Name: Red Chapman
Alias: Morris Kaplan
Nationality: US American
Birthplace: Boston, MA
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Age at Death: 78
Height: 5′ 5″
Chapman was a highly ranked contender for the featherweight world championship in the mid-1920s. He fought (and lost to) Benny Bass in 1927 in a great fight for the NBA version of the featherweight title.
Chapman is best remembered for his legendary, and brutal, title fight against Benny Bass. On September 12, 1927, this bout was held for the world featherweight crown that had been vacated by the retirement of the Champ, Louis "Kid" Kaplan, in 1925. Elimination bouts had reduced the field to two top contenders: Bass and Chapman. In the third round, Bass suffered a bad gash from a head butt, and his blood almost blinded him. But he fought cleverly and gamely, and in the seventh round, Bass' hard punches opened a bloody gash over Chapman's eye. The two proud gladiators continued exchanging savage punches, and in the ninth round, there was a double knockdown. Bass staggered to his feet first. Chapman also managed to beat the count, and then backed away from the exhausted Bass long enough to avoid a knockout. In the tenth and last round, the two blood-soaked warriors traded unforgiving blows; at the end of the bout, both men were standing, but barely. Bass won the decision and the crown; but both men won a place in boxing lore for one of the greatest, and bloodiest, of championship fights.
A top featherweight in the 1920s, Chapman's first big fight was against Hall of Famer Johnny Dundee. Chapman won the 10-round decision over Dundee, who had vacated the world title the previous year. Two years later, Chapman foughtBenny Bass in their legendary title fight described above. The two boxers had fought earlier in the year, and would fight again in 1929, with Bass winning all three of their fights.
The Warren Morning Mirror
13 September 1927
Benny Bass Earns Decision Over Red Chapman For The Title
In a sensational ten round match which almost ended in a simultaneous knockout in the ninth round, Benny Bass battered his way to victory tonight over Red Chapman, in a bout which carried with it recognition by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission as featherweight champion of the world.
Coming out of their corners with a furious rush, both connected solidly with lefts to the head. Both reeled back and tumbled to the floor. Chapman in the center of the ring and Bass along the ropes. But Benny recovered quickest, was on his feet in a second or two while Chapman rested on one knee and took a count of eight.
Bass himself seemed groggy, but he leaped back at his opponent with savage fury, forced him about the ring under a fierce barrage and curled another left to the head that sent Chapman to the floor again for a count of eight.
Chapman was all but out, reeling about and bracing himself on the ropes but he managed gamely to weather the storm as Bass fought himself out in a vain attempt to score a knockout. Both were so exhausted from this thrilling round that they had little left and spent most of the tenth and final round clinching.
After as slow start in which he was out-boxed and out-generaled by his sorrel topped rival, Bass turned the tide in the seventh with a two handed attack. Chapman bumped, just over the left eye in this round as they clinched suffered a bad gash that bled profusely covered him as well as Bass and referee Frank McCracken with blood for the rest of the fight.
Chapman was unquestionably slowed up and handicapped by this sudden injury. He was on the defensive thereafter and forced to call on all his stamina and courage to withstand Benny's furious rushes.
Bass in the opinion of ringside observers, won five of the ten rounds, with four going to Chapman and one going even. In getting the unanimous verdict of the two judges, however, Bass appeared to have a wide margin on points.
A crowd estimated at 30,000 occupied the stadium, scene of last year's Dempsey-Tunney record breaking heavyweight battle to see the hometown favorite, Bass, win title recognition and receive a $1000 belt from the hands of Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick as an emblem of victory. While this recognition is limited officially to Pennsylvania Bass may also be accepted as title holder elsewhere inasmuch as both fighters generally were picked as the leaders of their division.
Round by Round
They came together in a clinch and Chapman swung a left to the bead. They sparred for an opening. Bass shot a right to the head, then stumbled and went to all fours. He was up in a flash
and they rushed together. Chapman missed a left lead and took a right to the body. Chapman slapped Bass with a left as they worked in close. Bass took a left high on the head just before the bell.
Bass was wild with a right and they swung both fists to the body. Benny landed a right hook to the head and clinched. Chapman backed Bass to a corner with a right to the head. Both were cautious and they spent a lot of time sparring and wrestling. Bass clipped Red with a right to the cheek. Chapman swung his left to the head just before the bell. They moved about at a fast clip but did not do much damage.
Bass stung Chapman with a vicious right to the head. Red cut Bass over the left eye with a counter and they slugged at a furious pace. Chapman struck a hard left to the jaw after being forced across the ring by Benny’s two fisted rush. They slowed up and began clinching. Benny was wild with both hands just before the gong.
Bass missed a straight right as he came out of the corner. They came together and slugged at a lively pace with all fists flying. Bass missed a vicious left swing to the head and clinched. Bass dug left to the ribs and they were locked together again. The referees was kept busy prying them apart. Chapmans left speared Benny and kept him off balance. They were dancing at the bell.
Benny had a big piece of plaster over his right eye as he came out of his corner. But Chapman knocked it off in a few seconds. Benny got in with a left hook that wrapped itself around Red's neck. Bass was forcing the fight but Chapman tied him at close range. They slugged for a few seconds along the ropes. Chapman connected with a light left to the jaw. They were leaning their heads together punching away to the body when the bell sounded.
Bass came out with a rush but they were soon locked together again. They exchanged rights to the head. Benny missed a left hook but forced Chapman back to the ropes. Chapman worked both hands to the head after taking a left to the ribs. The crowd yelled for more action, but the clinching and mauling persisted. Chapman landed three hard rights to the body and they were in a mix up at the bell.
Chapman came out of a mixup with a nasty gash over his left eye. They fought head to head at a fast clip. Benny kept shooting his left to Chapman's face. The Boston boxer was a bloody Figure . Red flailed Benny’s ribs with both hands and they clinched. The referee and both boxers were covered with blood from a stream of Chapman's eye. Chapman ducked a left as the round ended.
Bass came out of his corner with a wild rush and swung both fists to the head. A left brought the blood streaming down Red's left eye. Chapman was cheered as he fought back landing both hands to the body. Bass was on top of his opponent and kept up a steady attack. Chapman caught Bass with a sharp right to the head and threw Benny off balance. Chapman was on the offensive and showed a readiness to clinch at every opportunity as the round ended.
They came together with a rush and both went to the floor. Bass got up as Chapman went down and took a count of eight. Bass clipped Chapman about the ring with a vicious attack. Chapman was reeling and stood up gamely but went down after a clinch. He took the count of eight.
Bass swung a right hut it glanced off. Benny was tired and Red hung on desperately. Chapman was in bad shape, but stabbed with his left as he ducked Benny's rush. Red was actually forcing the fight a few seconds before the bell although he was a sorry sight.
They wrestled together and sparred for openings. Red seemed to have recovered and forced Benny back with a left to the body. Red dug his left to the ribs and they clinched. Bass seemed tired from his furious pace of the preceding rounds. They spent most of their time clinching and blood was streaming from Chapman's left eye again. They were in a clinch at the bell.