Dominating a decade
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Re: Jeffries v Quarry
Names for Mcvey on Jeffries power. Read, learn, and try to remember:
Old-time referee Billy Roche described Jeffries as having the "acrobatic springiness of a circus tumbler in his legs. He was no lumbering ox, anchored to one spot, but a natural athlete" (see McCallum 1975 p 11).
Surly in nature and stubborn, he did not care much for foolishness or jokes. He was often referred to as the "Beast" because of his rough battle tactics. Fighting from his crouch, he would suddenly spring forward, often clanging heads with his foe (this never hurt Jeffries but often stunned his man).
Butting heads, ramming shoulders into opponents, hitting with elbows, shoving his foe around, and leaning on his man in clinches were all part of his style.
William Brady, who managed both Jeffries and Jim Corbett, remarked, "There never was a man better fitted anatomically, physically, and temperamentally for the role of World's Heavyweight Champion" (see Edgren 1926).
Testimonies to Jeffries' strength are numerous. Houston (1975 p 15) said, "There was nothing fancy about James J. Jeffries. He was a die-hard fighter of the old school, relying on his considerable strength and durability to bring him victory." He added that Jeffries had a "bear-like" appearance in his slightly crouched stance, was almost impossible to hurt or discourage, and delivered clubbing blows that took their toll. He also said "If Jeffries could not outbox an opponent, he could certainly outlast the best of them."
Odd (1974 p 1 said that Jeffries was the strongest of the heavyweight champions in both hitting power and build. Carpenter (1975 p 34) called Jeffries a bull of a man out of the California iron foundries who traded on strength.
It has been written that no man was the same after being pounded by Jeffries' fists. With "TNT" in each hand, he delivered heavy, relentless blows that imparted their damage to the foe.
He cracked two of Bob Fitzsimmons' ribs in one of their bouts. He battered Tom Sharkey, breaking his nose and two ribs. Diamond (1954 p 62) said Sharkey was hospitalized for three days and suffered three broken ribs. He bashed in Jim Corbett's right side in their second match. He sent Joe Goddard to the hospital with a severe beating and dealt Pete Everett head and back injuries that kept him bed-ridden for days. Yet, Jeffries, himself, said he never hit a man with all his strength for fear of killing him.
Grombach (1977 p 50) said Jeffries was a natural puncher who was so big and powerful that he could deliver damaging blows from an almost extended left-hand that did not have to travel more than a few inches. Keith (1969 p 127) asserted, "Jeffries probably owned the deadliest left hook the prize ring has ever known."
Tex Rickard, famed fight promoter, said "There's no style to him, but he's the hardest hitter I ever saw. And that includes Dempsey" (see McCallum 1975 p 15; Durant 1976 p 47). Diamond (1954 p 60) described Jeffries, "he was something more than a mere slugger. He was a rough, tough battler, with a mighty punch."
Sports columnist Ned Brown, said, "He was one of the most powerfully built, could take a solid punch, and had acquired a fair amount of boxing skill by the time he tangled with Jim Corbett in their second match. Jeff had as deadly wallop as any I've ever seen" (see McCallum 1975 p 12).
Odd (1976 p 163) quoted Fitzsimmons describing Jeffries in battle, "The first time he really hit me in the body, I thought his fist had gone right through me. His crouching stance and the way he tossed that long left. Every time I hit him, he punched back even harder."
Cooper (1978 p 107) remarked, "James J. Jeffries was one of the ring's indestructibles" and asserted, "Apart from having a punch that might have knocked a horse out, Jeffries' greatest asset was sheer patience."
It has been said that Jeffries could endure more punishment than any other prizefighter. He had a cast iron chin attached to a large, bowling ball head. Fight fans in New York called him a "primitive", a "caveman". He was never knocked down during his prime.
Willoughby (1970 p 35 wrote, "Certainly, among all the heavyweights up to the year 1905, when he retired from the ring, Jim Jeffries was the greatest all-around performer. While he could not hit with the lightning-speed of Fitzsimmons, he had a powerful punch in each hand, and a good defense in the form of his famous 'crouch'. Most of all, however, he
was impervious to blows, either to his head, face, or body."
According to Farr (1964 p 34), "Jim Jeffries was tough. Let us examine the word. Since Jeffries' time, it has suffered such abuse as a vogue-word as to be almost without meaning ... But, at the time the word was applied to Jeffries, it had a meaning that was both broad and exact. A tough man's bone structure was heavier than that of a ordinary person; his muscular integument was thicker, so that it protected his nervous system from shock, and also was more supple, thus giving him superior ease and freedom of movement. He had a higher threshold of pain than the average man, and so could take a punch, as the handlers of prizefighters put it. The completing element of toughness, however, was emotional, and it lay in willingness to hit or kick another man, or maim him, before he could go into action."
Suster (1994 p 31) reported, "Certainly he was tough. Possibly no heavyweight champion has ever demonstrated a greater capacity for enduring pain." Lardner (1972 p 135) said, "Jeffries, far from a natural boxer, picked up the rawest fundamentals. But, given Jeffries' extraordinary physical skills, fundamentals were enough." He added, "nature had furnished him with nearly impenetrable armour."
Bob Fitzsimmons, one of the ring's deadliest hitters, broke his fists on Jeffries' head. Fitz even used plaster of paris in his wraps and still couldn't knock Jeffries down.
Jim Corbett said, "Nobody can ever hurt him, not even with an ax" (see Litsky 1975 p 166). Gene Tunney (1941 p 139) wrote, "Jeffries' decisive quality was his tremendous physical toughness and endurance. The brawny giant could hardly be hurt" (also see McCallum 1974 p 49).
W.W. Naughton (1902 p 122) recorded, "To sum up his qualities of ringmanship, it may be said that he is fairly talented in every branch of self-defense. He boxes cleverly, defends himself well and strikes a hard blow. But, back of all these are the qualities which have made him a champion, to wit, magnificent strength and wonderful endurance."
Durant and Bettmann (1952 p 122) state that Jeffries was a fighting champion, putting his title on the line to anyone who deserved a crack at it. All the good men he fought prior to becoming champion received a title shot. Edgren (1926 p 56) said he even offered to fight Fitzsimmons, Corbett, and Sharkey - all on the same night - but they refused.
Jess Willard said, "Jim Jeffries was a great, big, rugged fella, hard t'beat." He added, "Very tough man ... Jeffries in his prime would lick anybody - he did!" (see Suster 1994 p 31).