Tuesday, December 6, 2011

1920's and Boxing

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10’s and Boxing

It was a time of conservatism; it was a time of great social change. From the world of fashion to the world of politics, forces clashed to produce the most explosive decade of the century. In music, the three sounds were jazz, jazz, and jazz. The Jazz Age came about with artists like Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington. Youth ruled everything from the young styles of dress to the latest celebrities. If it was young, it was the thing. Along with all of this the first trans-atlantic phone call was made, and the first movie with sound, and even the discovery of penicillin. It seemed like everything was happening in the twenty’s.

Physical contact has always been part of human entertainment since the time of the Romans and the gladiatorial games. This was also true during the 10’s when physical sports started to gain popularity in America. Gaining the most popularity was the unsuspected sport of Boxing in the decade of the twenty’s. Boxing is a dangerous sport in which two fighters use their physical and mental attributes to try to defeat their opponent with their fists in a square roped off ring. From the beginning of boxing, to the highest point of its popularity, to the exciting people that were a part of it, the decade of the twenties helped to make boxing a very respected sport.

Boxing was a brutal spectacle in ancient Greece. Two young men would sit on flat stones, face to face, with their fists wrapped in thongs (strips of leather). At a signal, they began to hit each other until one of them fell to the ground unconscious. The other man then continued to beat his opponent until he died().

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After boxing almost disappeared, boxing came back in the late 1600’s with the help of an English man name James Fisg. He introduced what was called bare-knuckle fighting (gloveless). He opened a boxing school in 171 in London. His rules did not make it less brutal though(). Another man name Jack Broughton introduced more new rules in 174. Known as London Prize King Rules they said the fight was continuous but it ended when one man gets knocked down and cannot get up after 0 seconds().

In the mid-1860’s, the Marquees of Queensberry, a British sportsman, sponsored a new boxing code of 1 rules. In 187, the Queensberry Rules were first used in a professional tournament in London. They have been used throughout the world ever since with only slight changes. The rules require boxers to wear gloves. They also call for minute rounds with a 1 minute rest period between rounds. The rules further state that a man down on one knee may not be struck and that a fallen man must be given 10 seconds to get back on his feet().

In the 1850’s and 1860’s British boxers came to America seeking to create an interest in boxing here but mainly failed. John L. Sullivan claimed the bare-knuckle championship but gained a theatrical group because the police started to only allow matches under the Queensberry Rules(). After many years of being illegal, boxing was finally legalized in New York when the Walker Law was passed in 10. With that and the growing popularity other states began to follow and legalize boxing too(). The first man ever to promote a million dollar match was George L. (Tex) Rickard. This was between Georges Carpentier and Jack Dempsey, two very famous boxers at the time. Along with Gene Tunney who fought in a fight with Dempsey that brought over million dollars().

Several outstanding boxers of the Golden Age held the championship title in more than one weight class. Harry Grab held the light heavyweight crown from 1 to 1 and the middleweight crown from 1 to 16. Mickey Walker was the welterweight champion from 1 to 16 and the middleweight champion from 16 to 11. In the late 10’s Henry Armstrong held the welterweight, lightweight and featherweight titles all at the same time().

Born in Manassas, Colorado on June 4, 185 to Celia and Hyrum Dempsey. Jack Dempsey was the ninth out of eleven children and was also a Mormon. His family was poor and had to move quite a bit so along the way he worked numerous jobs to help financially for his family(). Dempsey fought many fights before going professional and when he finally did against John Lester Johnson he ended up with broken ribs. Then after getting help from his manager Jack Kearns he landed a match against Jess Willard and won the heavyweight championship().

After he was crowned champion, Dempsey beat Billy Miske and Bill Brennan in title fights. He then knocked out France’s Georges Carpentier, the light heavyweight champion, in 11. It was the first of the million dollar gates. The fight was held in Boyle’s Thirty Acres in Jersey City, New Jersey, drawing an overflow crowd of 80,000 and a purse of $1,78,8 dollars.

After holding and defending the heavyweight title for many years he was beaten on September , 16 by Gene Tunney().

In a rematch Dempsey met Tunney at Chicagos Soldier Field. The fight drew a crowd of 104,4, generating a gate of $,658,660. Tunney was again outboxing Dempsey when he was dropped in the seventh round. Before the fight, it was agreed upon that after a knockdown, the fighter scoring the knockdown would go to a neutral corner. But when Tunney hit the canvas, Dempsey hovered over the fallen champ, ignoring the referees order that he retreat a neutral corner. By the time Dempsey was ushered across the ring and the referee began his count, it is estimated that Tunney had 14 seconds to recover. Tunney got up and won the fight by decision, but the long-count controversy would remain etched in boxing history(). He would retire a couple years later. In the 10’s, he fought. in scores of exhibition bouts before officially retiring to referee boxing and wrestling matches. Most of Dempsey’s ring earnings � more than $.5 million � were lost in faulty business dealings, but refereeing and new business ventures brought him millions more. Before his death, Dempsey, still revered by boxing fans, lived comfortably in New York. Until prevented by illness, he would often be seen greeting patrons of Jack Dempsey’s restaurant with a hearty clap on the back and a “Hi ya pal.”().

All sports have had there good times and bad times and of course so has the sport of boxing. For boxing the 10’s definitely have to be the good times for the sport because of everything that happened during those times. Although boxing was a huge sport back in the 10’s it has been in a way forgotten as a sport and is only watched by few. But the twenties truly show what a great sport boxing is and should still be remembered and respected like it once was.

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