Originally Posted by janitor
I actually think that Ruhlin was a pretty good choice as a title opponent.
He had been very highly regarded before Fitz beat him, and Fitz seems to have refused a title fight with Jeffries, for reasons that are hard to understand.
I think Jeffries just got fed up with it and took the second best available challenger.
I think it is a stretch to say that Ruhlin was damaged goods after the Fitzsimmons fight. Only Jeffries beat him in the next four years.
Where do you get the idea Fitz refused a fight with Jeffries?
He was desperate for one, god almighty he fought the number 1 and 2 contenders in the space of two weeks and kod them both! Do you think he did that because he wasn't interested in a title shot?
Fitz lost the first round against Ruhlin, in fact he was floored at the end of it, plus he sustained a cut over his eye and a bloody mouth.
Ruhlin came out full of confidence for the second and the battering began,Ruhlin was down 4 times in the fight ,Fitz because his hands were bad, relied mostly on body shots to weaken the 9 years younger man. Ruhlin was not counted out the referee did not bother to start one so thoroughly unconscious was Ruhlin at the end, he was dragged back to his stool .
Fitz began to become concerned about Ruhlin's condition and went over to his corner but Ruhlin was out to the world. It was ten minutes before he could be assisted out of the ring.
“Whilst physicians were examining him, Ruhlin opened his eyes and faintly asked for water. This was given him as he again lapsed into a sort of stupor. Blood at this time was trickling from his ears and nose.”—The San Francisco Call
After the fight Ruhlin spent the night at the arena,[MSG ] to weak to travel,the next day he was removed to Billy Madden his manager's cottage where he stayed in bed for a week.
A fortnight after this Fitz took out Sharkey in 2 rds. Fitz walked over to Jim Jeffries who was sitting ringside and said ,"You'll give me a fight now ,Jim won't you? Get up and shake hands on it"Jeffries remained seated, "Get up Jim and shake" Fitz repeated, leaning over the ropes.The crowd took up his cry, urging Jeffries to respond with no way to escape Jeffries finally rose and grasped Fitz's gloved hand,and the crowd applauded.
And you say Fitz didnt want the fight!
So what happened? Fitz had just kod both the top contenders inside two weeks .
Who does Jeffries fight? He has an exhibition with Griffn, then takes on his sparring partner Tom Kennedy. A year after Fitz turned this incredible feat ,Jeffries defended his title but not against Fitz but the man he had beat unconscious, Ruhlin.
Fitz had to wait two years before Jeffries finally gave him a rematch, by which time he was all but 40.
After the Sharkey fight Fitz gave an interview in his dressing room. Here is part of it.
" I mean to become champion of the world again, and the only man now in the way is Jim Jeffries.He whipped me once but I don't think he will do it again When we met I had not fought in a couple of years and naturally was not in the best of condition.But I am in great form now and really think that if we meet againI would come out on top.In fact I held Jeffries too cheaply , but I learned a lesson and will not be caught napping next time.If they give me enough money I guess I will be ready to fight Jeffries sometime inside the next six months,"[ he would have to wait two years, and once again was coming out of two years inactivity when he finally got his chance.]