would have notified the different authorities but when he found he had lost the choice of fighting ground they went directly and sued Harry Hill for Rooke’s share of the stakes which caused Chamberlain to decline having anything to do with the affair..

 On the 17th Harry Hill wrote that be would not give the stakes up unless he was compelled by law; Tom should have every dollar. This Newark "duffer" never trained a day, but went traveling around the country with Joe Coburn, giving sparring exhibitions on the strength of Allen's name. Rooke knew that Tom had retired from the ring; but Tom being so abused, he broke his resolution never to fight again, and made this match. Tom trained more earnestly for this match than, ever he did before, on purpose to show up in his best form, and he did; he never looked better.

While Tom was spending his money in training, , this Rooke and Coburn were taking in the greenbacks by sparring exhibitions. I have now given a true and faithful report; and after detailing Tom's grievances, he now finally withdraws from the ring, and will, under no circumstances whatever, again enter it.No inducement, however strong, will cause him to make a match. He leaves his reputation, for good faith in all his battles, and a determination to win in every one of his matches, in the hands of his numerous friends, and .his record contained in the ring annals of England and America,


Beat White April 20, I860, 10 a side, in 40 minutes

10 rounds. Draw with Nobbv Hall, September 17, 1860, 5 a side, in 40 minutes-15 rounds.

Beat Morris Connor March 20,1861, 10 a side, in 1:10—16 rounds.

Beat Jack Gould June 8, 1861, 15 a side, in 50 minutes—11 rounds.

Was beaten by Posh Price July 28, 1862, 10 a side, in 50' minutes—35 rounds.

Beat Posh Price November 2Sj 1865, 25 a side, in 2:05—41 rounds.

Beat Bingy Rose January 20, 1864, 25 a side, in 23 minutes—11 rounds.

Beaten by Bob Smith June 2, 1864, 50 a side, in 2:59—50 rounds.

Beat Jack Parkinson June 13, 1865, a side, in 23 minutes—11 rounds.

Beat George Iles June 13, 1866, 25 a side, 1:02—17 rounds.

Fought Joe Goss March 5,1867.10O a side and championship middle-weight in 1 53; a draw; 34 rounds.


Beat Bill Davis January 12, 1869, for $1000 a side; 46 minutes—43 rounds.

Beaten by Charley Gallagher Feb. 25, 1869, $1000 a side; 3 minutes—2 rounds; was stunned in second round.

Beat Charley Gallagher August 17, 1869, $1000 a side; 21 minutes—11 rounds.

Draw with Mike McCoole, June 15,1869, $1000 a side and the championship of America; 12 mins.—9 rounds, when McCoole party broke in the ring.

Beat McCoole Sept. 23, 1873, $2000 a side and championship; 19 minutes —7 rounds. McCoole forfeited $1000 on June 2, 1870. to Tom Allen.

Beaten by Jem Mace May 10, I870, $5000 and the ~ championship of the world: 50 minutes—10 rounds.

Beat Jem Gallagher Nov. 5, 1870, $1000 to $500: 22 minutes—14 rounds.

Beat Ben Hogan  Nov. 18,1873, $2000 a side; 7 minutes—3 rounds. The ring was broken in by Hogan's party, and pistols pointed at Allen's head.

Rooke forfeited to Allen July 17, 1875, at Mill Creek. West Va., $3000.


It is all up with pugilistic encounters : and what was once recognized as the Manly Art by the nobility and aristocracy of England is now a defunct institution. Such men as Cribb. Tom and Jem Belcher. Peter Crumley, Spring, Owen Swift, Jerry Sureins, Sayers and Heenan fought for honor, and made the money on it a secondary consideration


The Dubuque Herald, Iowa 25 September 1873

The Mill Between Tom Allen and Mike McCoole,

Allan the Winner in Seven Rounds, Occupying Twenty Minutes.

A Beastly Display of Muscle and Science


At half past 9 o’clock this morning  the steamer Continental, with 1,000 persons on hoard, left for the great prize fight. The day was clear and cool, and left nothing to he desired. The boat went 12 miles up the river to Choutean's  island, where a landing was effected, and the ring pitched in a grove where the men were completely shaded from the sun. McCoole won the toss, and selected the southeast corner. The seconds were Arthur Chambers and Pat Shepard for Allen; Tom Kelly and Dublin Tricks for McCoole. There was considerable discussion about a referee, and after a delay of nearly an hour, Jack Looney was selected, and consented to serve. Dick Roach, of Chicago, was umpire for Allen, and Dan Ryan for McCoole.

At 2 :25, McCoole entered  into the ring, and  was loudly cheered as he seated himself in his corner. In a very few minutes, Tom Allen's silk cap came sailing into the ring, and Allen himself came after it. He wore while flannel drawers and while stockings, with blue trimmings. his shoes were of calf skin and laced half-way up. He had trained till there was not a pound of superfluous flesh on his body, and his muscles stood out like whipcords. His hands and face were the colour of leather and the brightness and clearness of his eyes and the freshness of his  completion were the subject of general remark. He had a  confident and j a u n t y air and danced a jig while the referee question was being decided. When McCoole came to strip, the disparity in the size of the two men was astonishingly evident.

Allen fought at 175 pounds, Having come down from 210. McCoole stood at 200 in ring, and had trained himself down to 160. McCoole wore white drawers and stockings, and his sash was of green. Both men looked in magnificent condition, and were fine specimens of humanity. McCoole looked a little flabby, and seemed to have- too much flesh on his face. His skin was nut-brown in color, and his short hair and brown face made him look like an old man. When the men met in the centre of the ring, McCoole wanted to bet his opponent $1000 that he would win the fight. Allen said that he had only $800, but would put that up and did so.

After the customary hand shaking the battle began. Seven rounds were fought And the fight lasted twenty minutes.  Allen came off without a scratch or a bruise of any consequence. McCoole was very badly punished, and was taken from the grounds bruised and gasping. His upper lip was completely cut. through ; his left eye closed ; his right eye nearly shut; his nose broken, and his face mashed all up. Allen was game and lively all through the fight, dancing; about like a rubber ball, and dodging all punishment, while McCoole stood up and took his blows like a sand-bag. Allen walked all about him while doing his work, and in reply to an attempt to trip him by Kelly, made a blow at that gentleman, and said he could whip any man in the ring. Kelly said he couldn't whip him in an hour for .$1,000.


Both men walked promptly up to the scratch at the call of time. McCoole stood with his left guard well extended, and his right well up. Allen struck a formidable attitude, holding both hands well down und drawn in. In this hostile attitude they eyed each other for a moment, and a little feinting and sparring ensued. Allen led with his left, and landed a blow on McCoole's left eye and one on the forehead,  McCoole returning on the ribs. A furious exchange followed, and terrible fighting ensued, Allen punishing the giant severely about the lace, and finally fought him down amid cries of "foul " "foul" it being claimed that Allen struck McCoole alter he dropped. The foul was disallowed, but first blood was claimed and allowed for Allen. Time, 2 minutes.


When time was called the men hastily came to the mark. Allen again led with his left , and planted a terrific blow on McCoole's breast. McCoole endeavored to counter, but the attempt was a failure. Allen then planted two left-handers on his opponent's left check. Both fought to a close. Some good short-arm, fighting was indulged in. McCoole  followed Allen all around the ring,  the lad from Albion keeping cunningly away from him.Another rally followed. McCoole forced Allen to the southwest corner. Terrific exchanges followed, and Allen fell to avoid.


McCoole came up blooding fearfully from the cuts in his lace, his right eye was evidently closing fast, and he had apparently lost confidence in himself, as did not appear to be able to defend himself either from Allen's terrific onslaught or to return the blows which  were showered upon him. McCoole rushed at Allen, and planted a heavy blow in his ribs. Allen retaliated, planting one blow on the cheek and two in succession on the mouth.A terrific struggle followed. Both men faced ouch other with determined pluck. Allen’s  movements were as agile as those of a feather, and he constantly grinned. McCoole rushed at Allen, but the latter dodged his furious deliveries. A sharp rally followed, and both men broke ground. Allen planted three consecutive blows, one on the nose and two on the mouth, McCoole returning on the ribs. Both men fought to a close, and Allen achieved a strategic fall. Time, 3 minutes.

As the men were carried to their corners it was evident Allen had the fight in his own hands. McCoole was bleeding profusely, and the long hair on his huge breast was matted with gore. Allen did not bear signs of a scratch, and smiled confidently us he assisted his seconds in the rubbing down process.


On Allen coming to the mark, Kelly rushed up to Tom and exclaimed: "You’ve got resin on your hands," claiming a foul at the same time. Allen smilingly rubbed his palms, and stepped up to the referee, denying the allegation. Loony ordered the men to fight on. Allen as usual led off with his terrific left, and planted a terrible blow on McCoole's check. The latter tried  to counter, but failed. A sharp exchange followed, and Allen fought McCoole to the ropes and knocked him down by another fearful left-hander on the jugular, McCoole being carried to his corner a bleeding mass of corrupt humanity. First knock-down claimed and allowed for Allen .

McCoolites were greatly depressed at the result of this round 'and the horrible manner in which their favorite was being punished. Cries of "foul" were raised by Allen's friends, it being claimed that he was struck while down.


This was the most hotly contested round of the battle. Upon going to the scratch, Allen's body bore signs of McCoole's body blows, while the latter was terribly  mangled about the face. he was bleeding profusely from the effects of Allen's handiwork. Allen forced the fighting, and planted blow after blow on the giant's already damaged frontispiece. He stood the storm, and tried to stay the terrible attacks of his adversary, but all to no purpose,  for Allen slashed away right and lefty at the lump beef that bore no evidence of ever having been the face of a human being. Allen finally dropped to avoid a blow, and McCoole endeavored to fall on top of him, but Tom adroitly glided away. McCoole and friends, seeing that, bar accident, their man was bound to lose, endeavored to create a disturbance, but it was quickly checked.


Allen once more led off with his cunning left And  got in the most wicked blow of the fight on McCoole's mouth, the blood spurting out in a clotted stream. This round was merely a repetition of the former one as regards McCoole, and  punishment.  During the bout Tom claimed that Tricks endeavored to trip him up, and remarked that if it was done again he would suffer. Kelley retorted that if Allen hit him, Kelly would go for Tom. This brought up Allen's dander, and he asserted that he could lick any man in the ring for .$1,000. This banter was meant for Kelly, and that worthy asserted that Allen couldn't whip him in an hour for $2000.


"When time was called McCoole presented a horrible appearance  and seemed scarcely able to hold up his hands. His left, eye was closed and a  terrible cut under the right eye. His upper lip is also cut and his nose is broken. Before toeing he mark Allen said "it is a sin to send that man up to be punished.  If you don't take him away I will disfigure him for life ; he is the gamest I ever met." The crowd also yelled "take him away, take him away." The round was gone through with , but Allen retrained from striking his opponent further. The fight, had not lasted 19 minutes, and when time was called for the 8th round  Tom  Kelly threw up the white handkerchief in token of his principals defeat.