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Thread: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

  1. #91
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Jack Dempsey vs. Joe Louis would be my pick as THE fight to determine who the GREATEST boxer is! The winner? It's a toss-up in my opinion.

    yeah, Jack could have beaten Mike Tyson easily. They have the same fighting style, so they'll meet each other head on. But Mike's toughness isn't very good when compared to the other pro HW boxers who have been champion. Dempsey's punching technique that maximized his ability to hit as hard as he possibly could would overwhelm Tyson!

    Rocky...I dunno. I think it would be a great fight. But Dempsey is like Rocky with a nastier attitude and way better technique. That's why he'd win.

    Foreman wouldn't win because he'd get tired and he doesn't have the explosive speed.

    Ali would try to rope-a-dope on a relentless Dempsey who just won't stop coming after him despite his footwork, and he'd get KOed. Dempsey won't stop punching, unlike a tired and heavy Foreman, and Ali isn't going to rope-a-dope THAT kind of power and speed!

    Lewis. Too tall for his own good. Dempsey would bob-and-weave inside and butcher his torso. Then hit him with that hellacious jolting haymaker to the jaw when those hands drop and the tall man's footwork is gone, and knock him out, and send his mouthpiece into the audience.

    Jeffries!? That would be a very brutal fight. Jeffries would lose by a close decision. He's just too damn tough, strong, pain tolerant, and cardio conditioned to get work out and finished/KOed by Dempsey. Dempsey would actually knock him down at least once, despite all of the opponents Jeffries had before he retired (and that includes Bobby Fritz; he sure as hell had the power and accuracy with his punches...pound-4-pound I think he's the most powerful hitter in the past 300 years...but he lacked the technique and size of Dempsey). But he's slower and can't mix it up with his technique like Dempsey. Dempsey would find himself getting up quite a bit but he wouldn't quit. Both would have to go to the hospital for something in the end.

    Dempsey would fight you, it didn't matter who you were. He wanted to fight one of the absolute best heavyweight catch/submission wrestlers in history when the guy challenged him (Ed "Strangler" Lewis) but his manager didn't let him. Dempsey has streetfighting expertise and he knows SOME catch wrestling and the guts to fight someone like the Strangler. He wasn't a racist asshole either. The only reason he didn't get to fight someone of another ethinc group was his manager. he refused to let him. dempsey said he would have fought anybody. I see certain boxers, grapplers, and MMA fighters of the past and present time and I really respect the fact that they had a "switch" they could turn on or turn off. They could go from average-Joe nice guy sitting on a bench in the park saying hello to people walking by and then blast off into a killing spree when they need to defend themselves. Fedor, the current Pride FC heavyweight champion is an unstoppable brutal force in the ring, but he's so nice outside of the ring it's almost scarrier than his fighting persona. These are true warriors!

    haha...the part about the tiger and gorilla is quite possible. If Mas Oyama, a VERY heavy-handed karate master who beat all kinds of opponents from all around the world in streetfights and could even chopthe horns off of bulls and punch them to death could do what he did, then yeah a less powerful man can KO a gorilla or a tiger which isn't as big or as hard-headed as a bull! I'm sure the toughest of the ancient Greek boxers and no-holds-barred fighters who were as tough as a human being can possibly become could do this stuff quite easily.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Roberto,
    Do you believe everything Tunney says as gospel ? (the same guy who had sold over 100% of himself) Have boxers ever lied, or exaggerated before ? Now, I provided you with a source, a letter from Tunney to Tim Mara in which Tunney states that he shouldn't have to fight Wills in an elimination tournement for Dempsey's title. Now either Kahn's a liar, the letter's a forgery, or Tunney is contridicting himself.

    It's like "in one ear and out the other". Any negative evidence towards your arguement you simply ignore. The reason Tunney went to Mara was because Mara claimed that he could use his influence to get around Farely, who was blocking Dempsey from defending his title in NY against anyone other than Wills (it wasn't humanitarian reasons- Farley owned a piece of Wills through Mullins). New York meant a much bigger purse at the time.

  3. #93
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shoemaker
    Now, I provided you with a source, a letter from Tunney to Tim Mara in which Tunney states that he shouldn't have to fight Wills in an elimination tournement for Dempsey's title. Now either Kahn's a liar, the letter's a forgery, or Tunney is contridicting himself.
    .
    Can YOU read?

    Tunney HIMSELF stated he didn't want to fight Wills.

    He changed his mind. Dempsey stated he would never defend against a black challenger. He signed to fight Wills. Ali said he'd retire if he was ever beat. He didn't. Leonard said he was retired. He changed his mind again, and again, and again.

    Study up man, but I can't help your comprehension.

  4. #94
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Tunney sold over 100% of himself? I thought that was Baer. Gene always seemed to be too much the calculating businessman to ever fall into that financial predicament. PeteLeo.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Roberto,
    Can I read ? Your whole premise is that Tunney at first didn't wish to fight Wills, then changed his mind by proposing to fight him in an elimination tourney (circa 1925-26). Tunney's letter to Mara in 1926 contridicts Tunney's BS (that you bought into), because Tunney states (in 1926) that he shouldn't have to fight Wills in an ELIMINATION TOURNEMENT ! Anyway, Tunney never proposed the elimination tourney, Grantland Rice did in 1925. His proposal was that the winner of Wills-Weigart, would fight the winner of Tunney-Gibbons, with the ultimate winner to fight Dempsey. As you can see (well maybe not you), according to the letter, Tunney felt that because he KO'ed Gibbons in 12, while Dempsey didn't, he should face Dempsey next, WITHOUT having to fight Wills. Why do you think he went to Mara, because Mara sold him that he had the connections to get him Dempsey, without having to fight Wills to get to Dempsey. THAT's in 1926 ! So Tunney's BS (once again, that you bought into) that he later changed his mind, is a fabrication. And you talk about MY READING COMPREHENSION ?

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Pete,
    My Bad on Tunney. I was almost positive he was involved in a managerial lawsuit over his Dempsey purse(s) but I can't find it. In Kahn's book he has Tunney giving away 58% of his purses to Billy Gibson (33%) and Tim Mara (25%). Remember, Mara claimed he could both get around the NY commision, that was demanding that Dempsey's next defense was going to be Wills, and could get him Dempsey, without having to fight Wills first. According to Kahn, Tunney made the deal. Now when you factor in that Tunney was giving away 58% to two different managers AND had to pay 100% of the training expenses- he'd have to be close to or over 100%. I am sure a lot of fighters in that era (Kearns was taking half of Dempsey's purses AFTER EXPENSES) got trapped into deals like that.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Roberto,
    Can I read ? Your whole premise is that Tunney at first didn't wish to fight Wills, then changed his mind by proposing to fight him in an elimination tourney (circa 1925-26). Tunney's letter to Mara in 1926 contridicts Tunney's BS (that you bought into), because Tunney states (in 1926) that he shouldn't have to fight Wills in an ELIMINATION TOURNEMENT ! Anyway, Tunney never proposed the elimination tourney, Grantland Rice did in 1925. His proposal was that the winner of Wills-Weigart, would fight the winner of Tunney-Gibbons, with the ultimate winner to fight Dempsey. As you can see (well maybe not you), according to the letter, Tunney felt that because he KO'ed Gibbons in 12, while Dempsey didn't, he should face Dempsey next, WITHOUT having to fight Wills. Why do you think he went to Mara, because Mara sold him that he had the connections to get him Dempsey, without having to fight Wills to get to Dempsey. THAT's in 1926 ! So Tunney's BS (once again, that you bought into) that he later changed his mind, is a fabrication. And you talk about MY READING COMPREHENSION ?

  8. #98
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shoemaker
    And you talk about MY READING COMPREHENSION ?
    Yes I do. I addressed the subject a few years back and had posted source information that Gene changed his mind and asked to fight Wills who then refused. Now I wouldn't call that ducking Tunney because all Wills wanted was to protect his position to land the Dempsey fight after being so close but I sure don't plan to get into a historical hissy fit.

    Here is a little source info showing that Dempsey was more than willing to meet not only Wills but Godfrey too. Note that Dempsey again is not in full control of his career and only wants to fight someone, anyone.
    ================================

    Time Magazine
    July 27, 1925


    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Dempsey. Last week, Heavyweight Champion William Harrison Dempsey signed a contract with promoter Tex Rickard to fight two bouts with whomsoever Rickard should select — one bout this year, one next. He agreed to post a 'good faith' guarantee of $100,000.

    His first opponent will be Gene Tunney, pretty onetime marine, George Godfrey, Philadelphia Negro, or Jack Renault, lumberjack-in-the-box. Then, if not defeated, he will face patient Harry Wills.

    'Will you retire if you beat Wills?' asked a reporter.

    Said Dempsey:

    'Not me! I'm going to fight until somebody knocks me from under the gilded kelly . . . Say, I wish I was as fresh as the day I took Willard! Boy! A dollar a dozen the kind that is around now if I was like I was that day.'

  9. #99
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    The Life of Gene Tunney

    by Ed Van Every

    After the Great Battle


    Van Every's Vivid Interviews with Winner and Loser

    ********************

    I

    THE TALK WITH TUNNEY
    "It doesn't look as though I'll be able to defend my title before next June," said Gene Tunney. The new king of heavyweights was reviewing his victory and future plans with me. Burris Jenkins was with us sketching the new champ in repose. Tunney was seated in a little room on the second floor of the two-story annex to the Spruce Hotel, at Spruce and 13th streets, Philadelphia, where he has been making his headquarters and from where he left this morning in time for the big reception that had been planned for him this noon at City Hall.

    Gene was dressed to enjoy his ease, a thing he has not enjoyed very much during the last forty-eight hours. He reclined back in an easy chair attired in an old pair of blue trousers and a blue cotton shirt. "Neat, but not natty," as he described it.

    "It's a funny thing. You've been writing considerably about my nerve control, and I thought it had been pretty good myself, particularly during the days preceding the Dempsey battle. Back in Stroudsburg I had no trouble going right off to sleep as soon as I hit the pillow. I even managed to get a little snooze back in my dressing room up until five minutes before I was called into the ring Thursday night. But up until now I have not been able to sleep a wink. At least I failed in my attempt to drop off to sleep Friday morning. If that is one of the effects of being a champion I can well say 'uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.' However, I guess I'll have better success tonight wooing Morpheus."

    "Maybe you haven't recovered from the effects of Jack's damaging punches," I intimated.

    "Say, don't joke about Dempsey's punches," answered Gene shaking his head. "That is a serious matter. Make no mistake--Jack still can hit. I'm still sore about the body and jaw, and I guess I'll have reason to remember his punches for several days to come. Those two blows I spoke to you of in the dressing room after the fight, and which Jack landed to my Adam's apple are still affecting my speech--I find it especially difficult now to use those big words you boys have been putting in my mouth," kidded Gene with a wide grin.

    "But getting back to your question about my next fight. It looks to me as though there will have to be some form of elimination to decide who my next opponent will be. I won't fight Harry Wills unless I am given the impression that the public really insists on such a contest. I don't wish to hurt anyone's feelings, but I have never boxed a Negro and have never even had one as a sparring partner.

    "Somehow, it seems to me, that it is not for the best interest of boxing that heavyweights, and champions in particular, shall clash in mixed matches. I was willing to forego these objections last year and settle with Wills in the ring, whether he or I was the one entitled to a chance at Dempsey. Although Wills could have had $150,000 for his end for meeting me, he refused to show any interest in the proposition.

  10. #100
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Another article by Ed Van Every on Wills/Dempsey/Tunney. Gene was a tuneup!
    Not as good as the source I had a couple years back, but here tis:
    ===========================

    And now a little "inside" stuff in connection with the Dempsey fight that is being told for the first time and that will illustrate what Jack really sacrificed in the loss of the heavyweight championship. Dempsey's return to ring activity was a preliminary to a battle with Harry Wills that would have netted Jack not less than one million dollars for his end.

    Yes, the Dempsey-Wills battle would have been fought if the former had won and Tia Juana would have been the site of the contest. Jim Coffroth, who runs things as he pleases at this remarkable gambling center had his plans all set. He placed his right hand man, Gene Normile, at Dempsey's disposal as his manager. Although Jack was anxious to fight Wills first, no matter what may be bandied about to the contrary, it was deemed best by the one man who would have been in a position to promote a Dempsey-Wills match, that it would be advisable for Dempsey to have one fight to his credit before risking his laurels against the powerful Negro giant, Wills.

    When the plans that Dempsey had made for the Wills match with the Benton Harbor interests fell through and he had entered into negotiations with Rickard, Paul Berlenbach and not Tunney was the man Dempsey wanted to fight since Tex declared Wills was out of the question. Dempsey looked on none of the white challengers as serious threats and he was most interested in the selection of an opponent who would prove the best drawing card.


    * * * * *


    Around July of 1925, through the efforts of Bill McCabe, the man who had inspired Gene to become a champion in France, Gene was brought together with Tex Rickard. The meeting took place in an apartment on the second floor of No. 252 West 14th Street, New York, owned by Jimmy Eagleton, a boyhood pal of Gene's.

    "Gene," said Rickard, "I have picked you as Dempsey's next opponent. Would you meet Harry Wills for that right?"

    "All I want is the chance," answered Gene.

    Rickard offered Wills $150,000 to fight Tunney, but the Negro heavyweight found an excuse for dodging the issue.

    And so Gene Tunney, former A. E. F. champion, was the challenger for the world's heavyweight boxing title.

  11. #101
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Gene Tunney - The Enigma of the Ring

    by Nat Fleischer

    Chapter 7

    Arranging the Bout with Dempsey

    "Fistic mortal, famed, renowned,
    Clouting king, pugilistically crowned;
    In true 'Devil Dog' spirit he fought,
    To the Fighting Marines, acclaim he brought."
    How the seed was planted for the world's heavyweight championship bout that attracted 118,000 persons at the Philadelphia Stadium for the record gross receipts of $1,895,733.40, out of which blossomed Tunney as Dempsey's successor, was revealed by Bill McCabe, a close friend of Tunney and his chief advisor in business matters.

    In the quiet of Jimmy Eagleton's home at No. 252 West Fourteenth Street, New York, Rickard verbally engaged Tunney to meet the unemployed Dempsey.

    The transaction took place fourteen months before the actual battle was fought in Philadelphia, the exact date being July 26, 1925--and Billy Gibson, the then challenger's manager, was conspicuous by his absence.

    The man who paved the way for the momentous meeting between Rickard and Tunney was McCabe.

    It was McCabe's foresight in the world war battle area in France that implanted the spark in Tunney which started him on the road to the championship and Tunney took good care of Bill when Gene became a big moneymaker in the field of fisticuffs.

    From the day he saw Tunney whip Bob Martin in the A.E.F. tournament in Paris until he crowned his efforts by knocking out Tom Gibbons in twelve rounds, McCabe shouted that a new heavyweight king was in the making.

    There came a break between Tunney and Gibson soon after Gene's victorious stand against Gibbons in the Polo Grounds ring on June 5, 1925. Gene disappeared. It seemed as if the earth had swallowed him. Only a needed vacation in the Adirondack Mountains. McCabe went along to keep Gene company.

    In the meantime, Dempsey was beseeching Rickard to get him some work because he had become property poor and needed ready cash. Harry Wills was knocking at the champion's door. Rickard, however, wanted no part of the Brown Panther.

    Seated at his desk one day, searching through his mind for an opponent who might give Jack some kind of a fight, Rickard awakened to the realization that Tunney's feat of knocking out Gibbons, who had gone fifteen rounds with Dempsey at Shelby, had made Gene the outstanding challenger.

    Tex didn't allow any moss to grow under his feet. He located Tunney's hiding place.

    A telegram reached Tunney's cottage. "Must see you right away. Something very important I must discuss with you," read Tex's message.

    McCabe was pressed into managerial service. He took the first train for New York.

    Rickard and McCabe met by appointment at the corner of Fourteenth Street and Eighth Avenue, in New York.

    McCabe had known Rickard for years, but this was the first time he ever had met him to discuss business.

    "I'd like to match Tunney with Dempsey," Rickard opened the discussion.

    "You don't say!" McCabe interrupted.

    "Well, I have Dempsey; all I need is Tunney's word, and the match is made," Rickard promised. McCabe reeled against the lamp post. He couldn't believe his ears.

    "Give me your hand," McCabe demanded as a way of binding the bargain.

    "I'll have Tunney come down in a couple of days," McCabe said. "Meet us on the same corner."

    Sure enough, McCabe, lugging Tunney along, sneaked into town, and the three met again under the glare of the street lamp.

    "We can't talk business in the street," warned Rickard. "We can't afford to be seen or the jig will be up. Let's find a place where we can dig ourselves in and have a nice talk."

    Tunney remembered an old school chum. "Let's go cross the street into Jimmy Eagleton's house," Tunney said. "Nobody'll see us there."

    They tripped single file up one flight of stairs and rested themselves on Eagleton's chairs and couch.

    "Gene, I want you to fight Dempsey," Rickard resumed where he had left off with McCabe two days previously.

    "That's the dream of my life, a shot at the heavyweight championship," was Tunney's answer.

    "He'll whip Dempsey," McCabe assured the promoter.

    "I have a fight with Jim Montgomery in Cleveland," Tunney broke in.

    "Can you cancel it?" asked Tex.

    "Yes, I'll do so," Gene promised.

    Little did Eagleton realize that a world heavyweight championship match was being hatched in the informal discussions in his home.

    "Will you give me your word that you will fight Dempsey for me?" Rickard continued.

    "Sure as the day is long, Mr. Rickard."

    "Our word is our bond," McCabe interjected.

    "That's good enough for me," Rickard countered, his face wreathed in smiles.

    "Gene Tunney, you are the first man who will get a chance at Dempsey and his title," Rickard promised. "The next time Dempsey climbs through the ropes, you will be in the opposite corner."

    The conference lasted the better part of two hours. As Rickard recovered his straw hat and started for the door, he turned to Tunney, who appeared to be in a daze, and reiterated his intention to get him the Dempsey fight.

    "Now, look here, Mr. Rickard," McCabe reminded the promoter, "don't you fail us. Besides, don't get the idea that I'm going over Gibson's head. I'm just a friend of Gene's. I am here merely as his adviser."

    Tunney arose from his chair, walked to the door, and looking Rickard straight in the eye, blurted out:

    "Please, Mr. Rickard, get me that fellow Dempsey. I'll lick him as sure as there are stars in the heavens."
    Rickard stuck out his right hand. Tunney grabbed it and shook it warmly.

    "My word's my bond," Tex said. He hailed a taxi, jumped in and fell exhausted in the seat.

    Rickard had concluded the first part of what was to become the biggest and greatest promotorial boxing venture in his colorful career. There were more persons at that fight than at any fight he had ever promoted.

    Between the day that Tunney had agreed with Rickard to fight Dempsey and the time that he actually entered the ring to face his opponent, Gene spent many a day worrying whether he would receive the chance to which he was looking forward. He had hopes, but at times his faith even in the mighty genius of the promotion field, the most colorful man of the age, Tex Rickard, faltered.

    After Rickard had given Gene his word that he would be able to sign Dempsey to the agreement to meet him, so many obstacles were placed in the path that for a time it appeared almost impossible for the men to be brought together. Gene, through all the turmoil caused by the interference of the New York Commission which was aiding the cause of Harry Wills, kept himself in trim for his big chance.

    He was a man of steel, and he was determined to see the thing through. If Wills stood between him and the championship, then he would prove his right to the first chance by eliminating the Negro.

    But this was not in accordance with the plans of Rickard. He had no desire to stage a fight in which Wills or any other Negro was to be one of the contestants and he told Gene to be patient.

    "If you are not permitted to fight Dempsey in your own state, where the fight belongs, then I'll take it elsewhere. But you'll be his opponent and no one else," he told the ex-marine at a conference in Tex's office.

    Not long after Rickard had signed Gene, the Wills' followers began a concerted attack upon the proposed encounter. They had enlisted the services of the New York State Boxing Board and several influential newspapermen, and an effort was made to force Rickard to abandon his plans.

    The New York friends of the New Orleans Panther started a campaign so hot that the boxing board was compelled to take cognizance of it. There were many who thought that Wills had a prior right to a championship fight and those persons had the support of two of the three members of the board to aid the cause. Commissioner William Muldoon, the dean of the commission, was opposed to a mixed heavyweight championship affair and he sided with Rickard.

    In the meantime, an effort was made by Benton Harbor, Indiana, promoters to stage a Dempsey-Wills match there and negotiations had proceeded to the point where the Manassa Mauler actually had signed for such contest. However, when the time arrived to place into Dempsey's hands the money which was promised him, the promoters found they could not raise the sum and the match fell through.

    It was seven years after the signing that the Federal Court of Indiana ruled in Dempsey's favor when the case for damages against Jack was brought to trial. The court threw out the complaint.

    With the Wills bout in Indiana off, Rickard found the path a little clearer and he went after his objective with a vim. He staged several meetings with Dempsey, but Jack didn't think that Tunney or any other white contender was strong enough to give him a good fight or to draw a big gate. He finally proposed Paul Berlenbach, then in his prime, but Rickard would not consent.

    "Tunney or no one," was Rickard's reply and Tunney it was. Jack had finally accepted him.

  12. #102
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Sport's Golden Age

    edited by Allison Danzig and Peter Brandwein

    Harper & Brothers
    1948

    Boxing

    by James P. Dawson

    *************************
    ...In May 1925, Rickard closed the old Garden. While the new Garden was under construction, Tex was like a child with a new toy. He could be found every day stumbling around the mass of planks, pipes, steel, brick, and mortar, stargazing there in the vast, gaunt, naked structure, impeding the progress of the skilled laborers. He would converse with the workers and point out to guests, for whom he was always conducting inspection tours, the advantages of the new building.

    Tex would take you to a corner where a section of the flooring, finished, had been covered with a paper protection. With the cane he always carried, he would slap some of the covering away, jab the stick at the floor, and expound on the improvement. "This is something new; it's terrazzo," he would say. Its advantages had been explained to him.

    But, I daresay, Tex didn't know terrazzo from chenille. He was enthusiastic, and you were infected with his enthusiasm, the excitement that lit up his gaze as, day by day, his magnificent dream approached completion.

    He opened the new arena with a six-day bicycle race in November 1925. The structure was incomplete; some laborer's planking was still in place. And, forthwith, through the magic that was Rickard's, the plant flourished and, with its varied attractions, became a place of world-wide renown.

    Meanwhile, Gene Tunney was clamoring for a crack at Dempsey, and in this campaign Rickard saw a refuge from the Wills embarrassment. He had often told me, off the record, he could not promote a Dempsey-Wills bout. Dempsey was eager for it, confident that Wills' style was made to order for him, and convinced that the most money would come from such a "natural." Rickard's private explanation was that he had been advised by governmental sources not to undertake such a match. The riotous aftermath of the Jeffries-Johnson battle in 1910 was recalled.

    Stinging criticism rained upon Rickard and Dempsey, chiefly the former. He had Dempsey under contract and no other promoter could use him, although any number of them leaped into the publicity fanfare with fabulous offers. The State Athletic Commission in New York, under which Rickard operated, insisted Tex would not be permitted to stage a Dempsey bout in New York unless the opponent was Wills. Civic groups entered the controversy, which developed into a racial issue.

    But Rickard proceeded quietly on what was for him a routine scale. And all the time Tunney was fighting his way to a position where he commanded attention. Negotiations with Tunney's manager, Billy Gibson, had been progressing without attracting notice, but when Tunney knocked out Bartley Madden in three rounds at Minneapolis and followed this with a Cleveland victory in 12 rounds over Johnny Risko in 1925, the Dempsey match for him was assured.

  13. #103
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Boxing's Greatest Upsets

    Fights That Shook The World

    by Thomas Myler

    Robson Books Ltd
    London
    1998


    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The Marine and the Mauler - continued

    Chapter 3

    Jack Dempsey versus Gene Tunney

    Philadelphia, September 23, 1926


    * * * * * * * * *

    He was in court again, this time over his failure to meet the long-time No. 1 contender Harry Wills, the 'Black Panther'. Jack was anxious to fight Wills, but promoter Tex Rickard refused to stage it. Rickard had said after the Jack Johnson-James J. Jeffries fight in 1910 that he would never again promote another title contest involving a black fighter and a white one. There were riots, lynchings and killings after that one, which soured Rickard on a possible repeat.

    New York Governor Al Smith was also opposed to what he called 'a mixed match' and said he would never allow a Dempsey-Wills fight in New York as long as he was in charge. Wills subsequently took Dempsey and Rickard to court on the basis that he was being denied his rightful claim as leading contender, and consequently deprived of making a living. Proceedings were adjourned after Rickard promised to give a Dempsey-Wills fights 'further consideration'. Unknown to Wills and his legal team, however, Rickard began negotiations with Dempsey to defend his title against the leading white contender Gene Tunney.

    When Rickard first approached Dempsey about meeting Tunney, Jack asked Tex what kind of fighter was Gene. 'Oh, an ex-Marine who has had some good wins,' said the promoter in an off-hand, casual way. 'But he's not a puncher. You should take him.' What Dempsey did not know was that Rickard told Tunney more or less the same story, that Dempsey was ring-rusty and had softened up a lot. 'You'll take him, Gene,' said the promoter. 'Go for it.' If there was any hesitancy on the part of either boxer, the fact that Rickard was prepared to pay Dempsey $711,868 and Tunney $204,000 convinced them that they could do worse than accept Tex's offer.

    Rickard announced the big fight for September 23, 1926, the venue being a big horseshoe-shaped arena called the Sesquicentennial Stadium in Philadelphia. Dempsey was immediately installed as 4/1 favorite. Dempsey was still Dempsey, lay-off or no lay-off. Nat Fleischer, then sports editor of the New York Telegram, told his readers: 'If Dempsey loses his crown, many a fistic expert will be compelled to hide his face in shame.'

    He promised that if he won, he would give his most deserving challenger Harry Wills a title shot, and would try and convince Rickard to stage the fight. Dempsey had fought black boxers in the past, though never in title fights, and he did not want the public saying he was dodging any contenders. As it happened, Wills was elmiminated from further title consideration when he was beaten before the year was out by the Boston heavyweight Jack sharkey. After a heavy thrashing, Wills fouled Sharkey in the 13th round and was disqualified.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Roberto,
    Try source criticism. Your sources contridict each other. The Time magazine article in 1925 is a joke (not doubting it). Dempsey's 3 fight deal : as if Rickart had any plans for Dempsey to fight Godfrey or Wills. Geeze, since he refused to match Dempsey and Wills prior to 1926 (a possible 2 million dollar gate), he sure as hell ain't putting Dempsey in with Godfrey.(A black Heavyweight Champion ain't going to draw flies in the 1920's) I have no doubt that Rickart and Dempsey said that they were going with the 3 fight plan, but trust me, Wills or Godfrey ain't going to be on it.

    Van Every's first article is Tunney's word. But it does give insight to Tunney's racial views and his arogence.
    Van Every's second article contridicts the Rickart 3 fight plan, and Bill Mccabe, who was Tunney's manager, is the source on Wills' alleged refusal to fight Tunney for 150,000

    Fleischer's article contridicts Van Every's second article and McCabe's statement about Wills refusing to fight Tunney, by stating that Rickart had "no desire to stage a fight in which Wills or any other Negro was one of the contestants".

    I didn't see anything in Dawson or Myler's article about Tunney-Wills.

    Like I said, my source (through Kahn) was a letter from Tunney to Mara in 1925-26, in which Tunney states that he shouldn't have to fight Wills. Either Kahn's a liar, the letter's a forgery, or Tunney's a liar. And since Mara sued Tunney for 400 grand after the first Dempsey fight, I have no doubt Tunney used Mara to try and get around Wills. Why else would he give Mara a chunk of his purse (especially since he already had a manager who was taking 33%)

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Pete,
    Here's where my mixup is. After the first Dempsey fight Tunny was sued by "Boo Boo" Hoff, who wanted 310 grand out of his winner's purse, Tim Mara also sued Tunney for 410 grand out of the purse. I think Tunney's total purse for the first fight was maybe 250,000 (minus his manager's 33% and expenses). I don't know what happened in the trials, but Hoff was a gangster
    so Tunney's squeky clean image took a hit. Especially after Dempsey publically questioned Tunney's dealings.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Hype Igoe wrote in 1925 that Jack signed to fight Wills with the people out west , without Rickard or Kearns knowing . His belief was that Jack signed
    knowing the the fight would be stopped , by his contract with Kearns . In the article Hype says Jack did it because then he could always say he tried to fight Wills but they would not let him.

    IGOE

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    Paper reports only tell half the story...if that

    The fact remains that tracking numerous paper resources and then proceeding to piece them together in chronological order to observe developments does not and never has accurately portrayed the true motives that fuelled decisions.

    Its concrete that Dempsey signed for a Wills bout in 1924 thus it would appear he was in no way steering away from his worthiest challenger at all costs. The idea of fighting Wills for Dempsey was in no way akin to being exposed to the plague.

    So while Dempsey never did fight Wills it would seem unfair to tag that awful 'duck' label on his resume.

    For every bad after taste one is left with on Dempsey's filmed bouts, Ted Spoon always find himself possessing kryptonite for the critical stands.

    Dempsey was not too hot vs. Brennan? Did he lose? What about their first bout when Jack physically crippled Bill after mopping the floor with him backwards?

    Billy Miske -- there's a name that is never mentioned enough. Billy was edged out in their short bouts and knocked out for the only time in his career in between three bouts.

    Further, does anyone fully appreciate the significance of Dempsey's steam rolling vs. Fulton? The man was looked upon as the next champ and had big Jess 'runnin scared. A match between the two was constantly in the works since 1915. Fred was the larger and more experienced fighter yet in just 20 seconds and 3 powerful blows it was over before it began.

    Dempsey was on a leash vs. Carpentier and still put up a impressively dominating, if a little messy, show vs. Gibbons who was an extremely wily technician, tough as 'ol boots.

    I have always admired his careers exploits despite the subject of Wills.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Igoe,
    It's pretty much commen knowledge that Dempsey would have fought Wills post-1925. His wife Estelle Taylor, was spending so much money that he had to have a million dollar purse and the only fight that would get him 1 million was Wills. But, from what I've read, that was his figure for getting into the ring with Wills.
    However, after Dempsey won the title in 1919, he did draw the color line, saying he would not defend his title against black fighters (you guys have to know that) and he maintained that stance until a) desperatley needed the money-thanks to Taylor, b) public pressure to fight Wills- mostly from Nat Fleischer at Ring Magazine, c) lack of opponents to defend the title against- at least ones that could draw.
    Certainly in 1925, he waited until his contract with Kearns was up, fighting Tunney in 1926 for 500 Grand (I think). I doubt if he'd have fought Wills for that. Still, the arguement that Rickart was what prevented Jack from fighting him is not entirely true. Rickart didn't promote the disaster in Shelby that Dempsey fought in, so if he badley wanted to fight Wills, Dempsey could have gotten the deal done (he tried in 1926 with promoters in Michigan City) Fact was the NY state Commisioner Farelley had a piece of Wills, and was demanding that dempsey defend against Wills. There were plenty of promoters in NY State OTHER than Rickart, that would have promoted it. Now they may not have gotten him one million, but he'd have gotten a hell of a purse. The Rickart excuse is a cop out, same with Kearns controlling him. Yes, early in his reign Kearns controlled him, but Kearns would have loved to have gotten 50% of a Dempsey-Wills purse. In fact Kearns went behind Rickert's back and tried to either promote the fight by himself or get backing for Wills-Dempsey. Bottem line the majority of the blame with Dempsey-Wills not occuring ultimatly falls on Dempsey's shoulders.
    Last point- dempsey also was scared to death of Langford (his own words in a 1959 auto-biography) and did refuse to fight him after John the Barber Reisler had him matched with Langford.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    I agree about tracking newspapers as inacurate. One article ,Dempsey beats Louis next, Louis beats Dempsey same writer . I guess it depends on the weather .

    My real question is how can Jack be thought of any less for not fighting Wills . I looked at some best one hundred lists and Wills is always around half way. How does it matter he beat higher ranked all time fighters any way .

    In my opinion humble it matters who you would rather get in the ring . No one would a say Dempsey . The man liked to hurt people .

    To be great you have to be more than just a fine boxer. You have to hurt some people Ketchel , langford , even Ali . You MAY beat Ali but your head would be twice the size . Dempsy hurt everyone sparring partners, even knocked out a reporter for getting into the ring . The man must have been great

    IGOE

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    Off topic, but

    No man knocks out a gorilla. It is pretty much impossible. Gorillas and tigers have MUCH stronger muscle and bone structures than human beings. Not even in the same league. You could get Tyson in his prime on steroids to sock a gorilla in the jaw. It would flinch, turn its head, get really pissed off and proceed to kill Mike with one blow to the skull. Gorillas possess a strength due to their physical makeup that humans cannot even begin to approach. I'm talking 600 lbs of muscle.

    Just wanted to chime that in.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Roberto, nice to quote from 1926 srticles when Wills was about 36. How barve of the much younger men to consider fighting him then (but still not).

    As far as Langford goes, I believe that was atken out of contxt. Dempsey was very young and raw at that time.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shoemaker
    Roberto,
    Try source criticism. Your sources contridict each other.
    Why can't you figure it out. Then, like NOW, fights were planned, discarded, remade, signed, fall out, renegotiated, ect, ad naseum.

    ALL I did was post various sources who either interviewed Tunney or had additional info that they wrote about. I posted an interview with one of the promoters who proposed a tournament who stated that Tunney came to him and changed his mind and wanted to fight Wills if that would get him Dempsey.

    It ain't rocket science, but a failure of imagination just won't cut it. Life is full of contradictions, always was, is, and always shall be. Clearly Dempsey and Tunney had phases where they didn't want to fight a black challenger, and clearly had moments where they were willing to fight Wills.

    I also think it's the height of ridiculousness to think that Dempsey was afraid of Langford. He probably never even met him pryor to making his eastern tour with Kearns. Clearly he was being mismanaged and abused in NYC in 1916, but he had heard of Langford and knew he lacked experience to handle the best heavy of the day. 3 yrs later after beating Willard, Langford challenged him but was no longer the incredible fighter he had been. He was starting to drop decisions to Tate and Wills and it wasn't until 1922 that he managed to beat a top prime fighter and that was only a middleweight, Flowers.

    It seems context escapes you. Dempsey could have been more active, blah, blah, coulda fought Wills, blah, blah, but that just wasn't in the cards once he won the title because of the politics. Man had more fights than any previous heavy champ except for Johnson, so I just don't see why anyone is whining about him when clearly he made an effort to fight everyone unless you think he ducked Greb, Loughran and Norfolk, blah, blah blah. He had 6 title fights against HOFers and ended up 4-2 and dominated his era for about 6-7 yrs.

    I should think instead of dragging down Dempsey you should big up Wills like I do Langford. Wills was a great fighter in his day. It's just a shame both he and Dempsey fell apart at the same time when their fight was just starting to be reheated.
    Last edited by Roberto Aqui; 05-17-2006 at 07:53 PM.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    Roberto, nice to quote from 1926 srticles when Wills was about 36. How barve of the much younger men to consider fighting him then (but still not).

    As far as Langford goes, I believe that was atken out of contxt. Dempsey was very young and raw at that time.

    It's hard to say. The Langford quote comes from the 'autobio' ghost-written by Bob Consodine and so was made, if made at all, some 45 years after the fact, give-r-take, when Dempsey had no reason in the world not to be gracious to great and well-loved warrior. I seriously doubt Dempsey was ever afraid of anyone, but, yes, that's just my opinion.

    It's a shame folks can't seem to debate Dempsey without losing their tempers. As a practical matter, I agree completely with Mike Casey, Mike Hunnicutt and Pete Leo regarding Dempsey's 'greatness,' but I hope that the good Kevin Smith and his army of followers don't take it personally.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Mr E
    I agree 100% with your comments on debates getting out of hand in discussions on fighters. When i see personal comments or anger rising i normally just leave the thread alone as i have better things to do then listen to guys pretty much fighting each other on a message board. Because in the end i feel it really has nothing to do with boxing its just about one guy trying to out do the other one in a cat fight. Shame really because were all i think pretty knowledgeable and passionate about our boxing and of course no one can get it right all the time and in the end for me anyway it ruins the chance of picking up some useful and new info that might have come to light in the discussion.
    Give Peace a Chance - John Lennon

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Mr E
    I agree 100% with your comments on debates getting out of hand in discussions on fighters. When i see personal comments or anger rising i normally just leave the thread alone as i have better things to do then listen to guys pretty much fighting each other on a message board. Because in the end i feel it really has nothing to do with boxing its just about one guy trying to out do the other one in a cat fight. Shame really because were all i think pretty knowledgeable and passionate about our boxing and of course no one can get it right all the time and in the end for me anyway it ruins the chance of picking up some useful and new info that might have come to light in the discussion.
    Give Peace a Chance - John Lennon

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    The reason these arguments get out of hand is because the people start attacking the people rather than the arguments. Usually, one person does start it by saying something like "Are you crazy?" or "Can't you read?" The most common one is the implication that the person is unreasonable, which is often times correct. In that case, the best alternative is to not argue with that person and humor them. Unfortunately, on the Internet, someone is always going to respond.

    As for the actual purpose of the thread, I will say that my two favourite heavyweights (and two of my all-time favourite fighters) are Ali and Dempsey. I believe Dempsey deserves a ranking in the top 10. I've seen him ranked anywhere from 1 to 10, much like Marciano.

    I believe Jack's power, decent boxing skills for a brawler and his rock hard toughness would give ANY fighter in history troubles. The problem with Jack was that he was very easy to hit. Despite his half-decent boxing skills, that guy got hit hard and often. It wasn't for lack of skills. It was because when he brawled, the guy went all in with hooks and left himself vulnerable. A guy like Joe Louis could have really clocked him if Dempsey chose that strategy almost the same way De La Hoya and Trinidad clocked Mayorga.

    And, to be honest, the Dempsey I seen vs. Tunney had merely a punchers chance as he was just too slow. I don't doubt that Wills or a number of heavyweights of the late 20s could've boxed Dempsey's ears off at that point. Also, I don't think there was significant demand to see a black heavyweight champion in the early 20s late 10s. All one has to do is read into how much people wanted to see Carpentier-Dempsey. That was a huge fight in those days and everyone wanted it to happen, even though clearly Dempsey was the bigger and better man and was bound to end it quickly and horrendously. Heck, even Dempsey knew that Carpentier would be no match. Yet, it was the big fight of that time. Yet, Carpentier made more money for Dempsey than any black fighter would've.

    And we always look at the 20s and think race, but we also have to factor in the broader culture. According to the descriptions and the art, the roaring 20s was not much different from today. It was all about style over substance and the glitz and glamour. Sensuality such as money, liquor, food, music and dancing were far more culturally ingrained than the more intellectual deadpan tone that would follow the Great Depression and lead well into the beat generation. Read a Fitzgerald novel and you probably learn all you need to know about the era. I honestly don't think anyone cared about who was the best fighter or about any real substance and, like today, wanted simply to see exciting, aesthetically pleasing fights or fighters. Heck, Carpentier was considered a good-looking man in his day. Read between the lines.
    Last edited by Walker Smith; 05-17-2006 at 11:01 PM.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Mr. E and Walker Smith,

    Great posts and great points. I agree that these types of threads tend to get "over-heated" and that sometimes they are more about "ego" than anyting else. Opinions are opinions--and you simply cannot change someone's opinion easily. We all have "agendas" and "favorites" that we defend and protect. Harry Wills happens to be one of mine.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Im glad the guys can debate a fighter and still remain civil. As Ron Lipton says all the time before a fight "lets keep it strictly professional". That way we can all learn and still have some fun.
    Id like to add that although Dempseys reign at champ is blemished (I think Jack had so much fun making money and partying he could have cared less), and not that of a Louis or Ali, still his merits as a boxer much be judged much like Mike Tysons.
    Even Ray Arcel seems to admit that Dempseys stunning performance against Firpo showed that the rust Jack had and the party life robbed him of what he was. Im sure from about 1918 to 1924 or so Jack was a man eater and very very talented. Much like Iron Mike early to Iron Mike later after the party life took its toll. Im sure all of us know Jack in his prime was a mighty mighty man to impress so many other mighty mighty men.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    Rocky makes sense, again. I'd just say Dempsey's best was 1919 - 1920. After that he went Hollywood and began to be a part time fighter. He regressed as a fighter.

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    Re: The Great Trainers and Fighters on Dempsey: Simply The Best

    HE Grant.... reading thru many of the well-informed posts, I've got to say yours summed up best what made dempsey's gifts and talents unique: that is, it can never entirely be pinned down... always remaining an enigma to some degree...

    infact, imo it's one of the reasons dempsey is still debated to this day... creating a far ranging contrast of attributes & question marks that frame his career & legacy... defining it is like trying to hold mercury in your hand... infact the perplexity in itself actually serves to further magnify the legend...

    the closest comparison I can find in modern sports is joe namath.. like dempsey he had moments of rarified brilliance, on a level only the elites of that sport ever reached; yet conversely, along the way his career was filled w/ mishaps, questionable competition, & unfinished potential... both also under the brightest of media lights lifted their sports to new heights of commerce & appeal... even transcended the sport into the greater culture & language....

    its currently a shame w/ all the focus again on ruth to see dempsey's profound legacy to sports in general ignored by the current crop of neo-historical sports writers... talk to any of the last survivors today who are 85+ yrs old & ask them whose legend surpassed all others in the '20's... they'll tell you it was dempsey... yet, amazingly most current writers today are oblivious to this fact (witness dempsey's low ranking by espn of the 100 most important sportsman of the century as a prime ex.)...

    it's w/in that aspect of sports & cultural phenomonon you commented on, that i'd like to add a couple of takes:

    He won the title from a 37 year old, highly inactive fighter who is in no one's top 15 all time great heavyweights.

    willard on no ones top 15- agree ...

    however, I have to say, of all the giant fighters in hvywt history... willard is the most maligned imo... go back & watch his defeat of jack johnson over 26 rds in havana... he fought a very smart fight & near the end of it was working a vicious jab & sharp painful crosses and combinations... his power was commanding & dangerous... for a small fighter like dempsey going into the fight, the fear of death (as willard had already caused in another fight) was palpable...

    additionally, the idea that willard didnt prepare & was out of shape for the toledo fight is foolish ...this is a guy who endured a literal near death 7 knockdowns carnage in the 1st rd.,.. yet he continued attacking for 3 more rds. all in miday 110 degree outdoor humidity... no one out of shape gets back on his wheels & attempts to endure that... he prepared... his handlers by '19 knew of dempsey's explosive skills... you can see it in the first rd before the knockdown... the way in wh/ willard was fending & trying to space dempsey away in an area where he could extend away from danger & start using his jab.

    He might be the greatest media creation of all time....

    timing helps create legends & for dempsey he couldnt have timed his ascension to the belt any better ... call it fate or collective energy ... but there was no doubt a perfect storm of converging forces converged in the usa at the start of that decade:

    a post war booming econ. creating more leisure time; a war fatigued public ready to escape its memories; cars & roads connecting to the masses; metroplolis cities fully flexing their econ power; the emergence of an interconnected wired press ; a burgeoning film & madison ave industry aimed at shaping culture; & the new electronic medium of radio... all combined & quickly fed a nation hungry to reap all benefits due a new #1 global power...

    in this backdrop would come the public figures to frame the culture of such times... whether it was chaplin, hemmingway, lindberg, dietrich, joplin, barrymore or ruth.. the '20's manufactured stars into instant publically known household names... all sharing a characteristic of bold change.

    for one of these figures to rise to the top & epitomize such a fernetic decade of growth & change.. you'd have to find one that not only tapped into the underlying octane energy of the decade .. but you'd also need one who could concurrently steep themselves into the soil of america's heart & bones... its violence, legends, myths & most importantly its hunger... such a hero would have to be native... but local too.. chiefly bred in the region where the american myth, dream & rite of passage still beat in the country...

    enter jack dempsey...

    by '18 a murmured psychic nerve was already lit... spreading like voice over wire to atuned ears seeking such symbol .. a dedicated tap root back to the life source itself... the last untamed region in the nations borders... West

    migrant.. desperate... angry... & hungry both in literal & figurative form... yet carrying deep w/in an earnest, nearly idealistic beleif that the dream could be had & staked on ones own terms...

    that was the trek the scott/cherokee/mormon/American hard scrabble force was just starting to kindle in the public imagination leading into toledo... west dues reckoning in the electronic $ east...

    after toledo the myth & reality of the dempsey legend grabbed the masses instantly.... it wasnt only b/c dempsey was The native alpha warrior from the last days of the West... but it was also b/c the usa itself was in rapid transition... emerging as the worlds leader in commerce, media & military might... coinciding w/ the ravages of europe healing from its first absolute world war...

    this was a time on our own soil when natives were simultainously repelled by europes horrors yet hungry to reap the wars economic outcome...

    its ironic, but perhaps fitting, that this sports icon of the decade avoided the war itself... like america dempsey mirrored both the rabid hunger for the riches post war america could now give... yet at the same time, like many here... he held tightly to his own unique native roots... embracing the isolated palace america was no becoming for the successful...

    However...

    The beating he gave Willard, the punches thrown, the power and the intensity remain frightening to this day.


    on film the early hyper energy of that first rd explodes off the screen... direct, merciless & fueled by a rage to get his due... its almost cartoon like, but not in a silly way... rather in a violent kinetic fashion... I would be willing to wager $ that the first early frenetic popeye cartoons of that era found their visual root from that day in toledo...any wonder why that cartoon struck such a chord w/ people?... like dempsey it was proof the common man could rise to supernatural hero status... the amer dream.. & w/ in dempsey it was right there in real flesh & blood.

    Dempsey showed me most in his last two fights who he might have been. He was past his best, fighting on semi-shot legs, taking a beating against a prime, excellent Sharkey on perhaps Jack's best night when he started to turn it around and then flattened him with one shot.

    agree... sharkey never looked better then he did that night... a large framed, rather nimble & quick handed fighter who unleashed fluid and powerful combinations... he riddled dempsey's head like a pop cork early & midway thru the fight... in that fight dempsey had to dig mentally into 1916 to weather the beating... midway he seemed to gravitate his force inward hammering away... all w/ the sole intent to get sharkey by will where he knew he still had the edge... into a mining camp all costs life struggle... unleashing whatever it took, to exploit any opening possible... that night in '27, when you consider the level of competition, moreso then firpo or john lester johnson, it best reflected the innate hunger this guy had to rise from the economic jungle of his teens... your right, he still had that in spades.

    There can be little doubt that a huge part of the man was very hard.... That upbringing, almost quaint when briefly reflected upon is sobering if closely examined... it might sound cute in a romantized biography or in an old John Ford flick complete with musicals but the reality was far closer to "Unforgiven". ...when he turned his head. I doubt the thought of not doing so never even entered the man's mind. That was his world. Ask no favors, take no prisoners. He was one real tough son of a bitch.

    well said... times indeed shape people... his childhood certainly wasnt the suburban i-pod generation that so many of our youth fall in today... as you said, it was a darwin jungle thru wh/ the only way you got food in your stomach was by hard labor intensive work... the drifters had no govt to depend on... so the level of violence to get & maintain coin wasnt for the weak hearted... esp in the mining & agric economies of the West... shaped in an incubator like that, the survivors came out a tough breed...

    I'm most amazed about how this creature evolved into a gentleman after his ring career ended instead of reverting back to the life he knew before the fame. His growth as a human being facinates me most of all. No reports of Dempsey beating his wife or being arrested or drunken street fights. You would think he grew up in a white collar world, went to collage and got a job on Wall Street.

    I too find that a fascinating & on surface an almost ironic dynamic... considering the struggles & envir he was exposed to from his teens thru mid 20's...

    examining it close, in all the passages written about him... my quess is this side in him rose up for 2 reasons:

    first, he earned everything he got... & his payoff was not only materially lucrative but also influential wise... face it, this guy hit the amer dream motherlode...

    coming from such humble background and having to pay such steep dues... it seems to have made him very appreciative... many times that is a by product of people who work hard for their achievements as oppossed to those who get it easy & later are unhappy...

    further along the same lines, as tough & cruel as the world he was exposed to was, dempsey seemed to always hold w/in him a certain belief & optimism in the square deal that the freedoms of america offers those willing to pursue their dreams... his actions in ww2 show that the guy deeply loved his nations system & freedoms... that respect for a nation breeds optimism if you belief it & take it to heart...it clearly seems dempsey did.. even in '14-'17... I always found it interesing that reagan's favorite sports hero was dempsey, someone he quoted several times... politics aside, reagan too had that same type of non phony, tough optimism...

    secondly, it also seems his mom had a great impact on his moral side... we all know the guy wasnt a saint & never seemed to openly express religious expression... yet if you trace his actions you see a guy who many times was very charitable & who had a code of honor he lived by when it came to basics such as hard work, not stealing & honesty...

    again, my quess is this is something his deeply religious mother instilled in him & he took it to heart in the best fashion he could w/in such a brutal enviroment... the older & more successful he got this side of him seemed to grow more... as in the ring, his moral/religious side was of action & deeds, not word.

    Him vs Louis, in the ring, most likely they split ten fights 5 and 5 based on who caught who first. Dempsey had the better chin but Joe had the power to KO anyone. Both had great speed. In the street I'd pick him over any of them, hands down, including Sullivan. He'd have made Tyson cry.

    indeed a fight for the ages... very dangerous for either fighter... hard call... dempsey's D was flakey... on one hand as tunney alluded to, he had a bob and weave style that was deceiving in it prowess to avoid flush shots ... however, he also seemed to be vulnerable to his share of powerful shots, esp in intense exchanges...

    witness the carpentier, firpo & sharkey fights... if those sharp exchanges come from louis... at the very least he's stunned looking for his feet... w/ louis' ability to snake jolting jabs in & sharply finish w/ wicked combinations... as good as dempsey's chin was, I cant see him weathering that storm... so on paper, odds wise I think it would be fair for louis to have a slight edge going in...

    but its a bet I wouldnt take either way... b/c the other side of the calculus is louis never faced as skill a crouched fighter as dempsey, who could explode w/ such wicked power from either hand & various angles inside or out... additionally, louis' chin though decent, simply couldnt w/ stand follow thru crosses or hooks from dempsey...

    conclusion: if louis can stun dempsey early & prevent him from guaging his striking distance he wins... if not, imo dempsey's more ruthless inside game gains a bigger edge in allowing him to get openings & unleash finishing power only rivaled by the opponent he would be facing.
    Last edited by HandToMouth; 05-18-2006 at 05:34 PM.

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