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Friday, February 24, 2012

Matthews: Jeter may be more like Ali than he thinks

Save the fact that George Chuvalo caught more than Jeter.

Ali, like Jeter, was a proud, extraordinarily confident and almost unnaturally focused athlete.

It was those qualities that enabled Ali to overcome the monster that was Sonny Liston, the injustice of three years of professional exile, and the terror that was George Foreman.

It was those same qualities that caused Ali to carry on, long after his remarkable skills and reflexes had deserted him, resulting in beatings by Leon Spinks and Trevor Berbick, and, many neurologists believe, destined him to his fate as a prisoner in his own body, a victim of advancing Parkinson’s disease.

Thankfully, Jeter faces no such physical peril, only the embarrassment of attempting to play on beyond the expiration date of his skills. That date does not appear to have arrived—Jeter had an excellent bounce-back season in 2011, especially after his return from the disabled list in July—but there seems little doubt that like Ali, when the time comes, Jeter will be the last to know.

Jeter’s extraordinary self-belief, his unmatched focus and limitless optimism—he was perhaps the only one who truly believed he would bounce back from his difficult, and at times horrendous, 2010—are the reasons why he is Derek Jeter in the first place.

They are also the reasons why, when the signs of real decline set in, Derek Jeter will be the last to recognize them.

Repoz Posted: February 24, 2012 at 09:45 PM | 73 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, yankees

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   1. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 24, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4068283)
Hard to argue with any of that. And yet Matthews would give his right eye and his left nut to trade places with Jeter for a week.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: February 24, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4068304)
Yes, I think that's an interesting, unfawning, not angry negative take on future Jeter.

He wanted what, $20M a year in his last contract?

He does seem to believe a lot of the idolizing stuff about him. And that does not, by any means, make him a bad guy. But as noted, not sure he'll know exactly when to hang 'em up, which is not unusual but harder for fans to take when the athlete seemed (and in the case of fielding here, often just seemed) to have mastered the sport so effortlessly.

All that said, I think Jeter may have another solid season left in him.
   3. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 25, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4068357)
Ali should have retired after the third Ken Norton fight in 1976 (which I think Norton won), but that point his in-ring skills had clearly deteriorated and his reflexes made him painfully susceptible to good jabs. Anyone who didn't see the massacre against Larry Holmes coming should be ashamed of themselves, Larry Holmes had arguably the greatest jab in heavyweight history.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 25, 2012 at 02:13 AM (#4068412)
At some point age will catch up with Jeter, but based on how well he played after coming off the DL last year, I wouldn't be surprised if he had an All-Star caliber 2012 season.
   5. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4068464)
All that said, I think Jeter may have another solid season left in him.

At some point age will catch up with Jeter, but based on how well he played after coming off the DL last year, I wouldn't be surprised if he had an All-Star caliber 2012 season.


Spring training!!! I hope to heck you guys are right, it would be a lot of fun to watch him hit ~.315 one last time.
   6. Magnum RA Posted: February 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4068472)
Larry Holmes was a great fighter. You could make the argument he's the 3rd greatest HW of all time. An old Ali didn't stand a chance.
   7. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 25, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4068478)
Even at 70 Ali has more range to his left than Jeter, although often it's involuntary. [Ducks.]
   8. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4068492)
Ali should have retired after the third Ken Norton fight in 1976

I think he should have retired after Manila
   9. Downtown Bookie Posted: February 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4068505)
The heavyweight division was clearly well stocked in the 1970s (Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton, Holmes); but thinking about those times got me wondering: Where are today's top U.S. heavyweights? Granted, I'm not the boxing fan that I used to be, so my perception may not be reality; but it seems like it's been quite a few years since U.S. fighters were legitimate contenders for the world heavyweight title(s). What happened to America's heavyweight division? Have they all gone to MMA?

DB
   10. Gonfalon B. Posted: February 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4068508)
I think he should have retired after Manila

And Jeter should have retired after Minka.
   11. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 25, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4068520)
And Jeter should have retired after Minka.

as I recall, he won on a split decision, right?
   12. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4068521)
Larry Holmes was a great fighter. You could make the argument he's the 3rd greatest HW of all time.


There's legit case for such an argument. The biggest knock on Holmes is that his career lack signature victories over well-known opponents - the Norton and Cooney fights are probably his biggest wins.
   13. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 25, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4068561)
What happened to America's heavyweight division? Have they all gone to MMA?


NFL probably.
   14. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 25, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4068562)
Holmes beat better guys who were in or near their primes than Marciano did.
   15. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 25, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4068568)
Well I wouldn't put Rocky Marciano in the top-5 all-time either.
   16. Swoboda is freedom Posted: February 25, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4068578)
And Jeter should have retired after Minka.

as I recall, he won on a split decision, right?


Minka has good footwork, but she is weak in the clinches.
   17. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4068600)
There's a lot of truth in this column but it seems every year there's a piece like this (not on Jeter, per se, just in general) but they always seem kind of silly to me.

I will give Matthews credit for recognizing that it is this quality that made him Derek Jeter in the first place (there's a whole book on Michael Jordan's Wizards years that entirely misses that point) but I don't think Jeter is really any different from most MLB players in that regard. You have to have that almost unbreakable self-belief to make it as a professional athlete at the highest level. Self-awareness of a lack of skills is basically a fatal disease for a career.

I have a lot of respect for people who hang it up when they have nothing left, but I understand why most don't. Derek Jeter may be the last to know when Derek Jeter's time is up, but I bet you could replace his name with practically everyone on a Major League roster in that sentence.
   18. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 25, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4068798)
My top 5:

Ali.

Frazier. By the time Foreman got to him, he was done in by Ali (and vice versa).

Holmes.

Louis.

Shavers. Because I can't pick a legit 5th, and he hit harder than any heavyweight, ever. It's a proven fact. It's in "the book".
   19. Posada Posse Posted: February 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4068973)
Shavers. Because I can't pick a legit 5th, and he hit harder than any heavyweight, ever. It's a proven fact. It's in "the book".


And Holmes knows all about that. Holmes somehow got up from a devastating Shavers right in the 7th round of Holmes-Shavers II in 1979, one of my favorite fights.
   20. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4068995)
So where does this current crop of heavyweights rank in history? Is Klitchko even noteworthy?*

*I know nothing about boxing except Tyson was scary good when he first started.
   21. BDC Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4068999)
I wonder how timelining affects thinking about great boxers. Just on the face of it, perhaps less than many other sports. There's little change in equipment or technique that interferes with assessing players (as there would be in golf or tennis). Weight classes have the same effect historically as synchronically, sorting boxers into comparable groups. Absolutely bigger is not necessarily better for a heavyweight, as Primo Carnera found out, so the "NFL effect" whereby linemen of the 1930s could barely play in backfields today isn't that much of an issue. I'm thinking aloud, I have little idea what other factors are or aren't at work. Training and nutrition have surely improved, but I don't imagine somebody like, say, Henry Armstrong was a slacker in the gym, or ill-nourished.
   22. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4069001)
Klitchko is a very tall dwarf compared to any of the five I mentioned. Holyfield in his prime was better than Klitchko. The Buster Douglas that beat Tyson would beat Klitchko. Etc etc.
   23. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4069007)
Shavers isn't in the top 5, BTW. He was an entertaining fighter, but he lost too many fights to be considered.
   24. simon bedford Posted: February 26, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4069017)
shavers lasted all of one round against Jerry Quarry


edited because i didnt see Joe Loius in your list at first lol
   25. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4069095)

Shavers. Because I can't pick a legit 5th, and he hit harder than any heavyweight, ever. It's a proven fact. It's in "the book".


I actually ran in to Mr. Shavers in Las Vegas last December and what amazed me were how small his hands were. You'd think a man with such explosive dynamite would have fists like country hams.

Anyways I'm sure you probably know that for all his hammer-handed exploits Mr. Shavers doesn't belong anywhere near any serious boxing analyst's top-5, top-10, or even top-20 all-time heavyweights. He was still a heap of fun to watch because you always knew his fights were one overhand right away from being over.
   26. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4069096)
He was still a heap of fun to watch because you always knew his fights were one overhand right away from being over.

Shavers epitomized the phrase "puncher's chance"
   27. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4069100)
So where does this current crop of heavyweights rank in history? Is Klitchko even noteworthy?*


I think Vitali Klitschko deserves to be in the top-10 discussion. Yes, the quality of opposition for heavyweights is pretty poor, but when n elite fighter finds himself faced with a pool of mediocrities you want him to plow through the field and that's exactly what he's done. Vitali's size and jab would pose a problem for most elite heavyweights throughout history, and he's proven himself durable and mentally tough which is a factor that can't be underestimated when you're trying to rank a fighter amongst the greats. From a technical standpoint Vitali may be the best at sneaking his straight-right down the pipe and through his opponent's gloves.

Where Klitschko may come up short is that he's never faced a truly great swarming fighter who could negate his physical gifts by getting inside the jab and fighting with their head on his chest. Perhaps he could handle the challenge but he hasn't had the chance to make that case. Amongst the all-time greats who utilized a swarming style, Joe Frazier, Jack Dempsey, and Rocky Marciano are the ones mostly likely to be included in all-time top-10 lists.
   28. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4069104)
Klitchko is a very tall dwarf compared to any of the five I mentioned. Holyfield in his prime was better than Klitchko. The Buster Douglas that beat Tyson would beat Klitchko. Etc etc.


Nyet. Holyfield has enough baggage of his own with steroid use, and it's certainly worth noting that Evander tended to have trouble with the larger heavyweights who fought off a jab - Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe gave Evander heaps of trouble, and even the wheezing cadaverous incarnation of Larry Holmes he faced in 1992 gave him a serious challenge. Against smaller men Holyfield didn't have to fend off a longer reach and could impose his will in the clinches, as he did most famously to Mike Tyson, but I wouldn't put a dime on Holyfield's chances against Vitali Klitschko.
   29. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4069105)
shavers lasted all of one round against Jerry Quarry


Jerry Quarry was a helluva fighter.
   30. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4069130)
I wonder how timelining affects thinking about great boxers. Just on the face of it, perhaps less than many other sports. There's little change in equipment or technique that interferes with assessing players (as there would be in golf or tennis).


The most significant changes in boxing technique came about as a direct result of rules changes. In a very general sense, you can group heavyweight fighters by era and technique thusly:

1) Bare-knuckle age, basically pre-1880 or so, where fights were fought under the rules of the London Prize Ring. Bare knuckled fighting meant each fighter had to give significant consideration as to whether any given punch would incur a risk of a hand injury. Consequently rotational punches such as hooks to the head are almost nonexistant, with the "vertical fist" technique being the preferred one for head strikes. Fights were typically to a finish and upper-body throws were allowed so there isn't much going on during this period that translates to later eras.

2) Small glove era, perhaps 1887-1920 or so. Once Marquis of Queensbury rules took over the sport the adoption of padded gloves (typically 4-6oz, leather and stuffed with horsehair) introduced a host of new offensive and defense techniques. Rotational blows to the skull became a safer endeavor, although still somewhat risky, and for the first time in the history of the sport a fighter could tentatively use his padded gloves to protect his own face from incoming blows (again, still risky but this is an important development in technique). The traditional in-and-out style based on classical fencing as taught since the days of James Figg suddenly became anachronistic. Referees were empowered to directly intervene (under LPR rules they typically stood outside the ring) but infighting was still largely allowed and grappling techniques still had value. Fights now had fixed distances, typically 20-25 3-minute rounds for the bigger fights, so stamina and endurance was heavily emphasized.

3) Modern small glove era, 1930 through 1980 or so. 8oz gloves of significantly improved quality are used in most heavyweight fights. The additional padding and superior quality make their defensive use much more effective and lead to the development of "peek-a-boo" styles that would have lead to broken hands and wrists in earlier eras. Maximum fight length becomes standardized at 15 rounds, fighting in clinches is significantly reduced, and almost all fights now take place indoors (not an insignificant factor - when legendary lightweight Joe Gans fought "The Durable Dane" Battling Nelson in 1906, temperatures for the outdoor bout topped 100 degrees. The fight went 42 rounds.)

4) Age of the Lummox - 1980 to present. With fight distances shorted to a maximum of 12 rounds the deleterious effects of carrying excess weight are reduced, leading to an explosion of "superheavyweights" never before seen in the sport and many of whom are fat or overmuscled. Heavyweight gloves now hit 12oz, making them even more effective for covering up on defense but making precision targeting more difficult and the larger gloves are easier to deflect and now spread their impact force over a larger area. Wild, winging hooks can be thrown with abandon with little risk of injured hands.

Comparing fighter between eras, then, become a matter of interpreting how their strengths would translate into different rulesets. I have no doubt, for example, that under the rules of his day, Muhammad Ali would have easily beaten James J Jeffries (champion 1899-1905) over 15 rounds, perhaps winning 13 of them and maybe more. But Jeffries was regarded as the most durable and well-conditioned athlete in the world during his era, a man who routinely endured massive punishment in the ring while waiting for his opponents to wilt, then pouring on the abuse from rounds 15-25. Ali would famously clinch and pull down on the heads on his opponents to weaken their necks, a technically illegal move largely overlooked by the referees of his day. Jeffries, a near-elite wrestler, lived for clinches and owned a fearsome neck vise he would use to shake his opponents like a terrier with a rat; I would not bet on Ali taking the measure of Jeffries under the rules of that era.

Absolutely bigger is not necessarily better for a heavyweight, as Primo Carnera found out


I feel compelled to defend Da Preem here; like most people interested in boxing I had learned from book and word that the 6'5 260lb Carnera was a plodding bum of limited technique who won most of his fights through mob chicanery. With the advent of digital film trading I was able to view many of Carnera's efforts with my own eyes and consider him to be unfairly slighted and underrated. The man had a very good jab, moved surprising well for his size, and had excellent stamina and durability. His main flaw was a lack of punching power.

Training and nutrition have surely improved, but I don't imagine somebody like, say, Henry Armstrong was a slacker in the gym, or ill-nourished.


Boxers used to train harder and fight more frequently in earlier eras owing to greater competition for well-paying cards and longer fights necessitating greater stamina. I hate to use James Jeffries' training as representative of anything because the man was acknowledged as a freak even in his day, but read this newspaper excerpt anyways:

"For this fight [with champion Bob Fitzsimmons, 1899] he ran some 14 miles in the morning, alternating between a jog and a 100-yard sprint, without stopping to walk or rest and finishing the run within two hours. In the afternoon, he played three games of handball, punched the bag for 20 or 25 minutes straight, and skipped rope 1,500 to 2,500 times. He would then box from 12 to 16 rounds, and 'wrestle around' or toss an 18-pound medicine ball."

Let's go to the last bare-knuckle and first gloved heavyweight champion, John L Sullivan,

from an interview with Nellie Bly:

“Then training is not very pleasant work?"

“It’s the worst thing going. A fellow would rather fight twelve dozen times than train once, but it’s got to be done,” and he leaned back in the easy chair with an air of weariness. “After breakfast I rest awhile,” he continued, “and then putting on our heaviest clothes again, we start out at 10:30 for our twelve-mile run and walk, which we do in two hours. We generally go across the fields to Mr. Muldoon’s farm because it is all uphill work and makes us warm. When we get back, I am rubbed down again and at one we have dinner. In the afternoon we wrestle, punch a bag, throw footballs, swing Indian clubs and dumbbells, practice the chest movement and such things until suppertime. It’s all right to be here when the sun is out, but after dark it’s the dreariest place I ever stuck. I wouldn’t live here if they gave me the whole country.”


Dudes was tough back then.

Edit: Can't pass up a chance to post his most famous quote.
   31. Lassus Posted: February 26, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4069176)
I can't come close to adding anything to Yankee Redneck in this area. but I will say that boxing seems super-close to baseball in the THE ONES TODAY AREN'T NOTHING COMPARED TO THE ONES I WATCHED reaction.
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 26, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4069207)
I can't come close to adding anything to Yankee Redneck in this area. but I will say that boxing seems super-close to baseball in the THE ONES TODAY AREN'T NOTHING COMPARED TO THE ONES I WATCHED reaction.

That's because unlike football and basketball, ballplayers have always been on a relatively human-sized scale; and because boxing, unlike all other sports of any consequence, groups contestants within relatively narrow weight ranges. The same hypothetical cross-era Ali-Jeffries fights under two different sets of rules that YR mentioned is a thought exercise that could be applied to baseball.

Would (say) a one dimensional slugger like David Ortiz have excelled in the dead ball era to anywhere near the extent that he has today? Doubtful. Would Ty Cobb be a big star in today's game? Likely. And yet is there any question that the football linemen or the basketball players of the 21st century would totally dominate their earlier counterparts? The older quarterbacks and other skill position players would have a better chance of competing, but even there the smaller sizes and slower speeds would make it extremely difficult for them in today's game, whereas any good quarterback of today with decent mobility could almost certainly have played 50 or 75 years ago.

   33. Swedish Chef Posted: February 26, 2012 at 08:53 PM (#4069212)
but I will say that boxing seems super-close to baseball in the THE ONES TODAY AREN'T NOTHING COMPARED TO THE ONES I WATCHED reaction.

Boxing has an excuse for nostalgia, it used to be a much bigger deal than it is now.
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 26, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4069222)
Boxing has an excuse for nostalgia, it used to be a much bigger deal than it is now.

And it's also likely the only sport that has a smaller talent pool to draw from than it did BITD.
   35. BDC Posted: February 26, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4069240)
Thanks very much for #30, YR: very informative and thought-provoking as always.
   36. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: February 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4069285)
YR, did you really mean Vitali instead of Wladimir as a possible top-10 candidate? For some reason I've seen Wladimir fight many more times than Vitali, so perhaps I don't have a good sense of Vitali's talent, but I have thought of Wladimir as the superior fighter. I know he is a bit stiff and had a couple bizarre losses in which his chin seemed rather questionable, and of course the competition hasn't been too strong, but he just seems to pummel the #### out of most of his opponents (after metronomically and interminably jabbing them into dust). I know Vitali gave L. Lewis a good battle until he got cut (I don't think I ever saw that fight) but I was not as impressed with him when I have watched him.
   37. simon bedford Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:39 AM (#4069334)
I didn't mean to imply that Jerry Quarry was not a good fighter but he was a step down from Ali and Frazier both of whom defeated him with relative ease. Quarry demolished Shavers in about a half a round suggesting the difference between Shavers and Ali and Frazier was um quite alot
   38. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: February 27, 2012 at 07:24 AM (#4069368)
Post 30 - wow, just wow - awesome
   39. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 27, 2012 at 07:32 AM (#4069369)
My problem with Klitchko is that he doesn't beat many in this weak heavyweight division by KO. If he has to go the distance against these guys, he's not that good.
   40. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 08:28 AM (#4069377)
YR, did you really mean Vitali instead of Wladimir as a possible top-10 candidate?


No, but I guess he has a case too. Vitali is the more accomplished of the two brothers, but Wladimir has always been the one judged to have more "talent". Unfortunately Wladimir is also the one who got starched by fat Lamon Brewster after running out of gas in 4 rounds, and similarly upended by part-timer Cory Sanders. Those guy were not elite fighters. And then there's his TKO loss to Ross Purity, a fighter who pretty much defined the term "journeyman" and finished his career with a 31-20 record. These are not the type of outcomes you find on the resumes of all-time greats, especially when these losses occurred during Klitschko's prime years, not when he was a comparative greenhorn.

I like Wladimir quite a bit and agree that he has impressive technical ability but in the current depleted heavyweight division losses like these, especially KO losses, are huge blemishes to his record. Vitali has avoided any such performances and as a result his career record is much stronger. He was also tested against the best fighter either man faced, Lennox Lewis, and performed admirably in a losing effort before the fight was stopped for a cut; Vitali showed great durability and toughness in going toe-to-toe with another top-10 all-time heavyweight and Wladimir hasn't done anything to show me he could have given Lewis a better test.

My problem with Klitchko is that he doesn't beat many in this weak heavyweight division by KO.


LOL WUT?

Vitali Klitchko has one of the highest KO percentages in heavyweight history - 40 KO's in 46 total fights (90%)! Wladimir is no slouch either, with 49 KO's in 59 fights (83%). For comparison:

Joe Frazier, 27 KOs in 36 fights (73%)
George Foreman, 68 KOs in 81 fights (84%)
Ernie Shavers - 69 KOs in 90 fights (77%)
Rocky Marciano - 43 KOs in 49 fights (88%)
Joe Louis - 52 KOs in 70 fights (74%)

You can rip on the Klitschko's for a few things, but failing to finish their fights isn't one of them.
   41. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4069381)
Boxing has an excuse for nostalgia, it used to be a much bigger deal than it is now.

And it's also likely the only sport that has a smaller talent pool to draw from than it did BITD.


That certainly can't be understated. I can't find the piece now, but one of my former colleagues did a piece on the popularity of boxing in New York City in the 1920s and it's a daunting read. There were fight cards almost every night of the week at multiple venues and a huge number of licensed fighters whose numbers were never equaled in subsequent decades. As Andy points out, there's simply no doubt that professional boxing today draws from a talent pool a mere fraction of the size it accessed in the past. Today, Gentleman Jim Corbett stays a banker. James Jeffries goes into MMA or professional football. Benny Leonard joins Wall Street and Gene Tunney is the world's toughest CEO. Jersey Joe Walcott gets a job with a living wage and doesn't spend 10 years fighting part-time for scraps.

There is little doubt in my mind that professional boxing, especially at the heavyweight division, lacks the talent it drew in decades previous.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4069411)
There's also this: Back when Dempsey was champ, his fights were accompanied by banner headlines on the front page of the New York Times that were equal in size to those reserved for major events in World War II. By comparison, a two column headline was the most that any World Series game ever rated, even though overall newspaper coverage of the World Series back then dwarfed that given to the Super Bowl today.

And when you look at the best sports movies that Hollywood has ever produced, one thing jumps out: First rate boxing movies outnumber all the rest of them put together. Baseball movies are usually either comic or mawkishly sentimental, with little in between, whereas many boxing movies are brutally realistic both about the brutality of the sport and the corruption of the business.
   43. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4069454)
All I have to say about this is that old-timey boxing appears to have been pretty bizarre. According to Wikipedia:

Corbett went into rigorous training and was even more confident of his chances after sparring with Sullivan in a short exhibition match on a San Francisco stage. Despite the contest being held with both men attired in formal wear, it confirmed what Gentleman Jim had long suspected - he could feint Sullivan into knots.


I mean, what?
   44. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4069456)
Speaking of heavyweights, how nice was it to see Hunt get a knockout against Kongo over the weekend?
   45. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4069488)
I am certainly no expert, but what flaws did Tyson have when before Cus D'Amato died? I can't imagine a more frightening opponent, and I certainly can't imagine there has ever been a more potent combination of fury and power. I haven't bothered watching any heavyweight fights since he left the ring.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4069498)
I am certainly no expert, but what flaws did Tyson have when before Cus D'Amato died? I can't imagine a more frightening opponent, and I certainly can't imagine there has ever been a more potent combination of fury and power. I haven't bothered watching any heavyweight fights since he left the ring.

Well, I know very little about boxing, but he was relatively short, and not much of a technical boxer.

I'd imagine the great heavyweights would have been able to weather the initial onslaught through good boxing skills, and just wear him out. He'd take too much punishment trying to get inside against a bigger man who was a better technical boxer.

Rocky Marciano - 43 KOs in 49 fights (88%)

I know he didn't face anybody great, but that and 49-0 is pretty damned impressive.
   47. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 27, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4069509)
Maybe this is a flash vs. substance hurdle for me, which would be equivalent to someone preferring to watch Ichiro over Shin Soo Choo.
   48. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4069522)
All I have to say about this is that old-timey boxing appears to have been pretty bizarre.


You don't know the half of it. The Corbett v Sullivan exhibition you mention above occurred during a period when boxing was semi-legal at best in most parts of the country. The formal attire was to assure the local authorities that this was indeed merely a friendly theatrical exhibition and nothing more heinous.

Two other fights of note from that era emphasize the tenuous conditions under which boxing operated. In 1889 two fighters based out of San Francisco (the the boxing capital of America) engaged in a bitter war of words. One was Gentleman Jim Corbett, the future vanquisher of John L Sullivan, and the other was Joe Choynski, one of the true greats of the era who would own a stoppage over a much larger Jack Johnson some years hence; another future champion, James J Jeffries, commented that Choynski hit him with the single hardest punch he'd absorbed in his career.

Their first fight in 1889 was just getting heated up when the police raided the barn and halted the action in the 4th round. Both fighters were incensed and Choynski, the more bellicose of the two, demanded a rematch the following week. The two sides came to a clever resolution - one of Corbett's seconds was a former longshoreman and still well-connected in the field. He would arrange for the use of a barge for the day and the two fighters, their seconds, and select gamblers would board the vessel and sail into the harbor near Fairfax where the fight could be staged without any intervention.

And so on the day of the fight the parties arrived, boarded the barge, and set sail for open water. It was only when they arrived at their destination when Choynski's team confessed an "oversight" - Mr. Choynski, whose career began under the bare-knuckle London Prize Ring rules, "forgot" his 4oz gloves. Choynski would be happy to face Mr. Corbett in the bout bare-knuckled if the well-coiffed Corbett, sometimes derided as "Dandy Jim", had the sand to fight him thusly. The two sides almost came to blows before Corbett agreed to a compromise - Choynski had to wear gloves, but they could be whatever gloves he could come up with. One of the gamblers on-board then offered his kid leather riding gloves, complete with stitched seams exposed, and they were judged satisfactory.

I can post a newspaper report from the fight later if there is interest, but in summary this was one of the most violent, brutal, bloody fights in boxing history. By the 12th round or so both men were bleeding so heavily that their seconds took to throwing down buckets of sand and sawdust between rounds to prevent the deck from getting too slippery. The fight went a full 27 rounds before Choynsk was finally felled for the ten count. The barge then returned to port and both fighters were taken for medical attention.

Balls. Big ####### 19th century balls.
   49. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4069530)
You don't know the half of it. The Corbett v Sullivan exhibition you mention above occurred during a period when boxing was semi-legal at best in most parts of the country.

Didn't that spill over into the first part of the 20th century? I seem to recall that at least one or two major heavyweight fights involving Jack Dempsey were threatened with cancellation almost up to the day of the fight. Is that correct?
   50. BDC Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4069542)
First rate boxing movies outnumber all the rest of them put together

Absolutely. And it's odd, in a way, because most boxing movies are somewhat formulaic: kid-makes-good, veteran comebacks, big fights, corruption, a girl standing by her guy – almost as if the formula allows the filmmakers the freedom to concentrate on character and action without worrying about finding a new angle. Baseball movies are much more various, much more uneven in quality, and most of them are pretty bad.
   51. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4069544)
I am certainly no expert, but what flaws did Tyson have when before Cus D'Amato died?


As a small-ish swarming puncher Tyson had the same problems almost everyone with that style did - larger fighters with good jabs made him tentative. Some of the larger fighters he had trouble with were legitimately good boxers (Bonecrusher Smith, Tony Tucker) but some were not (Mitch "Blood" Green). A big, strong, legitimate slugger who could push Tyson out of the clinch would have given him an awful lot of trouble - Tyson was well aware of this, buy the way, which is why he steadfastly refused to fight old, jolly George Foreman in the 1990s despite the massive payday it would have generated.

"I'm not fightin' that ######' animal, if you love the ############ so much, you fight him!"

Tyson had a bully mentality, and I'm sure it's a worn adage to most but undoubtedly true that bullies don't like being bullied. Evander Holyfield didn't just beat Mike Tyson in their two fights, he completely exposed him, shoved him around the ring like a middleweight, and just as Teddy Atlas predicted, when Tyson felt intimidated he looked for a way out. I don't think Tyson fares well against any of the top 90s contenders - Riddick Bowe, Lennox Lewis, Holyfield, even Ray Mercer and Tommy Morrison.

Yes, Tyson had an impressive record early in his career, racking up lots of knockouts against contenders and pretenders. But if that's impressive enough for people to start entertaining visions of Iron Mike laying out Ali, Louis, Dempsey, Frazier, et al, doesn't this man deserve additional consideration as an all-time great?
   52. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4069550)
Didn't that spill over into the first part of the 20th century? I seem to recall that at least one or two major heavyweight fights involving Jack Dempsey were threatened with cancellation almost up to the day of the fight. Is that correct?


If I'm wrong I'm ashamed, but the only Dempsey championship fight I know of that almost didn't come off was the ill-fated 1923 defense against Tommy Gibbons in the middle of nowhere, Shelby, Montana. The fight was bankrolled by oilmen who hoped Denmpsey's status as the biggest attraction in the world would bring all the east coast swells out to their little berg on the custom railroad tracks they had installed and out the town on the map. Instead nobody showed up (paid attendance was 7700 - in 1921 Dempsey drew 91,000 fans to see he fight with George Carpentier), 5 banks folded, and Dempsey and manager Jack Kearns left town before Jack had even toweled off after the fight rather than face the wrath of the unfortunate individuals who bankrolled the fiasco - they got their money in advance.

Now earlier fighters certainly had to deal with this sort of trouble, including James Jeffries who title defense against Gus Ruhlin was cancelled twice, once when the governor of Ohio personally stepped in and ordered all parties arrested if they showed up to fight. Jim Corbett's scheduled defense against Bob Fitzsimmons was also cancelled twice, but promoter Dan Stuart, in a feat of shameless skinflintery that would make Don King blush, recycled the tickets he had printed for their aborted earlier bout and sold them for their 1897 fight after crossing out the date and venue by hand.
   53. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4069571)
Absolutely. And it's odd, in a way, because most boxing movies are somewhat formulaic: kid-makes-good, veteran comebacks, big fights, corruption, a girl standing by her guy – almost as if the formula allows the filmmakers the freedom to concentrate on character and action without worrying about finding a new angle. Baseball movies are much more various, much more uneven in quality, and most of them are pretty bad.
As you mentioned, this is persumably related. If you're trying to find a new angle, a lot can go wrong. (And has, as a lot of baseball movies would show you.) Whereas relying on the boxing formula, assuming a decent script and competant actors, means the film can only be so bad.

I suppose Rocky IV came up with a new angle--boxer ends Cold War!--but we all know how that turned out.
   54. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4069582)
I am certainly no expert, but what flaws did Tyson have when before Cus D'Amato died? I can't imagine a more frightening opponent, and I certainly can't imagine there has ever been a more potent combination of fury and power. I haven't bothered watching any heavyweight fights since he left the ring.


I think D'amato's death had a bigger impact in Mike Tyson the person than Mike Tyson the fighter. The outside the ring mayhem really started after that happened as D'amato had been the authority figure Tyson needed in his life.

That hurt Tyson in the ring too but what really killed him was Kevin Rooney leaving his corner (or Tyson leaving Rooney, I don't know what happened). The Douglas fight was IIRC the first post-Rooney fight or pretty soon thereafter. I remember watching that fight with several friends and we all noted almost immediately that Tyson's patented head bob that made him a tough target and allowed him to get inside taller fighters wasn't there. He was moving straight ahead and became a pretty easy target. The Tyson who moved constantly rarely got hit in those days and the best defense was Bonecrusher's "clinch as often as possible then clinch some more." Douglas was the first fighter who hit him consistently.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4069797)
Didn't that spill over into the first part of the 20th century? I seem to recall that at least one or two major heavyweight fights involving Jack Dempsey were threatened with cancellation almost up to the day of the fight. Is that correct?

If I'm wrong I'm ashamed, but the only Dempsey championship fight I know of that almost didn't come off was the ill-fated 1923 defense against Tommy Gibbons in the middle of nowhere, Shelby, Montana.


I'd never question your authority on anything relating to boxing, but here's what my memory is based on: In my book shop I used to have a complete set of NY Times bound volumes from 1913 to 1946, and I swear that in one of those fights, a local group that was opposed to boxing fought to get an injunction to stop it, and it was serious enough that it made for one of those giant banner front page headlines. It's possible it didn't involve Dempsey, but it definitely was in the period after WWI and before he fought Tunney, because prior to that I never saw any front page banner headlines in the Times for anything other than war stories. And I also don't recall any fighter before or after Dempsey being given that sort of front page treatment.

I've got access to the Times' archives, but unfortunately unless I knew how to zero in on a search like that, it'd be like finding a needle in a haystack.
   56. Good cripple hitter Posted: February 27, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4069873)
I googled "local group injunction Dempsey fight" and got an article about a July 4, 1919 fight with Dempsey in Toledo:


One church association registered a vigorous protest claiming that the “prize fight will bring into our borders hordes of the lawless and vicious elements, that it will stimulate gambling on a vast scale, and sanction brutality, and that it will denigrate the fair name of Toledo in the eyes of the rest of the nation to the low level of Reno as a wide-open town.” As far away as Cleveland the Ministerial Union voted unanimously to protest to the governor against the match as a menace to public morals. The Toledo Ministerial Union sought unsuccessfully to secure a permanent injunction against the promoters. The Sunday School Association passed a resolution of opposition pointing out that the fight would bring to Toledo “thousand of criminals, prostitutes, and gamblers whole presence in any city is demoralizing, and whose influence on the youth of the community is a pollution. No single thing could injure the good name of a city more than to be known as a place where a national prize fight was pulled off.” The Women’s Christian Temperance Union asked that “all influence be brought to bear to protect our city form this disgrace.”

From the outside, professional obstructionists were brought in. Dr. Wilbur Crafts, superintendent of the International Reform Bureau, came from Washington to stop the bout, claiming that he had prevented the Willard-Johnson fight from being held in Florida and also had put the skids under a match between Jeffries and Fitzsimmons.


I don't know if that's the one you were thinking of, but it might help you find the article in the Times.

And since no-one else has mentioned it:


I can post a newspaper report from the fight later if there is interest, but in summary this was one of the most violent, brutal, bloody fights in boxing history. By the 12th round or so both men were bleeding so heavily that their seconds took to throwing down buckets of sand and sawdust between rounds to prevent the deck from getting too slippery. The fight went a full 27 rounds before Choynsk was finally felled for the ten count. The barge then returned to port and both fighters were taken for medical attention.


I'd love to see that newspaper report, the setup reminds me of the Simpsons joke about Tyson vs Secretariat in international waters, a fight dubbed "the slaughter in the water".
   57. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 29, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4071073)
In rifling through my newspaper clippings I came across this little pre-fight blurb that made me chuckle:

Jim Corbett stated yesterday that he was prepared to make a deposit to fight Joe Choynski for $1000 a side, in private. He can not meet Choynski in any club, and is willing to arrange for a match to come off in private, within six weeks. Corbett says that he has just recovered from an attack of typhoid pneumonia, and he now wants Choynski to "put up or shut up."


Well color me surprised that "put up or shut up" has such a lengthy history of usage - this article was from April 1889, just prior to the first meeting between the two men.

Now for the the infamous barge fight! Boxing reporting tended to generate some of the best writing in this era but this report isn't an example; it is, however, the only first-hand reporting as written by someone on the fight barge itself. I've included the opening paragraphs which are a rambling read but give the reader some impression of the various machinations required to get the bout off without government intervention.

There is some reason to believe the reporter actually skipped out on the fight to engage in some drinking during the middle-to-late rounds, but that's another topic.

Any typographic errors are almost certainly mine:

Daily Alta California, 06 June 1889

A BRUTAL FIGHT.

Jim Corbett Knocks Out Joe Choynski in Twenty-seven Rounds!

WORSE THAN BARE KNUCKLES.

Choynski Uses Driving Gloves — Corbett Breaks His Hand— A Bloody Battle Fought Gamely.

Patty Hogan, who served as referee of the Corbett-Choynski postponed fight, sent word to the principals to be ready for battle Wednesday morning and await further orders as to the place. Accordingly the representatives of both men were kept busy on Tuesday hunting up the friends of both parties who had made up the purse, and giving them the straight tip, with instructions not to give it away. As usual, in affairs of this kind, some one wanted to bring a friend, and the tip was no longer a secret, as the 7 o'clock Oakland boat proved, when it was found that about 50 sports were aboard bound to Benicia by the Oregon express, which also had on board Joe Choynski and seconds, Corbett and his friends having gone up in the afternoon. About 35 sports who had missed the boat and heard of the affair later on, chartered the tug "Jos. H. Redmond" and she started from the seawall near Vallejo street at 2 o'clock yesterday morning and was immediately followed by the tug Sea Queen, that was lying at the end of Vallejo street wharf, and which had been chartered by the representatives of both men to take their friends. The Queen had on board about 100 persons, including Jack Dempsey and Sheriff Haley of Marin County, who had stopped the fight at Austin's barn, six miles back of San Rafael, last Thursday. During the passage many of the boys were sick, while others enjoyed their hot coffee and rolls with ham and eggs. Two boats were in tow of the tug and the occupants were well soaked by the time the party reached its destination. The tug "Jos. H. Redmond", which had started first, was passed off Red Rock by the Sea Queen, about 3 o'clock, as the Redmond's party did not know exactly where the battle was to be fought. At 4:30 o'clock the Sea Queen arrived and struck mud off Nickel Point, below Benicia, and the Redmond followed suit. Whitehall boats were now brought into play, and the crowd from both tugs were on their way to the barge "Excel", which was anchored about 300 yards away. The first boat left the Sea Queen at 4:40 with seven persons aboard, headed by Milton Griffith, and landed safely. About the same time the Whitehall boat "F. G. Wilson" left the Redmond with a party of eleven. Although she leaked from the start, all went well until the barge was reached, when the party, in their hurry to get on board, all rushed to the bow. and she turned over, throwing the whole crowd into the water, which was twelve feet deep.

The boat contained Phil Crimmins, Austin Fitzgerald, Geo. Tice, Tim Daly, Jimmy Kenny, Clerk of Police Court No. 1, Michelson the Hackman [YR - I have no idea], Tom Stanford, Ike Leopold, Wilson, Hoffman and a reporter named Horton. The whole crowd were soakcd to the skin and had to strip in the pilot-house of the barge and dry their clothes. All could swim but Jimmy Kenny, who would have drowned but for the assistance of Criminins and Fitzgerald, to whom he owes his life. Crimmins went down deep when he went over, and one of the eleven stood up on his shoulders for a few seconds and' kept him there. Kenny was grateful that the telephone was not convenient, as a report that he was drowned would cause a rush for his place. This accident made the others careful, and all were safely landed.

It was now 5 o'clock, and a fleet of sail boats hove in sight from Beuicia, tilled with the sports who had come up by the Oregon express the night before. Men were now at work on the ring post, which had been put up wrong, and in a few minutes resin was being put on the new pine floor which had been laid for the occasion. At exactly 6 o'clock a sail boat arrived from Benicia, containing Choynski, Graney Gorman, Referee Hogan, William Miltzler and Ed Hoyt of Benicia and three unknowns. At 6:12 Corbett and his second, Delaney, came from an adjoining stern-wheel steamer lying about 100 yards away. There were at this time, by exact count. 254 persons on board.

It was now noised around that there was only one pair of gloves on board and that they were brought by Corbett. Manager Lawler thereupon said he would claim the fight and stakes for Corbett. After considerable talk with the seconds, managers and others posted in these matters, Corbett, who had dressed himself in ring costume, became very uneasy, saying, "I am getting cold, let the fight come off. 1 will waive all claim." It was finally agreed that Choyneki should wear ordinary kid gloves used in driving, which were furnished by one of the spectators, Corbett to wear the two-ounce gloves he brought with him and to have the right at any time during the fight to change for the same kind that Choyneki wore. Hogan then went over and gave Choynski the gloves, saying, "Corbett waives all claim to money and fight, and you must take these gloves to fight with."

Referee Hogan, during the time the men were donning the gloves, called the attention of the crowd, saying, "It was claimed that the last time the men met I showed favor to one man. This I deny, and I have come here to see fair play, and I will now make the following rule, in addition to the Marquis of Queensberry, which I will strictly follow, and that is, in ease of a clinch I will order the men to break away, which they must do and step back one pace and clear."

Corbett - "If men hit in clinch, how about that!"

Hogan - "After a caution and upon repetition I will declare it a foul."

Corbett - "All right."

The crowd during all this time was orderly and continued so throughout the battle. At twelve minutes to 7 o'clock the men were ordered to shake hands and get ready.
   58. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 29, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4071074)
ROUND ONE - Both men responded promptly to the call of time. Choynski was the first to lead with his right for Corbett's ribs, tapping him lightly. Corbett sent in his left and landed on Choynski's cheek and again tried for the neck, but lauded on the shoulder. Choynski led with his left for Corbett's face, but fell short. Both men during this round did not move a foot from the center of the ring.

ROUND TWO - Just before time was called for the second round, Tom Williams said in Corbett's corner, "In case we change gloves and kids don't fit we want bare knuckles." Dempsey, who was over at Choynski's side, said, "Oh, no; that don't go; it is a State's prison offense." Time was now called and Choyneki came up quickly and forced the fight, setting in his left on Corbett's face. He tried with his right, but could not reach. Corbett led with his left, Choyneki ducking, Corbett failing to follow up a good opportunity, which brought forth an "Oh, Oh!" from the crowd. When the men faced each other again. Corbett swung his left and caught Choynski lightly on the ear. Choynski now rushed and got in a left-hander on Corbett's neck. A clinch followed, and the referee said "Break" Corbett repeating the word break, which they did and stepped back one pace as tune was called.

ROUND THREE - Corbett; opened this round by swinging in his long left, catching Choynski on the jaw, the latter going down. Choynski, however, was up in a second. Corbett tried to do the same jabs, but fell short. Choynski now got in one with his left on Corbett's ear. There was a clinch and break according to the rule. Corbett now sent in a straight left that caught Choynski square on the nose. Choynski said, "That was a good one." Choynski returned the compliment on Corbett's cheek as time was called.

ROUND FOUR - Choynski led first and got in on Corbett's cheek and again in the stomach, and followed it up with one on Corbett's throat. Choynski now got in a good one on Corbett's ribs, leaving its mark. Choynski tried for Corbett's neck, but fell short as time was called.

ROUND FIVE - Just before time was called an offer of $100 to $75 on Corbett came from Corbett's corner and found a ready taker. Time was called and Choynski' came up smiling. Corbett led first, but missed the mark. Choynski now sent in left and got home on Corbett's cheek. Corbett now sent in a hard one that landed on Choynski's nose, drawing first blood. Corbett again sent in his left and found a place under Choynski's eye. Choynski countered as time was called and tapped Corbett lightly on the cheek.

ROUND SIX - Choynski came up smiling while Corbett's face was set and determined. Choynski led with left and rubbed Corbett's face, who said, "That was pretty light.'' Corbett sent in his left and caught Choynski under the jaw. The men now talked in a friendly way, Corbett saving: "Joe, you have got your eye on that bottle." Choynski sent in his left and got in a rib-tickler, on Corbett, saying, "Don't get rattled Jim." Time called.

ROUND SEVEN - When Corbett came up in this round his ribs and shoulders showed the marks of Choynski's blows. Both men on opening slipped and struck, each getting in a light blow. Choynski led with a terrible swinging left, Corbett ducking and Choynski going half way round from the force of the blow. He tried again, but was unable to reach Corbett's neck.

ROUND EIGHT - Choynski, after a few seconds' sparring, jumped at Corbett and tried to land his right, going to the ropes from the force of his own blow. Choynski now tried to get in by turning suddenly around in the style that Jimmy Carroll caught Blakelock in, but only landed lightly. A clinch and a break followed. Corbett now sent in his left on Choynski's nose and started that organ to bleeding from a blow that went over Choynski's guard.

ROUND NINE - Corbett again put that left on Choynski's nose; the latter tried the same game, but only grazed it. Corbett again touched up that nose and with a quick move with his left sent in a blow on Choynski's side that sent him to the floor.

ROUND TEN - Fifty dollars to $25 was now offered on Corbett, or 2 to 1, with cries of " Hush up!" Corbett came up and opened this round with a stab on Choynski's nose. There was a clinch and a break. Choynski now got in a good one on Corbett's ribs with his left. Corbett swung his left and caught Choynski on the neck and again on the nose, the blood spattering all over both men.

ROUND ELEVEN - Choynski came up with a very red face and his nose bleeding. Choynski led first and got in on the side of Corbett's nose and under the left eye, Corbett breaking the blow by throwing back his head. Choynski's nose was now bleeding freely and choking him, causing him to spit out mouthfuls of blood. Choynski followed up Corbett with open arms in a loving manner [YR - Uhhhhh], but did not strike. He got in on Corbett's ribs as time was called.

ROUND TWELVE - Choynski came up bright considering the sore punishment he had received on the nose. Choynski led and got in on Corbett's ribs following it up with one on the throat. Corbett now sent in that invincible left on Choynski's nose, the crowd saying: "There it goes again." Corbett sent in four repeaters in the same place. Choynski was unable to guard them off. As time was called Choynski was going to his corner, with head down and blood spurting from his nose.

ROUND THIRTEEN - Corbett opened on Choynski's nose. Choynski, game as a lion, forced the fight and got in on Corbett's cheek twice. Choynski now made a desperate rush, forcing Corbett to the ropes and getting in on Corbett's eye. Both men went down in a clinch Corbett on top. He got up and also helped Choynieki to rise. Cboynski again rushed Corbett to the ropes, and got in several light blows in the face as time was called.

ROUND FOURTEEN - Choynski came from his corner with a rush and got in on Corbett's face and eyes, dazing him. Corbett again sent in his left on Choynski's nose, causing it to bleed freely, both men being covered with blood. Choynski's face was as red as a painted Indian. This was a bloody round and about forty sports turned away and walked to the stern of the barge, unable to stand the sight of so much blood.

ROUND FIFTEEN - One hundred dollars to $40 was now offered on Corbett before call of time. Both men came up at the call of time covered with blood. Choynski rushed Corbett and Corbett returned the rush, forcing Choynski to the ropes, where he held him by repeated blows in the face, Choynski's body and head hanging far over into the crowd. Corbett reached over and gave him one with his left that straightened Choynski up, who now fought desperately and gamely. Corbett was very tired and winded as time was called.

ROUND SIXTEEN - Both men came up winded in this round. Choynski led and fell short, Corbett getting in on Choynski's jaw and nose. Corbett sent in right and left. Choynski backed away, slipping and going down in his own corner. Choynski got up and fought gamely, Corbett keeping off, being tired.

ROUND SEVENTEEN - Choynski came up with face red and puffed, blood running from nose and mouth, and bubbling at every breath, drawn. Corbett got in several times, on Choynski's nose, and just before time was called the game Choynski swung his left and reached Corbett under the left eye, the crowd saying, ''Good boy, Joe."

From the eighteenth to the twenty- first round Corbett continued to punish Choynski terribly in the face. His left glove was as red as the pair of red kids that Choynski wore. In the latter round Choynski went down by slipping and took the ten seconds allowed.

From the twenty-second to the twenty-fourth round Choynski fought gamely and rushed Corbett to the ropes. During this round Choynski got in a backhand slap on Corbett's face. The latter sent in his left on Choynski's nose in a way that staggered him, and Corbett was about to finish him, but Choynski drew himself up and said, "Oh, no, you don't," as time was called.

ROUND TWENTY FIVE - Choynski came up game and forced the fight. Corbett was tired, and Choynski got in on Corbett's wind, ribs and face, but was repulsed and ran, head down; Corbett following and upper-cutting him on that core face and nose three times before he raised his head.

ROUND TWENTY SIX - Corbett came up first at' the call of time. His face showed signs of punishment from Choynski's rushes. His cheek was puffed and his lips swelled. Corbett opened this round with several left-hand stabs on that awfully sore and bleeding nose of Choynski's. The latter rushed, but did not get home. Corbett now sent in a hard one on Choynski's wind and time was called.

ROUND TWENTY SEVEN - Choynski came up with a wild and terrible rush, forcing Corbett to the ropes, getting in his right and left on Corbett's face. A clinch followed, and the break, which in every instance was fair, the men keeping the rule. Corbett now sent in a straight left-hander that caught Choynski on the eye and he sank to the floor. Choynski got up, and, as game as any man that ever entered a ring, rushed at Corbett. A clinch and another fair break. Corbett was getting tired, and with a determined manner worked Choynski into a corner, and, sending in that never-failing long left, caught Choynski on the chin, and he fell in the corner. He tried to get up while the ten seconds were being counted, and had got on his knees when the ten was called. Joe was up on his feet in the next two seconds and then went to his corner.
   59. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 29, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4071075)
It was 8:40 o'clock when Referee Hogan declared Jim Corbett the winner, and cheers were given for both men. Corbett's brother rushed up and kissed him. Corbett owes a great deal to his seconds, Billy Delaney and Jim Carr, for the care they took of him and in advising him about keeping cool. Porter Ashe, after the decision was rendered, started a subscription for Choynski, and headed tho same by $100, followed by Toni Williams, with another $100, Referee Hogan passing around the hat. The ring was then taken down, and will be shipped to the Golden Gate Athletic Club, which was kind enough to lend it. The principals were sent aboard the tug and given staterooms. The crowd followed, and the tugs left the battle-ground, bound for San Francisco, at 9:15, and reached the Vallejjo-street dock at 11:45. At 9:30, when off Port Costa, the Sea Queen passed the tug Millie with a crowd on board, which had started from the city, having got the wrong tip. When Choynski came aboard from the barge, and was passing the window of the stateroom in which were Jim Corbett and friends, Corbett's brother said: "Jim, shake hands with Joe," which they did, the brother saying, "I'm sorry for you." During the trip to the city Dr. Stanton examined Corbett's hands and found that the second bone in the back of the left hand was broken, and that the right, which had been injured at the previous fight was badly swollen at the wrist. His left eye is black, his right cheek swollen and his lips badly puffed. Corbett said he broke his hand in the fifth round, and every time he struck Joe with it in the nose, face, or any other place, it hurt him as much as it did Chonynski, and he could not use his right. Choynski was lying in his bunk badly used up, his face swollen and eyes black.

When the tug arrived at Vallejo-street wharf Corbett's father was there and he was the first man aboard, grabbing his son in his aims, he hugged and kissed him affectionately. The old gentleman was excited and it took all of Jim's stem looks to keep him quiet. The principals were landed first, and driven to the Hamaman baths.

Many thousands of dollars have charged hands on the result. Jim Corbett says he will never train for another fight, and don't want any more fights. He says Choynski is a good one, and anybody that don't think so had better try him. Corbett said: "Joe had me dazed at one time, and at another I had cramps in my thighs, and if I had not been cool and used the good judgment of my seconds I would have been whipped." A benefit, no doubt, will be tendered to Choynski, and Jim Corbett will spar with Joe in a friendly way once more. In talking over the battle on the way home, all sports agree that it was the best and most orderly fight that has ever taken place in Californina [YR - sic].

"Speaking of the prize fight to-day!"said the watchman in the Grand Opera House, yesterday, "puts me in mind of what occurred about a week ago. Choynski and Corbett were running around trying to find a place to have it out in, and all of the sports were crazy to find where the mill was coming off. Monday, a week ago, some one gave the boys the tip that it was coming off in the Grand Opera House. At 2 o'clock in the morning I heard a noise in the alleyway beside the building. Soon there came a rap on the door, and on opening it fifty or seventy-five men stood before me. They demanded to be let in to see the fight. On being told that there was no fight on the stage they called me a liar and other pretty names, and threatened to put the police on the snap if I did not admit them. I shut the door and they went away, but in less than an hour back they came, and, true to their word, they had two policemen with them. I soon satisfied the policemen, and the crowd, too, for that matter. A more disgusted crowd could not be found than the one that sneaked out of the alley."
   60. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 29, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4071085)
The Los Angeles Herald weighed in on the fight two days later:

The Corbett Choynski fight came off on Wednesday, and resulted as we predicted, Corbett knocking the plucky young Hebrew out of time in the twenty seventh round. The Associated Press reporter who reported the fight was unquestionably a greenhorn at that kind of business, and the story he sent over the wires was anything but satisfactory to an expert in pugilism. Apart from that very material defect, however, the report was not without its merits.
   61. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: February 29, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4071099)
Well color me surprised that "put up or shut up" has such a lengthy history of usage - this article was from April 1889, just prior to the first meeting between the two men.

I'm always pleased by stuff like that.
In Remembrance of Things Past, a person is described as "shady," as in a shady character. It's the Moncrieff translation, but still, that is a-while ago.
   62. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 29, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4071137)
Thanks for the lead, Good Cripple Hitter, but after checking the Times from June 1st to July 4th, that wasn't the one I was thinking of. There was, however, one formal attempt to stop the fight, and it's worth quoting:

WOULD STOP BIG FIGHT.
Resolution Asking Governor To Act Introduced At Washington


WASHINGTON, June 26---A resolution requesting the Governor of Ohio to prevent "the threatened desecration of the Nation's birthday" by a prize fight between Willard and Dempsey at Toledo, July 4, was introduced by Representative Randall, Prohibitionist, of California.

"One of the participants in this proposed fight", Mr. Randall said, "engaged in a similar fight a few years ago with Jack Johnson, a fugitive from justice, who has confessed that he was bought off and threw the fight to his adversary. Why should a fight between bruiser slackers, who were not brave enough to join the war against German murderers, be permitted in this country?"


I'm now beginning to see where YR's inimitable "boardroom Bolsheviks" writing style comes from.



   63. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 29, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4071140)
It's the Moncrieff translation, but still, that is a-while ago.

I often find that after I've read a bunch of old newspaper articles, I begin hyphen-ating every other word. I guess it's a tribute to the mighty power of unintentional subliminal suggestion.

   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 29, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4071147)
WOULD STOP BIG FIGHT.
Resolution Asking Governor To Act Introduced At Washington

WASHINGTON, June 26---A resolution requesting the Governor of Ohio to prevent "the threatened desecration of the Nation's birthday" by a prize fight between Willard and Dempsey at Toledo, July 4, was introduced by Representative Randall, Prohibitionist, of California.

"One of the participants in this proposed fight", Mr. Randall said, "engaged in a similar fight a few years ago with Jack Johnson, a fugitive from justice, who has confessed that he was bought off and threw the fight to his adversary. Why should a fight between bruiser slackers, who were not brave enough to join the war against German murderers, be permitted in this country?"


Nice to see one politician embodying so many bad ideas at once, in only two paragraphs: Prohibition, US involvement in WWI, race-based hate-mongering, banning boxing,...
   65. just plain joe Posted: February 29, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4071235)
I often find that after I've read a bunch of old newspaper articles, I begin hyphen-ating every other word.


I'm sure the fre-quent hypenating comes from harried type-setters having to deal with the eight column page layouts that were standard on most U.S. newspapers until relatively recently. Probably the reason that most of them drank, after work if not on the job.
   66. phredbird Posted: February 29, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4071301)
if anybody is interested in paintings of some boxers mentioned above, go here.
   67. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 29, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4071563)
if anybody is interested in paintings of some boxers mentioned above, go here.


Some of those are just fantastic. Lemme see - I see the first Walcott vs Marciano fight, two Jack Dempseys, Max Baer, the second Louis vs Schmeling fight, and, uh, Sandy Koufax? How'd I do?

I can't place the gentleman in the black tank top striking the heavy bag, although the photo looks familiar. Can you give me a hint?
   68. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 29, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4071628)
I often find that after I've read a bunch of old newspaper articles, I begin hyphen-ating every other word.

I'm sure the fre-quent hypenating comes from harried type-setters having to deal with the eight column page layouts that were standard on most U.S. newspapers until relatively recently. Probably the reason that most of them drank, after work if not on the job.


Having barely survived 8th grade print-shop, where such typesetting work was done manually one letter and space at a time**, that's actually a fairly believable, if only partial explanation for the practice, one that until now had never occurred to me.

**Our junior high school couldn't afford a Linotype machine, and anyway I'm sure they would've seen it as a character destroyer.
   69. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 01, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4071639)

I'm now beginning to see where YR's inimitable "boardroom Bolsheviks" writing style comes from.


But I'm no Prohibitionist! In fact, I've been drinking all day!

The whole "slacker" issue with Dempsey is really a fascinating bit of history and is in fact the source of some of the best-documented detail we have on Dempsey's early life as a hobo brawler in the American west. The courtroom testimony from Dempsey's first wife, prostitute Maxine Cates, is some harrowing stuff and whether true or not had a profound effect on how Dempsey presented himself in public for the rest of his life.
   70. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 01, 2012 at 12:40 AM (#4071648)
I enjoy the old-timey hyphen thing.
I was doing it because Elvis says it like that on the '68 Comeback record: "It's been a long time, Jack. It's been A-while."
   71. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 01, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4072432)
phredbird, don't leave me hanging homie!

(and in tangentially-related news, Derek Jeter is awesome)
   72. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4072447)
The summary of that fight was fantastic. Thank you very much for taking the time to post it here.
   73. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 02, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4072470)
The summary of that fight was fantastic. Thank you very much for taking the time to post it here.


You're very welcome, y'all know I love talking about this stuff. The sporting world didn't get any more colorful than boxing at the turn of the 19th century, many of the greats of the era were barely more than ass-kicking carnies, if carnies made vast sums for rigging the high-striker. Heck, some of then even worked a carnival "all-comers" circuit, making extra dough by taking on any challengers from a crowd. Imagine any elite professional fighter taking such a risk these days! Impossible!

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