Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 51
Date: 99-01-29 23:38:20 EST
The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
Edited by J Michael Kenyon
Issue Number 51
Tuesday, February 2, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A
IN THIS ISSUE: THE NIGHT JAMES J. JEFFRIES CATAPULTED TO THE WORLD
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JEFFRIES A KINGPIN
(Los Angeles Daily Times, Sat., June 10, 1899)
By Direct Wire to The Times
CONEY ISLAND SPORTING CLUB (N.Y.), June 9 -- (Exclusive Dispatch) Big Jim
Jeffries of Los Angeles is the champion pugilist of the world. At the Coney
Island Athletic Club tonight he defeated Robert Fitzsimmons in a fast and
vicious contest that went eleven rounds. He fought with the coolness and
precision of a veteran, and at no time was he in danger of meeting with
defeat. It was a fair and square contest, marked by a brilliant display of
science on both sides, and was fairly and squarely won. The young Californian
showed himself a master at every point in the game, and won as he pleased
after he had taken the measure of his opponent.
To those who had seen him before he offered the greatest surprise. He was no
longer a clumsy, awkward boxer, hesitating to lead or to follow an advantage,
but a finished fighter, keen and alert for an opening, and swift to take and
follow an advantage when it came to him. He came to the ring in superb
condition, and the first round that he fought had no apparent effect upon him.
As he stood over the prostrate form of his bleeding and unconscious opponent
he looked fit to go on for another hour. He was punished throughout the fight,
for no man who never before met reverse, without being hit hard and often; but
he stood up to it with a lion-like courage, and never faltered.
He showed an entirely different method of boxing. He crouched very low, with
his left arm extended, and Fitzsimmons seemed lost as to the best method of
finding him. His defense was nearly perfect. He also showed wonderful
improvement in footwork and hitting power. He was as lively as a lightweight
on his feet, and repeatedly ducked the undercutting swings of his opponent. He
has stopped cuffing and chopping. He punches and hooks and swings with the
precison of a finished boxer.
It was a great battle, and the young victor will probably remain the champion
for years to come. He has size, weight and speed, and the comparative ease
with which he defeated Fitz, whom they all feared, will give him wonderful
Jeffries won a fortune by his wonderful victory, and furnished one of the
greatest upsets in the history of pugilistic betting. Hundreds of thousands of
dollars were placed on him at the ruling odds of 2 to 1. Fitz was regarded as
a sure winner, and was liberally backed. It was admitted that he was at a
disadvantage, as far as youth, weight and reach were concerned, but his
backers relied upon his speed and cleverness to pull him through. It was
though that he would simply stand away from his man, and jab and chop him to a
finish. In reality, he found himself pitted against a man just as fast as
himself and equally clever as a boxer. He went in with every confidence, only
to be fooled by the young giant whom he faced, and then beaten to a knockout
by superior strength.
The credit for Jeffries' notable victory belongs to the men who prepared him.
Billy Delaney, who developed the Corbett that whipped John L. Sullivan, was
his guide. With the eye of an expert, he studied and guarded Jeffries'
physical development and care and Tommy Ryan and Jim Daly taught him the
science of the ring. In six weeks they accomplished, with the excellent
material in their hands, what ordinarily takes years of actual experience to
do. They had raw material, and they whipped it into shape.
As is usually the case, the man on the short end of the betting had the crowd
behind him, and the young Californian was cheered on to victory. When it
became apparent that he was standing his opponent off and taking the lead, he
jumped into marvelous popularity, and New York will tomorrow hail him as King.
He will retain his popularity, for he is as modest as a girl. He prepared for
the battle without a word of disrespectful nature for his opponent, and was
clam in victory. He had said in calm, but determined way, that he was going to
win. He believed it, and realization was but proof of his words. Again, he is
the first American in this half of the century to win the championship, and
among the thousands of patrons of the ring he will be hailed for that respect.
It was California's night in pugilism, for principal, manager and trainer
claim the Golden State as home. In the house, too, there was a hopeful little
band of Californians, who cheered their favorite from the handshake to the
count-out. It was one of the few heavyweight championship events ever pulled
off in New York, and it was Gotham's first chance of seeing Fitzsimmons in a
real contest, and the fight provoked tremendous interest.
It was 9 o'clock before the auditorium of the clubhouse began to fill up. The
crowd was a most remarkable one. There were delegations from almost every city
of importance in the United States and Canada, and in the number were all the
sporting men of note. Professional New York, however, contributed the largest
portion of the great audience that numbered nearly ten thousand and paid about
$100,000 for its sport.
Both men entered the ring in splendid shape, and the fight proved that they
were so. There was but little time lost in the ring. Nobody paid any attention
to the announcements, and drowned the voice of Frank Burns, who made them. The
impatient, eager crowd had not come for speeches, but to see the fight.
Jeffries quietly slid off a red sweater and a pair of black trousers, and
showed the most remarkable physique that those present had ever seen. Great
masses of muscle lay on his back, chest and shoulders, but it played lightly
and swiftly when he moved.
Fitzsimmons was finely drawn and lithe, and looked like a greyhound when he
tossed off his blue bathrobe. They were both under twoscore of great electric
lights that burned on the gallery over their heads, to furnish light for the
vitascope pictures, and seemed like actors under a huge calcium.
When the gong sent them away, they both began to size one another up, and
nothing effective was done in the opening round. Fitz was aggressive in the
second and until the eighth round, but Jeffries stood up to him and fought him
back to a standstill. The Cornishman went down before a straight left in the
second round, and Jeffries kept putting his head back. Fitz persistently
pressed the Californian, but he had met his match, and was powerless to land
an effective blow. He put his left on the young Californian's eye in the fifth
round and cut it, but Jeffries came back gamely and fought on.
The Californian used his left effectively on the face and body, and also
brought his right into play on the body repeatedly. Fitzsimmons tried all his
tricks and devices, but was either blocked or countered harder than he led.
After the seventh round the young Californian had things all his own way. The
eighth round was all his. He sent the Australian staggering against the ropes
with a left-hander and again landed his left. Fitz went to his corner dazed.
Fitz came back fairly strong in the ninth round, only to be beaten back. It
was all Jeffries' way, and there was consternation in the Fitzsimmons corner.
The crowd saw the inevitable result, and there were hoarse yells for the
Californian to go in.
In the tenth round Fitz was beaten to a standstill, and it was only the call
of time that saved him. He was down twice, and was done for when he staggered
to his corner.
The end came after a minute and a half of fighting in the eleventh round. It
was left and right from Jeffries, and the Australian, who had always never
known defeat, dropped down unconscious. His seconds frantically called to him,
but their words fell upon deaf ears. Referee Siler and the timers called off
the ominous count of ten, and there was a roar of applause that shook the
building up. A new champion was heralded.
Jeffries' seconds swarmed around and embraced him, and in an instant hundreds
of spectators broke for the ring. The police stopped the advance, and while
Jeffries slipped through the ropes and ran for his dressing-room, Fitzsimmons,
still limp and unconscious, was carried to his corner. He was some time in
reviving, and then did not know he was beaten or that he had been in a fight.
FIGHT BY ROUNDS
CONEY ISLAND SPORTING CLUB (Ringside.) June 9 -- When time was called for the
first round Bob dances as Jeffries feints. They break instantly, and Jeffries
is short of a left jab for the head. Jeffries is short with a left again, but
touches the wind and puts a left on the neck.
Second round -- Jeffries misses a left for the head, and Bob rushes and puts a
left on the neck and a right over the heart. Jeffries closes into a light
clinch, then, crouching, pushes a left to the stomach, but his right swing
only grazes Bob's shoulder. Jeffries rushes two lefts to the wind and then
jabs the face twice with the left. Fitz swings a right to the shoulder.
Jeffries shoots a straight left to the jaw and Bob goes down squarely. He is
soon up and starts to rush, but his left and right drives for the head are
Third round -- A clinch to open. Fitzsimmons missed a left, and Jeffries comes
back with a left on the nose, and the claret shows on Fitzsimmons' face. Bob
plants a good right over the heart, and after an exchange of left-handers,
Fitzsimmons pokes the left to the neck, and Jeffries comes back hard on
Fitzsimmons' ribs with a left, and a right to the stomach. Jeffries jabs the
left twice to the face. Jeffries puts a stiff one on the stomach with the left
and repeats it a little later. Fitzsimmons hooks a left to the ear, and his
right goes over Jeffries' head, and an instant later Jeffries ducks another
one. Now Jeffries ducks into a stiff left, catching it on the mouth. The men
were sparring at the bell.
Fourth round -- Jeffries misses a left, but ducks Fitzsimmons' right swing.
Fitzsimmons misseds a left for the stomach, and Jeffries puts a good right
over the heart. His left for the wind is stopped, but he shoots a hard left to
the neck. Fitzsimmons smiles and hooks a right to the ear: Jeffries planting a
sledge-hammer right over the heart. Another miss of Fitzsimmons' right draws
Jeffries' right to his ribs. Fitzsimmons puts a light left to the mouth and
brings his right to the ear, and Jeffries ducks into a stiff left swing. He
rushes Bob to the ropes, good footwork carrying Fitzsimmons out of danger.
Fifth round -- Bob puts a left straight on the mouth and Jeffries misses a
left for the head. Fitz cuts the eye with his right. Both miss lefts. Bob
shoots a left to the bad eye and swings to the ear with the same glove. Bob
puts a left straight on the mouth, and Jeffries misses a left for the head.
Fitz cuts Jeffries' eye with his right. Both miss lefts. Bob shoots a left to
the bad eye and swings to the ear with the same glove. Jeffries sends a left
to the wind and a right to the ribs. Fitz rushes and puts a left on the neck,
and Jeffries misses a savage left swing. Jeffries shoots a straight left to
Fiz's mouth and Fitz tries a left for the solar plexus. Jeffries plants a left
on the chin, then jabs the face with a short-arm left. Fitzsimmons misses two
lefts, and Jeffries hooks the right, sending Bob to his knees. He is up in a
jiffy, and Jeffries pushes a right on the ribs and a left on the nose, Bob
replying with a light left on the head. At the close Jeffries jabs.
Fitzsimmons gets a left on the stomach. Jeffries' work has pleased his
friends, but Bob's friends feel as confident as ever.
Sixth round -- Fitz was up and ready ten seconds before the gong. He swings a
right to the back of Jeffries' ear, then jabs the latter's face with the left,
Jeffries countering with his left on the mouth. Bob jabs a left to the chin,
but misses a right, and Jeffries swings a left to the forehead. Jeffries ducks
with a right hook on the ear. They swap left-facers and Bob misses a right
swing, Jeffries smashing the wind with the right. Bob puts Jeffries across the
Seventh round -- Fitzsimmons runs Jeffries across the ring, but is short with
the left, and Jeffries sends a hot left to the face. They come together,
Jeffries' right slapping Bob's side, sounding like a drum. Jeffries barely
touches the chin, Bob stopping handsomely. Jeffries clinches against the next
two leads, but Bob puts a right on the ear. Jeffries answering with a right on
the ribs. Fitzsimmons lands a light left on the neck, then a straight left to
the mouth. Both miss lefts, then swap rights on the head. Fitzsimmons stops
Jeffries' swing, and puts two lefts on the mouth and neck, cutting the mouth
severely. Jeffries' left goes over the shoulder and Bob digs a right
wickededly under the heart. The gong then sounds.
Eighth round -- Jeffries' legs are worked upon vigorously by his attendant.
Bob puts a left to the neck, but misses a right swing. Jeffries sends a left
to the ribs. He missed a right swing. Jeffries put a left to the ribs, Bob
putting a straight one on the mouth. Bob put a left to the neck, but misses a
right swing. Bob misses a right, and Fitz jolts Jeffries with the left; then
shoots to the mouth and follows again to the jaw. There are two clinches, and
Jeffries shoves a right to the ribs, Fitz reaching the chin with his left.
Fitz sent a straight left to the eye, Jeffries touching to the stomach with
his left. Bob sent a left over Jeffries' shoulder, and Jeffries swings his
left a foot over Bob's head. A straight left on the jaw sends Fitz reeling to
the ropes. Out in the center he clinches, then swings a hard left to Jeffries'
head. The bell rings.
Ninth round -- Jeffries jabs a left on the mouth. Another left from Jeffries
to the mouth, and then he hits to the neck. The men swap rights. Jeffries'
left draws more blood from Bob's nose. Bob misses a right, and Jeffries puts a
right on the ribs. Jeffries' left finds the chin and Jeffries pokes a left to
the face. Bob comes back with a straight left on the mouth. Jeffries swings
twice with the left on the head. Fitz hooks a left to the neck. They swap
lefts on the head. Bob plants a left on the neck.
Tenth round -- Jeff springs in and hugs Bob. After the break he pokes a left
to Bob's chest, then a left to the jaw, Bob replying with a left on the eye.
Fitz misses a left hook, ducking nicely Jeff's right, and is stopped by Bob's
elbow. Bob puts a left on the cheek, Jeffries missing his answer. Fitz misses
a left and a right swing, and Jeffries jabs a left to the mouth. Fitz crowds
him to the corner. Jeffries shoots a straight to the jaw. Bob falls flat on
his back and takes eight seconds to arise. When he gets up Jeffries swung a
right to the neck, and again Bob is down. He gets up, but is sent to his knees
by a left, when he arises he clinches and the bell is heard. Just as the bell
sounds Fitz swings a wild left. Fitz is very groggy.
Eleventh round -- Fitz was up briskly for this round. He misses a left for the
head. Jeffries clinches. Fitz misses a right jab, Jeffries jolting the neck
with a left. Fitz uses a left on the stomach and a right on the chest. Fitz
misses a right, and Jeffries plants a right over the heart. Jeffries sent a
straight left to the mouth, sending Bob's head back, but Bob is still there.
He puts a left on the shoulder. Jeffries puts a right on the wind and a left
to the eye. Two more lefts from Jeffries on Bob's head, then Jeffries jabs the
left twice like lightning. Now two left swings go to the neck and jaw, and a
right swing is sent to the point of the jaw and the Cornishman falls prone.
He falls on his side and rolls over on his back. The referee counts 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 6. Bob rolls over. Then 7, 8, 9, 10. Fitzsimmons is out, and Jeffries is
champion of the world. The referee waves his hands to the seconds to carry
Fitzsimmons to his corner. They lift him, still unconscious, and sit him in
his chair. He revives rapidly.
Meanwhile, a shouting, cheering crowd surrounds Jeffries in his corner. Fitz
sits disconsolate in his chair, and the Californian crosses the ring and
shakes hands. Jeffries leaves the ring in the center of a shouting, howling
It was a great fight, and was fought on its merits. It is another illustration
that youth and strength are too big handicaps for age to encounter. Fitz left
the platform a few moments after the battle.
OUT OF THE WEST COMES A GIANT
(Associated press Night Report)
NEW YORK, June 9 -- James J. Jeffries, another sturdy young giant, has come
out of the West o whip champion pugilists. At the arena of the Coney Island
Athletic club tonight he defeated Robert Fitzsimmons, world's champion in two
classes -- middleweight and heavyweight -- in eleven rounds of whirlwind
fighting. He came to the ring a rank outsider, and left it the acknowledged
master of the man he defeated. He was never at any time in serious danger, and
after the size-up in the early rounds of the contest, took the lead. He had
the Australian whipped from the ninth round.
It was acknowledged that Jeffries would have an immense advantage in weight,
height and age, but the thousands who tipped and backed his opponent to win
were sure that he was slow, and that he would, in that respect, be at the
mercy of the pastmaster at the science of fighting whom he was to meet. He
proved, on the contrary, that he was just as fast as the man he met, and beat
him down to unconscious defeat in a fair fight.
Jeffries is a veritable giant in stature, and marvelously speedy for his
immense size. Less than a year ago he appeared in New York a great, awkward,
ungainly boy. Today he is the lithe, active, alert trained athlete. The men
who prepared him for his fight worked wonders with him. They taught him a
nearly perfect defense, improved his foot movement and instructed him in the
methods of receiving punishment. If he cares for himself he will probably be
able to successfully defend the title for many years.
The defeated pugilist was as good on the crispy morning when, on the plains of
far-away Nevada, he lowered the colors of the then peerless Corbett. He was
just as active, just as clever, just as tricky and just as fearless of
punishment. He went unfalteringly to his defeat. He was the aggressor even at
the moment when he was bleeding and unsteady, and when he was stunned by the
blows he received, he reeled instinctively toward his opponent. He was
fighting all the time, and punished his opponent, but found him a different
opponent than any he had met, and in a difficult attitutde to fight.
Jeffries fought from a crouching attitude that was hard to get at. He held his
head low, his back was bent down, and his left arm was extended. He kept
jabbing away with the left, and found no trouble in landing it. It was there
that his superior reach told. That giant arm served as a sort of a human
fender to ward off danger. He showed an excellent defense, and the ability to
use both hands with skill. He is game, too, for he never shrank from his
punishment. It was a great fight to watch, and it commenced and ended amid
scenes of intense excitement. It was all very dramatic.
The men fought before a crowd of 9,000 persons, and stood up in a great beam
of blinding white light. It was like a thousand calciums, and it showed their
great white bodies in strange relief. When the blood came it was of more
intense red than usual.
There was no suggestion of interference from the police. Chief Devery occupied
a seat by the ringside, but he never entered the ring. When it was over he
sent Capt. Kenney to clear the ring. The contest was pulled off without
wrangle, and was devoid of the brutal elements that Chief Devery alleged that
Never was a crowd handled with greater order and less friction. It was all
perfectly orderly. There was absolutely no confusion attendant upon the
assemblage and housing of the big crowd. Several thousand of those who were
provided with tickets came to the beach late in the afternoon, and their
action relieved the pressure during the early hours of the evening. The
lateness of the hour at which the contestants were announced to appear kept
the crowd from seeking the Coney Island Club house very early, and Coney
Island, with its merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, gilded cafes, jugglers and
bespangled dancers, furnished ample amusement and entertainment during the
It all made a strange scene. Crowds thronged the streets and surged around
among the stands and stalls of the ready-tongued fakirs. The lights of the
curious town were never brighter and the strange devices that made apologetic
music were never worked harder. The many places where liquids were sold were
packed to overflowing, and everywhere the buzz of conversdation was freighted
with fight talk. It was on everybody's lips. Enthusiasts touted their
favorites. Here Fitzsimmons would win a walk; there Jeffries was a sure
victor. The newsboys shouted late extras that told all about it, and fakirs
offered the latest pictures of the two giants who were to fight.
There was plenty of money read on both sides, but nobody liked the odds. The
Jeffries men wanted 2 to 1 for their money, and the Fitzsimmons men were slow
to give it. The great house filled very slowly, and it was after 9 o'clock
before the police had to bestir themselves and clear the aisles. Time seemed
to drag, and the absence of any preliminary contest gave the crowd a fight
appetite. They began calling for the performance at 9:30, and at 9:45 o'clock
Jeffries was the first of the principals to appear. He came through the main
entrance and walked the length of the hall at 9:20 o'clock to an accompaniment
of cheers, while Fitzsimmons, who was accompanied by his Spartan-like wife,
gained the building and dressing room by a rear door. The disagreement as to
the conditions of clinches and breaks was discussed and settled outside of the
ring, and there was but little delay when the terms were agreed upon.
Fitzsimmons entered the ring at 10:08 o'clock, and was made the occasion of a
rather theatrical demonstration. Julian was first, and then came the fighter.
The seconds were next in line, and then followed two men bearing a great
floral piece that was almost funeral in its appearance. It was inscribed "Good
luck to the Champion," but the flowers were wilted. Fitzsimmons bowed
ceremoniously to it.
Jeffries was next in the arena, and like his opponent, got a demonstration.
Fitzsimmons looked lanky and think, but his skin was clear, his eye bright and
his step elastic. He made a great display of American flags at his waist.
Jeffries looked sturdy and massive, and seemed a little nervous. He got the
worst of the assignment of corners, for the electric lights shown into face,
and he blinked at them in a nervous sort of way. Siler, too, looked colorless
and ill at ease.
And, without too much further delay, they began fighting for the championship
of the world.
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