Terry McGovern



Written by Rob Snell   

Friday, 11 May 2007

Name: Terry McGovern
Career Record:click
Alias: Terrible
Birth Name: Joseph Terrence McGovern
Nationality: US American
Birthplace: Johnstown, PA
Born: 1880-03-09
Died: 1918-02-22
Age at Death: 37
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5' 4
Reach: 170
Division: Featherweight
Managers: Jimmy Dunn, Sam Harris

One of the hardest hitters in the history of the featherweight division, Terry McGovern captured both the bantamweight and featherweight titles. In his prime, McGovern was a fearless, powerful puncher who recorded 38 knockouts in his first 62 fights. Not much for fancy maneuvers, McGovern simply went after his opponents with a ferocious will to win. McGovern, who grew up in Brooklyn, never went to school. He was a newsboy and later worked at a variety of jobs. As a laborer in a lumber yard, McGovern handled himself well in the occasional fights there, and his boss encouraged him to become a fighter. He turned pro in 1897 at the age of seventeen.

Within two years, McGovern was a contender for the vacant world bantamweight title. He faced British bantamweight champ Tom ("Pedlar") Palmer for the crown in 1899. Though previously unbeaten, Palmer could not last one round with the solid-punching McGovern, who knocked him out in less than two minutes. The next year McGovern took the world featherweight title from a declining George Dixon with an eighth-round knockout in Madison Square Garden. McGovern successfully defended his featherweight title several times in 1900 and 1901. He also scored a third-round knockout over the world lightweight champion Frank Erne in a non-title bout. He beat Hall of Famer Joe Gans in two rounds in 1900, although Gans later admitted to throwing the fight.

McGovern's toughest opponent was Young Corbett, a fighter from Denver whose fierce attitude rivaled the ruthlessness that McGovern exhibited. A fight between the two, who were only seven months apart in age, was set up in 1901 in Hartford, with McGovern's title at stake. Observors have said that Corbett unnerved the champion by not showing any fear or deference toward him. Passing by McGovern's dressing room on his way to the ring, Corbett shouted, "Come on out, you Irish rat, and take the licking of your life." Corbett and McGovern each scored a knockdown in the first round, but in the second, Corbett handed McGovern the first knockout of his career. McGovern tried to win back the title from Corbett in 1903 but was knocked out again.

McGovern fought infrequently for the next five years, never regaining his earlier skill. In the latter stages of his career, McGovern's behavior became erratic, and he spent time in various sanitariums. He collapsed while serving as a referee at an Army camp during World War I and died soon after.



13 December 1900

McGovern Won In Second Round

It Has Crooked Aspect

Coloured Fighter failed To Make Any Showing Whatever Of His boasted cleverness and Spectators are Disgusted With Whole Affair

The six round go between Terry McGovern. and Joe Gans , last night was cut short in the second round by McGovern knocking out his dusky opponent and thereby acquiring undisputed possession of the title to the lightweight championship of the World.

Gans utterly failed to show any of his vaunted prowess and Hundreds of the ten thousand spectators were open in declaring that the whole thing had a very crooked aspect.

The fight began as it ended, with McGovern doing all the work. He led a left swing at Gans the moment they met in the center of the ring. from that moment on, the fight veered to Terry and he let no opportunity go by. He rushed against the ropes and pummeled at his body. He let go with right and lefts that landed after each break away. Gans landed twice in the first round, once connecting with McGovern’s body and once with the mouth. These were the only blows of any account that he used.


Before The round was half over Gans face took on a pained look. He received Terry's rushes without making a return.Then grogginess simulated or real came over him, and he staggered from a left to the jaw. He went down from a left swing to the head and was on the floor when the gong rang, The gong was not heard and Siler ( the ref) was compelled to push McGovern to his corner and assist Gans to rise.

A tiny stream of blood flowed from the Gans mouth and there seemed no doubt that in his in defensive attitude he was taking some punishment. He broke ground at the opening of the second round. Then he went down from a stiff uppercut, and crawled in on his hands and knees on the rosined floor. He was down again and again, sometimes practically pushed from the forces of McGovern's rushes. Once Terry fell over him. Then came the full count.


Gans did not make a well-defined effort to defend himself at any stage of the short battle. His vaunted cleverness was not exhibited in a single instant of the encounter.McGovern presented a whirlwind of gloves, Gans staggered and fell repeatedly taking the count with almost every blow toward the finish and finally stayed down while Referee Siler counted ten.

Charitably inclined spectators believe Gans was incapacitated for effective work in the early journey of the fight. They also say Gans was trained to fine. Singularly enough, however the result of the contest conformed in every respect to the suspicious betting offered Wednesday, and repeated last night at the ringside, by men who passed through the audience with hands full of bills offering the false odds of even money that Gans would be knocked out by the Brooklyn terror.


Referee George Siler admitted that the fight had a bad look. He did not see any blow that should have put Gans into a state of grogginess in the 1 st round. The colored man went down from blows that landed on his head. He was down several times in the second round, and even if the fight was permeated with suspicion as to Gans sincerity, he presented a most pitiable and helpless spectacle. If Gans actually made his best snowing last night he is so far outclassed by McGovern that no other lightweight on earth need ever expect to equal Terry in a fistic encounter.


Round 1

McGovern led with a left. He rushed Gans to the ropes, pounding him very hard on ribs with left. McGovern missed right and left. McGovern sent Gans back with a left to the jaw Gans acting on the defensive. McGovern rushed, landing right and left on ribs. Gans upper cutting under the heart.

Gans put right and left to face. McGovern put Left and right to the jaw sending Gans staggering.. Mcgovern Sent Gans to ropes with right and left to face. Gans knocked down with left to the jaw. up at count of seven. Gans knocked down again one second after the bell. Gans taken to his corner in a groggy condition .no claim of foul by Gans.

The Last Round

Round 2

McGovern landed left to face twice, knocking Gans to the floor. McGovern landed right to the jaw. McGovern landed hard right to ear and left to mouth. McGovern landed two lefts to the face. Gans knocked down with a right to the jaw Taking the full count.

The minute he was up McGovern rushed knocking him down again. Gans knocked down again. Gans knocked down again with a right to the jaw. Gans knocked down again and took the count of nine. he was hardly on his feet before McGovern rushed and landed a glancing blow on the top of Gans head. Joe went all in a heap and was counted out by Referee Siler.He was on his feet as soon as the count was finished.