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1919 Jack Dempsey vs. Jess Willard...

Item # 594253

July 5, 1919

THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Georgia, July 5, 1919 

* Jack Dempsey vs. Jess Willard 
* Heavyweight boxing title fight 

This 16 page newspaper has a two column heading on the front page: "Dempsey Worked Fast While Willard Failed When Ring Test Came" with subhead.

Better is a nice six column headline on page 10: "JACK DEMPSEY IS WORLD CHAMPION" with subheads and photo of Dempsey (see photos). 1st report coverage on the famous heavyweight title fight between Jack Dempsey and Jess Willard. This was when Dempsey became World champion for the first time.

Other news, sports and various advertisements of the day throughout. Light browning with minor margin wear, otherwise good. Should be handled with care.

wikipedia notes: In 1919, Jack Dempsey began winning five bouts in a row by knockout in the first round. Then on July 4, he and world heavyweight champion Jess Willard met at Toledo, Ohio, for the world title. Few gave Dempsey a chance against the larger champion and many called this fight a modern David and Goliath. Minutes before the fight started, Kearns informed Dempsey that he had wagered Dempsey's share of the purse on Dempsey winning with a first-round knockout. Consequently, the first round of the fight was among the most brutal in boxing history. Dempsey dealt Willard a terrible beating and knocked him down seven times in the first round. Willard suffered a broken cheekbone, broken jaw, several lost teeth, partial hearing loss in one ear, and broken ribs. Kearns' own recollection of the event was the source of what became known as the "loaded gloves theory"; the January 20, 1964 Sports Illustrated published an article interviewing Dempsey and Willard, on their recollections of the fight and of "Doc" Kearns. Kearns claimed he had applied plaster of paris to the customary wrappings under Dempsey's gloves, and that Dempsey did not seem to notice even when these reinforcements were removed after the match. This incident has been refuted by several people, including Nat Fleischer, later founder of The Ring Magazine, who was there when Dempsey’s hands were wrapped: “Jack Dempsey had no loaded gloves, and no plaster of paris over his bandages. I watched the proceedings and the only person who had anything to do with the taping of Jacks’ hands was Deforest. Kearns had nothing to do with it, so his plaster of paris story is simply not true. Deforest himself said that he regarded the stories of Dempsey’s gloves being loaded as libel, calling them ‘trash’ and said he did not apply any foreign substance to them, which I can verify since I watched the taping.”[6]. Historian J.J. Johnston said “the films show Willard upon entering the ring walking over to Dempsey and examining his hands. That should end any possibility of plaster of paris or any other substance on his hands.”

Under the rules at the time, a fighter was allowed to stand almost over a knocked-down opponent, and hit him again as soon as both knees had left the canvas. Several times Willard was knocked back down as he was trying to rise. Also, modern referees would step in to stop a fight if one of them was clearly defenseless, but the referee of this fight had the attitude that the only ending for a fight is an actual knockout. At the end of the third round the champion's handlers would not let him answer the bell for the fourth round. Although Dempsey had captured the Heavyweight Title, he never collected any money for the fight.

Category: The 20th Century

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