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Thread: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

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    What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    He is without a doubt an all time great and if one studies him carefully one would know how good he really was.

    What impresses me about Langford was his agression, speed, power and explosiveness. I have seen him against Lang and Flynn and he appeared to have everything despite the old grainy fil quality

    What's even more impressive is his resume. Langford holds several wins over Harry Wills, Joe Jeannette and Sam McVea- all of whom are arguably all time top 30 heavyweights. And he also stopped O'Brien and Kid Norfolk- two top 20 all time light-heavyweights unquestionably. Langford holds wins over dozens of top contenders too.

    I think as a light-heavyweight Langford is top 5, arguably top 3. I mean he was a great all rounder with an incredible resume.

    What are your thoughts on Langford?

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Agreed. He could really fight and had an entertaining style. He was really more of a middleweight/light heavyweight in size, but would fight heavyweights.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    I don't know. I say Terry McGovern blows him out in one. Nobody could stand up to that guy.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Well, if you ever took the time to actually learn something about McGovern you might be able to make better observations...instead of making silly, childish comments like the one here!

  5. #5
    mike
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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    must be in anyones top ten ever --or damn close.strong claims can actually be made or the best ever pound 4 pound without much arguemnet ,except the usual therioes.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Agree with Mike - Langford was rated by his contemporaries as one of the greatest lightweights and welterweights. His achievements in those divisions are rarely discussed today and probably not even known by many.

    He could box, punch and do it all. He was one of the genuine one-punch hitters of all time and he retained that power against heavyweights.

    He was half blind and 44 years old when he flattened a certain young guy called Tiger Flowers.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Was Langford an all time great lightweight? I'm not sure if he even fought below 135lb, or 133lb which I think was the limit back then. He first fought Joe Jeannette in '06 so he surely wasn't a light or even a welterweight at that time. So I don't see how he had time in little over 3 years to establish himself as an all time great in either division.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Newspaper accounts say Langford was two-pounds over the lightweight limit when he fought Gans on December 8, 1903 in Boston. Atlanta Constitution, December 9, 1903, p. A-1 (wire service report). The lightweight limit was 133-pounds back then. So, Langford achieved a weight of 135-pounds in 1903.

    BTW, according to the account in the Boston Globe, he beat Gans decisively. Boston Globe 12/9/1903, p. 1.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Forget MY thoughts, Listen to the thoughts of Dempsey, Gunboat Smith and the other guys who SAW him and know fighting. Sam was one of the really greatest of all times.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Miscellaneous comments concerning Langford: Ring magazine editor and founder, Nat Fleischer said that “Sam Langford was one of the hardest punchers of all time, and certainly must be ranked amoung the top 10 heavyweights of all time. I wouldn’t call him as many have, the greatest heavyweight, but he does merit a place among the top ten. I saw him fight five times, against Harry Wills, Battling Jim Johnson, Sam McVey , Joe Jeannette, and Philadelphia Jack O’Brien. He was not only a terrific hitter but he was also a good boxer. He could even stun a man by hitting him on the shoulder or arms.”

    In a 1931 article in the Ring magazine, Bill Lang recalled that Jack Johnson was the most skilled man of his period. He said he was like a race horse in his movements, as graceful as a ballet dancer, as cunning as a fox and as cool as a cucumbr. He could hit, he was clever, and he could take it. So far as wallop is concerned though, Lang thought Langford was a heavier hitter than Johnson.

    In a Ring article in 1931 Gunboat Smith said about Langford, “Man, if old Sam were in his prime today, what he wouldn’t do to these heavyweights! There wouldn’t be any need of judges or referee, or even timekeeper. He hit me on the top of the head and I thought the roof had caved in. If he landed on the button, it was a good quick night.”

    In a ‘Boxing Illustrated’ article Joe Jeannette was quoted as follows:
    “Langford, was the greatest fighter who ever lived. Sam would have been champion any time Johnson had given him a fight. And Johnson knew it better than anybody. Man! How that baby could hit,” Jeannette often exclaimed while rubbing his oval jaw. “Nobody else could hit like that. Well, maybe Joe Louis could,” he conceded in later years. “But don’t forget that Sam only weighed about 160 pounds. Louis was about 195.”

    Jimmy Wilde, ex-flyweight champion of the world, James Butler of the London Daily Herald, and Victor Breyer, the “father” of boxing in France each named Sam Langford as the top heavyweight in their opinions.

    The great featherweight champion of the early 20th century,
    Abe Attell was asked in 1951 if Sugar Ray Robinson was the best
    of all time, either as a welterweight or middleweight. He named
    Ketchel as the greatest welterweight he’d ever seen, and said
    that, “As for the middleweights, I’ll take Sam Langford – the
    greatest of them all at that poundage.”

    Per author Norman Clark who witnessed Sam perform in England wrote in one of his books: “On the whole, I think Langford was the most tremendous hitter in the Ring at this time; for, whereas Johnson would not, as a rule, let the heavy stuff fly until he had worn the man down, Sam always waded right in and immediately let go punches heavy enough to drop anyone. Of course, he had to work up his punch to an extent, however, and this he usually did on the giant Negro, Bob Armstrong, whom he had training with him. As he sparred with Armstrong, every now and again he would give him a dig “downstairs” that would have the big fellow gasping, and, to keep moving, he would then shadow box for a short time before coming back to resume operations. There would be a few more exchanges, then whop! In would go another one to the body, and exclaim, “Oh”! He’s got cramp”, Sam would do a little more shadow-boxing: and so, and so on. (p.106)

    Clark also marveled at Sam’s quickness, “For working up speed Langford had Jimmy Walsh, the bantamweight champion of the world, with him. The pair used to box together lightly, but at a great pace, and I was surprised to find that even in this sort of work Sam was every bit as fast and clever as Walsh himself (p.108)”

    Great lightweight king, Frank Erne, when asked in the 1950’s what he thought about Langford replied: “I’d pick him to knock out Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano. When he was not under wraps, he was a ring marvel.”

    British sportswriter and author, Trevor Wignall, wrote in his 1938 book “I Knew Them All” that he did not agree that Joe Louis was comparable with either Jack Johnson or Sam Langford, but that Joe was unquestionably the finest black heavyweight the post-war years had supplied.

    Minneapolis sports writer George Barton named Sam the greatest light heavyweight of all time.

    American sportswriter and author, Edward Van Every, always thought that Sam Langford was the greatest Negro heavyweight that he ever saw.

    In the early 1960’s his manager Joe Woodman had this to say: “You ask me what Sam Langford would do if he were in his prime, in the ring among the heavyweights of 1963. Well, to discuss what Sam would do with the contenders appears to be superfluous. What would he do with Liston? Now, I am not one of those old timers who can see nothing brilliant in boxing of today. I know that Liston is a terrific hitter. But how much do we really know about Sonny? I can tell you this. Liston would be outmaneuvered by Langford. The Sam who stopped Joe Jeannette would be too much for Sonny on the mental and ring generalship side. Langford could hurt you terribly with very short punches. I remember the amazement of the reporters the night he stopped Jeannette in ten in Syracuse. They never before had seen such devastating short punches.”

    Harry Wills once told a man: “I was knocked out three times in my career (`102 fights). I was knocked out by Paulino Uzcudon and twice by Sam Langford. I know what Uzcudon hit me with, but I never saw the punches Sam used to knock me out. I was leading on points each time. The first time in 1914. I was having it easy. Sam was in a bad way. His eyes where bleeding and the last thing I remembered was that I had him against the ropes about five feet from his corner. It must have happened right there. Then, maybe a couple of years later, I had Sam in awful trouble about the 18th round. I was going after a knockout; he was out on his feet. And then I don’t remember anything after that. Sam was a marvelous fighting man.”

    Hype Igoe, well known boxing writer of the New York Journal proclaimed Sam the greatest fighter, pound for pound, who ever lived. The aforementioned Joe Williams, respected sports columnist of the New York World Telegram said Langford was probably the best the ring ever saw, and the great Grantland Rice described Sam as “about the best fighting man I’ve ever watched.”

    This is just a sampling of comments concerning Sam's abilities from knowledgeable boxing sources of that time period.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Cmoyle

    Now that I have been here awhile its fun to see who comes out for certian fighters. You always seem to be there for "old Sam". He sure brings you to writing.

    Iskigoe

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Sam's my guy alright. I spent a LOT of time researching his life and career, and writing his story over the past four years. I'm actively trying to find a publisher for the manuscript at this time. Hopefully somebody will step up in the near future as I'm anxious to get it out there for anyone that is interested in Sam to read.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Have you run across anything showing Hype to be ketchels mgr, when he fought Sam. Acording to Hype he got fired by stanley on the way home from this fight. which Hype claims was a "Barney" as Hype called a fix.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    I don't recall running across anything concerning that Iskoe. I ran across materials about Wilson Mizner, Hype, and Jimmy Kelly taking over Ketchel's business affairs after Willus Britt died, but nothing about him giving Hype the boot. Here's an excerpt concerning Hype for you from a book about Wilson Mizner by Edward Sullivan (1935): "Ketchel hit Broadway in 1910 and with the guidance of Mizner and Hype Igoe of the World became one of the best known and most popular figures on Broadway for the period in which the big town held his interest." That same book say's on page 211 that "On that same day Willus Britt, who had been closely associated with Ketchel's business affairs died suddenly and from then Mizner took the most intent care of Ketchel's future, assisted by Hype Igoe and Jimmy Kelly."

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    I recently found articles in newspaper archives showing Bert igoe as Ketchels mgr. Then months later Mizner was hired and Hype let go on the way back from the langford fight. You will find these article easy if you search under bert Igoe.

    You will also find a funny article on Hypes first wedding. Dan Sweeney another write from the Chronicle snuck in as a choir boy. I recently found out that Dan married Hypes sister, but thats a whole nother story.

    Thanks

    Iskigoe

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    sam langfords resume alone is incredible. but if u watch him on film vs lang, he looks incredible. i saw roy jones make incredible subtle moves that i thought he invented......but when i watched langford vs lang.....i realized it was langford who invented them!

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Wellll...

    I'm willing to cut Langford some slack for how he looks on film due to the poor quality of the film in question, but I have to say one of the biggest disappointments in my history as a boxing fan was getting my first glimpse of Langford on film. SO easy to hit. And those long looping right hands he threw... geez Louise! Dempsey or Louis would've stepped right inside those things and just taken his head off.

    I think Sam was a great great fighter, and I know this notion boarders on heretical around here, but I suspect he may be slightly over-rated nowadays.

    Just my opinion, gentlemen.
    Last edited by Mr E; 09-06-2006 at 12:19 PM.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elmer Ray
    sam langfords resume alone is incredible. but if u watch him on film vs lang, he looks incredible. i saw roy jones make incredible subtle moves that i thought he invented......but when i watched langford vs lang.....i realized it was langford who invented them!
    I've seen the Lang fight and the film quality is pretty poor. Which subtle moves did you see Langford use that you thought Roy Jones invented?
    Last edited by 10-8; 09-06-2006 at 01:10 PM.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    “SO easy to hit. And those long looping right hands he threw... geez Louise! Dempsey or Louis would've stepped right inside those things and just taken his head off.”

    Too bad, we’ll never know. But here’s some comments related to Langford, Dempsey, and Louis from various sources, including Dempsey:

    “Many years later, Dempsey, reflecting back on this period of time in his autobiography titled ‘Dempsey’, which was co-authored by Bob Considine and Bill Slocum, was quoted as saying, “The hell I feared no man. There was one man, he was even smaller than I, I wouldn’t fight him because I knew he would flatten me. I was afraid of Sam Langford.”

    Comparing the opportunities to fight both Sam and “Gunboat” Smith at that stage in his career, Dempsey said that although he knew Smith would defeat him at the time, he felt he’d eventually be able to take him once he gained more experience in the ring. Sam, on the other hand he said he could never envision defeating.

    Sam’s manager, Joe Woodman, agreed with Dempsey. During an interview with New York newspaperman, Joe Williams, in May of 1925 Woodman said that it was his opinion that the Langford he managed at his best would have beaten any man in the ring of that day. “You mean his size?” Williams asked. “I’m including Dempsey (the current heavyweight champion), if that’s what you are leading to,” replied Woodman.

    Continuing, Woodman told the reporter, “Langford was at his best against the rushing type of fighter. His great power and his ability to drop a man with a short blow made him very dangerous. Dempsey just happens to be the type that would be easiest for Langford.”

    Joe Louis, Sept. 15, 1964 – News Journal, Mansfield, OH: “Jack Blackburn, my old trainer, told me that Sam Langford was the best of those old timers and he saw them all.”

    Great lightweight king, Frank Erne, when asked in the 1950’s what he thought about Langford replied: “I’d pick him to knock out Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey and Rock Marciano. When he was not under wraps, he was a ring marvel.”

    There is an article in an old issue of ‘The Knockout’ magazine written by Joe Williams in which he quotes (Abe) Attell’s commenting on various photographs of great boxers lining the walls in Jack Dempsey’s former restaurant located on Broadway in New York City. Coming upon a picture of Langford, Attell exclaimed, “Now there was a fighter for you. Sam Langford! Yes, sir, in my book he was just about the greatest of them all. Sam was born about 25 years too soon. In his day the Negro fighter didn’t get much of a break. He had to fight the way he was told.

    Nobody will ever know how many fighters Sam had to carry. If he didn’t agree to carry them he wouldn’t get any work.”

    Williams went on to say that off the record, Attell named a number of fighters Langford had carried and that you’d be surprised at the dignity and importance of those fighters positions in ring history.

    When Williams asked Attell what he thought Langford would do against Joe Louis, Abe reportedly smiled and replied, “Just too much fighter. There wasn’t anything Sam couldn’t do and if he had a weakness nobody ever found out what it was. I have plenty of respect for Louis as a hitter, but I can’t see him hitting Sam hard enough to make him mad.”

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    BD: Just joking earlier...I do feel it was a dive however (McGovern/Gans) ... it's very difficult to judge any of the guys from that era as all the film was of an inferior quality. It is very difficult to compensate for the speed and most fighters struggle to look decent let alone great. The best we can do is to study the newspaper clipings, the records and the other first hand accounts of people we respect and make our best judegements...

    Sam Langford , in my opinion , was the best pound for pound fighter that ever lived. He destroyed fighters from lightweight to heavyweight. He knocked the best big men out cold. He was at best only a blown up light heavy at his biggest. The list of men he fought and defeated is exceptional ....Joe Gans, Joe Jeannette, Jack Blackburn all said he was the best fighter they ever saw or fought...Jack Johnson, a man who gave zero praise, siad he gave him his toughest fight.

    Langford was a living legend ... men were terrorfied to get into the ring with him. Johnson clearly ducked him post Jeffries....his resume is unchallanged.

    That about sums it up.
    Last edited by HE Grant; 09-06-2006 at 03:41 PM.

  21. #21
    mike
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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr E
    Wellll...

    I'm willing to cut Langford some slack for how he looks on film due to the poor quality of the film in question, but I have to say one of the biggest disappointments in my history as a boxing fan was getting my first glimpse of Langford on film. SO easy to hit. And those long looping right hands he threw... geez Louise! Dempsey or Louis would've stepped right inside those things and just taken his head off.

    I think Sam was a great great fighter, and I know this notion boarders on heretical around here, but I suspect he may be slightly over-rated nowadays.

    Just my opinion, gentlemen.
    sam was as damn tough as they come. i think its not fair to rate him as a heavy. sam telegraphed too much - he could get lucky against louis or dempsey, i think for sam to try that with those two--well he would have hit the canvas quite hard. p4p im not sure he was quite in the class of dempsey or louis either--sam p4p hit and was as tough as anyone--but louis and dempsey p4p a think may have been the most devasting 2 handed hitters with short punchers any weight division ever saw--short power!! with fitz up there as well as others. just a thought. thanks. as a middle or light heavy hes way up there.but--who knows

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoyle
    “SO easy to hit. And those long looping right hands he threw... geez Louise! Dempsey or Louis would've stepped right inside those things and just taken his head off.”

    Too bad, we’ll never know. But here’s some comments related to Langford, Dempsey, and Louis from various sources, including Dempsey:

    “Many years later, Dempsey, reflecting back on this period of time in his autobiography titled ‘Dempsey’, which was co-authored by Bob Considine and Bill Slocum, was quoted as saying, “The hell I feared no man. There was one man, he was even smaller than I, I wouldn’t fight him because I knew he would flatten me. I was afraid of Sam Langford.”

    Comparing the opportunities to fight both Sam and “Gunboat” Smith at that stage in his career, Dempsey said that although he knew Smith would defeat him at the time, he felt he’d eventually be able to take him once he gained more experience in the ring. Sam, on the other hand he said he could never envision defeating.

    Sam’s manager, Joe Woodman, agreed with Dempsey. During an interview with New York newspaperman, Joe Williams, in May of 1925 Woodman said that it was his opinion that the Langford he managed at his best would have beaten any man in the ring of that day. “You mean his size?” Williams asked. “I’m including Dempsey (the current heavyweight champion), if that’s what you are leading to,” replied Woodman.

    Continuing, Woodman told the reporter, “Langford was at his best against the rushing type of fighter. His great power and his ability to drop a man with a short blow made him very dangerous. Dempsey just happens to be the type that would be easiest for Langford.”

    Joe Louis, Sept. 15, 1964 – News Journal, Mansfield, OH: “Jack Blackburn, my old trainer, told me that Sam Langford was the best of those old timers and he saw them all.”

    Great lightweight king, Frank Erne, when asked in the 1950’s what he thought about Langford replied: “I’d pick him to knock out Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey and Rock Marciano. When he was not under wraps, he was a ring marvel.”

    There is an article in an old issue of ‘The Knockout’ magazine written by Joe Williams in which he quotes (Abe) Attell’s commenting on various photographs of great boxers lining the walls in Jack Dempsey’s former restaurant located on Broadway in New York City. Coming upon a picture of Langford, Attell exclaimed, “Now there was a fighter for you. Sam Langford! Yes, sir, in my book he was just about the greatest of them all. Sam was born about 25 years too soon. In his day the Negro fighter didn’t get much of a break. He had to fight the way he was told.

    Nobody will ever know how many fighters Sam had to carry. If he didn’t agree to carry them he wouldn’t get any work.”

    Williams went on to say that off the record, Attell named a number of fighters Langford had carried and that you’d be surprised at the dignity and importance of those fighters positions in ring history.

    When Williams asked Attell what he thought Langford would do against Joe Louis, Abe reportedly smiled and replied, “Just too much fighter. There wasn’t anything Sam couldn’t do and if he had a weakness nobody ever found out what it was. I have plenty of respect for Louis as a hitter, but I can’t see him hitting Sam hard enough to make him mad.”
    Yes, I have Consodine's book, too. IMO, assuming that quote really did come from Dempsey, my suspicion is that he was being gracious in throwing Langford a bone. If we take Dempsey's word for whom he could have beaten, then we need to assume he could have beaten Johnson, Louis, Marciano and Ali. Heh.

    It's much easier to rate Langford as a super-human if you assume that every 'less-than-superhuman' performance was the result of his having carried somebody. As an example, middleweight Stanley Ketchel, IMO a smaller, cruder version of Dempsey, fought him head up-- even getting the 'newspaper' nod by several accounts. HEGrant assumes that Langford must have carried Ketchel on the grounds (I believe) that Langford was just obviously so much superior to Ketchel that a real fight between them could not possibly have been competitive. Yet, the fact that fight was evenly contested surprised no one at the time as far as I can tell.

    I don't know the answer and I happily concede I could be wrong, but my instinct is that people have gotten a little carried away with the Sam Langford worship of late.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr E
    Wellll...

    I'm willing to cut Langford some slack for how he looks on film due to the poor quality of the film in question, but I have to say one of the biggest disappointments in my history as a boxing fan was getting my first glimpse of Langford on film. SO easy to hit. And those long looping right hands he threw... geez Louise! Dempsey or Louis would've stepped right inside those things and just taken his head off.

    I think Sam was a great great fighter, and I know this notion boarders on heretical around here, but I suspect he may be slightly over-rated nowadays.

    Just my opinion, gentlemen.
    If he was so easy to hit he wouldn't have made it through over 300 professional fights vs the comp he faced with the success he had.

  24. #24
    mike
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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    i think head to head as a heavy--langford would have been demolsihed by in prime dempsey or louis--no way can anybody last any qualtiy time with those two--tuned up in shape--telegraphing those punches. one can mention firpo or galento but those pretty rare and not telegraphed shots.i could be quite wrong--just my belief.--thanks

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Here's some Philadelphian newspaper accounts of the Langford - Ketchel fight:

    The Philadelphia Record – Headline “Langford Bests Stanley Ketchel, Boxing Entirely on the Defensive the Black Man Landed Most Blows – White Boy Made Fight – Forcing the Contest in Every Round and Was Well Winded at Finish”:

    “Fighting cautiously and continually on the defensive, Sam Langford, colored, had the better of Stanley Ketchel, white, in a six round bout at the National Athletic Club last evening before a crowded house that netted about $20,000, the big end of which went to the white man. Ketchel forced the fight in nearly every round, and had the better of the third and fifth rounds in which Langford did little but block. Also to Stanley should go whatever honors were gained in the first round, for there, as during nearly every instand of the fight, the white boy was forcing. But he usually forced in vain, for the black’s guard was well nigh invulnerable. There was really nothing done in the first round, however, since boty men were intent on feeling the other fellow out. The second and fourth rounds were Langford’s, and so was the sixth, in which Ketchel cut loose with all the visciousness for which he is noted, only to find that Langford, strong, clever and cool, could stop his blows and occasionally shoot a straight left to the face that came with double force since it caught Ketchel coming in.

    (Paragraph titled ‘Langford Did Not Try His Best’) – Just what Langford could have done to Ketchel last night, had he cut loose, can only be surmised, but he surely did not try his best to gain a decisive victory last evening, apparently being well content to block and counter and wait to gather the persimmon that he must surely feel is his, in a longer and better paying contest on the Pacific Coast.

    It must not be forgotten, however, that Langford, by fighting continually on the defensive, had a great advantage and it must also be remembered that had Ketchel fought in the same manner every round would have been just as uninteresting as was the first. Ketchel made the fight from start to finish and deserves credit for it. Langford played safe and blocked and countered and did it so skillfully that he easily outpointed the white man. Had Sam cut loose with a few leads on his own account he might not have been able to avoid so many of Ketchel’s hard and well delivered blows.

    (Paragraph titled ‘First Blood for Ketchel) – Langford spit blood from a slight cut on the lip before the first round was half over, but that was about all the damage that was done him. The claret was started from Ketchel’s nose late in the fourth round and from that time on he bled profusely. There was no semblence of a knockdown, although Langford slipped to his knees just before the bell in the fifth round. Ketchel nearly fought himself out in trying to get to Langford in the final round, but Sam blocked every effort and occasionally shot out that straight left to the face, about the only blow he used during the contest. His right was always busy blocking, and he never attempted to follow up any of the openings that presented themselves.

    By so doing he saved a lot of trouble for himself, for Ketchel on several occasions let go a right swing that would have felled an ox had Langford run into one of them trying to stop Ketchel.

    Some of the spectators seemed to think that Ketchel, having forced the fighting, should be given credit for a victory, but it is difficult to see how that could honestly be done since a great majority of his blows did not land.

    They reported that when the men met in the center of the ring prior to the start of the contest to shake hands that Ketchel did not look to be too well trained and appeared nervous and worried. Ketchel wore red trunks and Sam pea green.

    Highlights by round:
    Round 2 – Sam staggered Ketchel with a left in the face and they came into a clinch. At one point Ketchel butted Sam in the head and Sam returned the compliment. There was some hissing and the referee warned the men to stop it.

    Round 3- Sam utilized an uppercut to catch Ketchel as he would come in close. The bell rang to end the round and each tried to land afterwards, to seperated by the referee.

    Round 4 – Ketchel again did the leading but his blows did no damage. They had a lively rally, fighting all over the ring. It was in Langford’s favor, as he blocked most of Ketchel’s blows, while occasionally getting in some hard raps himself. Sam landed a stiff jab to Stanley’s nose, bringing the blood. Ketchel was tiring and he could not protect himself. Ketchel was holding on to avoid punishment. Ketchel came back and staggered Sam with a hard right to the head. Ketchel was tired and bleeding as he went back to his corner.

    Round 5 – Ketchel came out of his corner in good shape and again forced the fighting. He landed on Sam’s head and want after him hammer and tongs, Langford backing away and trying to ward off the shower of blows which Ketchel was sending him. Then Sam steadied and landed a stiff jab to Ketchel’s nose and started the blood from his organ freely again. They went at each other at the end of the round and Sam slipped to the floor just before the bell rang.

    Round 6 – Ketchel started to make a grand stand finish of it, and he went right at Langford landing on the body hard. After a clinch, Sam once again landed a stiff jab to the nose starting the blood once again. They clinched and Ketchel landed hard on the body, and worked hard in clinches to get to Sam’s body, but Langford held him off and laughed. Then they broke away and Langford landed two jabs on Ketchel’s nose and the blood fairly gushed. It was noticed that Langford was using only one hand and it looked to those close to the ring as if he was not exerting himself very much. Ketchel roughed it at close quarters, trying for an uppercut, and Langford blocked his blows and stalled him off. They were doing this sort of thing when the bell rang”

    Another newspaper report out of Philadelphia ran with the headline “Ketchel Wins Because Langford is Under Pull” by Billy Hicks:
    “Stanley Ketchel, the Michigan Assassin, defeated Sam Langford in their six round bout at the National Athletic Club. Had Langford willed it, he could have “assassinated” the man from Michigan.

    The fight went the six rounds, was a great bout to look at, full of sensational incident, but when the final bell rang, there were few at ringside who were not satisfied that Langford was up to his old tricks of saving a man he could have licked to use him as a meal ticket later.

    Langford got a pretty big chunk of money for the fight and he did not give full value for the coin. With him it was clearly a case of saving Ketchel for another time. They will probably meet in a “finish” bout on the coast out of which both will get fat sums.

    To his credit it can be said that Ketchel did not appear to be “in on the play”. He fought as he always does, hard from the first bell to the end, and was always trying to land a knockout punch. He hit Langford pretty often and hard, too, but never had the colored man in danger, and in return was made the receiver of a lot of stinging punches. Early in the bout Langford started Ketchel’s nose bleeding and he took care to rap the beak every once in a while to keep the claret flowing. The gore made the fight look good.

    The colored man but up a battle that was declared to be far below his best. Usually he is a stranger to swings, relying on short, snappy punches to rock his opponent to sleep. In this fight he was busy swinging with both hands as a windmill in a gale and seldom did he land with any force behind the blow. Ketchel kept rushing, banging away with both hands and while he did some damage, it was not enough to amount to very much. He landed the more punches, did most of the leading and his blows were the harder. One these counts he was entitled to a decision. But had Langford wanted to win there is little doubt that he could have done so and with a knockout.

    At the end of one of the rounds Langford, the old ringman and wise as he is in matters pugilistic, let his desire to knock out Ketch get the better of him and kept fighting after the bell. It looked great, the whole house was on its feet cheering the wonderful scrap, but the colored man failed to connect with any of the terrific punches. At the same time he was careful not to take any of Ketchel’s hard swings that were whizzing about his head.

    The fighting in the first round had a slight odor of rat to it. After the men had been sparring for a few seconds Ketchel started one of his famous shifts,seemingly being anxious to win with his first punch. He never finished shifting, for he saw at once that Langford was not where the blow was to go. (With a grin Langford got out of the way of the punch and shot his left to the face.) The colored man had shown his cleverness by getting away from Ketchel’s best punch, and the manner in which he did this proved to everyone at the ringside that the best bower in the “Assassin’s” deck was useless. Then Sam began to go at his man like a tiger. He rushed in and shot three uppercuts to the chin, but they all missed.

    And so the fight went until the last round. Ketchel was always trying and his best efforts were set at naught by the cleverness of his colored opponent. Langford, often, met Ketchel at close quarters and slugged away with the Michigan man. At these times the honors were usually in favor of the negro, though Ketch landed some hard body blows. On more than one occasion Ketchel was staggered by the punches he received, but instead of following up his advantage Langford was content to let matters stand as they were and Stanley “came back.”

    More than forty-five hundred persons jimmied their way into the old armory that is the home of the National Athletic Club. Prices of $2, $5 and $10 were cheerfully paid by those who were fortunate enough to be able to get a chance to get pasteboards for their coin. There was at least $24,000 in the house.”

    Prior to the bout “Ketchel gave it out that he had a couple of excuses ready for use in case he was put to sleep. In the first place he insisted on weighing in at the middleweight limit, 158 pounds, so that if defeated he would be able to prove that he was at weight, while there was not the slightest chance of Langford being near that notch. That would have saved the championship for the white man, had he been unfortunate enough to be put away. His second alibi was the fact that his right hand, hurt in his fight with Klaus in Pittsburgh sometime ago, was not as strong as it should have been.

    To prove this, attention was called to the fact that the “mauley” wa shot full of cocaine before the fight was started to deaden any pain that might be caused by whanging away at Langford’s tough head and ribs.

    As it happened there was no occasion to use either excuse, and judging from the manner in which Ketchel used his hand, the cocaine did its duty. He used the fist as often as he could, and there seemed to be no ill effects from the punches.

    Round highlights:
    Round 2 – After a moment’s sparring Ketchel shot a left to the face with such force that the colored man was turned about like a top. He did not seem to be hurt, though, for he was going away with the punch and jumped back into the fray with a smile.

    Round 3 – The third started with another rush on the part of Ketch. Langford broke ground for an instand and then rushed to close quarters. Ketchel met the rush with a right swing that looked to be able to take the head off any man unfortunate enough to get in its way. Langford wasn’t unfortunate. He let the punch go by and hooked his left twice to the face.

    These two blows were the best that the colored man had used up to that time. The second caught Ketchel on the nose and mouth and started blood. From then on Ketchel bled, and soon his face and chest were covered with claret. That did not seem to bother him and it made the spectators think that they were getting full value for the high prices paid.

    Nearing the end of the round a rush by Ketchel was met by a pretty inside left to the jaw, and there was enough sting to the punch to make the Assassin back away. Langford did not follow up his advantage although he looked to have a good chance to do a lot of damage if not win with a K.O.

    Round 4 – Ketchel gave his shift another try, and again he failed with this deadly punch, and got a slam on his sore beak that made the blood splatter over both men. Langford then shot two shorot arm lefts to the face and Ketchel looked to be in bad shape. However, once more Langford failed to take advantage of the opportunity.

    Round 5 – Was about the same as number four. Again Langford had a chance to win or what looked to be a chance but he let it slip. All this time Ketchel was doing the forcing and getting home enough punches to give him a lead on points. But he wasn’t hurting the squat negro.

    Round 6 – This round was the best of the fight. Ketchel slammed away wildly. Langford gave ground, clinched and stalled. The crowd thinking the colored man all in, roared to Ketchel to get in and finish things. But there was no chance. Langford was playing possum. He simply let Ketchel fight away, sent in a light punch once in a while to let people know he was there, and waited for the bell.”

    Philadelphia Public Ledger report of the fight – Headline: “Ketchel Wins By A Shade Over Langford – Forced Bout and Landed Greater Number of Blows on Clever Opponent – Negro Did Not Try – Man Who is After Johnson was Content to Hold His Opponent Safe”:

    “Stanley Ketchel by forcing the fighting and making a contest out of what would have otherwise developed into a paltry exhibition, earned a decision over Sam Langford. Did Langford try? That question will only be answered when the two men meet in a longer bout on the Pacific coast. There is one thing certain regarding last nights bout.

    Langford used his right hand but four times until the last round, when Ketchel in his “Garrison” finish, compelled the negro to use his right to keep the Michicagan middleweight at bay. Eight times in the final round Langford used a short right hand uppercut as a counter, and only showed what he really could do had he extended himself.

    In the third round when Sam’s left shoulder was a little low, Ketchel ripped through a wild swing which cut Langford’s ear.

    The bout served as a splendid curtain raiser to the proposed 20-round bout on the coast, but it was apparent to the writer that Langford was Ketchel’s master over the longer route, as he showed little punishment at the end of the six rounds, while no one could tell what would have been the result had he cut loose and fought as Langford only can fight.

    Langford was attended his corner by Joe Gans, the former world’s champion lightweight, George Cole, George Byers, and Young Mississippi, of turf and ring fame.


    April 29, 1910 – Philadelphia Public Ledger – “…Each man got a square deal by the referee; both were paid well for their services. But did the public get value received? The writer has no hesitancy in saying No! The gate was as large, with the exception of a few championship battles, as any 25-round contest held on the Pacific coast. The share of the fighters was greater, for they received an unusual percentage. Hench, each should have fought at top speed for five of the six rounds. That was due the public, which paid from $3 to $10 a seat to witness the go.

    Sam Langford fought under wraps. He allowed Ketchel to set the pace, and was content to follow, landing an occasional blow while the latter was going away. He only used his right hand four times in the first five rounds, and would doubtless have maintained that record to the finish had not Ketchel bored in during the sixth round and compelled the negro to extend himself. It was then that Langford showed his hand, when he drove a wicked right hand uppercut home, a blow which could have sent Ketchel to dreamland any time it landed on a vulnerable spot. But the result of Wednesday night’s bout is merely a recital of Langford’s ring record. He is perhaps the most remarkable man in the ring today. There is no man who can so accidentally “pull” his blows as Langford can, and it was this little artifice, which the writer carefully studied, and which fooled thousands at the National Club on Wednesday night, that made the bout look queer in spots.
    …..
    Take a glimpse at Langford’s record. It is without parallel in the history of the ring. To begin with, he fought Jack Blackburn five times. Dave Holly four. Then he graduated into the heavier class, meeting George Gunther three times, Young Peter Jackson six times, Larry Temple four times, Joe Jeannette four, and his great return act with Jim Barry nine times. The last time, when he came to the conclusion that the Barry engagement had been worn threadbare, he promptly knocked him out.

    Joe Woodman, manager of Langford, was so eager to have a clean sweep so far as the middleweight title was concerned that he told all promoters to get Ketchel at any price. Pay him any percentage and we will be satisfied with the balance. Sam wants the middleweight title and will drop Ketchel inside the six round limit. It is no wonder that the bout attracted a gate estimated to be more than $20,000. It is said Ketchel received about $8,400 of this amount, while the negro and his manager pulled down a little over $7,000. Sufficient money for 18 minutes worth for each man to go at top speed all the way. The only way that Langford can square himself in this city with the sports is to meet Al Kaufman, Battling Jim Johnson or some other good man and let us see the real Sam Langford, the man who caused Jack Johnson to sidestep so quickly that he almost twisted his ankle.

    The writer gave the decision to Stanley Ketchel over Langford for what he did in the six rounds fought, not what would be accomplished in eight, 10 or 20 rounds. Ketchel did the leading, carried the fight to the negro, took all the chances and had Langford fought his fight it is not likely that the bout would have reached the limit. Those who know boxing are cogizant of the fact that the man who does the leading, especially in such a wild awkward fashion as Ketchel does, take all the chances. Invite a counter and with little or no defence are apt to run into a jolt. If their opponent is not under “wraps.” Lanford played for the longer fight and the sports of the East paid for the curtain raiser. Last night Ketchel refused a purse of $15,000 to meet Langford, offered by Billy McCarney, who came from California for that purpose. Ketchel said “I have won a popular decision over the negro and I will pass him up at present.”

  26. #26
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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    A well played fake. Gan's needed to take a few lessons on fakeing before the McGovern fight.

    Iskigoe

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    "I think head to head as a heavy--langford would have been demolsihed by in prime dempsey or louis--no way can anybody last any qualtiy time with those two--tuned up in shape--telegraphing those punches. one can mention firpo or galento but those pretty rare and not telegraphed shots.i could be quite wrong--just my belief.--thanks"

    Mike, couple of fights I would have loved to seen take place, especially prime Dempsey vs. prime Langford. Langford was a very good counter puncher and had a tremendous short left hook. The weight differential between those two would not have been as great as with Louis, though Langford certainly took out a number of guys bigger than Louis during his career. It would have been interesting.

  28. #28
    Cojimar 1945
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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Langford fought some of the same guys Dempsey fought and was fighting at around the same time Dempsey was. Dempsey was not from a far later period than Langford and it certainly seems unlikely that boxing evolved greatly in such a short time.

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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    CMoyle: Great post...of course Langford held back...the whole intention of the 6 rd bout was to build up for a huge big time rematch...if Langford flattened Ketchel in a round or two what good would that do? Langford fought and defeated many better and bigger fighters than Ketchel. Let's get real. This is also exactly how I feel about McGovern and Gans...the black fighters of the era had to hold back often and sometimes throw down into the tank. Your talking about two of the top ten fighters that ever lived in Gans and Langford. Ketchel and McGovern may make the top seventy or may not.

  30. #30
    mike
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    Re: What are your thoughts on Sam Langford?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cojimar 1945
    Langford fought some of the same guys Dempsey fought and was fighting at around the same time Dempsey was. Dempsey was not from a far later period than Langford and it certainly seems unlikely that boxing evolved greatly in such a short time.
    well the whole problem with ranking greats is to see a flaw or more in their abilities and or records is an almost anthema to me, personally. i also do not take such things all that seriously; nor do many here-debate a bit but thats about it.films indicate there were plenty of lighter weight men whom had excellant techinques at least by 1905. how one wants to use and or not is up to the boxer, ultimatey. the crude battling nelson in 1905 rarely telegraphed his punches; nor did others. some, like ketchel and langford--did--for whatever reasons. now, as far as sheer impact is conscered, langford probaly hit as hard as p4p ever. langford seems to me to be a good boxer and great puncher and at heart--a real "fighting rooster". langford did not have that high of regard for kangeroo boxers, but he was quite the pro and could do alot. p4p his talent was fantastic. he hit with incredible force--but was not confident in the short shoulder driven power that others before and after, such as dempsey and louis whom seemmed beyond anyone[ except perhaps fitz] to with confidence born of plenty of experience to actually hurt the toughest of opponents with ,if they chose to, just the shoulder and whatever else came for the ride or did not. this type of power needs to have plenty of confidence behind it --and only accomplished by actually doing such on a fairly routine basis. like ketchel--perhaps langford--as devishly hard he hit short--never attained such confidence as dempsey or ouis. p4p one can make a claim as langford being the tough devasting man he was against perhaps ahaed of louis due to perhaps a chin less well tested. conversley-p4p louis may well have triggered automatically shots of great power before langford got within a fraction of a telegraph. as heavys , just in opinon and all at their best--langford may have not lasted against either luis or dempsey much longer than a fulton nor a schemling-and i dont think its fair to langford nor do i realley know;obviuosly. p4p id take both dempsey and louis over sam--as tough and powerful he was. he could rock and sock louis 3 out of 10 p4p but thats it. as a heavy , he in 10 bouts, loses every time ,all equl in prime, but too much to ask for the great langford agaist the likes quite like dempsey and joe. rest assurded--if it all went the other way--now that would be something!! thanks just opinion no fact and not very confident.

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