was early boxing worked?

Discussion in 'Boxing Discussion' started by amhlilhaus, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. amhlilhaus

    amhlilhaus Black Belt

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    Since I've been fired (not my fault) I have too much time on my hands, so while reading up on the Figg era I have come to believe that there was a lot of suspicious activity going on.

    to wit, the bareknuckle era is notorious for the brutality of the sport. blood, broken bones and swollen eyes were the norm and as anyone knows it takes a while to heal from those kind of injuries. what raises my suspicons

    -the amount of fights these early bareknuckle fighters had in comparison to the guys who fought later. Tom Pipes and George Gretting passed the title back and forth and met at least 5 times, then in turn were beaten multiple times by Jack Broughton, and George Taylor beat them as well, and then those two went on to become journeymen. Broughton beat everyone multiple times, and probably had close to 15 fights. Prince Boswell was advertised or known to have appeared in over 20 bouts.
    other Bareknucklers (like Paddington Jones) had a lot of bouts but they were few and far between and a lot of those were against guys who weren't of top class or there would be more bouts recorded for them.

    -These guys also had long series in some cases, to wit pipes v gretting and Taylor and Boswell were advertised to fight at least 7 times. even today guys don't fight 5 times or more, let alone in such a brutal fashion as bareknuckle fights were.

    -The fight game in the time period I'm talking about from 1720-1750 was fought primarily in london at indoor arenas like figg's, taylor's and broughton's theatres. the fighters were paid a share of the reciepts, and as any good promoter knows, if you pack the house you make more money. Create a situation where top level guys were fighting each other regularly, winning on alternate occasions leads to a point where you can see that it would be in their interests to go along for the money.

    fighting often, against the same opponents, where drawing money is a huge consideration, awfully suspicious.
     
  2. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    Wasn't Broughton himself accused of taking a dive against Jack Slack by his patron? And Peter Corcoran against Harry Sellars? I also think a bigger reason was that the guys, like the Pro Wrestlers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, realized that by fleecing the fans into making sidebets, they could get a nice chunk of change and make even more money by betting on the underbet side.
     
  3. Cracky

    Cracky Fanny Pack

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    1) The butal conditions of barenuckle fights are a little overblown. Gloves were invented to protect hands because bare hands broke down. The era that followed the barenuckle era was more dangerous than the barenuckle era because it allowed for more punches to be thrown.. the barenuckle era was 3 parts clinching and wrestling to one part boxing. So it wasn't as dangerous as history suggests imo.

    2) I see what your getting at, and I' sure that some series were rigged to prolong them and build value for future fights. That said, we live in a different time. Back in the day, if you didnt see it live, you didnt see it. So it made sense to tour and present fights that had proven to be quality in different venues.
     
  4. Fisticuffa

    Fisticuffa Purple Belt

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    It's hard to ever really be sure now after such a long time but you make good points. We need Kid McCoy to chime in on this one, i am sure he was around lol.

    On a sidenote about the "brutality" of bare knuckle boxing, sure superficially brutal but where it matters in terms of brain damage and deaths I think it would be a lot less brutal compared to gloved Boxing today. Bare knuckle boxing may have had more deaths per capita compared to today (and i am not even sure about this) but you have to consider the vast improvement in medicine since then. If you watch those old vale tudo fights of Wand you can see the number of punches and the power he generates without gloves is way less than what he does with the 4 oz gloves, same thing with bare knuckle Boxing.

    Also consider the fact that back then they went on for hours sometimes, if you put gloved Boxers in with no time limits I am pretty sure you will see a rise in deaths per capita.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  5. TheRatman

    TheRatman Brown Belt

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    Good point, I could see that happening. the first fight being great, so the fight again and again to keep making money off of it.
     
  6. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    It was very dangerous, but it had more to do with poor medical conditions of the time and poor ring structure (guys more often than not died from hitting their head on the rough canvas-like surface constructed on-the-run rather than internal hemorrhaging from a pugilistic beating from what I've read).

    The thing is, though, that for most of Bareknuckle Boxing's history, it was illegal to fight in the US or England but that the promoters and fighters were able to get local magistrates and politicians to turn a blind eye. As such, it really shouldn't have been so common to see many fights in that period (especially since guys were commonly thrown in jail for assault with lethal intent or manslaughter despite the contracts since it was illegal).

    I have a feeling a number of those multiple fight series were actually touring exhibitions (possibly with the mufflers, like John L. Sullivan would do so that he could fight in real venues rather than barges or hastily constructed rings) as you've suggested.
     
  7. amhlilhaus

    amhlilhaus Black Belt

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    broughton was accused by his backer, but the facts were:

    He was 46 and hadn't fought for years, and to boot he didn't train because Slack had lost to Taylor, who lost to broughton 12 years earlier, an early example of mmath.

    Slack landed a punch right between the eyes which was considered a lucky punch, but it shut his eyes anyway.

    The 1760's-1770's were the nadir of bareknuckle boxing, there were at least 4 fixed fights for the championship (Stevens-Meggs, Darts-Corcoran, Corcoran-Sellars and Sellars-Fearns). Ironically the game wouldn't be in such poor shape again for another 100 years.
     
  8. amhlilhaus

    amhlilhaus Black Belt

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    In this time period, and I'm only talking 1720-1750 boxing was legal and patronized by the english nobility, so that's why they fought inside on the raised stages. it was with broughtons loss to slack that the sport was shut down, moved outside and acquired the veneer of illegitimacy the sports had ever since.
     
  9. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    I remember Broughton going "Tell me where he is and I'll go after him, m'lord!" (or something like that) but there were also claims that despite it being bad swelling that he still should have had enough to continue milling (nonetheless, fighting at 46 isn't particularly helpful and not everyone was a glutton like Tom Cribb so who knows).
     
  10. Sharkey

    Sharkey Who finishes 3rd?

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    I'm not sure what his source of information was with this writing, but Thomas Myler wrote a little something on that bout on page 69 of his book 'The Sweet Science Goes Sour';

    "Corcoran lost the title to Harry Sellers in Middlesex in October 1776 without putting up much of a battle, which led to suggestions that he threw the fight. Corcoran was backed 4-1 by his many supporters, and it was said he put a considerable amount of money on Sellers, despite Harry's somewhat dubious reputation of often losing if things were going against him.
    The claim that Corcoran made a fair bit of money on the result was strengthened when, within days of the fight, he had his bar premises, The Blakeney Arms in London, stacked out with every brand of liquor and had the whole premise painted inside and out. Yet only a week earlier he had been threatened with eviction because of his inability to pay the rent."

    Myler also describes the dubious circumstances behind Corcoran's title winning "effort" against Bill Darts in some previous paragraphs. Also written as a fix.
     
  11. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    I thought it was technically illegal (unless it was with the mufflers) but that the nobility basically said "I like it, so fuck y'all" and it was openly exhibited during that period? I remember reading a book on the topic which stated that (don't remember which one).
     
  12. amhlilhaus

    amhlilhaus Black Belt

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    what was the problem were the broken hands, you have punches to the heads breaking the hands and then doctors setting them without benefit of xrays. you are correct that the bouts degenerated into a lot of wrestling but if you can't strike effectively then throwing the opponent (and 'accidentally' falling on him) was the next best thing.
     
  13. amhlilhaus

    amhlilhaus Black Belt

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    one of the stages was built on orders from the king, so you might be right but they knew if they were fighting on the stage they weren't going to be raided.

    hell at this time there wasn't any police in the city anyways, which is why all the gentleman learned to protect themselves with swords.
     
  14. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    That's my point - the nobility were the legal authority so even though the Parliament had put it on the books as an illegal act, only the nobility were going to enforce it (which they weren't until after the Broughton-Slack fight).
     
  15. Sharkey

    Sharkey Who finishes 3rd?

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    "Why, Lord bless you, I got 50 guineas more than I should otherwise have done by letting George beat me, and, damn it, ain't I the same man still?"

    - so said Bill Stephens after the Meggs affair to a supporter who had put down a large bet on him to win
     
  16. TheRatman

    TheRatman Brown Belt

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    I don't know what the hell was going on, but how the hell do the odds change in the middle of the fight.

    The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, March 06, 1910, Image 4 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress
     
  17. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    Sidebets were allowed throughout the bareknuckle (and early MoQ) fights so there were constantly changing odds during the fight.
     
  18. TheRatman

    TheRatman Brown Belt

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    Really, you think that would encourage fix fights. I could see a fighter holding back until the odds were just right and turning it on and winning.
     
  19. ThirdPartyView

    ThirdPartyView Keeping Jack Dempsey from ducking

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    As I mentioned before, many of the late 1800s and early 1900s Pro Wrestling matches were promoted as 'on the level' with constant sidebets where the Wrestlers fleeced the town and sweeped up their money by getting one get favored with plants, etc.
     
  20. amhlilhaus

    amhlilhaus Black Belt

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    yeah, that's on my life to do lists, study the early pioneer pro wrestlers. we can never know for sure but just how many bouts were legitimate? probably not a lot. my guess is they learned to wrestle for real, then learned to work with the eye towards what was right for business.
     

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