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Name: George Cook
Career Record: click
Nationality: Australian
Birthplace: Cobraha, NSW
Born: 1898-01-23
Died: 1943-10-08
Age at Death: 45
Height: 5′ 9″
Reach: 73 1/2

George Cook was born in Cobraha, Australia, on 23rd January 1898. He stood at only 5’ 9” tall, had a reach of 73 ”, and weighed around 190 pounds. Due to his lack of height, Cook tended to prefer infighting. His career started in 1916 with a 15 round points loss to Jim Tracey.

During a globe trotting career which lasted until 1938, he fought in all corners of the world including Australia, France, England, Germany, Argentina, South Africa, Sweden, U.S.A, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and Wales, and that was before the aeroplane shrunk the globe. He fought some very good fighters throughout his career, including Georges Carpentier (L KO4), Tom Heeney (W 15), Jack Sharkey (L 10), Primo Carnera (L KO2 & L KO4), Johnny Risko (WF 5), Paolino Uzcudun (W 15 & W 10), Young Stribling (L10, L10, L KO8 & ND 10) and Walter Neusel (L 12). He also unsuccessfully challenged for the British Empire title 4 times against Joe Beckett (LF 6), Phil Scott (LF 17), Larry Gains (L 15) and Jack Petersen (L 15).

He did however win the Australian heavyweight title in 1926 with a 20 round points win over American Jack (Tiger) Payne who had only held the title for a record 8 days. Cook relinquished the title when he sailed overseas again. He eventually retired in 1938 after a loss to Jack London (L KO2). George Cook certainly had one of the most interesting careers of all Australian boxers.

Cook passed away in England in 1943 aged 45 years old.
Record: TB 116, W 49 (13), L 51 (15), D 12, ND 4
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First Impression, October, 1922


AFTER his defeat by Dempsey, Carpentier did not fight again until he met George Cook, the Australian, at the Albert Hall, on January I2th, 1922. In the World's Championship contest he had been badly hurt: and a beating such as he had then might well have produced a lasting effect. It was, then, interesting to watch him to see if his previous downfall would manifestly alter his demeanour in the ring. But though it is not to be doubted that some of his behaviour arose from motives of policy, there was, genuinely, no sign of worry upon his boyish and almost preposterously unpugilistic face. Coming into the ring there was an elaborate nonchalance in the Frenchman's mien which was intended to impress his opponent. With genial gravity Carpentier himself wound his bandages about his hands beforedrawing on his black gloves: and instead of remaining in his corner he moved his stool to a position in the ring more generally commanded by the spectators.

Cook is a man without any particular record in this country, though he was Heavy-weight Champion of Australia. By beating Carpentier he would have become Champion of Europe, and would, of course, have bounded into considerable fame. Wise after the event, large numbers of a critical public have observed that the result was for ever certain. But that is unfair to Cook, who showed himself to be a boxer by no means despicable, and who most emphatically had the better of one round out of the four. He was a stone heavier than his man, though this considerable difference was not plainly observable when they stripped. Cook was just a shade "beefy," but he was strong and well. He looked across the ring with astonishment at the form of his antagonist: for Carpentier is a Greek bronze, dark-skinned, beautifully proportioned, covered with easy, flowing muscle, a sight to stir the hearts of older athletes with vain regret.

The huge hall was full. Large numbers of women were present, both English and French, and these called to mind the amusing discussions in and out of newspapers, before the war, as to the propriety of admitting female spectators to "Gladiatorial displays." Indeed in one Correspondence Column under thetitle, "Should Ladies Watch Boxing Contests ? "an irascible old sportsman declared that the question did not arise, as no lady would do such a thing. Without entering at length into a question which is not widely interesting, I would ask what hope there was for a gentility which depends upon obedience to a perfectly trivial convention, involving no question of right or wrong, manners, or even what we usually mean by  decorum " In those days of 1914, before war broke out, and when the " boxing boom " was at its height, a woman whom it is unnecessary to call a "lady," old enough also to have recognized for what they were and to despise many transient correctitudes of fashion, observed: " If my daughter likes to go and see two nasty men with hairy chests knocking each other about, why shouldn't she ? "And, really, that is all there is to be said on the subject. To return to what the ladies watched, rather than exploring The " quite niceness "of their watching it a very desperate encounter was not expected: but, provided that he doesn't knock his man out in the first fifty or sixty seconds, Carpentier is always worth seeing.

The first round was level. Cook boxed well, particularly at close quarters, and the Frenchman appeared hesitating and tentative in all his movements. Early in the next round Cook sent out a quick and tremendous swing which, with greater quickness, Carpentier avoided, dancing right away from it. Then, a little later, the same thing happened on Carpentier's side. Throughout this round Cook succeeded for the most part in keeping close to his man and in dealing him out short but powerful punches on the back of the neck and head, in imitation of Dempsey, but without his power. From Cook these blows seemed to trouble his antagonist not at all. That was certainly Cook's round.

Whether the considerable margin of points in his favour was entirely due to Carpentier's ringcraft is not certain. He was anxious to sum up the situation and thoroughly to take the measure of Cook before committing himself. It is quite possible that he deliberately gave something away in that round, being confident that his gift could do him no serious harm : but if he did so, I am inclined to suppose that he got more than he reckoned upon.

The third round was Carpentier's in about the same degree as the second had been Cook's. His hesitation had completely gone, and he did nothing without meaning to, and no intention of his was frustrated by his opponent. He knew all about Cook now. He was a powerful hitter at short range, a good in-fighter, and he was strong. But he was much the slower of the two. When he has really settled to his work Carpentier crouches lightly and elegantly, with no rigid and inflexible guard, but both hands ready, both arms loose and lithe, to supply whatever need the next moment may demand. At the beginning of the fourth round Cook went for him with plenty of pluck and determination, and did his utmost to keep close. But Carpentier hit and got away, side-stepped, danced lightly on his toes, refusing to fight at close quarters. Every now and again a clinch seemed imminent, and the Frenchman darted away out of reach, leaving, as it were, a lightning blow behind him. Suddenly, as the  Australian tried to force him into his own corner, he sent in a right to Cook's jaw, through his guard, at very long range and with extraordinary dexterity. It was the kind of blow that could only be landed effectively by a boxer of the utmost possible skill. For one thing it was exquisitely timed, coming in not straight, but without the elbow being markedly bent, striking the right place, the glove turning over as it struck, and avoiding Cook's guardian left with the most delicate precision. For another, few boxers could land any blow save a wide swing from the position Carpentier was in with sufficient weight behind it to do much damage. It was, on his part, a triumph of speed, of real boxing, not according to confining rules, but according to science applied to occasion with the utmost ingenuity and agility. It is worth going a long way to see a blow like that struck. No one should need the fantastic explanation of Carpentier's or Descamps's hypnotic powers if he will but watch the boxer with
a quick and vigilant eye.

There have been, perhaps, better men of a less weight from the strictly scientific point of view, but as a skilled heavy-weight Carpentier is peerless. Unfortunately, as we know, science is not all that is needed in the ring, and Carpentier was utterly routed by Dempsey a good boxer, but not nearly so good a boxer because he was a positive phenomenon of size and strength.

That beautiful right was probably enough to beat Cook, who immediately fell forward. But Carpentier hit him again, bending to do so, just before he reached the floor. By the rules it was a fair blow, because the man was not technically " down " neither glove nor knee quite touched the floor. It was, however, a very near thing. There was a good deal of excitement and uproar at the moment, and at least one highly competent judge fully believed the blow to have been a foul, and that the Frenchman should have been disqualified. But he was sitting immediately behind Carpentier and could not get a perfectly clear view.

Instantaneous photographs, displayed afterwards, show that Carpentier, by the narrowest possible margin, was on the right side. But it was an unfortunate ending to a most instructive encounter. For the question remains did he strike deliberately, or was he overcome by the excitement of the moment, as so many other boxers, even of his experience, have been overcome before Neither alternative leaves us with complete ease in retrospect: for to lose your head is bad boxing, while to take the uttermost advantage of the exact letter of the rule is, in such a case, questionable sportsmanship.