The Syracuse Herald
17 Dec 1911
There are just three world's boxing champions in America today, Johnny Coulon, bantamweight; Abe Attell. featherweight, and Ad Wolgast, lightweight. Of these Coulon and Attell obtained their titles by claiming them, and then defending them against all comers. Fortunately, they have been successful for several years, and there can be no question that they have earned a right to call themselves champions. There's no flaw in the title to-day.
With Wolgast it is a different affair. Wolgast is the only champion of the world in the ring (since Johnson's retirement) who earned his title by whipping the former holder. Wolgast whipped Battling Nelson, who had defeated Joe Gans, who had defeated Frank Erne, who had defeated "Kid" Lavigne, who had won the championship of America and clinched his right to the world's championship by going to England and knocking out the famous Dick Burge, greatest lightweight; known to England's ring followers in many long years—perhaps in all the history of the game.
There is no possible flaw in Wolgast's title. He is of the direct descent from the old line of kings of the lightweight class. When he stopped Battling Nelson in that gory ring at Port Richmond, Cal., he won his title on the spot, and there are only three ways in which he can lose it again. He can retire from the ring or die, or be officially beaten in a battle where his opponent makes the weight. Wolgast's enforced retirement for a few months, owing to an operation, doesn't invalidate his right to be called champion according to our American custom.
Ad will come out and fight again as soon as he is able to, for he's the busiest little champion we have had in some time, with the possible exception of Battling Nelson. Bat Nelson was a better champion than Wolgast in one way. He was so willing to fight that he always gave his victims a second chance if they wanted it. He fought Britt, Corbett and Gans each two or three times, these being the toughest men on his list. Perhaps Wolgast will do the same after a while. Up to date he’s been keep busy by the new claimant, and to give him credit for his work, he surely has shown that he's the best in the world over the long route.
Now Johnny Coulon — no one disputes his right to be called champion in his class, although he came into the title in a roundabout way. Frankie Neil years ago took the bantam championship from Harry Forbes in San Francisco. Neil, later on, went to England expecting to pick up some easy money, and was trimmed by Joe Bowker in his first fight. Nell, sr., sent up some frightful shrieks of agony over the decision, but that made no difference. Bowker won the decision, and no doubt he was entitled to It. Bowker didn't pass the title along legitimately. He grew out of the class and began fighting featherweights. He lost several battles by the knockout route, came to America, was whipped by Al Delmont in Boston and Tommy O'Toole In Philadelphia, and went back to England and oblivion.
The bantamweight title had no real claimant, Delmont was over the weight and was mixing with featherweights and lightweights. Johnny Coulon, after beating Murphy, the 105-pound champion, claimed the bantam title and began "defending" it at 115 pounds ringside. After a while he fought his way into public recognition all over the country, and to tell the truth, he's a corking little fighter and well worth looking over when he fights. Abe Attell is one of the wonders of the ring. He started in San Francisco nearly twelve years ago, knocked out his opponents as fast as they could be tossed into the ring with him. Went "East" as far as Salt Lake City, cleaned up there and afterward fought all over the country. He became wonderfully clever, and for a long time contented himself with winning on points. He still had a "knockout wallop" when he wanted to use it, however and has it to-day.
Abe "claimed" the featherweight championship when Terry McGovern had ceased defending It. Terry didn't lose that title to "Young" Corbett. The latter never held a championship, for his fight with McGovern was 126 pounds, weigh in the afternoon. while the class limit is 122 ringside. Attell has always been able to make 122 easily, and even two or three pounds less. But to show that he was genuine as a champion he often gave away weight and fought desperate battles with such men as Battling Nelson (who couldn't do anything with Abe in six and fifteen rounds). Tommy O'TooIc. Freddy Welsh, Wolgast (then a feather), Owen Moran, Tommy Murphy, Johnny Marto and Matt Wells. Among the featherweights Attell is supreme.
We have no welterweight champion. Honey Mellody has some sort of a claim to the title because he whipped Joe Walcott and never lost the championship by losing a fight "at weight." But Honey lost several fights and "went back" until people not longer regarded him as champion. He says he s in shape again — but they all think that. He'll have to prove it in the ring. At present the title is being tagged about by all sorts of claimants, none of whom can establish a legitimate
claim or make a show of defending the honor against all challengers.
An exception to this latter statement is Mike Gibbons, who certainly can beat all of the welterweights with ease, judging by his recent fights. The only doubt connected with Gibbons as a welterweight champion is his weight. He scaled 146 ½ pounds against Coftey. and he'll have to "show" in the matter of weight before he can take it upon himself to defend the title he has claimed.
There is no recognized middleweight champion. Papke inherited the title, perhaps, after Ketchell's death, as he is the most recent of former holders. But he lost to Thompson in Australia, and since returning to America Thompson hasn't shown anything worth mentioning in the line of fighting ability. Papke himself lost a decision to Bob Moha, a middleweight,
in Boston. On this score Moha's claim might be recognized. But there are Frank Klaus, who claims the title and who has whipped good middleweights all over the country, and Buck Grouse, whose claim looks at least as good as that of Klaus. It will take a series of battles to decide which is the best man amongst the claimants.
The light heavyweight championship has died out. Tommy Burns won that title from Jack O'Brien, but Tommy toured the world, became heavyweight champion by right of conquest, lost to Jack Johnson, and retired from the ring without taking the trouble to do anything with his light heavyweight crown. Langford and Jeanette claim It. but both are over the recognized Weight Jack Johnson's retirement has left the heavyweight title without a real holder. If Johnson fights again he'll be recognized as champion until he is defeated. But he may not fight again. In that case McVey and Langford fighting in Australia, will come as near battling for the heavyweight championship us any one else. None of the present "hopes" are in the running.
Re: Robert Edgren
The Washington Post
14 May 1916
“Fighting Face” Has Proved to be a Myth, and “Looks” Offers No Criterion of Pugilistic Ability
You've heard them when a new man steps into the ring. I remember one night when Al Palzer, a giant Minnesotan. appeared for the first time in New York fistic society. There was a
momentary hush. Then every spectator turned to every other spectator and exclaimed- "Great Scott — what a face for a fighter"'
Al Palzer certainly had the ideal "Fighting face." His well-rounded jaw was thrust forward like the ram of a battleship. There was firmness and courage in the lines of his mouth. His nose
was short, and not too prominent. His eyes were protected by high cheekbones and the brow of a caveman. His neck was like a column, well set on broad and sloping shoulders that promised
plenty of strength and hitting power Palzer's eyes were clear blue, , like those of his Viking ancestors, bold and steady. When fighting they held a berserk glare.
Where is Al Palzer now? Why, out West again, fighting occasional preliminaries in third-rate boxing shows. No other heavyweight in recent years has fallen so fast or so far. He had all
the looks of a champion, but in his case the camera lied.
[B]Looks Like World Beater.[/B]
About the time that Al Palzer was beating Bombardier Wells and Al Kaufman and scoring his few ring victories, another temporary heavyweight wonder flashed across the horizon. This
was Soldier Kearns, an almost exact counterpart of the old timer, Tom Sharkey in feature and physique. The only apparent difference was that Kearns was 20 pounds bigger than Tom
at his best. Kearns certainly did look like a world-beater for a while. He had a tremendous punch and a knack of landing it well. With his high boned, wide face, powerful jaw and great thick neck set on a pair of shoulders like Hackenschmidt's, he looked absolutely invincible. A horseshoer by trade, he had the iron endurance horseshoeing gave Fitzsimmons.
A soldier serving through the Philippine campaigns, he was fearless. A punch was a joke with him, after bullets and fevers. Many prophesied that he'd surely become heavyweight champion.
He knocked out several opponents quickly. He met "One Round" Davis, another sensational fighter with a remarkable knockout record, and he knocked Davis cold in less than 2 minutes
of fighting. A week later Kearns met young Jess Willard, a tall, lanky Kansan, whose clownlike antics had made him a joke in local rings. Kearns was grim. Willard was all smiles. Kearns intended to knock the giant out in a round or two.
Willard, laughing and joking with the spectators, looked as if he saw some hidden humor in the whole thing. Kearns looked a champion. Willard looked as much out of place in the ring as If he'd been a circus clown in paint and pantaloons.
Yet see what happened. For several rounds Kearns grimly plunged in and swung furiously at the giant's jaw, while Willard leaned back out of range, winked at the spectators and laughed like a comedian who appreciates his own jokes. Then Kearns grew impatient of hitting at a mark he couldn't reach, and drove a terrific smash into Willard's solar plexus. The laugh on Willard's face disappeared. Kerns stepped back to let him fall, as all others had fallen when he drove that right hand in. But instead of falling Willard lunged at Kearns and shot out a right arm that looked as long as a fence rail. His glove hit Kearns on the chin so hard that the soldier turned a somersault in the air and struck the floor on the back of his neck. He was paralyzed by that blow, and even after being counted out couldn't get to his corner without help.
[B]Willard, the laughing, careless clown.[/B]
has become world's heavyweight champion, and is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights that ever held the title. Kearns, after losing to Willard, fell into a long string of defeats, and at
last dropped out of sight. For all I know he may be shoeing horses again. You can't know a man's fighting ability by his looks. The "aggressive" jaw, the short, thick neck tell us nothing at all. If you have trouble on the street the slender soft looking fellow may be ten times as dangerous as the man who carries the "earmarks" of a slugger.
[B]Sullivan's Fighting Face.[/B]
John L. Sullivan set the style in fighting faces for a generation or two John had a heavy neck, a bold profile and a rounded, heavy, protruding jaw that gave him the fighting look of the
bulldog. Jim Corbett, who whipped him, was slender, clean cut and so ordinary in appearance that he'd have been lost anywhere in a group of college boys. The next champion, Bob
Fitzsimmons, might be taken for a preacher or a doctor. He has a rather high nose, a round, smooth face and a well-set chin that is a trifle retreating rather than protruding. His eyes,
instead of carrying a "fighting expression," show only a mild, innocent baby stare when he's in action. And Fitzsimmons has knocked out more men — in nearly 400 ring battles—than any
other fighter that ever lived.
[B]Typical "Ring Countenance."[/B]
Jeffries, of course, looked like a fighter. He was thick-necked, short-nosed, heavy boned, with protruding brows, a strong jaw and a grim and surly appearance in the ring. Tommy Burns
looked like a fighter. So did Johnson. But Jess Willard—perhaps the greatest of them all—is just a big, smiling, good-natured farmer still. He's a fighter because he's a wonderful man
physically, and because, besides his physique, he has what many other big men have lacked. Intelligence enough the to know that skill would make him invincible, and patience enough to work and study for years to acquire the skill.
Among the smaller men Terry McGovern had a typical "fighting face" He had the glaring eyes, the short nose, the out-thrust lower chin. Also he had a very long neck. He won his fights by carrying such a furious pace that the other fellows didn't have time to think of hitting him. But I remember another fighter who was no less aggressive and relentless. This was "Fighting Dick" Hyland, and "Fighting Dick" had buck teeth and a retreating chin and about as much alert aggressiveness in his appearance at ordinary times as a marshmallow. Kid Lavigne was a furious fighter, but the famous Kid looked like a cherub even when in the ring.
Tommy Ryan, who had a large "beak" and a small head that ran right up to a point, and hair that grew nearly down to his eyebrows, was everything that he didn't look He was one of the cleverest and most crafty fighters that ever fought. He looked sad and apologetic until he found his opening for the knockout Nobody would have picked him out of a crowd as a fighter. Yet he was one of the most wonderful men of his time.
And there was Kid McCoy. The Kid has always been an exceedingly troublesome person in any fight, either in or out of the ring. He's as peaceful as a stepped-on rattler. His brown eyes smile so much that they carry wrinkles at the corners. His face is nearly always smiling .He is slender and graceful in build. His forehead is high and broad, his features regular, his chin small and set back instead of pushed forward like that of the man with a "fighting face " McCoy was as desperate a fighter as ever lived, utterly game and utterly relentless .
He put Tom Sharkey flat on his back twice with his "corkscrew punch" He fought Ruhlin and Maher and many other heavyweights while he was still only a middleweight himself. He out tricked Tommy Ryan and he outfought others. Joe Gans was a marvel in the ring. He had a profile which was more Arab than Ethiopian in character with a well shaped head and a strong well rounded chin. Gans had a high, thin nose. His expression was never savage. Rather it was melancholy. He neither smiled nor scowled while fighting, but went through his work as if his body was a perfect machine driven by a well-ordered and smooth calculating brain.
[B]Sharkey Appears Ferocious.[/B]
You can argue either way on the "fighting face." There was Sailor Tom Sharkey, who had one of the most ferocious "fighting faces" I've ever seen in a ring - a bony, big-jawed face with caveman brows, set on a great thick| neck. His fighting expression was simply cold, icy ferocity and grim determination combined He fought like a fury. And then we have Squires, of Australia who was a marvel — in looks.
The [B]"fighting face" [/B]is a delusion and a snare, and not worth a bet.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B]The Fort Wayne Journal
21 Jan 1917
By Robert Edgren[/B]
Have the days gone by when a sturdy Fighting man can come from nowhere and leap to the championship class in a single bound?. It seems that way, with our modern innocuous ten-round no decision boxing. To-day a champion ignores all challengers and waits months, or years, without taking the slightest risk of losing a title to a formidable rival.
Each challenger is as carefully inspected as an insurance applicant, his weak and strong points tabulated and the risks matched and balanced and summed up before the champion even
deigns to answer his challenge. It wasn't like that in the old days.
Then champions were jealous of their ring fame and too quick to oppose aspiring rivals. Consequently it happened now and then that an unknown found his chance to become world famous over night.
I was in San Francisco when Tom Sharkey came ashore at Vallejo from the cruiser in Philadelphia and fought some fireman bruiser from another ship. Sharkey knocked his man out with the first punch struck, won thousands of dollars for his shipmates, who had wagered six months' pay on their Champion, and made such an impression that he was talked of even in San Francisco forty miles away.
In those days the good fighters, went at the sport like huntsmen. They weren't rabbit hunters. They liked to go after bear and elk and big game. So when Sharkey's name appeared in the sporting columns all the skilled fighting men in his class immediately took interest in
him. Result, in a few days the sailor, who had finished his term of enlistment in the United States Navy, was offered a number of good matches. He didn't look for soft marks to work up on —
which is the modern practice. He took them as fast as they came. First he knocked out Australian Billy Smith in seven rounds, then John Miller in nine, and then fought an eight-round draw with the great old veteran of those days, Alex Greggains.
The sailor having shown himself to be a mighty tough customer, Joe Choynski gave him a match. Joe always was a sport. And Sharkey, coming with a rush knocked Joe out in eight rounds. That fight made Sharkey famous. Choynski was a tremendous hitter and as clever as any heavyweight. Twice he knocked the raw sailor clean through the ropes and out of the ring, to fall on his head on the floor. And twice Sharkey ran around the ring to his corner, climbed in under the ropes, and leaped to his feet and after Choynski like a wildcat. After beating Choynski, Tom
knocked out Jim Williams in three rounds.
By this time he had attracted the attention of Jim Corbett. then heavyweight champion and the idol of the Queensberry world. Jim came to San Francisco and at once consented to take
Sharkey on for a four-round bout. It was a risky thing to do. No modern champion would have considered such a risk for a second. Sharkey had shown himself a tremendous mauler.
I was in both camps during the training, Corbett, secure in his dazzling skill, laughed as he said he'd make a fool of "that sailor dub". Sharkey grimly declared he'd lick Corbett. When the fight
came off Sharkey rushed the champion with a speed and fury that offset his skill and forced him to cling desperately to avoid the bewildering flurry of unscientific blows that came from every
angle. Time and again Sharkey threw Corbett off and rushed him into the ropes before he could even place a simple jab. Half a minute before the end of the fourth round a police lieutenant
leaped into the ring to save Corbett from a knockout in the roughest mauling the champion had ever taken.
The bell clanged the official end of the round and the referee called it a "draw." Sharkey, with that other half minute, might have become world's champion. Think of It—a raw sailor, with a half dozen land fights under his belt, beating a Jim Corbett in four rounds. The mere possibility made Sharkey famous all over the country. From that time on until he fought Jim Jeffries for the
title, three years later, Sharkey was always a championship possibility – always in the position of runner-up. He was the man who had to be whipped before a heavyweight, champion could wear his crown with ease and security.
In that battle with Jeffries Sharkey was again within reach of the world title - only a doubtfully close referee's decision at the end of twenty-five furious rounds barring his way. Sharkey carried the fight to Jeffries every minute of the twenty-five rounds. After the twentieth Jeffries, realizing that the decision was lost unless he fought desperately, hammered with all his might at Sharkey's heart every time Sharkey plunged in. He broke three of Sharkey's ribs, battered him so that, although he whipped many good men afterward, he never was the same untamable fighter again, and put him out of the title hunt.
The leap of Jim Jeffries into the top rank of fighting men was even more sudden than that of Sharkey, he was given his chance to fight a champion before he had long been in the ring, and
Jeffries won. Big Jim was a boiler maker near Los Angeles. He began fighting by knocking out a negro heavyweight quite famous on the coast in those clays. He joined Jim Corbett's training camp at Carson before the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight and learned a lot about boxing by
studying Corbett's action.
After Carson Jeffries fought eight fights in California and one in the east, then retired to Los Angeles only a fairly well known heavyweight. Billy Brady, the famous theatrical man, had a world of faith in Jeffries . he persuaded Jeffries to come East again. Meanwhile Brady had talked of a Jeffries match to Bob Fitzsimmons, then champion, and had suggested that as Jeffries weighed about 225 pounds to Fitzsimmons 158, Fitz’s great skill and hitting power might be offset by Jeff’s strength and bulk sufficiently to make it a good match. Incidentally, Brady told Fitz that they would draw a good gate because Fitz hadn’t been in the ring for some time and people wanted to see him. Fitz took the match on , confident that he’d knock Jeffries out with ease. He believed in his own adage that “ The bigger they are the harder they fall”.
On the night of the fight Fitzsimmons walked to Jeff’s dressing room to throw a scare into Jeff. Brady had his giant boiler maker artistically stretched out on a cot to show his tremendous chest and huge muscles. Fitzsimmons came in, and even Fitzsimmons was impressed with that first glance that he stopped for a long look. Jeffries got up with a grunt and shook hands. Fitz began discussing the way in which they were to fight. He illustrated hitting in the breaks.
“You’ll have to protect yourself at all times” said Fitz. “How about that ?”. “Oh fight any way you please” growled Jeff, and putting his hand against Rob’s shoulder he shoved him away so violently that he fell against the wall. Jeffries stretched himself on the cot as if to take a little nap before the fight. Fitz awed for once in his life walked out.
But Fitzsimmons was the gamest man in the ring and a real champion. Impressed as he was with the gigantic strength of his youthful rival he carried the fight right to Jeffries furiously from the start. The end began to show when Jeffries knocked Fitzsimmons flat on his back with a straight left on the mouth. Although he fought with even greater fury afterward Fitz never fully recovered from that blow and when Jeffries measured him and struck him fairly on he point of the chin in the eleventh round, the freckled champion fell like a log. Jeffries, twenty four years old and only two years a professional fighting man, had won the world’s heavy weight championship.
If Jeffries could come along to day, just the same powerful boiler maker of twenty years ago he’d be allowed to mingle with our present heavyweight champion. Willard might be willing to fight him, but fighting has become purely a business affair. A champion is managed by a syndicate, like a railroad or a gold mine. And no syndicate would give Jim Jeffries a chance.So unless another chance comes along in the sport of boxing we’re not going to see any more champions come up in the mushroom fashion of twenty years ago. To day they like the “soft ones” too well.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B]The Fort Wayne Journal
28 April 1918[/B]
Jess Willard and Fred Fulton will furnish the next heavyweight championship fight, whether it's held on July 4 or some other time. Fulton is Willard's natural rival for the title. He will be the first, man of his own height Willard ever met in the ring. He will be the cleverest boxer Willard ever met, with the single exception of Jack Johnson. And, unlike Johnson, Fulton is coming, not
Fulton has a longer reach than any other man Willard ever fought. He has bigger fists than any other man Willard ever fought, and a harder punch than any other man Willard ever fought.
It may be that when he fought Willard Gunboat Smith could hit as hard as Fulton does now, but he was a wild swinger, not a clean and scientific puncher. Smith beat Willard in twenty rounds, being the referee’s decision.
Fulton isn't the heaviest man Willard ever fought, but he is the fastest big man so far. Johnson and Morris were both, heavier, which was a handicap.
Fulton has a frame fit to carry 240 pounds. He might weigh 240 without carrying fat. But he is of the leanly muscular type, like Bob Fitzsimmons. Fulton is not inclined to take on fat He trains regularly and fights often. Willard trains little, being lazy and fights less, because he has no ambition to fight.
Fulton has a habit of knocking out opponents. Willard has the ability to knock out opponents, but doesn't do it except on rare occasions. He lacks natural aggressiveness. He is satisfied to lead,
to avoid punishment himself, and to show off his own skill without making too much effort. Again, he is lazy in the ring as well as in the training quarters. Also he has an overwhelming
sense of caution. In his early fights, when it was hard to win he had streaks of aggressiveness, usually a flash after being hurt.
Willard was as big and as fast before fighting Johnson as he was at Havana, although he, lacked the really great skill he showed in that fight. If he had been a Fulton in aggressiveness and fighting spirit, he would have knocked out Arthur Pelky, Luther McCarty, Carl Morris, Gunboat Smith. Charley Miller. George Rodel. Tom McMahon and Frank Moran. He had the power and the ability to beat all these men, but he didn't use it through sheer lack of aggressive spirit.
Of course when he fought McCarty ten rounds Willard was a novice and McCarty counted the best white heavyweight, in the country, so when Willard outfought McCarty and met his rushes with solid counters through ten rounds he did well enough, and much more than was expected of him.
[B]Willard Can "Take It."[/B]
Willard. in shape to fight, has better assimilating powers than Fulton. I saw Fulton badly dazed twice by Al Reich's right handers, he recovered finely and stopped Reich in a few rounds more. But the fact remains that he was badly shaken by two hard blows on the jaw. And I don't believe either of those blows would have troubled Willard in the least.
I have seen Willard take blows. I saw Soldier Kearns, who was a tremendous hitter then, land a crashing swing in Willard's body and step back to let him fall. And Willard lunged forward and knocked Kearns cleanly out with one blow.
I saw Jack Johnson, in Havana, work for two rounds for the opening he wanted, and finally sink his glove to the wrist in Willard's solar plexus — and Willard countered and knocked Johnson about ten feet. I saw Johnson catch Willard with a fearful left hook on the chin, and as Willard was hammered over to one side by the blow, lift a swinging right-hander from his knee and catch Willard flush on the other side of the jaw with what looked like a sure knockout punch. And Willard. With a quick shake of his head, ripped in a body blow that took all the aggressiveness out of Johnson for a couple of rounds. He told me afterward that the swing on the jaw dazed him for a second, but he showed no effect of it. In the Frisco fight Gunboat Smith caught Willard on the jaw with a smashing right swing. The giant didn't totter, but he was so careful afterward that he lost the decision.
Several men have given Fulton a severe shaking. When he was a beginner Al Palzer stopped him. Porky Flynn, never a very hard hitter, is said to have staggered him once at New Orleans. I saw Reich stagger him twice. Miske gave him a hard fight, and Cowler shook him up and dazed him badly in their first, round.
[B]Fulton Come Back Fighting.[/B]
There's one thing in Fulton's favor in all this. He comes back very quickly when dazed by a blow, and uses good judgment when in trouble of any kind. He outfought Miske, and he outfought Flynn, and stopped Reich, and knocked out Cowler.
He took Moran's "Mary Ann" without flinching, and quickly stopped Moran. As a punishing hitter Fulton is far ahead of Willard. The champion strikes a terrible blow and is likely
to land a one-blow knockout at any time. But Fulton wears his man down quickly and cither knocks him out or has him so helpless after a few rounds that, the fight is stopped. Fulton gave
Reich such a beating in seven rounds that Reich gave up the game.
He beat Carl Morris until Morris fouled persistently, preferring to lose on a foul rather than take the knock out that was surely coming. He closed both of Sam Langford's eyes, so that Sam
quit. He knocked Sam down early in the fight with a left hook, and Sam got up and swung one on Fulton’s ear, dazing him. Fulton told me after the fight that he didn’t know what had hit him for a moment, but was able to stall Sam’s next two or three rushes off and take up the lead again. He gave Moran the worst beating Moran ever had in his life, and did it in a couple of rounds.
[B]Bulk Is Willard's Only Advantage.[/B]
Willard will have some advantage over Fulton in sheer bulk and strength, an inch or two in height, and if perfectly fit will be a tougher man to hurt. But Fulton is a better hitter, more aggressive, far more willing to take risks and will be driven by ambition instead of a desire to hold something already won.
Willard has a little better defensive build. His neck is thick and short, and his well rounded lower jaw is wide and not too prominent. Fulton's jaw is wide, but projects enough to make an easier mark to bit. A long jaw is more affected by a blow than a. short jaw , a matter of leverage. Willard has been loafing, while Fulton has been busy fighting the best men he could find.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B]The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette 2 June 1918[/B]
Benny Leonard is a great lightweight champion, and would be busy defending his title If he wasn't in khaki, acting as boxing instructor at Camp Upton.
The hard work of the military training camp is making Benny take on weight, and the followers of boxing are wondering if, when the war is over Benny won't be a candidate for the championship in a heavier class. Up to this time Benny has always fooled them all at the scales. Managers of other fighters have claimed freely that Benny had outgrown the lightweight class, but Benny weighed in a pound or so under the limit at ringside whenever there was any need for weighing in. He scaled 132 pounds when he fought Johnny Kilbane, and his low weight was as much of a surprise to the featherweight champion as the ease with which Leonard out-speeded and outfought and knocked Johnny out.
Leonard has had visions of fighting for other titles, for he has even spoken of an ambition to match his skill and punch against Mike Gibbons. If Leonard should grow out of the class there will be many candidates for the lightweight title. Two of the best offer a strong contrast. One is Lew Tendler, a Philadelphian youngster unknown until a couple or months ago, and the other
is Johnny Dundee, the Iron ribbed and steel jawed "[B]Scotch Wop[/B]."
As for Johnny Dundee, he was a veteran when Benny Leonard was in knickers — but although a hundred hard ring battles arc behind him, he shows no sign of losing his class. Dundee might have a chance to win the championship.
But the fight followers look for Leonard's coming rival among the new fighters coming up rather than to a fighter who is good but probably never will be better.
[B]Tendler May Be Coming Champion.
They turn to Tendler.[/B]
Down In Philadelphia the fans regard Tendler as a winner every time he starts. He has the slim, wiry and half developed physique of a boy. He boxes in his own natural style, standing with right foot and right fist advanced. He is a southpaw like that great favorite of a few years ago, “Knockout Brown”. But unlike K.B. he is a shifty boxer. He carries no scars, and his hair maintains its part through every fight. He has a high beak of a nose that would make it a great target if he didn’t protect it well. And he has a small chin like Kid McCoy’s, that is hard to reach. He is slightly built, but with good shoulders and evenly developed arms and legs.
When he boxes he shifts about lightly, and is always ready to drive a hard left for head or body, using it as other boxers use their right hands. He is one "southpaw" boxer who doesn't seem in the least awkward because he doesn't assume the orthodox position. Usually it is the other fellow who seems awkward, for while Tendler is used to fighting right handed boxers, few right-handed boxers are used to fighting a man who extends his right arm and uses it to parry a jab.
To show how rapidly Tendler has come along, March 26 Johnny Dundee had a little the better of him in a decision less Philadelphia, six-round bout. Then on April 8 Tendler startled every one by beating Patsy Cline in another six-rounder. The club that night was so packed that the police had to close the doors while thousands of people were in line before the box office.
[B]Slugger Was Easy For Lew[/B]
April 29th Tendler, suddenly famous and in great demand among fight promoters, beat Willie Jackson in New Haven, fifteen rounds, referee's decision. Jackson (the same who knocked out Dundee) is a hulking, powerful lightweight with a tremendous punch. He had been matched with Dundee, who was prevented from fighting by an attack of pneumonia. Tendler took the bout on short notice. He had no trouble in beating Jackson.
That Jackson fight brought Tendler $2,500, his biggest purse. He was a new boy in Philadelphia until eight months ago, when his fighting career began. In that eight months he has earned over $10.000, and has reached a position that should command many thousands more before he reaches military age, as he is only nineteen.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B]The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel
31 Jan 1920[/B]
Thousands of pages have been written about Champion Jack Dempsey and his wonderful hands and arms and legs, and the success he has earned with them. Here and there in the thousands or pages there has been some passing mention of one Jack Kearns, his manager.
Usually it is just a line saying that Jack Kearns is In Tia Juana conferring with James Coffroth, the famous promoter; or that Jack Kearns has just received an offer of $500,000, more or less, for a Dempsey- Carpentier match; or that Mr. Cochrane, England, is on his way to California to make a big proposition to Dempsey and expects to see Mr. Dempsey and Mr. Kearns in a
day or two.
Dempsey, as champion, is in the eyes of the world. But behind Dempsey is Jack Kearns. And to my mind Jack Kearns is not by any great margin the smaller figure of the two. It's no small feat to take an unknown boxer, discouraged and with little enthusiasm for a game that has brought only hard knocks and poor success, and in less than two years make him the greatest world champion ever known in the ring.
And in such demand that the sums offered for his service make chicken feed of any amount any other champion ever received.
I hunted up Jack Kearns in his office in Los Angeles and found him there sitting behind a large flat desk covered with telegrams and letters, gazing admiringly at a long typewritten list that he had just pinned against the wall at his elbow.
"There it is, up to date." Said Kearns, indicating the list with a wave of his hand. "There are the first twenty offers for the Dempsey – Carpentier match ranging from $200,000 to $750,000."
"I suppose you know which one you are going to take” I suggested.
“Oh, no," said Kearns. "I'm in no hurry . I’m just looking them over. When I know the bids are alll in I'll accept the one that looks best. I've had offers of $400.000 for Dempsey’s end and judging from the way the bids are growing It may be higher. But there are other things to be considered besides money. I'll have to know that the people who bundle this match will carry every thing through in the cleanest and most sportsmanlike manner.
Dempsey wants no favors because he's champion. He’ll win if he can, and the man who can beat him is welcome to the title and all that goes with it. Jack would like to box every week and take on the best man in sight. But he’s satisfied with any arrangement I make, and it's up to me to take care of the financial end. That's why I'm looking them over so carefully."
"[I][B]You don't seem much excited over all this big money[/B][/I]” I said.
Jack Kearns is one of those open faced, blond haired, blue eyed fellows who looks as If he were everybody's friend and had nothing on earth to conceal. He leaned back in his chair and laughed as if he'd thought of a good joke.
"It might make a fellow a little dizzy." he said, "to think that two years ago I was offered $20 for Dempsey’s end, and now they're falling over each other to hand us four or five hundred thousand dollars." Here the telephone bell rang and Mr. Kearns was told that two gentlemen from New Orleans had just arrived with a personal offer for the bout were waiting in the outer office. He disappeared for as much as five minutes.
Just as he came back the phone rang again, with the information that a representative of a certain millionaire movie magnate had just arrived from New York and was coming right up to insist upon getting a signed acceptance of a Carpentier-Dempsey proposition wired on a few
"He says he knows he has outbid any one else and I have no excuse for not taking up his offer at once," explained Kearns. "I'll have to stall. Here's Cochrane all the way from London, and I told him he'd have his chance to bid. And Coffroth and some other fellows I've promised to listen to. No. I won't do any signing or accepting just yet"
[B]Kearns Also Fought In Ring.[/B]
"While we are waiting." said I "let's go on with this story. I believe you used to do a little fighting yourself. What was the biggest purse you ever got?"
"Seven hundred dollars," said Kearns promptly, coming right down from the realms of high finance without a jar. "That was about all the money there was in the world in those days. Why, I was born and brought up in Frisco in a fighting district. In those days a fellow was in great luck to have saloon keeperfor a manager because he was sure to eat. He could get next to a free lunch.
I weighed from 128 to 135 and I fought Chicago Jack O'Keefe and Charlie Rogers and Denver Kid Parker: lost once and won once. I fought Australian Tommy Tracey twice, to a draw, and beat Mysterious Billy Smith in twenty rounds, but Billy was in pretty poor shape. I fought Mose LaFontise fifteen rounds at Idaho. He was a tough one. I fought Jimmy Potts and Billy Landon. And Aurelia Herrera knocked me out in twelve rounds. I fought Dal Hawkins twelve rounds. Those were days of real fighting.
We used to have private fights for Senator Clark and some other big millionaire mining men up north. I was a slim kid and the tough fellows I fought hammered me around the kidneys until I thought I’d be better off as a manager. So I turned right around and managed Kid Parker and kid Scales and Indian Joe Gregg and Young Peter Jackson and freddy Weeks. Weeks was a great bantam in those days. He was a few years too soon to be in the big money he’d make today. I had Kid McFadden and Dick Hyland and Frankie Neil and a lot more.
I got together a bunch of good ones and took them to Australia. There were McGorty and Clabby and Joe Bonds, Billy Kramer and Billy Murray And Red Watson. That Watson would have been a champion if he'd taken care of himself. In Australia I signed Les Darcy to a contract and arranged to bring him here but that slipped up. When Darcy came over a bunch of managers went him and got him to throw me over.
Les Darcy was a great fighter. "After that I took Strangler Lewis to San Francisco to wrestle. "I had a training Quarters in Oakland and had Red Watson and Ortega working out there. "That was how I happened to fall in with Jack Dempsey. Jack had started fighting and lost a four round bout to Willie Meehan and been knocked out by Jim Flynn in a round and had given it up. He was working in the shipyards. I met him standing around on the corner and liked his looks.
“How’d you like to come up and work out with Ortega?” I asked Jack. "'Oh. I can't fight” he said. “I’m no good. I'm tired of the game and through with it.' "'Come on over and work with the boys a little anyway.' I said. ""I've got to work all day tomorrow” said Jack, “but I'll be up Saturday afternoon.”
"He came up and boxed Saturday afternoon and Sunday. He was a nice boy and I offered to take him east in a month if he'd improve in boxing. He was strong and quick, but he would lead his right hand — said he couldn't use his left.
“So I had the boy’s take a punching bag rope and tie Jack's right hand down to his side and make him box with his left. He had to use his left then, and pretty soon he was hitting pretty well, and because he hadn’t a right to block with he was bobbing from side to side and ducking under punches. That was the beginning of his swaying style of fighting he’s used ever since. The style that has fooled Willard and Fulton and all the rest.
[B]Offered Kearns $20 for Dempsey to Fight Meehan[/B]
“I went and tried to get him a match and they laughed. Dempsey’s a bum – he can’t fight” they said.
They offered me $20 for Dempsey and I persuaded them to give him 20 per cent. He gave Meehan an awful beating. Then he beat Bob McAllister and knocked out Charlie Miller in eight seconds and Al Norton in two punches.
After that they began to look him over. They gave him a match with Gunboat Smith. The Gunner was good then. Dempsey had one fault still. He’d pull away from a punch instead of ducking close in. I told him about It but he would pull away. The Gunner measured him and caught him as he pulled back and nearly knocked him out. Jack reeled forward and the Gunner socked him again. That was when I learned Dempsey was game.. He lasted the round out. Between rounds 1 whispered to him to go get the Gunner before he could start from his corner. Everybody thought Dempsey was whipped, but he ran across the ring at Smith and gave him a fierce beating. Jack never pulled away from another punch.
After that he beat Carl Morris, and then he went east. He knocked Morris out twice. "In New Orleans he shifted, swung around and hit Morris in the stomach and knocked him out with the first punch. Morris fell on his face with his mouth open and his tongue stuck out so far it was covered in resin.
Here the telephone rang again and I left Kearns talking to a man from Texas who wants to hold the big bout on his cattle ranch.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B]The Montana Standard
13 Jan 1929
Champions I Have Known.
Jess Willard was a real champion. The day he whipped Jack Johnson at Havana he could have given a tough battle to any man who ever held the title. Like a football team on edge for the big game of the season, Jess was pointed, through five years of preparation, for that fight, and on the afternoon of April 5, 1915, he was invincible. He never went into any other fight with the same grim determination to win, and never before or afterward was in such perfect physical
Unfortunately, Willard was so completely eclipsed at Toledo, where Jack Dempsey knocked him out, that Jess has been regarded as good joke material ever since and his real fighting quality forgotten. Jess was the biggest champion of them all, six feet seven inches tall and perfectly built in proportion. At Havana he was trained down as lean as a greyhound, and scaled 243 pounds stripped the day of the fight. He weighed 265 when he lost the title to Dempsey, and more than that in many other fights.
reach, weight, strength, combined with unusual boxing skill and unusual quickness for a big man, put him in a class by himself among heavyweights. Willard's advantages in height,
If he'd had Jack Dempsey's eager aggressiveness no man of his time could have stayed in the ring with him two rounds. But while he had plenty of courage, Willard lacked ring spirit. He was naturally peaceful in disposition. He felt embarrassed because of his size and had no inclination to enjoy putting over a knockout. He preferred to outbox his man and grin, clown it and laugh with the crowd. He never cut loose real fighting except when he was hurt.
The first time I saw Willard in a ring was at a. small New York club, where he clambered over the ropes, not through them, and asked the referee to introduce him. He held a huge black Stetson cowboy hat in both hands and wore boots, and the crowd roared with laughter as he grinned
amiably and bent low to whisper to the referee. He was introduced as ' 'Cowboy Jess' Willard, come all the way from Oklahoma to New York, looking for a fight." For weeks after that, Willard was introduced regularly to get the laugh that always followed. It was some time, before anyone thought of making the joke funnier by putting him on the bill of fare.
[B]Raised On Open Spaces[/B]
I had a talk with Jess Willard one night when he got out of the ring. His history was interesting. Born on the edge of an Indian reservation, he had been brought up among the Indians, riding wild horses, hunting in Indian style and developing craft, speed and endurance. He became a plains teamster. One day he drove his six horse team and loaded wagon into a small town in Oklahoma and found everyone wildly excited over the defeat of Jim Jeffries by Jack Johnson, news of which had just come in. Willard listened. He felt just a little disturbed that the great Jeffries had lost the championship to a black man.
But there was no surge of race feeling in Willard. The landlord of the hostelry where he took his meals and stabled his horses came up gesticulating and red faced. “Jess” he said “why the hell don’t you lick that nigger? You’re big enough”
Willard quietly put up his horses. As he worked he indulged in the usual process of thinking. Jess finished his job and hunted up the landlord. “ I will “ he said That was all. Jess had the habit of not wasting words. He turned in his team and rode to Tulsa, looked up the proprietor of a gymnasium where small bouts were put on, explained to the promoter that he wanted to become a fighter and fight Johnson. Amused, the gentlemen sent Jess to the gymnasium and told him to go ahead.
Wlllard started, alone and friendless, asking questions of the few boxers he could find and grinning in friendly fashion when they laughed at him, but he quickly picked up skill. Willard knocked out several local heavies and then went to Chicago and trained in Mullen's gymnasium, meeting better boxers and learning every day. He knocked out three men in small bouts, and went to New York.
[B]Could Hit Like Piledriver [/B]
As I explained above, Jess was a joke in the big town. Until he was given a chance. First, he fought a 10-round no-decision bout with Arthur Pelky, a rugged heavyweight developed
in a Tom O'Rourke white hope tournament. Three weeks later, Luther McCarthy, who had just knocked out Al Palzer and come on to New York, was given Willard at the Garden, Jess
being picked as a good punching bag for McCarthy. McCarthy had everything, including contempt for the big fellow being thrown to him. He ran straight at Willard at the first bell and posted big Jess furiously through most of the first round. A hard right raised a reddened bruise under Willard's eye.
The punch didn't daze him, but it hurt him, and Jess handed Luther a good pasting. Then he grinned again, but he met McCarthy's rushes with jabs and uppercuts, and though there
was no decision at the end of 10 rounds, I, for one, wrote that Willard had won.
Jess knocked out Sailor White in one round, and then was given Soldier Kearns, a replica of old Tom Sharkey. Jess clowned and laughed until the eighth round. Then Kearns jammed swinging punch wrist-deep into Willard's solar plexus. Willard got mad. Kearns had jumped back fully eight feet. Somehow Willard hurled himself forward. His right fist landed on Kearns' chin, lifted him clean off his feet and whirled his 208 pounds through the air like a pinwheel. He fell on top of his head. That punch gave Kearns a "glass jaw" and finished him as a fighter.
Willard won more fights, but dropped a 20-round decision to Gunboat Smith in San Francisco In a later fight, Willard knocked out Bull Young in the eleventh round at Vernon Cal., and Young unconscious was rushed to a hospital Young died almost immediately and Earl Rodgers, Willards attorney, developed so much of a question about what really killed Young that Willard was promptly acquitted of the charge of manslaughter.
But that incident nearly finished Willard as a fighter. He told me later, when he fought a rotten 10 round no decision bout with Carl Morris in new York, in which both men seemed afraid to lead, that he couldn’t hit because “every time I wanted to let a punch go I saw Bull Young there in front of me instead of Morris, and I didn’t dare to “. His heart “ out of the game” big Jess grew fat and slothful, but he fought occasionally. However he was offered the Johnson fight, in Mexico. Johnson, escaping a jail sentence in Chicago, had skipped to Paris. He couldn’t come back to the United States without being jailed again, but he was willing to fight anywhere else.
Willard trained for several months under the direction of his manager Tom Jones. He was training at El Paso when Johnson refused to land in Mexico after coming by way of South America. Johnson had been told he’d be seized and held for ransom by Mexican bandits. He landed at Havana, and the fight was transferred.
[B]In Perfect Condition[/B]
I never saw a fighter in better condition than Willard was at Havana in the last month of his training and for once his temper was waspish. The night before the fight I was suddenly taken sick. I told Tex O’Rourke I must see Willard before sending my story by cable, and O'Rourke brought Jess to my room. I said to Jess: "You can't, be worrying about the fight or you'd be in bed by this time, trying to sleep." "I've nothing to worry about," smiled Jess. "This is the big chance I've been working for these five years, and I could fight all day and not tire
I've never been knocked down or hurt much by a blow and I don't believe Johnson could knock me down. I know his only chance will be in the first few rounds. He has gone back and I've come up to my best. I will fight him at his own game—make him lead He'll have to, or there'll be no fight I have all afternoon. I'll wear him down and knock him out. He'll shout everything he has in five to .seven rounds and he won't be dangerous after that. I'll play on the defense and take care of myself until the time comes, and I'll never cut loose until I know I have him helpless. Then
I'll knock him out. He may last 20 rounds, and I don't care If he lasts more than 20—the end will be the same.
So Willard described the fight to me the night before. And so it came out, except that Johnson didn't break so quickly, and was still dangerous up to the twentieth round. Willard boxed
carefully, wore Johnson down round by round. The last few rounds, I could sec Jim Savage, seconding Willard, urge him to finish It, and each time Willard shook his head. At the beginning of the twenty-sixth, Savage said to Willard. 'it's over. Finish him now." Willard looked across the ring and nodded, "You're right, he said to Jim, "I'll finish him now." At the bell Willard leaped at Johnson and swept him back with a savage body blow, brought Johnson's instinctive guard of crossed arms down a few inches with a light body jab, and shot over the finishing right. Johnson fell at full length. Five minutes after the count out his seconds had to almost carry him from the ring.
"I'll never fight again," Willard told me that night. "My job was to knock out Johnson, and I've done it. I'll always be remembered as the man who brought the championship to the white race — that's enough." Willard did box 10 rounds with Frank Moran Later he fought Dempsey but that's another story.
Re: Robert Edgren
[CENTER][B]By Robert Edgren
30 December 1912[/B]
Al Palzer and Luther McCarty are to meet Wednesday In Los Angeles, where promoter McCarey is holding a series of heavyweight bouts for the double purpose of getting the coin and bringing
out a new heavyweight champion When his series is over the final winner will have as good a claim to the championship as any one He will be the best of the present heavyweight crop.
The heavyweight situation is peculiar It is a situation never before seen in connection with any sport. Jack Johnson, once heavyweight champion, is barred from competition in any boxing club situated in America, France, Australia or England.
So far as boxing is concerned he might as well be dead Pugilisticaly he does not exist .So he is no longer recognized as champion. This leaves the title, without a claimant who can establish his right to it without further fighting . Al Palzer has about as good a claim as any one, as he knocked out Wells, champion of England. However, Palmer's claim amounts to little as yet as he has not met a number of other good heavyweights right here in America. He has not fought Luther McCarty, Jess Willard or Carl Morris or Gunboat Smith.
Any one of these men might have a chance to trim him. McCarty has a decision over Morris and a few days ago he knocked out Jim Flynn .But he has a number of good men to meet. The same can be said of each aspirant to the crown. One of the most promising heavyweights in the whole lot is Jess Willard, a former cow puncher who came here several months ago to take up
fighting Willard had two or thee bouts in the West. He came here without a record. When he was introduced at two or three fights in New York even body laughed. Willard certainly looked like a good joke. He wore a wide, pleasant smile and stood six feet six in his socks. When he was at last given a chance however he showed himself to be anything but a joke His last fight in New York , a few months ago, was with Luther McCarty and to the utter amazement of the spectators the smiling giant outboxed outfought outpunched and outgamed McCarty, winning the bout with ease
His tremendous reach gave him one advantage McCarty is a rushing close range fighter Willard jabbed his head off before McCarty could push into range But it was the big fellows infighting that made the real hit He uncorked an uppercut that nearly lifted McCarty from his feet every time it landed. That uppercut was delivered with a speed and force that made it a very dangerous punch. Unless I’m much mistaken Willard will have something to say about that championship. After fighting McCarty he retired to some quiet corner for a while and went on studying the game. When he came out again a week or two ago he knocked out tough Sailor White In a couple of rounds. That's better than Palzers best with White. Willard’s ability as a punisher was shown in the fight with McCarty. At the end of the ten rounds Willard had a puffed eye from a swig that had landed on his left cheekbone Aside from that he didn’t show even a bruise. But McCarty, in the picturesque vernacular of the ring was beaten to a pulp
[B]All Are Youngsters.[/B]
All of these new heavyweights are youngsters with comparatively little ring experience. McCarty was a globe trotter before he ever thought of fighting He was a cow puncher a sailor, a bridge builder —a lot of other things between jobs he "hoboed”. That is to say he satisfied his longing for a change of scene by roaming around the world and not being possessed of a bank account, he didn't pay out much money in railroad fares. When he began fighting he had his full growth,his matured strength. He started well, and after half a dozen Western engagements leaped suddenly into fame by knocking out Carl Morris. There is a story, seemingly well authenticated that Morris was robbed in the count in that fight, that he got a 1, 2 ,3 5, 10' count, and that he was waiting to get up at "nine' when the official unexpectedly yelped "ten. However that may be McCarty knocked Morris down and that indicates the possession of a genuine championship punch Before that nobody had succeeded in even jarring the Oklahoma giant .
[B]Palzer Has Experience [/B]
Al Palzer the town farmer who fights McCarty next, has done more work in the ring He has defeated a number of good men. Tom O'Rourke knows fighters, and Tom O’ Rourke obstinately
refused to match Palzer against Call Morris when Morris was fighting well here In New York. However, Palzer has been coming along. He defeated "Bombardier" Wells of England in three rounds , Palzer got no glory with that victory it must be admitted. Wells gave him the most terrific beating in a round and a half that any heavyweight ever took in that short time. He knocked Palzer down and all but out. He had ''Big Al” reeling and staggering about the ring. Still, that fight brought out the qualities in Palzer that may make him a champion. He showed a bulldog gameness in getting up after taking an amazing amount of punishment. He never will be a clever boxer. He hasn’t either craft or quickness of thought But as a slugger he has few equals, if any.
As for Carl Morris, I think that affair with McCarty can be thrown out of the calculations. Morris is part Indian, and he doesn’t talk. He makes no excuses. Others have said he was unhurt, was taking the count deliberately ready to get up. There can be no question of his gameness. He’s wonderfully game. He is a giant in height, weight and strength, and he has become a fairly good boxer. Since losing to McCarty he has knocked out a number of other heavies, and he’ll have to be given a chance.
[B]Smith Has A Chance[/B]
Gunboat Smith is a good boxer and hard hitter. Lately the men put against him have been afraid of his punch He has a knack of dropping the left over in a long range hook that has a terrific!
Jarring effect, and he can hit like a kicking mule with his right. The way he polished off Jim Stewart and Jim Savage showed that. Smith is cool too, deliberate and calculating. The only things against him as a championship candidate are his weight 135 pounds and some doubt as to his gameness. In his California fights he earned a poor reputation by showing the white feather. And although he has never quit here he has been over ready to take advantage of opportunities to foul. I doubt the gameness of any fighter who is anxious to "get away with" a foul blow.
This is about the pick of the heavyweight crop of to-day. Of the black aspirants there are Joe Jeanette who seems to be going back in form of late and Sam Langford The latter is in
Australia, where he has been fighting Sam McVey every now and then, for the championship of the world. In Australia Sam is champion. That doesn’t go however, when he gets on the steamer He’ll have to clean up pretty well before he can take the title here, and he won t find the new heavyweight giants as easy as Jim Flynn, whom he used to knock out every now and then when he needed pocket money.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B][CENTER]The Boston Globe
"I've come back to America to see my old friends just once more," Charlie Mitchell told me when he landed in New York a few weeks ago. There was a touch of pathos In Mitchell's tone. The man who once fought John L. Sullivan to a draw after three hours and 11 minutes of desperate battling, is only a shadow of the once famous "Boxing Champion of England."
Mitchell's visit is well timed. Today there is a situation in the heavyweight boxing ranks much like that when Mitchell first visited America, 33 years ago. Bob Moha and Jack Dillon, by easily defeating some of the big heavyweights, have forced themselves into a position next to Willard, the holder of the heavyweight championship.
Thirty-three years ago it was little Charlie Mitchell who was ready and willing and able to prove that a small man can give a big man a fight, if he has skill enough. The chief difference between Mitchell and Dillon and Moha is that, while the modern "giant-killers" weigh about 135 pounds stripped, Charlie Mitchell In his best day weighed 21 pounds less than that! Yet he was considered the great John L. Sullivan's only dangerous rival.
Charlie Mitchell was discovered in a peculiar way ,a way that shows the man who is eventually to become champion in Willard's place may be walking about among us today without attracting even a passing notice.
John L. Sullivan's manager was Billy Madden. Sullivan and Madden had a falling out. Madden went to England to try to find a man to whip Sullivan. He knew Sullivan's pride in everything American.
He remembered how John L. had offered to whip Jem Smith, champion of England, in a private bout before the Prince of Wales, and not only to fight for nothing, but give Smith a thousand dollars if he stayed two rounds. So Madden wasn't satisfied to hunt up an American to fight Sullivan. He wanted to humiliate John L. by bringing over an Englishman to trim him.
Madden went to England and laid his plans for finding a man to beat Sullivan. Going to the office of Sporting Life, he met Mr Atkinson, the editor, and proposed to get up a series of big tournaments to develop an English heavyweight fit to fight for the world title. He advertised in Sporting Life for men from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England to fight in heavyweight contests. Thirty-three men answered Madden's ad. They were from all over the British Isles, and Madden paid their traveling expenses and brought them to his headquarters.
[B]Sports Objected to Carpets[/B]
He leased a big show hall at. Lambert's Baths, put his men into training under his own supervision and made all arrangements to hold the tournament. An inspector was sent from
Scotland Yard to watch the contests. His only objection was that the men fell too hard on the bare floor. He ordered a carpet put down In the ring, which was a new idea in those hardy days, and much criticized as a sign of "modern effeteness." English sportsmen liked to hear the thump when fighters fell. They still had the London prize ring idea.
The first tournament went off with no startling features. The winners were nothing to look at, and Madden was as far as ever from having a man to fight Sullivan.
The next series of contests was at St George's Hall. The tournament was open to all comers, the winner to get £20 and the second man £10 sterling. A sensational middleweight, known as "The Deaf 'un," from Norwich, knocked out all rivals until the tournament was nearly over.
He was only 5 feet 7 inches tall, and he was a terror! He weighed a little under 150 pounds, yet when he hit the big men their heels flew up in the air and their heads struck the floor first when they fell. The "Deaf 'Un" made a tremendous hit, especially with Madden. The "Deaf 'un" upset all of Madden's theories that a giant was needed to whip Sullivan. After a number of knockouts Madden was about ready to make him a proposition for an American trip.
[B]Sensation at Very Start[/B]
But in the same tournament was a small, smiling- fellow who dressed with extreme care when out of the ring, had some education and offered the greatest contrast in the world to the rest of the fighters. A novice, he had amazing speed and natural ability in both defense and offense. He outboxed so many that Madden looked him over and decided that he'd do to light the "Deaf 'Un" in the windup.
Mitchell met the "Deaf 'Un," who immediately rushed furiously. Little Mitchell, smiling, slipped aside. Billy Madden, standing in the wings, waited to see the "Deaf 'Un" knock Mitchell cold. The "Deaf 'Un" used a terrific right swing. Mitchell, smiling pleasantly, watched the right, and every time It started slipped under it and drove his left stiffly into the pit of the "Deaf 'Un's" stomach. When he drove the "Deaf 'Un" back he varied his attack by jabbing him swiftly on the nose. The "Deaf 'Un's" fury cooled suddenly, and after three rounds he was backing away, while little Mitchell punched him all over the ring.
Mitchell won the tournament. But he weighed only 143 pounds, and Madden couldn't believe that he'd have a chance against John L. He started another tournament. This time he found two giants, known as "Keenan's Big 'Un" and the "Eighty-One Tonner." They were bigger men than Jeffries. Madden matched them to see which was the better man. They both fought hard for a couple of rounds, then both slopped. Madden decided that they couldn't fight Sullivan. Not satisfied, Madden had tournaments at Newcastle and Birmingham. Before 8000 people Birmingham Mitchell won again, beating- "Tug" Wilson. He beat Alf Greenfield. Then he beat Clark of Newcastle, one of England's best heavyweights, with ease. Clark claimed afterward that "Mitchell oughtn't to have hit him as he did." The last tournament was in London, the big concluding show. Mitchell beat every one again. His skill was growing in every fight. All over England he was becoming a popular hero.
[B]Thought Him Too Small[/B]
Finally Madden sat down with Mitchell one day and said: "I don't know if you can make any money over there in America—you're so small. American people will naturally think it'll take a big man to fight Sullivan." "Then I'll fight Charlie Norton, the American lightweight champion," said Mitchell. Madden threw up his hands. "If you mention Norton that'll settle it!" he exclaimed. "You'll have to go after Sullivan. It you get a match with Sullivan I'll furnish $1000 to back you." "Yea," said Mitchell, "and you'll bet $2600 the other way." "No," said Madden. "I'll bet $1000 on you if you fight Sullivan, or $2500 if you fight any one else."
When Mitchell and Madden landed in New York a great number of reporters and sporting men boarded the boat, to see the heralded English invader. When they saw him, a little, thin, dudish fellow, they wouldn't believe he was Mitchell, the lighter. When Madden insisted they laughed.
Madden offered to have Mitchell fight Sullivan in Madison Square Garden, Sullivan to set a third of the gross receipts. Sullivan wired an offer of a third of the receipts if Mitchell would fight a friend of his, Mike Cleary. Mitchell accepted. Mayor Grace had stopped "prize fighting," but four-round bouts were, allowed. Sullivan was in Cleary's corner ( Cleary was a 175 pound man) and saw little Mitchell sink lefts into Cleary's stomach until the police jumped in, in the third round to save Cleary from a knockout. After that Sullivan could not longer ignore the little "Boxing Champion of England." They fought in the Garden. This was one of the most sensational fights ever held.
[B]Put John L. on His Back[/B]
When Sullivan rushed, little Mitchell met him squarely instead of backing away like all other rivals. Sullivan had a habit of feinting once before swinging his right. As he feinted with his left Mitchell stepped in swiftly and drove his right fist straight for Sullivan's jaw. Sullivan's heels flow up into the air and he struck the flat on his shoulder blades.
He rose with a roar of mingled rage and astonishment. Sullivan had never been handled like that before. With a bull like bellow, he ran at Mitchell, brushed his arms aside and, catching him about the waist, threw him against the ropes and leaned his weight on him, Mitchell struggled to get away, and Sullivan, grasping the ropes on each side pinned him there. Little 143-pound Mitchell had no chance against the 200 pound Sullivan at roughing. From that time on Mitchell jumped about and hit Sullivan hard and often, but the big follow roughed him until in the third round, with Mitchell very tired, the police jumped into the ring.
The master of ceremonies (there being no referee) gave Sullivan a "decision," although it was a no-decision bout. Mitchell went on fighting and beat a number of good heavyweights. He was still a welterweight himself, seldom weighing more than 143 or 145 pounds even at catchweights. It was nearly five years later that he fought Sullivan for the championship of the world at Chantllly, France, just outside of Paris. This is one of the worlds historic ring battles. Mitchell weighed about 145 pounds, Sullivan over 200. The fight was on turf, in a glade in a private park. Few spectators were present. It was cold and rainy. Both men were chilled through and the soft wet turf under foot was trampled to mud ankle deep.
[B]Both Roughed It[/B]
It was London prize ring rules, to a finish, Sullivan, relying on his great strength, threw Mitchell violently and full on him many times, while Mitchell cut. Sullivan to ribbons with vicious hooks and jabs, spiked him in the clinches and sometimes threw him in the wrestling. After a couple of hours of this both men grow almost too weary to bit. Mitchell was becoming worn down because Sullivan held him and leaned on him with all his weight in every clinch.
Sullivan’s legs gave out so that he could only stand on one spot in the mud and turn to meet Mitchell's attack. At last after three hours and 11 minutes, when neither man had strength enough left to push the other over, the seconds, backers and principals agreed to call it a draw. Mitchell's downfall came 6 years later. By that time high life had cut down his strength and speed, he fought Jim Corbett, the new champion, who had knocked out Sullivan, and was beaten down and knocked out, game and defiant to the last, In three rounds. Mitchell weighed 144 pounds in that fight, Corbett 188. And Corbett was the fastest, and cleverest heavyweight that ever put on a glove. He was a great lighter in his day, this "Boxing Champion of England," welterweight, fought the greatest heavyweights of his time. Mitchell, even more than Corbett, who showed the Queensberry world that brute strength cannot dominate when opposed to courage, and skill.
Re: Robert Edgren
[CENTER][B]The Boston Globe
19 April 1919
THE LEFT-HAND PUNCHES
By Robert Edgren[/B]
Now that boxing has taken its place among world sports and has become of importance in training fighting men in the United States Army, millions of people are taking a new interest in old ring champions and their methods.
For more than twenty-five years I have made a close study of our champions, have watched them in. their greatest battles, and have often put the padded mittens on with some of them myself, to find out through personal experience what traits of character or physical power made them superior to other men.
In the old days of English boxing the English placed great reliance in 'straight left." The Jem Mace School of boxing was of the "hit and get away" order, nearly all of the fighting being done with the left hand, the right reserved for a finishing blow. This is the safest style of boxing, and a skillful fighter with a fast left hand can easily beat down a stronger and clumsier opponent in a long fight.
A curious thing that I have often noticed in left-handed fighters is the peculiar development of the left, arm, Abe Attell had a wonderful left land. When I first saw him fight, at Alex Greggains' old club on Howard St in San Francisco, Abe was a two-handed slugger. His right arm was larger and stronger than his left, as is usually the case with any naturally right-handed person.
After years of boxing Attell's left arm became larger and stronger than his right. I have noticed the same development in Jeffries, Fitzsimmons, Hawkins, McCoy and hundreds of other famous ringsters.
[B]Style All His Own[/B]
One of the most remarkable left handed hitters ever known in the American ring was Dal Hawkins. Dal was brought up in Virginia City, Nev, and as a boy did quite a little fighting in
that old mining camp. When he went to San Francisco he had taught himself a style of fighting that was all his own. He had studied out a use of the left hand that no other fighter had at that time.
Dal practiced striking a blow by reaching out slowly to full arm's length and then suddenly twisting his wrist, turning the palm of his clenched hand down and slightly lifting the elbow.
this blow was the shortest left-hand blow ever used by any fighter. It traveled only three or four inches and it knocked a man down as if he had been struck with a baseball bat.
Frank Erne, one of the fastest lightweight champions of his time, was caught and nearly knocked out by that blow. Erne was watching Hawkins left in the first round as the men came
together Hawkins reached out slowly with that left. Erne told me he thought Hawkins intended to pull down his guard, which was held high. Erne saw Hawkins' hand poised motionless in the air just above Erne's own protecting forearm - and then he heard the referee count "seven," realized that he was lying on his back, and managed to get up.
[B]Spectators Could Hardly See It[/B]
What happened was just this: Hawkins reached out slowly until his hand was near enough to deliver his peculiar blow. It didn't look like a punch, and Erne didn't move to get out of range
Hawkins gave his wrist and forearm a twist and his clenched clove struck on Erne's cheekbone. But for Erne's high guard the blow would have reached his chin, as Hawkins intended, and
Erne would have been knocked out Hawkins knocked out scores of fighters with that blow. In each of his two fights with the great Joe Gans he dropped Gans for a nine-second count in the first round, with this punch. It was a blow even the spectators could hardly see delivered, and the. Effect of it was as startling to the onlookers as to the recipient.
Another great one-punch left-hand hitter was Eddie McGoorty. I saw him knock out Jack Harrison. English middleweight champion, and Dave Smith. Australian middleweight champion, each with almost the first blow of the battle. McGoorty's blow was longer than Dai's, being more of a left hook. But it was delivered with the same twist of the wrist.
[B]Made McCoy Famous[/B]
Kid McCoy become famous through use of his "corkscrew punch." He could knock down a man of twice his strength, with that short blow. I always thought that the crafty Kid borrowed that blow from Dal Hawkins. He used it in much the same way. But McCoy told -me that he studied out the blow himself, his original intention being to cut his opponent's face by twisting his fist as his jab landed.
Later he developed so much power with the twist of the wrist that he turned it into a knockout blow instead of one merely designed to mutilate and dishearten a rival.
A great. left-handed boxer — although never a great fighter in the sense that Sharkey ,Jeffries, Ruhlln. Sullivan and the rest of the big men were great was Jim Corbett. Jim was a beautiful
boxer, fast as a streak and as quick of mind as he was of foot. He was tall and slightly built, and of the "hit and get away" school.
He jabbed old John L. Sullivan until John collapsed in the 21st round. He jabbed Jeffries for 23 rounds before Jeff knocked him out. He jabbed through 61 rounds with the black marvel, Peter
Jackson, and, while he couldn't do much to Peter, Peter couldn't do anything at all to him.
Corbett's jabbing victory over Sullivan, in which he danced away from Sullivan's bull-like rushes and tap-tap tapped his way to victory, changed the style of American coxing for several years, until Fitzsimmons, Jeffries and the heavy hitters demonstrated that the weight behind a blow wins fights.
[B]The Solar Plexus Punch[/B]
Bob Fitzsimmons was the most remarkable left-handed hitter of them all. He could hit equally hard with either hand, but usually hit first with the left and that was enough to win. He made
the "solar plexus punch" famous when he knocked out Corbett in 14 rounds at Carson. When Fitzsimmons first toured America as a fighter he knocked out most of his victims by hitting them on the jaw with either right or left. Mike Donovan told Fitz that he'd surely kill some of the big fellows who fought him on the stage when he was meeting all comers, if he continued knocking them out with blows on the chin.- -Many of them were blacksmiths and lumbermen and strong fellows who didn't know how to protect their chins, but thought they
He begged Fitz to hit them in the body, with the left. So Fitz worked out the solar plexus punch, and Mike once told me Bob was as pleased as a child with a new toy as he went on, night after night, knocking out his men with a single hook neatly placed on the soft spot just below the edge of the ribs, usually called the "pit of the stomach."
Fitzsimmons had a trick of shifting his right foot forward and then hooking the left hand just as he would naturally hook a right in the normal left-foot-forward boxing position. This was his famous "shift," and it gave him tremendous leverage for a knockout blow.
He knocked out both Sharkey and Ruhlin with this punch. Both of them told me after the fights that they'd never fight "old Bob" again, for fear of being killed. He hit too hard. Fitzsimmons was the craftiest of all fighters. I asked Kid McCoy — crafty as a fox himself — why he never fought Fitzsimmons. "Because that old guy knows too much." said McCoy. "I can measure any other man's mind and tell what he's likely to do next, but when you think you know every move old Fitz can make he pulls out something new that you never thought of."
Sam Langford has passed his best days, but Sam still has some trace of the wicked lunging left swing for the body that made him a terror among heavyweights. I've seen him beat down
scores of men with that blow. Langford had tremendously wideband powerful shoulders, and he swung his whole body with the blow. Jack Dempsey, who is to fight Willard
July 4. is a heavy body hitter with the left. He doesn't swing, but drives the left straight in or uses It with a lifting hook, according to his opening. He practically knocked Fulton out with that punch, although he hit him twice on the chin before he fell. He has brought down Morris, Gunboat Smith and a lot of other heavyweights by bending them double with a left in the body and then hooking the same hand up to the jaw, sometimes crossing, the right to the jaw as a finishing touch. Johnson has lost all the reputation He ever had, or might have had, and I wouldn't mention him here but for one thing. As a fighting machine he had have a few tricks worthy of a scientific interest.
Johnson's best punch was an uppercut, delivered when too close to his opponent to deliver any other blow. With his elbow close to his body and his forearm straight up he could deliver a jarring uppercut under the chin, even when the other man was trying to clinch. He had a trick of pushing about until his rival was a little off balance, and then shooting in this uppercut, preferably with the left fist. It was a wicked blow, and one against which it was almost impossible to offer a defense. This blow was among the many taught in the army camps, for
use when our soldiers were at grips with the Boche in hand-to-hand fighting.
[B]80 Percent Done by Left[/B]
Benny Leonard, present lightweight champion, makes great use of a left hand punch in the body. This blow was the one that led to the knockout of Welsh by Leonard. Former heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries was a great left-handed fighter, being naturally left handed. Unlike some other left-handed fighters, he didn't try to reverse the usual boxing position and hold the left hand back for a finishing punch. He extended his left, and he could hit a terrific straight blow with it. McAuIiffe the original Jack Dempsey, Dixon, McGovern, and all the old time, champions were great users of the left hand. Although many of them used the right for a finishing punch, the real wearing down was done with the left .A summing up of all the blows struck in a fight between skilled boxers shows that the left does at least 80 percent of the work in the ring.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B][CENTER]The Montana Standard, Butte
20 May 1934
Boxing comes to life with a bang with two such championship fights as McLarnin-Ross and Carnera- Baer stirring things up in the New York arena May 28 and June 14. Here are two championship cards that would have had Tex Rickard talking in millions—and taking millions in at the gates. That McLarnin-Ross affair is a wow No stumble match, this. Both boys know their way around the ring. It isn't often that champions in two weight closes meet under circumstances that make an even money bet a fair proposition. It would be fair this time. There will be little difference in weight. They fight at 147 pounds, welter limit Ross came back from his two weeks' training in the woods weighing just 148.
It's no secret that making the lightweight limit has been bothering Ross. Although he made it for Tony Canzoneri, he has been fighting around the country since then as a "Junior welterweight" — more welter than junior. He has put on weight and learned how to handle It, and he has been getting the feel of stacking himself up against more beef. Ross hasn't been doing this Just to collect a little easy money. He likes to go right after money in big chunks and take chances, as shown by that Canzoneri rematch in New York. It's evident Ross has a scheme and thinks there's no use wasting time putting it over. Feeling that he is rapidly outgrowing the lightweight title, what could be more natural than to try to annex another championship?
[B]Bout a Natural.[/B]
It was like Ross to go right after Jimmy McLarnin and the welterweight crown. It is natural that he should figure he'll never have a better chance. Ross is 23. He started as an amateur In 1926 and won about 150 fights. This is his fifth year as a professional, and he has had plenty of experience. He should be at the top of his form right now.
McLarnin was born in Ireland 27 years ago, and he has been fighting 10 years or more. He has had only one ring battle in the past year and a half. One year since the Corbett fight, lacking a day, will have passed when Jimmy steps into the ring with Ross. Barney might easily think Jimmy has grown soft from lack of fighting but that notion is always a mistake when you're figuring McLarnin. He is one fighter who seems to thrive on laying off to go fishing.
Perhaps the reason is that he always puts in a lot of quiet training up in the back woods before fighting again. One thing about McLarnin: no one has yet seen him in the ring out of fighting trim. He'll be light for Ross.
[B]Will Be No Maypole Party.[/B]
Perhaps Ross counts on the fact that Young Corbett was plastering Jimmy all over the ring when Jimmy got mad and slipped over the unexpected left hook that dropped Corbett as If he'd been hit with a club. Well, those things seem to happen to good fighters who mix with Jimmy. Corbett was very good, and still is. Only a couple of weeks ago he knocked out Young Terry, the Trenton buzz saw. with a terrific solar plexus punch in the third round. He's on a drive for the middleweight crown and likely to give Vince Dundee plenty of trouble If they meet. So Jimmy's feat of starting Corbett with a single desperate left hook and finishing him with a couple of rights was nothing to Jeer at.
It may be Ross figures on outboxing Jimmy. Well, lots of clever fellows have figured that way. The first I saw was Jackie Fields, who made Baby Face flounder through the first round, and then forgot to duck when the exasperated McLarnin let his right go in the second. A similar classic was when McLarnin met Sid Terris In New York —Sid faster than a light ray and with a mean kick In either mitt— one of those ring marvels of the century just about to arrive. I never had a greater surprise than that one McLamin came out looking rather sleepy and wearing a funny apologetic little smile. Sid danced around Jimmy and was in and out a couple of times with jabs so swift you could hardly see his glove flicker in Jimmy's face and snap back again. Then, as Sid's left flickered but again Jimmy moved forward suddenly, his shoulders gave a sort of a wriggle and his right glove landed on Sid's chin. In the same instant Sid hit the floor, and he didn't get up because he couldn't.
It was much the same when the Ghetto Idol, Ruby Goldstein, was Flattened in the second round. Did the Ghetto expect to see Ruby collect? Well, the fight drew $106,000. Mandell Fooled Jimmy. And It was even more so when the backers of Al Singer, who had just knocked out Sammy Mandell in one round and had become the new Ghetto idol In New York, thought it
would be a fine stunt to match Al against Jimmy McLarmn right away for a big gate. Jimmy had outgrown the lightweight class so the title wasn't at stake. He knocked poor Al out so hard in the third round that it ruined Singer forever as a fighter. Canzoneri added a finishing tough by knocking Al out for the title.
Jimmy spoiled a lot of lighter fighters with that right-hand clip on the chin. Give him a few pounds in the weights and he could ruin any of them, and did it. Except, of course, Sammy Mandell. There was a lightweight champ with all the boxing class in the world McLarnin fought Sammy for the title In 1928, and for once met a fighter who could shower him with gloves and never stand still long enough to be hit. Mandell won the 15-round decision. Jimmy decisioned Sammy a couple of times after that In 10 round bouts, but never could catch him with the big
punch. But perhaps the socks he got over slowed Sammy up for it was not long after he met McLarnin in Chicago that Sammy, for the first time in his life, forgot to duck and was knocked out of the title by Singer.
Barney Ross may be counting on what Mandell did to McLarnin in their first bout, figuring that he can match anything Mandell had in skill, and that he took the title from Canzoneri who knocked out Singer in a round after Singer knocked out Mandell. Perhaps Barney has done so much figuring on this that he's dizzy. But whatever he has figured he'd better not go m there with McLarnin intending to stand close and trade punches.
[B]Quick to Grab Opening.[/B]
It's no way to fight Jimmy. McLarnin can wait his chance and take it faster than any other man who ever put on a glove. And he is deadly to fighters of the Terris, Goldstein, Singer persuasion. Didn't he ruin Benny Leonard's comeback for him?
He should feel quite at home fighting Ross, especially if he has a few pounds advantage in the weights an advantage Jimmy knows how to use better than anyone else. On the other side. Ross has shown himself a fighter. He can fight in any style and likes mixing. He's a smooth bird in action, with plenty of nerve, good defense, good judgment, and a knack of fighting in close. It's possible he may get away with it. Jimmy has been fighting a dozen years or so He was supposed to be slowing up when he met Corbett and fooled everybody with a one-round knockout. Perhaps he is slowing up now.
But one night sitting in Bob Shand's place In Oakland just before the McLamin-Corbett fight I suggested this to Pop Foster, who has handled Jimmy since he first put on a glove. Pop snorted.
I'll tell you about Jimmy," he said. "The boy's not only not going back but he's at his best right now and still improving. He'll give you the surprise of your life. He'll win this fight by knocking Young Corbett out in one or two rounds.' Well, he did. I saw him do it, and after seeing the waspish way Jimmy set sail for Corbett after being punched around the ring for two minutes—and the way he dropped Corbett with a left that was so lightning-fast even Jackie Fields insisted It was a right—I wouldn't bet against Jimmy if he was 10 years older and wore whiskers.
Re: Robert Edgren
[B][CENTER]The Montana Standard 4 November 1928
By Robert Edgren
Champions I Have Known.[/CENTER]
It gives a writer on sports a little perspective when he can look back to such champions an John L. Sullivan, Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons. These three were prizefighters. The term "prizefighters" has practically gone out of use, except by reformers, trying to give the gentle art of boxing a severe verbal jolt. It has gone out of use because there are no prizefighters now, and here haven't been any for many years.
John L. Sullivan, Corbett and Fitz all started as prizefighters. Sullivan indeed as a prizefighter. All began with bare fist fights, to a finish, winner take all. They fought in me woods, the sand dunes, on barges, under cover of barns or out in rain or snow or sleet. Mostly they fought because they were filled with an ambition to prove that they were better men than the other fellows who liked fighting. They didn't say that the winner was the better boxer; they just said "the best man won." It was supposed to be a great test of manhood, to go out and fight until the loser was counted out.
[B]Winner Take All.[/B]
Up to the time of the Fitzsimmons-Corbett championship fight at Carson, Nevada, in 1897, champions practically always fought winner take all. That made it a prizefight. Usually
here wasn't much money at stake. Sullivan and Corbett fought for a purse of $25.000, winner take all, and or a side stake put up by their backers.
Corbett and Fitzsimmons fought or a purse of $15.000. Imagine any modern fighter "risking his championship" for small change like that. But fighters weren't afraid to risk something in the old days. They weren't business men. They were just fighters and proud of it. I knew John L. Sullivan for many years, and often talked over his famous fights with him, saw him in many exhibitions, but never saw him in a real fight. John's active fighting days were before my time, but remember vividly the early evening in Red Bluff, a small town in California, when I first heard of the sport of prizefighting and awakened an interest that has never waned.
With several other small boys I joined a crowd standing outside the telegraph office. There was an electric tension in the air. Men were talking about the great fight between Sullivan and Kilrain, somewhere in the woods down in Mississippi. A couple of hours passed. Then the telegraph operator suddenly raised his window, stuck his head out and yelled; "Sullivan wins." Men threw their hats into the air" and yelled for Sullivan, and all the small boys ran around yelling, "Sullivan wins." It seemed something very glorious and important.
And Sullivan was a great champion. If a Sullivan appeared today he'd go through our heavies like a brick through a showcase. John L. first became famous as the Boston Strong Boy. He wanted to become a baseball player and did play on a local team, but Professor Mike Donovan, middleweight champion, came along and challenged any young fellow in Boston to set-to with him at a benefit.
fighters in those days made so little money that they had to give themselves benefits now and then. Sullivan set-to with Mike,who was a great boxer and an experienced fighter. Mike told John he'd go easy, so John needn't be afraid of being hurt.
[B]John L. Gets Start.[/B]
Sullivan had the deepest voice I ever heard. When he was annoyed he fairly roared. He roared at Donovan: "You'll be lucky if I don't break your neck." So Donovan thought he'd better give the rough youngster a lesson in politeness. He punched John, and John swung his right arm like a ball bat, hit Mike on the shoulder blades as he ducked and knocked Mike down so hard Mike's nose was broken by impact with the floor. Mike told John he'd better quit baseball and become a fighter, told him he would lick any man in the world and become champion.
Sullivan took the advice. He won fights and made a local reputation, then went to New York and knocked out John Flood, "the Bulls Head Terror", In eight rounds, at midnight on a barge in the Hudson river. Sullivan went up fast after that. He knocked out Paddy Ryan for the world's championship and a $5,000 side stake, London Prize Ring Rules, bare knuckles to a finish. He knocked out Jake Kilrain for $10.000, a side, in 75 rounds, London Prize Ring style when only a knockdown or a fall terminated a round. Sullivan beat a lot of other men, and John's backers
took him on a tour of America, meeting all comers with a forfeit of $400 to any man he failed to knock out in four rounds. He didn't have to pay anyone but Tug Wilson, who stayed four and was still fighting.
Sullivan was a heavy drinker. He made money fast and threw it over a thousand bars. He never trained. You'll notice in all the old photos of John L. that he was pretty fat around the waist for a fighter. But he didn't need much condition. He had all other fighters buffaloed, the way Bobby Jones has the golfers now.
Billy Muldoon, now boxing commissioner in New York, was the only man Sullivan respected; the only man who could make John train. Billy drove him to it with a baseball bat. Wild Living Beat Him. ' Sullivan's crash came through years of reckless living. Nine years after he won the championship, grown fat and careless of condition, he boxed a four-round exhibition with a young Olympic club boxing Instructor in San Francisco, Jim Corbett. He didn't lay a glove on Jim. A little over a year later Sullivan let Corbett have a match, at New Orleans. He was so
disdainful of the "dancing master" that he didn't train at all—just went out into the woods and sat on a log when he was supposed to be doing roadwork. And Corbett leaped and ran and kept Sullivan plunging until old John lost his wind and his legs gave out, after which Jim punched him groggy. Then Corbett knocked Sullivan flat in the twenty-first round, and John was too tired to get up.
Corbett was a fighter of an entirely different type. He began fighting bare fist finish fights in the sand hills around San Francisco. March 17th. 1897, Corbett fought Bob Fitzsimmons, the middleweight champion, at Carson, for a $15,000 purse, put up by Dan Stuart, and the world's championship. It was a finish fight, winner take all, the last finish fight for a world's heavyweight
title. There was romance in those days. Sent to cover the event for my paper, I joined Corbett's camp and boxed with him for five weeks during the training, turn and turn about with Jim Jeffries and Jim's brother Joe and Billy Woods. I think I landed one solid punch on Jim in that five weeks. I thought then, that he was a boxing marvel, and although I've watched thousands
of fighters since then I still rate Corbett as the neatest, although not the most dangerous, of them all.
Knocked out by Bob Fitzsimmons in the fourteenth round, Corbett made his one really great fight when he was no longer champion. That was when he fought Jim Jeffries for the title at Coney Island, training ten months with grim determination; and danced and jabbed and shot over jarring rights until he was knocked cold by the very much annoyed Jeffries in the 23rd round.
[B]Fitz Was Greatest.[/B]
Bob Fitzsimmons was the greatest fighter I've ever seen, I think he was the best for his weight in all ring history. Bob was a physical freak. Six feet tall, with broad shoulders and large chest, long arms, a blacksmith's forearm and hands, narrow hips and skinny legs, he weighed only 147 ½ pounds when he knocked out Jack Dempsey, the Nonpareil, for the world's middleweight championship.
Fitz weighed only 156 ½ when he knocked out. Jim Corbett for the heavyweight championship. Corbett weighed 183. He won the light heavyweight title from George Gardner at 175 pounds, and that was when he had been fighting 23 years. He fought his last fight, after a glorious career including hundreds of battles, against Knockout Sweeney in 1914 making a record of 34 years
in the ring. Bob was then 51 .
Fitzsimmons had amazing physical power and combined with it a cunning and resourceful mind and endless courage. In later fights, when he broke his hands on Jeffries and Gardner, he fought with the broken hands, concealing the Injury until the fights were over. He lost the heavyweight title to Jim Jeffries, in a furious 11 rounds at Coney Island. Fitz was dropped flat on his back a jab in the second round. Realizing the young giant's power then, Fitz attacked with relentless fury until he was finally beaten down. He tried to beat Jeffries three years later, hammered the giant to a pulp in eight rounds, but was knocked out again.
When I asked Bob about the fight afterward he said: "I 'ad im torn to pieces" when my 'ands broke up, but inside 'e was as good as ever. I was trying to use the two knuckles I 'ad left on 'is body, when 'e started a straight left for my chin and dropped it with a stiff arm into my stomach. Only Jeffries could use a punch like Ant. He's the strongest man I ever saw, 'is arm is like an iron beam.
That punch paralyzed me. My arms dropped and I tried to fall down, but my legs were paralyzed and I couldn't move. So I knew it was over. I got a little breath and I said to 'im: You've got me, Jim. Finish it.' So 'e 'it me on the chin and dropped me. Jeff is the finest man I ever saw in my life. I know now I never could beat 'im. Too big and strong."
That was Bob Fitzsimmons, a great fighter and a sportsman. He became Jeffries' closest friend after that second fight. He held no grudge because he'd been beaten- he lived near Fitz at Bensonhurst and for a couple of years boxed with him very often. We were close friends, too. That didn't save me from stopping many a punch that Fitz might have used to win a fight. He was a rough bird with the gloves on. Stalling along and slipping in a neat little unexpected punch was a great joke. The only joke he enjoyed more was when I happened to slip a fast one over on him.
Talking about Bob's punching power, here's a funny one: Bob clipped me neatly on the chin one day while training for the second Jeffries' fight. The jar of that little hook went right down from my jaw through neck and spine and leg, and sprained my right ankle.
I've only seen that effect twice in fights. Jim Barry swung on Sam Langford's jaw and sprained' Sam's right ankle, and Jack Dempsey hit Bill Brennan on the jaw and broke Bill's right leg.
But that last was a little different. Bill broke his leg by twisting it under him as he fell
Re: Robert Edgren
[B]Robert Edgren, The Boston Globe 1919-10-04[/B]
When Jess Willard knocked out Jack Johnson in Havana the term. "White Hope" naturally dropped out of the English language. No matter how Willard went to pieces in a round under the
furious attack of Jack Dempsey, the Nation can remember him for two things: He whipped Johnson — that can't be taken away from him — and he ended the "White Hope" craze.
Funny, Jim Jeffries was the first "White Hope" They fastened that title on James when Johnson was strutting around the country after beating Tommy Burns in Australia. The Johnson
atmosphere was so obnoxious that all white men in America hoped some white man would come along and wipe him off the map.
Jeffries, who had retired six years before undefeated and unbeatable, was urged by his insistent friends and the whole population of the country to come out and put the blatant black champion
"back where he belonged." Everybody told Jeffries that no one else was equal to the task and that Jeffries was "the hope of the white race." A foolish Saying — but destined to decorate more sporting headlines than any other line ever set in type.
After Reno the "White Hope" thing was fastened on every white heavyweight who weighed over 200 pounds. There was just one heavyweight of some prominence who weighed less, and he spoiled many a "hope" by landing a knockout punch back of the recipient's left ear. This gent was Gunboat Smith — the Hope Destroyer. Smith was supposed not to qualify because he scaled about 180 — but he caused a lot of trouble by cleaning up all the "White Hopes" he met, from the smallest to the biggest. He knocked out Jim Flynn, a stubby but stubborn fighter of his own weight and trimmed 245-pound Jess Willard in 20 rounds.
He licked Frank Moran, and Frank went to France and was matched with Johnson — only to lose the battle. When Smith was good he never had a chance to get on with the black champion. I
think it is quite possible that he might have treated Johnson the way Dempsey treated Willard at Toledo. He surely had a mule's kick in either hand in those days.
[B]First "Hope" Hopeless[/B]
The first publicity accepted "White Hope" was Carl Morris, the huge Oklahoman who like Dempsey had Indian blood in his veins. Morris flattened a few sub hopes and then came to New York where he received a terrific ten round beating by Jim Flynn. There has been a persistent rumor that Flynn's left hand was wrapped in strips of lead under the soft bandages, but no one ever offered proof.
After the fight the country laughed at the Oklahoma giant, but Morris showed his real gameness by sticking in the town where he had been trimmed, training hard for months and making a fresh start. He was powerful, tough, game and determined and might have worn Johnson out if ever given the chance. But the public never forgot that little Flynn whipped him.
And Morris never showed any improvement as a boxer. He was beaten at last by Fred Fulton and knocked out twice by Jack Dempsey — the second time in a round. That apparently discouraged him. But a few weeks ago, when one "Fat" Larue whipped "Phat" Willie Meehan (who held a joke four-round decision over Dempsey), Larue's backers looked all over the country for some big fellow who could be used as a stepping stone for Larue, in boosting Larue into a match with Dempsey. The idea of a Larue-Dempsey match, of course, didn't include any hope that Larue could beat the champion.
It was just a matter of getting one fight with one luscious bunch of coin attached, and then back to oblivion. Larue's backers unearthed old Carl Morris on his orange ranch at Monrovia,
and Morris was brought up for Larue to massacre. Funny how history runs in cycles.
Years back one Al Reich in New York was considered a model of a "White Hope." His manager selected Carl Morris – big lumbering clumsy Carl for Reich to make a reputation on. Morris knocked Reich flatter than a ripe tomato that had flirted with a steam roller in two rounds. He did the same thing to Larue.
But to get back to the "White Hopes" in their heyday— one of the best advertised was Al Kaufman. Al and Sam Berger were rivals when young, and they fought. Billy Delaney,
the famous old-time handler and maker of champions, was grooming Kaufman to step into Jeffries' place, Jeff having retired. Sam gave Al such a beating in a few rounds that the crowd went home.
Going out the door a few turned back just in time to see Al wobbling around with both eyes closed tight, swing one on Berger's jaw and knock him for a goal. It was a trick Kaufman developed this thing of knocking his men cold in a punch. He beat a lot of good ones, and was matched with Al Palzer, Tom O'Rourke's pet, and considered a real "White Hope' from the day of his first fight. Palzer knocked Kaufman out, and Kaufman never reached the "Hope" class again. He is now a moving picture hero in Los Angeles, and so is Tom Kennedy— of whom we speak later.
Palzer was a snorting, tearing demon. He weighed 230 pounds and was the ideal fighter in appearance, with a chin like a battleship's ram. Over in England they had a "White Hope," too—Bombardier Wells. This Wells was a remarkable boxer and a hart hitter. In the first two rounds with Palzer, in Madison Square Garden, New York, he looked like 40 chance to try again—the Palzer ending kinds of a champion. He had come to America to go after Johnson, and took Palzer on to show his speed. In the third session Palzer, blinded, snorting a red spray from his nostrils as he rose time and again, after being scientifically knocked down, swung a beam-like left arm and hit Bomby in the stomach, ending things very suddenly and unexpectedly. They gave Wells a chance to try again—the Palzer ending looked so much like an accident. He knocked out Boer Rodel in three rounds, and flattened Tom Kennedy, New York's local "Hope," In two. Then he met the Gunner—that old hope destroyer—and was knocked cold in the second round with a right-hander back of the ear as he bent to cover up. Al Palzer later met Frank Moran and was knocked out in seven rounds. Not long afterward -at home in Minnesota, he was shot and killed while defending his mother from attack. There was another "White Hope" New York thought very well of — Jim Stewart—a 'big, splendid fellow, built like a Greek statue, a keenly intelligent man and a fine boxer. Stewart's only trouble was that long hours over a drafting board, as an architect had ruined his eyes. He was too nearly blind to go far as a fighter.
When he had beaten Carl Morris and some other good men he met the old Hope Destroyer, the Gunner, and was knocked out by the Gunner's favorite crack back of the ear, scientifically described as the "occipital punch," which term was changed by heedless ringsiders to "hospital punch."
A strange fatality has pursued the "White Hopes." Jim Stewart, unable to get Into the army during the war because of his poor eyesight, became boxing instructor in an army camp and
died there of the "flu," after a few hours' illness.
[B]Followed by Strange Fate[/B]
Another prominent "White Hope" who died suddenly was Luther McCarthy, one of the best of the bunch. Luther was close on Johnson's trail. He had whipped Palzer, in California and had shown much class, McCarney His manager, claimed the title of "White Champion" for him. McCarthy boxed Arthur Pelky—a second rate heavyweight— in Calgary, Ont. There is a story
that Luther was thrown from a horse shortly before that fight and injured his neck. There is another that he struck the bottom of the tank while diving in Philadelphia. McCarney told me at
Toledo it was neither that caused the fatal accident— McCarthy's neck was broken by the first blow Pelky struck and he died as they carried him from the ring.
It was a curious sort of an accident. McCarthy found Pelky easy to hit. and Pelky's clumsy blows easy to avoid. He turned his head and winked at his manager, and just then Pelky's
heavy fist reached his jaw. Because his head was turned far to one side and the blow entirely unexpected— because of some looseness or slackness in his position— some queer kink or other— the jar of the blow, which wasn't heavy enough to produce any damage under ordinary circumstances. dislocated the vertebrae and caused a pressure on the spinal nerve.
Another "White Hope," for a time was Jim Barry, who fought Sam Langford many times and usually put Sam down in the first round. The fatality I mentioned pursued Barry. He was
shot and killed In Panama in a; quarrel over money, by a man he had beaten in a bout. Both Barry and McCarthy like Carl Morris and Jack Dempsey had Indian blood in their veins.
There were a few other "Hopes” worth a little mention. Jim Savage looked good for a time and once whipped Al Reich. Jim, however, wasn't ambitious until rather late in the game. Jim
Coffey, Billy Gibson's own private "Hope" was a strapping young Irishman and knocked out a few other "contenders," only to be knocked out twice by Frank Moran, after which he had a glass jaw.
Moran was beaten by Johnson in France before he disposed of Coffey. His end as a “Hope” came when Willard won at Havana. Willard a year later easily beat Moran in New York. After that he was beaten by Jack Dillon in ten rounds, fought a few ordinary ten round bouts and was knocked out with ease by Fred Fulton in three rounds in New Orleans. He is still challenging Dempsey, but Moran has lived softly and is only a rather pasty relic of the gentleman who packed around a punch that they called "Mary Ann." Fred Fulton came on the scene a little too late to be regarded as a "White Hope" outside of the Michigan woods. In 1913-14 he won a lot of fights in a round or two, but the first known boxers he met in 1914 were Al Palzer, and Carl Morris. Palzer knocked him out and he lost on a foul to Carl. Next year he won eight out of nine bouts with knockouts— but the "White Hope division was already extinct.
Re: Robert Edgren
[CENTER][B]Letherbridge Daily Herald
17 Nov 1925[/B]
Harry Wills, who is matched with Jack Dempsey to fight for the world's heavyweight championship sometime next year, is the most prominent boxer of his race today, although far below the class of many great negro fighters in past years. Wills has a poor record for a "championship contender,' having made no great showing against the men he has fought,
and having been extremely careful to pick easy marks and avoid all risks of defeat ever since he was first mentioned as a possible opponent for Dempsey. Also he has been much criticized for his use of hold and hit tactics in his fight's, contrary to all rules of fair boxing. He seems unable to go through a fight without using this trick.
But there have been some wonderful men among the negro fighters. Almost invariably they have been honest, clean fighters and good sportsmen. I can say here that among all the fighters I have known, in following the sport closely for thirty years, there are none for whom I retain more respect than little George Dixon, Joe Gans, Joe Jeannette, old Peter Jackson and Sam Langford. These were as fine fighting men as ever were seen in the ring, square, courageous, skilful and sportsmanlike under all circumstances.
[B]Trained With Jackson[/B]
One of my earliest recollections in the boxing line is of a time when Peter Jackson, freshly over from Australia, trained at a roadhouse near a little town called San Leandro, in California. Joe Choynski, a great fighter although unfortunate in being pounds lighter than the average heavyweight, trained with Jackson. Peter was a courteous, quiet big fellow. He avoided all arguments and was always willing to fight any heavyweight under any terms in the ring, but unwilling to engage in any of the brawls that were common among fighters in those days. In short, Peter was a thorough gentleman.
[B]Peter Jackson One Great Fighter[/B]
A wonderful fighter, Peter Jackson, Sullivan drew the color line when Jackson challenged. Sullivan might have been willing enough, although far past his prime when Peter Jackson
appeared, but his backers issued their orders, and in those days a fighter's movements were practically controlled by the backer who put on his side stakes. Peter went to England, knocked out Frank Slavin in ten rounds, and became such a social favorite that after six years of it be was a physical wreck. On the way back to Australia in San Francisco, and was matched with a young fellow named Jim Jeffries, then little known. In the first round Peter had his old flashy speed, but none of his ancient deadly punch. In the third round Jeffries knocked Peter nearly out. The old lion of the ring staggered to the ropes, and catching them in his arms braced himself to take the finishing blow. Jeffries dropped his hands and said to the referee: "I won't hit him again. You'll have to stop it."
Peter Jackson, by the way, "was born in St. Croix, West Indies. To go back a century or more in black ring history, the first colored man to achieve international ring fame was Bill Richmond, an American negro who went to England shortly after Figg's time, and won many battles on the turf. Long afterwards Tom Molyneaux, a Virginia negro, went to England as a servant to an American traveler, and took up fighting, at which he had been adept among the plantation darkies of his old home. Molyneaux stayed in England and twice fought desperate battles with
Tom Cribb, English champion and one of the greatest fighters of the century. This was back about 1809. Cribb beat Molyneaux, but was practically finished as a fighter in doing it. Prize fighting was a desperate business in those days, all fights with bare fists and to a finish.
Molyneaux was entertained so lavishly by the English sporting society that he died within a few years. Frank Craig, the Harlem Coffee Cooler, went to England and knocked out a long list of fighters, nearly all in one or two rounds. English sportsmen thought Craig the greatest of all champions. He was a very clever fighter, and a clean fighter. He was eventually knocked out by
Peter Maher, and then by Frank Slavin. Craig fought his first battle in 1891, his last in 1922, Thirty-one years in the ring!
[B]Walcott Beat Many Heavyweights
Another dusky champion was Joe Walcott and knows as the Barbadoea Demon and the Giant Killer, because of his extraordinary fighting powers. Walcott. wasn't a boxer. He was only
an inch over five feet tall, weighed 142 pounds in his best condition, had a sixteen inch upper arm and the strength of a heavyweight. He was too short to hit, and when he dived under an opponent's guard and began driving furious blows into a bigger man's body something had to drop. Walcott was perfectly fearless, and he thought he could whip anything that walked on two legs.
When Jim Jeffries knocked Fitzsimmons for the world's heavyweight championship Tom O'Rourke, Walcott's manager, got Joe into a corner of his bar at the old Delavan on 40th
and Broadway, and said: "Joe, how would you like to fight Jeffries?"
"Get him for me, Mr. O'Rourke," said Joe grinning. "I'll knock him loose from that title." Joe was then world's welterweight champion. O'Rourke did challenge Jeffries to fight Walcott, and was laughed at. Of course such a match would have been ridiculous. Walcott, however, did fight and knock out Joe Choynski, who had once fought a twenty round draw with Jeffries. He knocked
out many other heavyweights. His punches wouldn't have even disturbed Jeffries, who was an iron giant. O'Rourke fell out with Tom Sharkey, whom he had been managing, and tried to get Tom to fight Walcott. "What are you trying to do—make a joke on me?" roared Tom.
Walcott's finish as a champion was peculiar. He was attending a fancy dress colored ball in Boston, his home town, and in the dressing room was fooling with a gun. Joe was holding
in it his left hand and had the muzzle in it his left hand and had the muzzle foolish. In some way the gun was discharged, shooting away a couple of Joe's best hitting knuckles and incidentally removing an adjacent gentleman of color from his vale of tears. Joe was exonerated by the coroner's jury, but he never could fight very well afterward, and was whipped by Honey Mellody, a very able welterweight who held the title for some time.
Sam Langford was one of the best fighters in the world. When only a welterweight he was beaten by Jack Johnson heavyweight, but gave Johnson such a bruising fight that Johnson never would meet him again when Sam grew up. - Langford should have been heavyweight champion, for at his best there is little doubt he could have beaten Johnson if given a chance. He was wonderfully built — a squat Hercules — was lightning fast, a tremendous hitter, game as they make 'em, and as fine, clean, sportsmanlike a fighter as ever lived. Sam is still boxing around a little, although age had ''grabbed him" and for many years he had been blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other. Half blind, fat and long past his best fighting days, he was still good enough to knock out big Harry Wills twice, in 14 rounds in 1914 and in 19 rounds in 1916.
This was when Wills was young, fast and at his best. He fought about ten no-decision fights with Wills, and wasn't decisively beaten by Wills until 1918, when Sam had been fighting
sixteen years. Wills stopped Sam in six rounds. At that time Sam couldn't see well enough to avoid a punch, and had to feel for his man to deliver a blow. But the game old veteran
was still fighting. After that he won the championship of Mexico and knocked out Battling Ghee,
Jamaica Kid, big George Godfrey and a few more.
[B]Gans Always. Fair in Fights[/B]
Joe Gans, once lightweight champion and peer of all boxers in his class, was as white a fighter as ever lived. Joe was clean and fair no matter how the fighting went. He could get up from a knockout and fight his way to a win as calmly as if nothing had happened. Joe never held his man with one hand to punch with the other. He never hit a low blow. He never lost a fight on a foul and never deserved to. He was the most deliberate, masterful boxer of his time—with the sole exception of Bob Fitzsimmons, from whom Joe learned his fighting style. Joe once told me that when he began fighting he saw Fitzsimmons meeting all comers, and was- so fascinated that he followed Fitz two weeks watching him every night and studying every move the master made.
And game! When Joe Gans was dying of tuberculosis he fought Battling Nelson twice in San Francisco, was knocked out in 17 rounds, and two months later in 21. I saw Joe fight his one bout after that with Jabez White in New York, ten rounds with no decision. It was a slow fight—a very poor fight for Joe Gans. The crowd thought he was faking and razzed him unmercifully.
After the fight I went out to Joe's dressing room to see what he had to say about it. He was sitting in a chair with a towel thrown over his shoulders, despondent and exhausted, breathing with difficulty. "This is the last, Mr. Edgren," he said. "They don't understand but I'm done. I've been trying to cover it up so I could make a little money for my family. I did my best, but I can't
fight any more. I'm through." A few months after that strangers carried Joe Gans in on a stretcher and put him abroad a train in the Arizona desert to send him home to die. He died on the way. Game from the beginning to the end Joe Gans!
It is an anti-climax, after this, to add a line about Jack Johnson, but Johnson was a world's champion and a great boxer. Cunning, cautious, lacking the boldness of other black .champions, Johnson perfected a defense that kept him practically out of danger in any fight, and he had the skill and the punch to win when his opponent was worn out. Gigantic, powerful, he had no trouble winning the championship from little Tommy Burns when he had a chance to fight for it at last, and at Reno he disposed of Jeffries when the veteran tried to come back after six years away from' the ring. After that Johnson's career was a series of blunders that may be excused on the ground that he was an ignorant man suddenly bewildered by much money and the
adulation of such parasites as gathered around him. He atoned for it when he fought one game fight at Havana, , giving everything he had until he was utterly exhausted, and sticking after hope was gone, until Willard knocked him cold.