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The Boxing Biographies Newsletter

Volume 5 - No 8     29 Oct ,  2009

 

 

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.