View Full Version : Luther McCarty loses to Joe Grim! April 17, 1911

Mike DeLisa
05-25-2006, 02:34 PM
For the past 96 years, newspaper reports and record books have included the line Luther McCarthy KO 4 Joe Grim, April 17, 1911.

Grim, of course, was known as the "Iron Man" for the extreme punishment he could withstand. By the time he fought McCarthy, Grim's reputation was firmly established.

Johnny Bos and I have been researching Grim's career for an upcoming project, and this bout kept gnawing at me. Had it in fact happened? How had McCarthy, an inexperienced fighter in just his second pro fight, been able to stop Grim?

So, off to the archives to find a day-after newspaper report. And there it was in the Calgary papers -- McCarthy had indeed met Grim in Calgary, BUT he was not the winner!

The fighters fought the semi-final to a main event between Kid Ash and Billy DeCoursey. DeCoursey won and it wa discovered that a "fake" Kid Ash had appeared and taken a dive.

Then it was MCarthy and Grim in a scheduled ten rounder. McCarthy was woefully inexperienced and slow. He towered over Grim, who weighed 158 to McCarthy's over 200.

The fight went a full 8 rounds, not 4. At the end of the 8th, Grim, his hands at his sides ready to go to his corner, was clocked by a right uppercut which started his nose bleeding profusely. Note, Grim kept his feet even though hit when he wasn't looking!

Now I quote: "Grimm refused to continue after this foul and Jake Fullerton, who was refereeing, should have given the bout to Grimm on a foul, but announced to the crowd that he decided it a draw. This is impossible, however, in an unfinished bout and where deliberate fouls are made te decision is never doubtful. . . . Grimm undoubtedly won on a foul and the crowd was unanimous in this opinion."

I had always suspected that a guy with Grim's experience would be able to hold his own against any fighter with virtually no experience, no matter the size differential. My suspicions led me to the article, and now there you have it!

McCarthy, of course, became a top heavyweight, never really reaching his full potential before his untimely demise in Tommy Burn's barn.

05-25-2006, 04:23 PM
Wow...now that is some new news. One thing that I have seen often is people claiming that Grim never won a fight, which is one of those inaccuracies that has been passed down through the ages, but in reality he actually won several fits. I've done a bit of research on Grim as well and have quite a few fight reports for him if you're interested.

05-26-2006, 06:57 AM
i am.

05-27-2006, 01:59 AM
I'll see if I can figure out how to upload them to this thread...if not send me a PM with your e-mail address and I'll send them to you.

05-27-2006, 09:16 AM
I'd be very interested to see anything on Grimm... I've always thought that he must have been far better than simply a tough punch human punch bag that he is often described as... he must have had some ability beyond an iron chin... which he undoubetly had... along with a huge heart. Does any film exist of Grimm in action?.... anyone got any photos of him?...
I'm new here, so I'm being a bit demanding!....:D :D :)

05-27-2006, 03:22 PM
Welcome to the board, Fat City! Love your handle, that sure was a great movie ...


Roberto Aqui
05-27-2006, 05:11 PM
I've always understood that Grim was not really a boxer but more a carny type of attraction. The accounts of Jack Johnson beating him up are graphic and point to almost zero ability with an unnatural ability to absorb punishment.

At any rate, McCarty was very young and completely untutored when he started and was no great shakes starting off. I doubt Grim had to do much to make him look clumsy.

05-27-2006, 06:51 PM
Here are the only pictures I've seen of Joe Grim:

05-27-2006, 11:59 PM
Not surprisingly, he wound up a mental wreck in an institution. Some people need to be protected from their own self-destructive personality, part of me says, while another part adds, Who makes the call? PeteLeo.

05-28-2006, 01:03 PM
So the referee as sole arbitor of the contest should be given credence, not the newspaper writer. As such it should be recorded as a draw. Not a win, TKO, or W by Foul for Grimm.

06-04-2006, 09:51 AM
Welcome to the board, Fat City! Love your handle, that sure was a great movie ...


Thanks!... don't know why I havent made it onto here earlier?... I love all the threads on the old timers and fightsers from the 50/to/70s etc... a lot of knowledgeable posters on here. And Fatcity is indeed my favourite boxing film, in fact one of my favourite films period... great novel too!... :D :D :D

06-04-2006, 09:52 AM
Welcome to the board, Fat City! Love your handle, that sure was a great movie ...


Thanks!... don't know why I havent made it onto here earlier?... I love all the threads on the old timers and fighters from the 50/to/70s etc... a lot of knowledgeable posters on here. And Fatcity is indeed my favourite boxing film, in fact one of my favourite films period... great novel too!... :D :D :D

06-06-2006, 06:23 PM
Highly interesting stuff. I was in the process of writing an article on McCarty, I'll make sure to add a footnote on this matter.

06-08-2006, 10:45 AM
McCarty was brought out by Billy McCarney who discovered him in Chicago fighting for Sig Hart. McCarney brought him out to Springfield, Missouri to fight Joe Cox, who was a local hero, and at that time considered one of the better white hopes in the land. McCarty, who was then fighting under the name of Walter Monohan, knocked Cox out and immediately became a star in and around the Joplin and Springfield areas. Large, strong and impressive in physique, McCarty was still very raw and had much to learn about the fight game. In December of 1911 he was given a neat boxing lesson by the 160 "grey ghost" Jeff Clarke who knocked him down in the third round and basically white washed him for the remainder of the bout. McCarney was so impressed with Clarke's domination of his new star that he hired the Ghost to teach McCarney some of the tricks of the trade. That he did. "Everything that Lute learned of the game, he learned from Clarke" said Jimmy Bronson, who handled Clarke for a good portion of his career. In his next fight, McCarty was again "outpointed", this time by Cincinatti heavyweight Harry Wuest in 10 rounds at Springfield. Lute showed improvement but was still green enough to be out-boxed by the venerable Wuest. In 1912, Luther, under the tuteledge of Clarke, began to turn things around, knocking out a few lesser lights until being matched with the orginal white hope Carl Morris. Thought to be "not quite ready" for tough Morris, McCarty displayed the talent he will forever be remembered for and knocked out the big ehavyweight in six rounds. Lute was now a full fledged white hope.

06-08-2006, 04:43 PM
So what is the result of this fight between McCarty and Grim?

It's just that over on Boxrec, the highly regarded historian Barry Deskins is claiming that McCarty got knocked out by Grim according to newly found evidence.

Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 5832
Location: North Tazewell, Virginia
Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:37 am Post subject: re

It was recently found that McCarty was knocked out by Joe Grim! McCarty had just started boxing, but nonetheless, the legendary "Italian Who Never Sleeps" turned out the lights for him!

Now, having known Barry for a number of years, I know that he is meticulous in his research and not prone to getting facts wrong.

But this thread appears to be implying that Grim won by DQ. :confused:

What's the true story?

06-08-2006, 06:38 PM
neither, it was a draw according to the next day reports.

Mike DeLisa
06-10-2006, 06:31 PM
Kevin Smith's post leads to the next question I haven't resolved yet, though it seems he can -- I beleive the dates in Boxrec (and CBZ?) for the Weust and Clark fights are wrong -- didn't he fight weust AFTER Clarke?

In short -- as noted on CBZ page for mccarthy -- WASN'T THE CLARKE FIGHT ON dEC 18, 1911 and Weust on Dec 28 of same year?

do we have newspaper confirmantion of the correct dates?

http://cyberboxingzone.com/boxing/mccarthy.htm -- yes I need to change the Grim result!

06-11-2006, 11:53 PM
Hey Mike, You are correct, the Jan 1912 date for Clarke and McCarty is incorrect. I checked the Springfield papers to see if possibly there was a second official bout between Clarke and Lute on that date but there was not. Jeff and McCarty did fight several exhibition bouts between January and May of 1912. So the rec for Lute should indeed read
Dec 18, 1911 Jeff Clarke, Springfield, MO ND10(L) Both Joplin Papers and the Springfield papers had this as a win for Clarke. Clarke scored a knockdown in the third round.
Dec 28, 1911 Harry Wuest, Springfield, MO ND10(L) Same as above.

HE Grant
11-26-2006, 02:44 PM
Fatcity: What website did the Grim photos come from ? I used to have it bookmarked and it has great photos in a similiar fashion of many fighters from that era. I'd like to find out.

12-27-2006, 12:29 AM
HE, sorry for the late response. The pixs come from the Chicago Daily News in 1903. The Chicago Historical Society has a bunch of pixs on its American Memory website:


02-16-2008, 03:26 PM
Yeah,but you cant always go by newspaper accounts to give the full accurate truth concerning any situtation.
Maybe the printer got it wrong,or the newspaper writer was drunk and didnt even see the fight but had to report on it the next day?
BTW I read somewhere were Luther MC Carthy was born and bred in Nebraska,but I think he was originally from Sydney Ohio.
My grandmother's family was from there,I wonder if we may be related

Mike DeLisa
02-18-2008, 12:42 AM
My info he was born on his father's ranch, 36 miles from Sydney, NE. His mother died when he was 10 in 1901 (another report said whe died when he was 2) and a week later his father moved the family to colorado springs. He ran away from home at age 12, eventually winding up as an "able" seaman, making several trips around cape horn, to japan, china and buenos aires.

I suspect he did a little fighting as a seaman.

He wound up in Culbertson MT working on a ranch, where he had his first bout, a "friendly one" shortly after Jeffries-Johsnon in 1910. Some reports place this in October 1910 and that he was a sparring partner for another fighter.

In january, he had his first confirmed bout, again in Culbertson, subbing for hyank Kenny against Wat Adams.

He was apparently married in Ohio, as there is a report that his wife met him there when he was touring through the eastern states. They separated and she was living in Moorhead MN working as a waitress when he died.

So, long story short, I think he was born in NE but lived for a time in OH when he was married.

02-19-2008, 07:05 PM
I had always heard(here in Nebraska)that he was from Ogalalla Nebraska(which is only about 40 miles from where I live).
Ogalalla used to be a cowboy town back in the 1880's when they drove the longhorns up from Texas then shipped them out on the railroad.
However I later heard that when he was a teenager he became a hobo and left Ohio and then came to Nebraska andworked on a ranch near Ogalalla(something similiar to that).

Mike DeLisa
02-19-2008, 08:01 PM
Yes, he was a hobo -- in the true Jim Tully, Jack Dempsey sense of the word meaning itinerant laborer -- but that came after he left his father's ranch at age 12. I cut out his work as a Western union delivery boy, his work in Kansas Cty, St. Louis etc etc and jumped right to his seaman days.

But, I am working off a couple of newspaper articles -- one from 1913 and many from after his death. The earlier ones seem best, except for the few that interview family members.

02-23-2008, 07:20 PM
Sydney Nebraska is southwest of Ogalalla.
Its on inter-state 80,it too use to be an old cowboy town.
The stage-coach use to leave there for Deadwood South Dakota.
Maybe you chould check geneology.com,I think they may have a free trial week and check the 1910 census there,to see if Luther McCarty had been living in Ohio or Nebraska then.

Mike DeLisa
02-25-2008, 01:54 AM
brutu -- all due respect, but you are the one that seems interested -- maybe if you find out more you can let us know?

Plus, the reports seem accurate -- he lived NEAR sydney, that would include the town you mention.

As Felonious Monk would say -- "So vere is zee crime?"

02-27-2008, 05:25 PM
Actually its probably would be the 1910 cenus from ancestry.com,that should confirm where he was then.

02-27-2008, 07:49 PM
Anyway I already went through my free trial week at ancestry.com.
The various u.s census are invaulable.
I was able to trace parts of my family tree to New York,Vermont,Virginia,Pennsylvania and Maryland back to late 1700's.
which is the oldest census available.
Its worth while for anyone to check out that web site.

Mike DeLisa
03-01-2008, 01:26 AM

Mike DeLisa
03-01-2008, 01:27 AM
I came across the following:

One lad showed particular promise. Luther McCarty received his first boxing lesson from Web Sterline at the Young Men's Athletic Association gym in Sidney. Sterline, who was a local sports promoter of sorts, also captained Sidney's first football team. What were the makings of this future champion, Luther McCarty?

"In a couple of articles published after he later gained fame, the Sidney Daily News provided details on his fascinating background. His father, Anton P. McCarty, was known to everyone as White Eagle. He was believed to be a full-blooded Indian. White Eagle was a patent medicine man. Operating as the proprietor of the White Eagle Medicine Company, he sold rattlesnake oil on the square in Sidney as well as in Piqua.:

See the WAIL! article

Luther McCarty... "Fightin' Cowboy of Wild Horse Canyon"
By Tracy Callis and Larry "Cap" Roberts



Traveling Through Time With the Shelby County Historical Society
Feature on Luther McCarty. Topic: SPORTS & PEOPLE, by Rich Wallace (1996)


Mike DeLisa
03-01-2008, 01:30 AM
PS -- Johnny Bos has hanging on his wall an Autographed Photo of Mcarty and the amazing belt he won for his win over Palzer!

Bos's collection is absolutely amazing!

03-01-2008, 05:21 PM
To maybe clear things up.
Sidney Ohio is in Shelby County Ohio.
Sydney Nebraska is in Cheyenne County Nebraska.

Mike DeLisa
03-03-2008, 08:19 PM
Yes, I know -- can anyone track down the Sidney papers mentioned in the web article I posted?

03-24-2008, 08:29 PM
I could not find out any info about Luther Mccarty over at ancestry.com.
No record in births or census that would seem to be Luther mcCarty the boxer anyway.
Curiously the article at the Shelby County Ohio Historical society states his father was Anton McCarty aka "Chief White Eagle.
Ancestry.com lists an Anton McCArty living in Utah in 1920 and that he was born in Italy.
This leads me to believe perhaps they may have been a transient family,perhaps not even American Indian extraction but perhaps Gypsies?(Romany),which are/were a persecuted people even here in America,so much it wasnt uncommon to make up an ethnic background that didnt have quite the stigma as being Gypsie.
Im just guessing on all this but it seems kind of strange..