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Frankie Neil



Written by Rob Snell   

Friday, 12 October 2007

Name: Frankie Neil
Career Record:click
Birth Name: Francis James Neil
Nationality: US American
Birthplace: San Francisco, CA

Born: 1883-07-25

Died: 1970-03-06

Age at Death: 86

Height: 5′ 5″


 Tribune Sports

23 Nov 1907

by Eddie Smith


Owen Moran Proves Too

Clever For Frankie Neil


frankie-neilWith just a slight tinge of suspicion, those who follow the boxing game the closest entered the Dreamland Pavilion last night to witness the Owen Moran- Frankie Neil contest. This suspicion was brought on by the peculiar change in the betting which changed from 10 to 7 with Neil the favorite to 10 to 8 with Moran on the long end. 

What an agreeable surprise was in store for us, however, and what a contest we were treated to, one of the sort that is always expected but seldom materializes. Then, too, what a surprise Moran really proved to almost every man in the place. The stories from the east and the information gained at the training camp of the visiting boxer led us to believe

we could expect to see a high class performer in the ring, but even those who were closest in on the information regarding the Britisher had little hopes of him proving the master of the game that he is. 


He proved to be the greatest find of many years and his clean-cut, clever style of milling  will live in the memory of the lucky fans who witnessed last night's contest for many days to come. 

"I'll show the people of this country that the country where I come from will be able to send over one champion," was the remark  by Moran to the writer and published In this paper during the early part of the week. He has done all he said he would, for he is an ideal fighter, ready at all times with either hand, never off  his balance and the false or unnecessary moves he makes are so seldom seen that he must be likened to the king of  boxers, Joe Gans. 

The contest was one replete with thrills, admiration for the victor and sincere sympathy for the loser. Moran from the first seemed to have Neil's measure and held him fast, but the indomitable courage with which the game little fellow continually rushed Into close quarters and. with fortitude seldom seen in a fighter, try to land a telling punch, called forth the admiration of every unbiased man In the pavilion. 


Stories have been told of game men in the history of the ring, but last night's gritty  showing , on the part of Neil forever stamps him on an equal footing with the gamest  of these who have gone before or who will come perhaps in the future. 

Had it not been for this wonderful showing of grit on the part of Neil the contest would have lacked in interest, for Moran out-classed him at every turn of the game. Just when things would look darkest for the native, however, he would gather himself together as if preparing for a supreme effort, tear into the thickest of the fighting and in the face of a beating that few men would stand, force the clever Britisher to the ropes and try frantically to land telling punches on his elusive opponent. 

Each time Neil would make these game flashes, which were often, his admirers and backers would cheer him on and dampened hopes would again be raised. Time and again Neil made these dashes for victory, each succeeding time bringing him as a reward only a more severe beating. 


The only thing in connection with the contest of last night worthy of criticism was the fact that Neil was allowed by his handlers to take  More beating than was necessary. The sponge should have been thrown into the ring long before it was stopped, or the referee who has Absolute control of the men should have stopped it. 

Billy Roche when asked after the contest why he did not stop the unnecessary prolonging of the inevitable defeat, said Neil’s father had asked that the contest should not be stopped by the referee, saying that he would attend to that matter himself if it became necessary for his boy to be protected. In the face of defeat, such as it was, it would be rather cruel to criticize the father, but it would have been far better had he thrown up the sponge as a token of defeat than to have Captain Duke of the police force order the thing stopped. 

Men Enter Ring 

Neil was the first to enter the ring with his seconds, Tim McGrath, Johnnie Frayne, Ralph Murphy and Johnnie Jones. Frankie chose the corner in which the winner of the preliminary bout had sat, evidently taking it for the good luck corner. He was chipper and gay and laughed and talked with his friends at the ring side. His weight was announced as 117 pounds. 

After a wait of about ten minutes Moran entered, followed by Jimmy Kelly, Krelling and  Alf Wicks. The men met at the corner where Moran entered the ring shook hands and smiled pleasantly at each other. Both seemed cool and confident, but the least sign of anger was not visible on their faces. In fact It might be well to say here that all during the contest the men showed the greatest respect for each other, and the contest was as cleanly a contested one .was ever fought, they being ready at all times to help each other up if a slip occurred  and the best of all was the fond embrace they gave each other as they were about to leave the ring. 

Moran won the toss of the coin and took lucky corner. When the men stripped for action and took their position for the picture men it was noticed that Moran was larger in every way than Neil and out weighed him at least five pounds. The clang of the gong sent the men to the scratch at 9;55 and for a short time the spectators remained so quiet that one could hear the excited breathing of his neighbor on either side. 

First Round 

The first round opened up with both men rather cautious. They feinted for openings with the hope of discovering an opening through which they might shoot a gloved fist. Neil started things going by leading off with a left to the body which fell short and threw him into close quarters with the visitor. A vast exchange of blows followed and, like the shot out of a cannon, Moran shot a left hook in the jaw., quickly following it with another for the same place. It was noticeable from that time Moran was the class and that if Neil was to win he would be compelled to outgame the Britisher. Then, when the men went into a clinch, imagine the surprise when he really out-fought the lad have seen force men who have out-weighed him almost ten pounds around the ring. 

Moran, In this round, appeared both anxious and careful. He was ready at all times to take advantage of an opening, which he did with remarkable cleverness, but at the same time he seemed to be studying the methods of the local lad .When Neil rushed Moran proved his master. When he tried to box with the new-comer he was again found wanting. In fact the first round should have discouraged a less game fellow, but Neil came up for the second round as confident as he had for the first. 


Moran became a little too anxious in this round, evidently believing he was to win in a short contest. He started his straight left working on Neil's face in this round and right from that time Neil was unable in any round to avoid the clean jabs of that left hand that traveled such a little distance, but carried with it a world of force. 

Moran shook Neil up considerably in this round, and his backers called "Take your time, Frankie." In this round Moran landed several times with clean left hooks to the body and right crosses to the Jaw that shook Neil from head to foot. 

The third and fourth rounds found Moran too anxious to finish his opponent, and his heavy breathing led some to think he was tiring. His work was gradually telling on Neil and by the end of the fourth round his face had begun to show the marks of the beating. 

Moran Looked The Winner

At that time it was freely predicted that Moran would win in ten rounds. Little did people think Neil would be able to go on as he afterwards did. It was noticed that Moran had the advantage of Neil in all the clinches and at one time Frankie complained to the referee. 

In the fifth and sixth rounds Neil was again handed a beating, especially in the sixth. After jabbing and countering Neil on almost every allowable portion of his face and body, Moran landed a well-timed and clean-cut right cross to the jaw, and down went Neil, in a heap. For a few seconds It looked as if he would be unable to get up, but as the timekeeper reeled off the fatal seconds he slowly regained his feet and at the count of nine he stood erect, rushed at Moran as a wild bull, forcing him to the ropes and received the applause of the crowd for his gameness. 

From then to the tenth round Neil tried to wear the Briton down by force of' fast and aggressive fighting. Each round found him battered and bruised, leaving his corner with a rush and meeting Moran before that fighter had left his corner. The game little fellow tried at all times to force the fighting, but Moran, who had somewhat cooled off and was not as anxious as he was during the early part of the contest, used all his cleverness to avoid any unnecessary mixing or rough work. 

Moran Always In Lead

In every round Moran either had a little better of the going or it was even. Neil at no time having the better of a round. By the time the tenth round was reached Neil had received an awful beating, but he kept coming all the time and as Moran was also becoming a little tired he was able to land an occasional punch  on the body or head. With very few exceptions Neil fought entirely with his left hand, using It for the head and body at all times. Moran soon realized that the left was the only dangerous punch the little fellow had and simply ducked away from them at all times. 

From the tenth round on it was simply a case of how much beating Neil could stand, as It was almost a certainty that Moran was the winner. Neil, as has been said, took his medicine gamely and has only the admiration of the fans who would have been glad to have seen the contest stopped before it was.