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Welcome to Fourth Edition of the Boxing Biographies Newsletter

Saturday, 4 August 2007

19 June 1910

That Solar Plexus Blow

Robert Fitzsimmons v James J Corbett

17 March 1897

 Articles for a fight for the championship of the world between the title holder  James J. Corbett. and the middleweight champion, Robert Fitzsimmons, were signed a few days before Christmas, 1896. The promoter of this battle, which was fought in Carson City, Nev., was Dan Stuart, of Texas, who had demonstrated his ability in affairs of this sort. Stuart was known the country over as a square man, who always was anxious to make good his word, and with him at the head of affairs the followers of pugilism rested in full confidence that the contest would be in every way above suspicion.

One of Stuart's close friends was a man who for more than thirty years has been interested in all classes of amateur and professional sport and who today is known the country over as one without a blemish upon his reputation. To this man Stuart went one day early in January, 1897 and asked him if he would undertake to place $50,000 in wagers on the Corbett-Fitzsimmons battle, the money to be furnished by Stuart.

"That is too much money to bet on this fight, Dan," said his friend. "When two such men as Corbett, and Fitzsimmons get into the ring- either one is likely to be returned the winner. Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money to risk on a contest of this kind."

"I will not risk the money," said Stuart, "unless I am able to make certain arrangements that I now have in contemplation."

"Fifty thousand dollars could not be bet," replied his friend, "without attracting much attention. I don'tknow what you mean, Dan, but, of course, the Inference is bad. I never have had a shade the best of it, and I don't want the best of it. If I bet $50,000 on this fight my friends would know it, and I would be suspected of  employing methods that I do not like. Then if your connection with the wagers were established—and I don't see how it would be possible to keep It secret—It would look very bad for all of us. I wish you would get somebody else to place your money,"

Stuart replied that he knew of no other man who could place $50,000 without attracting a lot of attention that -would be harmful to the fight and distasteful to himself.

"Why don't you try Pittsburg  Phil (George E. Smith)," responded his friend. "I had thought of him," said Stuart, "but I am not acquainted with him. Of course, he is just the man to place this money if he could be persuaded to do so." "I will be very glad to see that you meet him," responded Stuart's friend. "If you will name  the time and place I will bring you together." This was agreed upon, and Dan Stuart and Pittsburg Phil were brought together. What arrangement was made between them cannot now be told. Both men are dead, and what they knew of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons battle died with them.

Pittsburg Phil was In San Francisco a few days before Corbett and Fitzsimmons came together. That city was in a tumult of excitement, and betting on the result of the fight was free. In the poolrooms, which then flourished in an open manner, Pittsburg Phil took the Fitzsimmons end of the wagers at 1 to 2. So much did he bet that the odds gradually shortened, until two days before the fight 7 to 5 was the longest price that Corbett's adherents would offer. Phil then went to Carson City, where he repeated the methods he had employed in San Francisco. In a poolroom owned and managed by Corbett's brother, Phil wagered a large fortune on the chances of Fitzsimmons, and again he forced the prices to shorten materially.

Oakland Tribune 28 Dec 1912

Moran No Longer On List Of White Hopes

Gunboat Smith Wallops Pittsburg Boy In

One Sided Battle; No Knockout

Scratch  Frank Moran’s entry in the white hope stakes and substitute Jim Buckley's able seaman, "Gunboat"  Smith.Over at Dreamland rink across the bay last night the Gunboat gave Moran one of the most artistic trimmings landed a boxer in this section in many a long day. The scrap went the full twenty rounds but there was never a round that could be called Moran's. Right from the tap of the gong Smith started to give the red topped Plttsburg lad a boxing lesson, and he kept up the good work until Moran was wobbling about the ring when the final bell rang.

Smith landed his opponent every variety of wallop known to the "profesh" while Moran did not connect solidly more than three times during the twenty rounds. It was a good scrap but would have been a whole lot more interesting had Moran stood up and boxed Instead of covering and clinching at every opportunity.

The Pittsburg lad had fifteen pounds weight advantage over the Gunner and he started with a lot of  confidence. For one and a half rounds he stood up and boxed fairly well, but when Smith floored him with a wicked right cross towards the end of the second period Moran changed his tactics and Indulged In a lot of the Frank Gotch stuff. From this point until the finish Smith chased the red head all over the ring.

He hooked, jabbed and uppercut his man with unerring skill, while Moran's wild swings came neared connecting with the chandelier  than any part of the Smith after the knock-down in the early part of the scrap and he entertained so much respect for the Smith right hand thereafter that the Gunboat actually feinted him out of the ring in the fourteenth round. The Gunner, who was the aggressor at all times, forced Moran across the ring and as his man reached the ropes Smith feinted with his left. Frank thought he saw another right cross coming his way and he went clear through the ropes before Smith had a chance to deliver.

 This was Moran's second excursion from the ring. In the fourth round Smith drove Moran to the ropes and as he landed a stiff left to the body both men fell from the ring among the members of the press In the first row.

The Gunboats showing last night was a revelation. When he left here to tackle the eastern "hopes" all the Gunner had was a stiff right hand punch and a great dislike for punishment. Last night the ex-seaman showed as pretty a left hand as there is in the business In fact, the Gunner used his left hand almost exclusively and he also demonstrated that he has a stout heart and can assimilate punishment. Coming out of a clinch In the sixth round Moran landed a wild swing on Smith's left ear which sent the Gunner staggering.

The gallery boy’s immediately took up the cry "there he goes, watch him dog  it," but they were fooled this time. Smith dropped into a clinch and when his head cleared he proceeded to inflict summary damage on the Moran’s head. This was the only damaging punch delivered by Moran during the scrap but It served to show that Manager Jim Buckley has worked wonders with Smith and that the Gunner is now as game as the proverbial pebble.

The Gunboat started execution in the first round with his left hand and he soon had the claret flowing from Moran's nose, Frank had grabbed a hunch from somewhere that he could stand up and box with his opponent and he seemed willing enough to take a punch to land one. It was a foolish policy, as Smith is much  faster on his feet than Moran, and is much cleverer boxer. The Gunner kept popping In left hooks with great regularity, meantime keeping his right In reserve. Moran apparently came to the conclusion that the much heralded Smith right hand punch was a myth, as he lowered his left arm in the second round to see what Smith could do.

The guard was dropped only for a moment but Smith was quick to grab the opportunity and Moran went to the floor  from a right cross. Frank took the count of nine and arose groggy. This was the end of the fancy boxing on Moran's part, as he was advised from his corner to use his weight and rough it with his lighter opponent. To the surprise of the crowd  the Gunner proved  some bear himself at the rough stuff. In the clinches he kept shooting up wicked right and left uppercuts which found Moran's chin every time and sent his head bade with a jerk. The Gunner never displayed any uppercuts In his previous bouts here and no one over suspected him of having such an assortment of wallops concealed about his person.

In the fifth round Gunboat caught Smith on the right eye with a left jab and drew the curtains over that optic. It was in the sixth that Moran did the most damage but when Smith got his face In the wav of the punch he was dazed as a result of a head-on collision which left a big gash In his forehead from which the blood flowed freely. Smith kept on piling up points till the eleventh round, when be almost put his man away after forcing Moran to break ground Smith found an opening for his right and popped it to the red head's face. Moran staggered across the ring and as he reached the ropes Smith shoved over another right.

Only the ropes kept Moran from falling down and the bell came to his aid. Again in the fourteenth round Smith had his man groggy with left hand jabs, but Moran weathered the storm and went to his corner a very tired boxer Right here Moran came to the conclusion that he was up against too much class and for the balance of the fight he contented himself with protecting his good looks against the onslaught of the Gunner, clinching at every opportunity. With the exception of half a dozen wild swings which punched holes In the atmosphere Moran did not unbutton a blow In the Last five rounds.

The final analysis of the scrap is that Smith had twenty out of twenty rounds; that the Gunner is 100 per cent better scrapper than when he left here to go East, that he Is not "yellow"; that Moran has no control over his "goat" and that the Pittsburg boy will have to be eliminated from the contenders for the heavyweight championship.