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Thread: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

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    Coney Island Boxing Club 1899



    Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Amazing photo...you have great resources.

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    True that.

  4. #4
    Capslock
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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Great photo.

    Thanks.

    Who fought there?

    Tom Sharkey? Jim Corbett? Joe Gans? Terry McGovern? ? ? ?

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Coney Island Boxing Club was the scene of the second Jim Jeffries vs. Tom Sharkey fight. Jeff won on points after 25 brutal rounds.

    One can only imagine how heated that club must have become during that evening. Firstly, it was packed with spectators. There was of course no air conditioning in 1899. That alone would be bad enough.
    Secondly, the fight was the first to be filmed indoors (not counting the exhibition bouts in Thomas Edison's studio).
    For the filming to be a success the camera needed light and lots of it.
    Notice the set of lights hanging just above the ring. All these lit lightbulbs generated so much heat, several spectators at ringside passed out from heat exhaustion. The fighters scalps became burned because of the heat and a few days after the fight both men's hair started falling out. Yet they forced themselves managed to go a savage 25 rounds. Certainly fighters were another breed alltogether back then.
    Can anyone imagine Wladimir Klitchko or Nikolai Valuev fighting under such conditions today?

    -KOKid-

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Coney Island Boxing Club was the scene of the second Jim Jeffries vs. Tom Sharkey fight. Jeff won on points after 25 brutal rounds.

    One can only imagine how heated that club must have become during that evening. Firstly, it was packed with spectators. There was of course no air conditioning in 1899. That alone would be bad enough.
    Secondly, the fight was the first to be filmed indoors (not counting the exhibition bouts in Thomas Edison's studio).
    For the filming to be a success the camera needed light and lots of it.
    Notice the set of lights hanging just above the ring. All these lit lightbulbs generated so much heat, several spectators at ringside passed out from heat exhaustion. The fighters scalps became burned because of the heat and a few days after the fight both men's hair started falling out. Yet they forced themselves managed to go a savage 25 rounds. Certainly fighters were another breed alltogether back then.
    Can anyone imagine Wladimir Klitchko or Nikolai Valuev fighting under such conditions today?

    -KOKid-

  7. #7
    Capslock
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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Thanks for the info.

    I have some rounds of that fight on tape, supposedly taken from a camera hidden in a cigar box.

    Anybody know for sure how much of that fight is available on film?

  8. #8
    Capslock
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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Jeffries went into the Sharkey title defense with a hurt left shoulder.

    Jeffries hurt it when a wrestler in a gym threw a heavy medicine ball at Jeffries as Jeff walked by him. Jeffries threw up his arm and tore some muscles in his shoulder.

    You can see on the film that Jeffries throws mostly right hands to the body against Sharkey, along with some straight lefts---but no left hooks (which was his main punch).

    After the fight Sharkey had some broken ribs from Jeffries' constant right hands to the body as Sharkey came in.

    Sharkey was actually the aggressor for much of the fight.

    A knockdown scored by Jeffries late in the fight made the difference in the scoring.
    Last edited by Capslock; 07-05-2006 at 03:07 PM.

  9. #9
    Capslock
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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    What is the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company?

    Is that Edison's film company?

  10. #10
    Capslock
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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Any other fights you can determine took place there?

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Very little of the film for the Sharkey-Jeffries fight remains. The only extant copy is the film you have seen, which was shot by bootleggers. Yes, it really was photographed through a hat box. When it was released, the participants sued to prevent its exhibition.

    The official version has been lost to the ages - which is a shame. According to contemporary accounts, the film was remarkable for its clarity, and resulted in nice earnings for the participants. In fact, the film was one reason Sharkey did not get an immediate rematch with Jeffries: Bill Brady, Jeffries' manager, said a rematch would spoil ticket sales for the film. The film stayed in the theaters for about 9 months after its release - a remarkable length even for that time. All of the still photos that we have of the Jeffries-Sharkey fight come from the official film version. One can only hope that somewhere a print will be discovered stored away in somebody's attic.

    Not only did Jeff fight Sharkey at Coney Island, he also won the title from Fitz and defended the title in 1900 against Corbett at that location. During the hey-day of legalized boxing during the Horton Law era (1896-1900), one could call Coney Island the Madison Sqyare Garden of its day. All the greats of that era fought there including Jeff, Fitz, George Dixon, Tommy Ryan, the Nonpareil Jack Dempsey, Young Griffo, Terry McGovern, and many more.

    I had never seen a photo of the interior, except for some blurry stills of from the Ruhlin-Fitzsimmons fight. Thanks!!! to whomever shared it.

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    For years I've read that the bootleg version of Jefferies-Sharkey II was shot through either a hatbox or (as in THE LEGENDARY CHAMPIONS) a cigar box. Has this ever been proven? I mean, motion picture cameras of that time were generally the size of modern refrigerators, weren't they? And they made all sorts of noise (re: the "muffling" cases installed when sound production became feasible). How could one camera small enough to fit in a hat/shoe/cigar box hold enough film to document an entire twenty-five round fight? Was the bootlegger stopping every few minutes to change reels?
    Of course, since the words are generally "shot through a ???box", I suppose that means that the camera could have been positioned behind a wall or something, with the whatever box covering the exposed lens as camouflage. Does anyone have any actual-factual material about how this version was captured? It's a minor thing, naturally, but one that has puzzled me ever since I first saw THE LEGENDARY CHAMPIONS. (By the way, late balladeer and fight fan Harry Chapin won an Academy Award for that flick. Amazing, ain't it?) PeteLeo.

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Hi Pete:

    Yes, it really did happen that way. There was a rather lengthy article about the whole escapade written a number of years ago. I am away from my files, but I'll look for it at home and send you some information so you can find the article. (or, you can send me a private response with a fax number, and I'll fax it to you.) As far as I know, we only have one piece of film taken the night of the fight - and that is, the "hat box" version.

    If memory serves, the "hat box" story was also confirmed in some newspaper accounts at the time. When the bootleggers released their film, they were promptly sued by William Brady and others, who held the release rights for the official film. As I recall, a newspaper account alleged that the bootleggers stationed cameramen throughout the arena who recorded the fight with cameras camaflauged in - among other things - hat boxes. The hat box version of the film is the only one that remains. This a real shame because many of the spectators and reporters who saw the fight claimed for years after that it was the most exciting fight in heavyweight history. One can only hope a print of the official version will be found somewhere. Some of these old films do turn up from time to time.

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Correction: I mistakenly said Fitzsimmons-Ruhlin fought at Coney Island. The fight actually took place at Madison Square Garden.

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    JUNE 9 1899 Jeffries defeats Fitzsimmons at the Coney Island athletic Club
    in front of 9000 people.

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Thanks, but no Fax number to give out. PeteLeo.

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    Re: Coney Island Boxing Club 1899

    Hi Pete:

    You can find the article discussing the bootleg film in a 1957 article in Cavalier Magazine titled, "The Wily Cameraman and the Championship Brawl" by Charles Samuels. I have a re-print - not the original article.

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