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Newz Forum: PFL:BOXING: Jack Dempsey SportzNewz Boxing Profile

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posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 02:04 PM

The twenties were the Golden Age of Sport. In boxing, nobody was more golden -- though not immediately -- than Jack Dempsey. Like Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Bill Tilden and Bobby Jones, Dempsey was the face of his sport.

"There was no greater draw in America in sports than Jack Dempsey. He summed up the Golden Age of Sport," says Sports Illustrated writer Bill Nack on ESPN Classic's SportsCentury series.

With angry scowl, teeth bared, flashing black eyes and unshaved chin, he was a warrior stalking his opponent. Fans flocked to see this former barroom brawler who had risen to the pinnacle of his profession. Game and tough with a ruthless fighting spirit, he was a box-office magnet, attracting not only the first million-dollar gate but also the first two million-dollar gate.

"In the ring, he was a tiger without mercy who shuffled forward in a bobbing crouch, humming a barely audible tune and punching to the rhythm of the song," wrote Pulitzer Prize winner Red Smith. "He was 187 pounds of unbridled violence. This isn't big by heavyweight standards, yet in the judgment of some, this black-browed product of Western mining camps and hobo jungles was the best of all pugilists."

Though Dempsey rose to prominence with several brutal early-round knockouts, it was not until he lost his heavyweight crown did he win over the fans. Back at the hotel, after being sliced and battered for 10 rounds by Gene Tunney, actress Estelle Taylor, the second of his four wives, asked him, "What happened?"

"Honey," Dempsey said, "I forgot to duck."

From that 1926 fight on, the Manassa Mauler's popularity grew. "He was reviled as a slacker during World War I, and although a jury exonerated him of a charge of draft dodging, the odium clung to him until the night Tunney punched him almost blind and took his title," Smith wrote.

Dempsey became a folk hero after losing their 1927 rematch. It was the battle that went down in history as The Long Count, Dempsey having put Tunney down on the canvas for more than the 10 seconds required for a knockout. But Dempsey was victim of his own behavior and didn't head to the farthest corner, as required, for several seconds.

"America acclaimed [Dempsey]," Shirley Povich wrote in the Washington Post. "In victory he was extolled as the invincible one. In defeat, he gained more stature. He was the loser in the battle of the long count, yet the hero."

William Harrison Dempsey was born on June 24, 1895, in Manassa, Colo., to parents accustomed to living in poverty. One of 13 children, he was called Harry during his boyhood. Growing up, the family moved to another part of Colorado and then to Utah. After Harry graduated from the eighth grade, he struck out on his own.

Legend has it that Dempsey became a hobo, but he actually was an itinerant laborer who traveled around the country by tying himself to the rods underneath freight trains. He camped by the wayside on his way to such temporary jobs as digging ditches, picking peaches, cutting timber and being a circus roustabout. Whenever he could, he fought in local clubs in Colorado, Utah and Nevada, using the name "Kid Blackie" or "Young Dempsey."

At 19, he switched to Jack Dempsey, the name that two of his brothers had fought under in honor of the 1880s middleweight champ of the same name. He showed promise until he was knocked out in the first round by "Fireman" Jim Flynn in 1917, the only knockout he would ever suffer.

Late that year, Jack "Doc" Kearns recruited Dempsey. Benefiting immediately from the management of the canny Kearns, Dempsey scored a string of quick knockouts. A year and a half later, he was fighting for the heavyweight title.

Dempsey was five inches shorter and 58 pounds lighter than the 6-foot-6, 245-pound champion, Jess Willard. But on July 4, 1919, under the broiling sun in Toledo, Ohio, Dempsey broke Willard's jaw with one of his first punches, a devastating left hook. He knocked him down seven times in the first round and walloped him for two more rounds. Besides the broken jaw, Willard had four teeth missing, his eyes were closed, his nose was smashed and two ribs were cracked when he didn't come out for the fourth round.

After successfully defending the title twice in 1920, Dempsey signed to fight Georges Carpentier on July 2, 1921. Wily Tex Rickard promoted the fight as "hero" against "villain." The "hero" was the Frenchman, the light-heavyweight champion who had distinguished himself as a pilot in World War I. The "villain" was Dempsey, who was labeled a "slacker" even though he was acquitted in 1920 on draft-evasion charges.

About 80,000 fans attended the fight in Jersey City and paid a then-record $1,789,238 -- the first million-dollar gate. They saw Dempsey, who earned $300,000, knock out Carpentier in the fourth round.

On Sept. 14, 1923, Dempsey had a slugfest with Luis Firpo, a 216-pounder from Argentina who was called "the Wild Bull of the Pampas." Firpo's first punch was a thunderous right to the jaw that put the champ down. Dempsey jumped off the canvas before a count could be started and proceeded to knock down Firpo seven times.

Before the round ended, an angry Firpo threw a clubbing right that sent Dempsey through the ropes and on to a sportswriter's typewriter. The writer and a Western Union operator helped the champ return to the ring before the count of 10. In Round 2, Dempsey registered two more knockdowns, the second ending the bout after three minutes and 57 seconds of mayhem.

Dempsey took the next three years off, cavorting around with Taylor, whom he married in 1925, and fought only a few exhibitions. When he next defended his title -- on Sept. 23, 1926 in Philadelphia -- the quicker Tunney turned the aging champ's face into a bloody mess.

Before their rematch, Dempsey fought Jack Sharkey. When Sharkey complained in the seventh round to the referee that his opponent was hitting low, Dempsey unloaded a haymaker, a left hook to the exposed chin. Fight over.

When asked why he threw the punch when Sharkey wasn't looking, Dempsey said, "What was I supposed to do -- write him a letter?"

Dempsey-Tunney II, the jewel of the Golden Age of Sport and likely the most famous fight in history, drew a gate of $2,658,660 (about $22 million in today's dollars) at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sept. 22, 1927. Tunney controlled the first six rounds, but in the seventh, a barrage of thundering blows by Dempsey drove the former marine to the canvas. The timekeeper began his count.

The referee, Dave Barry, pointed Dempsey to a neutral corner to his left, but Dempsey ignored him and went to his own corner, about five feet behind Tunney. Barry pointed again to the neutral corner and at the count of three, Dempsey started there, arriving about two seconds later. The timekeeper was at five when Barry turned to Tunney. But instead of picking up that count in unison with the timekeeper, Barry called out, "One."

So began the Long Count. At four, Tunney raised his eyes from the floor and looked at Barry. When the count reached nine, Tunney rose. He had been down about 14 seconds. Tunney danced away from Dempsey for the rest of the round. In the eighth, he floored Dempsey and then he dominated the last two rounds to win easily. Dempsey lifted Tunney's arm in salute and said, "You were best. You fought a smart fight, kid."

That was Dempsey's last fight. The Hall of Fame fighter retired with a 64-6-9 record, according to "The Ring."

Two years later, Dempsey suffered another staggering hit. This one was to his wallet as the Stock Market crash in 1929 reportedly cost him $3 million. But he recovered enough financially to open Jack Dempsey's Restaurant on Broadway in 1935. For 39 years, until his landlord wouldn't renew his lease in 1974, he was one of the most popular -- and gentlemanly -- restaurant owners in New York.

On May 31, 1983, he died of heart failure in his New York apartment. Jack Dempsey was 87.

Sex: Male
Nationality: United States
Alias: Manassa Mauler
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Birthplace: Manassa, CO
Division: Heavyweight
Date of Birth: 1895-06-24
Date of Death: 1983-05-31
Age at Death: 87
Reach: 77 inches
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6' 1
Trainer: Teddy Hayes
Manager: Jack Doc Kearns

Jack Dempsey Record (Available Record: 64-6-9, 5 ND, 1 NC, 53 KO's) - Cyber Boxing Zone

17 Aug Young Herman Ramona, CO D6
2 Nov One-Punch Hancock Salt Lake City, UT KO1
30 Nov Billy Murphy Salt Lake City, UT KO1

- Jan Battling Johnson ?, UT KO1
- Feb Joe Lyons ?, UT KO9
Feb 26 Chief Geronimo Pocatello, ID D 4
- Mar Johnny Pierson ?, UT KO7
1 Apr Chief Gordon ?, UT KO6
5 Apr Jack Downey Salt Lake City, UT L4
26 Apr Anamas Campbell Reno, NV KO3
31 May Johnny Sudenberg Goldfield, NV D10
13 Jun Johnny Sudenberg Tonopah, NV D10
1 Aug Fred Woods Montrose, CO KO4
7 Oct Andy Malloy Durango, CO ND10
Some report this as a draw; Malloy was also Dempsey's "manager"
23 Oct Andy Malloy Montrose, CO KO3
-- loses wrestling match to "Big Ed" in Olathe, CO

19 Nov George Copelin Cripple Creek, CO KO7
13 Dec Jack Downey Salt Lake City, UT D4
(Dempsey was knocked down)
20 Dec Two-Round Gillian Salt Lake City, UT KO1

1 Feb Johnny Sudenberg Ely, NV KO2
21 Feb Jack Downey Salt Lake City, UT KO2
23 Feb Boston Bearcat Ogden, UT KO1
9 Mar Cyril Koehn Provo, UT KO4
17 Mar George Christian Price, UT KO1
8 Apr Australia Joe Bonds Ely, NV W10
(Bonds was managed by Jack "Doc" Kearns)
3 May Terry Kellar Ogden, UT W10
17 May Dan Ketchell Provo, UT KO3
30 May Bob York Price, UT KO4
24 Jun "Agile" Andre Anderson New York, NY ND10
(Fairmont Athletic Club; Dempsey knocked down)
(Damon Runyon gave Jack the "newspaper" decision)
8 Jul Wild Burt Kenny New York, NY ND10
(Dempsey was better)

-- Dempsey rejects matches with Sam Langford,
Gunboat Smith, and
Frank Moran

14 Jul John Lester Johnson New York, NY ND10
(Harlem Sporting Club)

---- Serves as sparring partner for Carl Morris in Kansas City

28 Sep Young Hector Conrew Salida, CO KO3
7 Oct Terry Kellar Ely, NV W10
16 Oct Fighting Dick Gilbert Salt Lake City, UT W10
29 Nov Young Hector Conrew Salida, CO KO2

16 Feb "Fireman" Jim Flynn Murray, UT KO by 1
21 Mar Al Norton Oakland, CA D4
28 Mar Willie Meehan Oakland, CA L4
11 Apr Al Norton Oakland, CA D4
25 Jul Willie Meehan Emeryville, CA W4
1 Aug Al Norton Emeryville, CA KO1
10 Aug Willie Meehan San Francisco, CA D4
7 Sep Willie Meehan San Francisco, CA D4
19 Sep Charley Miller Oakland, CA KO1
26 Sep Bob McAllister Emeryville, CA W4
2 Oct Edward "Gunboat" Smith San Francisco, CA W4
2 Nov Carl Morris San Francisco, CA W4

24 Jan Homer Smith Racine, WI KO1
4 Feb Carl Morris Buffalo, NY WDQ6
14 Feb "Fireman" Jim Flynn Fort Sheridan, IL KO1
25 Feb KO Bill Brennan Milwaukee, WI KO6
16 Mar Fred Soddy Memphis, TN KO1
(Soddy impersonated Jack Smith)
25 Mar Tom Riley Joplin, MO KO1
3 May Billy Miske St. Paul, MN ND10
22 May Dan Ketchell Excelsior Springs, CO KO2
29 May Arthur Pelkey Denver, CO KO1
1 Jul Tommy Kid McCarthy Tulsa, OK KO1
4 Jul Bob Devere Joplin, MO KO1
6 Jul Dan "Porky" Flynn Atlanta, GA KO1
27 Jul Fred Fulton Harrison, NJ KO1
26 Aug Terry Kellar Dayton, OH KO5
13 Sep Willie Meehan San Francisco, CA L4
14 Sep Jack Moran Reno, NV KO1
6 Nov Battling Levinsky Philadelphia, PA KO3
18 Nov Dan "Porky" Flynn Philadelphia, PA KO1
28 Nov Billy Miske Philadelphia, PA ND6
(Dempsey was better)
16 Dec Carl Morris New Orleans, LA KO1
20 Dec Clay Turner New York, NY Exh. 4
($26,000 raised for the Knights of Columbus)
30 Dec Edward "Gunboat" Smith Buffalo, NY KO2

20 Jan Big Jack Hickey Harrisburg, PA KO1
23 Jan Kid Harris Reading, PA KO1
29 Jan Kid Henry Easton, PA KO1
13 Feb Eddie Smith Altoona, PA KO1
1 Mar Terry Kellar Washington, DC Exh 3
2 Apr Tony Drake New Haven, CT KO1
4 Jul Jess Willard Toledo, OH KO3
(Won World Heavyweight Title)
24 Aug One-Round Harrison St. Louis, MO Exh 4
--- Jack McCauliff Exh

5 Mar Terry Kellar Los Angeles, CA Exh 3
- Jul Opponent (x2) Denver, CO Exh

Dempsey stars in Daredevil Jack," a 15-round serial

6 Sep Billy Miske Benton Harbor, MI KO3
(Retained World Heavyweight Title)
14 Dec Bill Brennan New York, NY KO12
(Retained World Heavyweight Title)

2 Jul Georges Carpentier Jersey City, NJ KO4
(Retained World Heavyweight Title)

9 Mar Packey O'Gatty New York, NY Exh 3
--- Eddie Eagan Denver CO Exh 3
--- Terry Kellar Washington DC Exh
18 Jul Elziar Rioux Montreal, Canada Exh KO 1
18 Jul Jack Renault Montreal, Canada Exh 3
18 Jul Paul Lahaye Montreal, Canada Exh 3
(Lahaye was amateur light heavyweight champion of Canada)
19 Jul Jack Renault Ottawa Exh 3
Jul 28 Jimmy Darcey Buffalo NY W 4
(Retained World Heavyweight Title)
Jul Opponent Portland ME Exh
Jul Opponent Bangor ME Exh
Jul Opponent Fort Fairfield ME Exh
4 Sep Jack Thompson Michigan City, ? Exh 2
7 Sep Andre Anderson Michigan City, ? Exh 2
Sep 9 Opponent Jamaica, NY Exh
7 Oct Jack Thompson Boston, MA Exh 3
Nov 16 Charlie Trabon Kansas City MO Exh 3

--- Reginald Denny California Exh
(Denny was a popular movie star of the time)
--- Roy "Ace" Clark Philadelphia, PA Exh 3
Jun 23 Billy Wells Shelby MT Exh
4 Jul Tommy Gibbons Shelby, MT W15
(Retained World Heavyweight Title)
14 Sep Luis Firpo New York, NY KO2
(Retained World Heavyweight Title)

10 Feb Dutch Seifert Memphis, TN Exh KO1
11 Feb Martin Burke New Orleans, LA Exh 2
11 Feb Tommy Marvin New Orleans, LA Exh KO2
Feb 24 Tod Morgan Los Angeles, Ca Exh

Apr 1 Signs $1 million deal with Universal Pictures
to star in 10 films over 2 years

3 Jun Rock Stragmalia Los Angeles, CA Exh KO2
Jun 3 Joe Ryan Vernon, CA Exh KO 1
3 Jun Eli Stanton Los Angeles, CA Exh KO1
6 Sep Harry Wills Jersey City, NJ Sch-x

Oct Performs on Loew Vaudeville circuit;
Dempsey was Country's highest paid athelete in 1924

Oct 26 Norman Genet Buffalo NY Exh 2

Nov 10 Begins vaudeville engagement at Loew's Theatre, NYC

Jan 16 Dempsey announces engagement to actress Estelle Taylor
Feb 7 Dempsey weds Taylor

Feb Max Schmeling Cologne, Germany Exh 2 (May/Jun?)
(Dempsey fought several exhibitions on this day)
May 18 Bob Kent Aboard ship Berengark Exh 3
May Opponent Santa Monica, CA Exh
May Opponent Santa Monica, CA Exh
May 26 Opponent Berlin , Ger Exh
Jul 4 Phil Scott Brighton, ENG Exh 3
Jul 4 Eddie Eagan Brighton, ENG Exh 3
Jul 4 Harry Drake Brighton, ENG Exh 3
Jul 4 Corp. Ernest Chandler Brighton, ENG Exh 3
Sep 7 Bill Larne San Francisco, CA Exh KO 2
Sep 7 Cowboy Ed Warner San Francisco, CA Exh KO 2
Sep 24 Bill LaRue San Antonio, TX Exh 2
Sep 24 Big Meeks San Antonio, TX Exh 2
Sep 25 Ed Warner San Antonio, TX Exh 2
Sep 25 Jack Stafford San Antonio, TX Exh 2
Sep 25 Ray Neuman San Antonio, TX Exh 2
Sep 30 Ray Neuman Cleveland, OH Exh 3
Oct 1 Ray Neuman Dayton, OH Exh
Oct 2 Ray Neuman Ashland, KY Exh 2
Oct 10 Ray Neuman Los Angeles, CA Exh
Oct 30 Opponent Texas Exh
Nov 1 Opponent Mexico City, MEX Exh
Nov 1 Opponent Mexico City, MEX Exh

Jan Opponent Havana, Cuba Exh
Jan Opponent Havana, Cuba Exh
Jan Opponent Havana, Cuba Exh
Feb 8 Jack League Memphis, TN Exh KO1
Feb 8 Tony Catalina Memphis, TN Exh KO1
Feb 8 Cowboy Ed Warner Memphis, TN Exh KO1
Feb 8 Marty Cuyler Memphis, TN Exh KO1
Feb 8 Opponent Memphis, TN Exh
Feb 8 Opponent Memphis, TN Exh
Feb 12 Opponent --- Exh
Feb 12 Opponent --- Exh
Feb 12 Opponent --- Exh KO
Feb 12 Opponent --- Exh KO
Feb 12 Opponent --- Exh KO
Feb 12 Opponent --- Exh KO
Feb 20 Opponent Richmond,VA Exh
Jun Opponent El Paso, TX Exh

Sep 1 Contract with Jack Kearns expires

23 Sep Gene Tunney Philadelphia, PA L10
(Lost World Heavyweight Title)

May 8 Tony Fuente Santa Monica, CA Exh 1
May 8 Benny Hill Santa Monica, CA Exh 2
(Benefit for MS flood victims; he also wrestled with George Kotsonares)
21 Jul Jack Sharkey New York, NY KO7
22 Sep Gene Tunney Chicago, IL L10
(For World Heavyweight Title)

4 Mar Announced retirement

Career Highlights and Titles
World Heavyweight Champion
NYSAC Heavyweight Title

[Edited on 27-6-2004 by Ocelot]

[Edited on 18/7/04 by TRD]

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