Was Jack Dempsey "a joke"?

Discussion in 'Boxing Discussion' started by YukisHeart, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. YukisHeart

    YukisHeart Brown Belt

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    I think this is pretty hard on Dempsey, but harder still on Willard. I suspect the problem is not that Willard didn't know how to fight - didn't he kill someone in the ring? - but that Dempsey was beating him so badly he wasn't really getting a chance to fight back.

    Another reason these old timers don't get much credit is, I suspect, because on film they look like ass physically. I'm not sure why that is - possibly everyone just looks shitty at a distance in these old films, because if you check out Dempsey when he's up close at 0:50 in this video you can see he's very athletic (and slightly scarily badass). Similarly, Willard looks pretty fit in this picture, if it is in fact his picture:

    [​IMG]

    It is hard to dispute old Cassius's claim (see what what I did there?) that the fight looks like a brawl - Dempsey comes at Willard all "WARGH WARGH", as James Toney might say - but I stumbled across an article by Mike Casey (although I don't really know how significant a figure he is, to be honest) in which he says that Mike Hunnicut (again, not sure who this is, but he's implied to be a big deal) has seen "real time" (whatever that means) footage of this fight, and that it's hugely different:

    He goes on to mention the praise heaped on Dempsey by Ray Arcel, another guy who is supposed to be a big deal:

    The final black mark against Dempsey - which Ali plays up to in the video in his quiet and understated way, is that he never tested himself against black fighters - or at any rate his promoters, the commissions and so on wouldn't let him; either way it's up for debate how far he would have gotten with them. I know he did fight blacks before he became champion, drawing with one - does anyone know how many it was, actually?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  2. XCuTioNeR

    XCuTioNeR Mundo Hispano FECARBOX Champion

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  3. quickdraw***

    quickdraw*** Blue Belt

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    I am I HUGE fan of Dempsey I like rough and tumble fighers. However it maybe be the quality of the film but he doesn't look very un "refined" however a joke? a say NAY
     
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  4. Old Cat

    Old Cat Silver Belt

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    Primo Carnera-- not willard
     
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  5. The Fan Man

    The Fan Man Blue Belt

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    I just think Ali saw the same thing Gene Tunney saw.
     
  6. jjrasley

    jjrasley Orange Belt

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    No he is not a joke.
     
  7. Sigh GunRanger

    Sigh GunRanger You think anybody will notice?

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    If he fought today he would be laughed out the building.
     
  8. enswell****

    enswell**** Blue Belt

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    Guys that were both shorter and lighter than the 6′2
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  9. McDuck**

    McDuck** Purple Belt

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    ^Ah shit... Is that you, Brad?
     
  10. TheRatman

    TheRatman Brown Belt

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    Here what I think of the Ali interview. I think he sees Jack the same way Floyd looked at Gatti. I think he looking at Jack's style and seeing someone that just throws bombs and comes forward with no d. I am not saying that, that is what jack or gatti are. I just saying that I think that is what Ali and mayweather see when they watch tape of them.
     
  11. p4pbest

    p4pbest Yellow Belt

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    jack dempseys books are a very good read. i love the late great jack dempsey. Certainly not a joke. i love that aggressive style of his
     
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  12. Blitzwing 206

    Blitzwing 206 Banned Banned

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    Gattiw was passede his prime when he fought Floyd......
     
  13. axhand1e

    axhand1e {}-{}-{}-{}-[R~R]-{}-{}-{}-{}

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    I skimmed your post...

    you are quite the boxing noob. Btw, that's not Jess Willard... that's Primo Carnera. He was a real life giant, and was actually the World Heavyweight Champ... ironically tho, if someone you mentioned could be called a "joke" it would be Carnera, not Dempsey.

    No offense or "bashing" meant towards Carnera, but from what I've read and learned about Carnera, he was little more than a spectacle to attract people to boxing. He did hold the title for a couple fights, but there is some controversy associated with that title reign and how Carnera won it
     
  14. YukisHeart

    YukisHeart Brown Belt

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    No doubt. That's why I came to this section of the forum, to the people in the know. Google image search shafted me on Willard's picture, I'm afraid - have changed it now, and fixed my spastic attempt at embedding. He still looks pretty built - and I must say, even if Clay was right to say he couldn't fight (I doubt it, but I'm no expert) he was still one seriously tough son of a bitch. I've seen a few of Dempsey's other fights where he catches people with a big left and just ends them - Willard, meanwhile, pretty much just hangs there at one point while Jack hurls massive bombs into his skull at will and he just soaks it up. I mean, just look at the massive, flying right he takes here at 1:05 - he doesn't even go down! Absolutely phenomenal endurance.

    On the "there were blacks who would have beaten Dempsey" front, I'm still none the wiser, but someone did point me in the direction of a video of him "sparring" Big Bill Tate. I've heard back in Dempsey's days sparring sessions and exhibitions were often really full blown fights, but advertised as something else because it could be tricky getting a fight sanctioned. Someone in the video's comments thread on YouTube says Dempsey knocked Tate out in the second round with a big left - does anyone know anything more about this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  15. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    Dempsey himself has been quoted as saying that he feared Sam Langford and went out of his way to not fight even the shell of Langford because he was a dangerous, tricky fighter ("The hell I feared no man. There was one man I wouldn't fight because I knew he would flatten me. I was afraid of Sam Langford."). There's also the rest of the avoided black quartet from the era (Joe Jeanette, Sam McVey & Harry Wills) who fought each other when the color line was drawn (mainly because the white champions and even Jack Johnson felt that there was no money in fighting those tough 4 guys) and were regarded as the real top contenders of their era (despite the white challengers getting the shots at the time).
     
  16. YukisHeart

    YukisHeart Brown Belt

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    From what I've seen Tunney was always very respectful of Dempsey. Didn't he say he gave Dempsey the best of a fight against Joe Louis if he could get inside him?

    I'm pretty sure he took the Mauler seriously. It comes across clearly in this anecdote from before their fight:

    “One night, in a lonely cottage on Mount Pleasant, I had a nightmare. I was in the ring with Dempsey. He was battering me frightfully. I was bloody and only half conscious and he came at me snarling. He knocked me down. I got up and he began pummelling me again. The referee stopped the fight. I woke up. The bed was shaking. I was practically out of it. After that, I stopped reading the newspapers and maintained a calm approach to the fight.”
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
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  17. Fisticuffa

    Fisticuffa Purple Belt

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    I read that Dempsey was willing to give a shot to some of the Black contenders but the social conventions of that time made it impossible?

    Anyone know more info about this.

    By the way, wasn't Dempsey 1/4th Cherokee Indian himself from his mom's side?
     
  18. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    The general consensus is that Dempsey himself didn't really care about the color line and would have fought almost anyone (with the possible exception of Langford) but his manager/trainer 'Doc' Kearns and promoter Tex Rickard were adamant about maintaining the line to allow for bigger money gates against the top white contenders. I remember the Tunney biography talking about it and maybe the Dempsey biography as well.

    And yeah, Dempsey was part Cherokee.
     
  19. YukisHeart

    YukisHeart Brown Belt

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    My understanding is that Dempsey pushed hard to fight the top black contender, Harry Wills, but the NY athletic commission refused to sanction it. There were specific rules in place banning blacks from fighting for the heavyweight belt in Dempsey's time (I think I even saw something about there being a Coloured Heavyweight Championship, and that Big Bill Tate - who Dempsey sparred with and knocked out - once challenged for it) because of the race riots the bouts had kicked off before.

    I know Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, definitely refused to fight another black for the title, strangely, and that the competition he instead fought was considered questionable. This from "Jess Willard, Inept Giant or Forerunner of Lennox Lewis?":

     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  20. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    William Muldoon (the first NYSAC Chairman and a legendary Greco-Roman style Pro Wrestler and later trainer to other wrestlers and boxers like John L. Sullivan) did advocate the color line, but he also was being nudged by Rickard to nix any match-up. There were laws banning mixed race fights in NY, which was partially because of Johnson's reign and also to protect white fighters from dangerous black opponents by implementing the color line that fighters had advocated for decades (John L. Sullivan being a noteworthy example). I'm pretty certain Muldoon was forced to retire shortly after making a comment publicly regarding the color line and how it'd never be broken, however.
     

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