Re: I am a boxing manager: if you have questions about the boxing biz, ask!
When boxing fans get together the conversations always start around favourite fighters,longevity,who they fought,who they avoided P4P lists etc.
At some point we ALWAYS talk about a fighters heart the question then naturally progresses to a fighters chin.There is a fighter from France that no-one can question this aspect of his resume.HOF fighter from France the great Marcel Cerdan?No we are talking about a fighter that fought either side of the 1st WW Eugene Criqui a flyweight who made his debut in 1910.Within two years he had won his domestic title however in 1914 he was TKO by Charles LeDoux.Maybe not such a great chin?
It was to be Criqui's last fight before being drafted into the French army to face the P4P heavyweight Germany it was a challenge that the little man was more than up to he was a decorated serving soldier however his campaign on that field was also to be cut short.While on guard duty in the killing fields of the Verdun his jaw was shattered by a German sniper's bullet it blew the left side of his jaw away.
Criqui's war was over so he was told was his boxing career the doctors advised him they could restructure his jaw it would never be strong enough to withstand right's & left's.
He thought otherwise if a German bullet couldn't keep him counted out nothing could.
Two painful years he spent having operations wire,silver plates,plastic & a story about grafted goat's bone tell you all you need to know about his determination to return there was unfinished business to attend to.
He certainly did return to the ring as a featherweight embarking on a long unbeaten run the jaw holding up nicely.1921 saw him win the domestic featherweight title the first defence was to come against LeDoux how would his chin hold up against the man that stopped him in 10.Well LeDoux came out confidently Criqui unleashed a barrage of blows & the fight was over in the opening stanza.Redemption had been sweet & he was on a roll.
The European title followed as did three quick defences he had maneuvered his way into the world featherweight title picture standing in his way Johnny Kilbane 11 year featherweight title holder.Fazed not likely it was to be Criqui's USA debut & he was written off as a easy defence for the ring veteran.
In 6 rounds in New York Criqui stunned the boxing writers betting fraternity & fans with a stunning 6 round ko victory against all the odds he was on top of the world.
Sadly it was to be a short lived title reign part of the contract was he had to defend it against the top ranked opponent within two months he was badly managed this was widely accepted by the USA sport scribes of the day.The fearsome future HOF fighter Johnny Dundee was to be his first defence.Dundee had waited 13 years to win the title.Criqui had held the title 54 days.
Criqui took 15 rounds of punishment he never won a round a count of 9 in the first.Three counts of 9 in the second the pattern went on for 45 minutes of the Frenchman with the scars of bullet wounds being pounded on.He kept getting up he kept walking forward pre war a skilful fighter had changed into a crowding puncher let's face it with his experience life had taught him meet everything head on.
The fight ended a new champion was crowned the little Frenchman with a massive heart & unquestioned chin shook Dundee's hand smiling in the centre of the ring.His face had been contorted by war.The fight left him with both eyes near closed,cut & a broken nose still he smiled he had seen & felt a lot worse.The partisan USA New York crowd couldn't help but admire him he was guts,determination personified.He was given an ovation out of the ring on a par with the new champion.
He went back to France with $41,000 for his only defence he was & still is a national hero sporting & otherwise remembered as the man they couldn't break his heart,will or chin.
When the question comes up again at some point when you are sitting with your friends in a bar & a fighters chin is discussed.My advice sit back listen at the arguments & mention Criqui & his unique story it's a argument that is hard to beat.Criqui yes he certainly could take a shot in more ways than one.