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Old 04-09-2012, 07:22 AM   #16
mcvey
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

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Originally Posted by McGrain View Post
The Rocky Mountain New, The Salt Lake Herald and New York World all report on March the 10th, 1897, that Corbettt dropped Jeffries in sparring.
Thank you for the additional confirmation.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:46 AM   #17
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Even tho not too much should be drawn from sparring sessions it amazes me that so many were prepared to argue (tirelessly) that Jeffries could take George Foreman's bombs then KO him when he fatigued, when he he was laid out by what was probably the lightest hitting heavyweight champion ever.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:16 AM   #18
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Corbett had snap in his punches, make no mistake about that. But yeah, at 185 I guess he probably is one of the lesser hitting champs. One thing to note though is Jeffries relative rawness - that is, you could take Max Baer or Tex Cobb and put them in with the heavyweight champion of the world, and if they were 4-0 it's likely they'd get ditched at some point just by timing and snap.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:17 AM   #19
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

We have to keep in mind that this was an era known for what has come to be called "yellow journalism." Fake stories sometimes circulated. There absolutely were reports that Corbett dropped and stopped Jeffries, but they emanated out of the San Francisco Examiner, New York Journal, or New York World papers, which had writers known to be associated with this brand of journalism. In fact, other papers occasionally criticized the Examiner reports and their questionable veracity, designed to sell more newspapers. However, many often just took such dispatches and ran with them.

After reviewing the bulk of evidence, particularly statements later made by those who would have been there and known about it, such as the trainers, who all later denied that it happened, plus Jeff's insistence that it never happened, plus the fact that even Corbett in his own autobiography didn't claim that Jeff actually went down, I don't think it actually happened. Jeff in his earlier autobio claimed it was a fake story circulated to boost the Fitz fight and Corbett. Corbett later used the claim to gain momentum for a fight with Jeff. Jeff said that their actual fight would disprove the claim. Corbett did not drop him in 23 rounds of boxing in their first fight, nor in 10 rounds in the second bout.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:39 AM   #20
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Here are several quotes from In the Ring With James J. Jeffries:


Many newspapers around the nation reported the alleged events that day, based on the dispatches that were sent out. However, the only reporters who actually saw the sparring were the Hearst-owned Journal-Examiner reporters, who had an exclusive.
...
In 1900, Corbett claimed to have knocked out Jeffries in sparring. Corbett said, “As I planted my right he was coming toward me and when he went ‘out’ lurched forward. He would have fallen flat on his face if I had not caught him in my arms. He was ‘out’ clean as a whistle and it took several minutes to bring him around.” The question was whether Corbett spoke the truth, or just used the claim as a way to upset Jeff, as Jim liked to do with his opponents.

In response to Corbett’s claims, at that time, Bill Delaney said that Corbett had never knocked Jeffries out. He said that Jeff made creditable exhibitions with Corbett. “Jeffries is a big, strong fellow, and it will take a mighty powerful blow to put him into the land of dreams and shadows.”

Jeffries denied it, saying, “I want to tell Mr. Corbett that he lies when he says he ever knocked me out at Carson… The truth is, he never would box with me on the level in Carson, and he much preferred to do his exercise punching upon Billy Woods with his jaw and stomach protector.”
In William Brady’s 1900 book, Life and Battles of James J. Jeffries, written while he was still managing Jeffries, Brady wrote,

The writer is in a position to say that after the first day that Corbett and Jeffries sparred at Carson, Corbett never afterward would spar with the big fellow on their merits. … In order to give the papers something to write about and to scare Fitzsimmons, Jeffries was persuaded to allow a fake story to be sent broadcast through the country that Corbett had knocked him out in a practice bout. This was a lie, and should not be given credence. Jeffries, in his ring career, has never been knocked down, nor has he ever shown the slightest sign of grogginess in a sparring encounter.

In Brady’s 1916 book, The Fighting Man, he again said, “Yarns were published in the newspapers about Corbett knocking out Jeffries in practice, but no such thing ever occurred.”

In his 1910 autobiography, Jeffries continued to cast doubt on the story, claiming that a news reporter (likely Bill Naughton) fabricated it. Jeff said of the reporter, who generated the fake story,

He must have had a friendly feeling for Jim, or, perhaps, it was just the natural inclination to boost a champion. At any rate, I believe he sent a story to his paper to the effect that Jim had beaten me all over the place, and had finally knocked me out. That was just a joke, of course, for nothing of the sort happened. Corbett didn’t knock me out, or knock me down. I’ve never been knocked down in my life.

In his later autobiography, Jeffries again said that there was never a knockdown in their sparring. He also claimed to have told Corbett, “If that’s as hard as you can hit, you’re not going to do much to Fitz.”

Many years later, in his autobiography, Corbett described the incident in question. “Without intending to hurt him I hit him a short uppercut with my right, but with little force behind it, as I thought, and he fell helpless in my arms.”

It is not entirely improbable that the knockdown story was a fabrication. Naughton and the Hearst-owned Examiner and Journal newspapers were not always known for their complete honesty. They were associated with a form of reporting in this era called “yellow journalism,” which used exaggerations, eye-catching headlines, scandal-mongering, sensationalism, heavy reliance on unnamed sources, and unprofessional practices in order to boost sales. Truth was of secondary importance. The Hearst and Pulitzer papers (New York World) did battle with each other, competing for circulation in this manner. Their methods often came under attack from other newspapers. In fact, the competition was so fierce that Hearst paid Fitzsimmons to allow his reporters exclusive access to his training camp. Hearst’s various reporting methods worked, rapidly growing the circulation of his newspapers, proving that the public preferred sensational falsehoods to simple truths. Of course, some of these sensational stories were true. However, because of the era’s yellow journalism, a number of sensational boxing stories have to be taken with a grain of salt, or at least further scrutinized.

However, even if the story was true, there is no shame in getting dropped in sparring by an experienced world champion with a perfectly timed speedy punch when you are green and rushing forward into the punch. How many fighters today with only three or so bouts could step into the ring with the world champion and spar daily with no headgear, no mouthpiece, and 8-ounce gloves, and not get dropped once? No one dropped Jeffries before or for over a decade thereafter, and he was known for having a granite chin. Of course, the fact of his proven iron jaw over the years also boosts Jeff’s claims that he was not dropped.

Even Bob Fitzsimmons indirectly supported Jeff’s claims that he was under a pull and not allowed to let himself out fully during the sparring sessions. At the very least, the suggestion was that Corbett was more interested in making sure that his partners did not hit him, more than he was in hitting them. Fitz liked to take cuts at Corbett and his training. Unlike Jim, Bob said that it was “not his style to restrain his sparring partners and make monkeys out of them that the public might think nobody could hit him.” Bob felt that Jim was trying to look good for reporters and to boost his confidence. Fitzsimmons was not intimidated by the stories about how good Jim was looking.

"A man must learn to take blows as well as to give them. … Corbett won’t allow any of his men to lay a glove on him, for fear people might think he was not the marvel he believes himself. I’ll show him that he can be hit just like the rest of us when we get together."

Despite the alleged knockdown, Corbett and his trainers were impressed with Jeffries, and they all saw potential in him. “Corbett’s admiration for his new sparring partner, Jeffreys, increases hourly. For that matter, every one around the camp is attached to the lad from the orange belt. He is such a genial giant when off duty, and such a brave fellow when under the fire of Jim’s blows, that they all like him.” Jim said, “I have nothing but good words for Jeffreys. He is a willing fellow, and when I am skipping around trying to dodge those great big fists of his I am attending strictly to business all the time. He gives me splendid exercise and I appreciate it thoroughly.” He also said, “I have every confidence in him turning out well, and I think, with a fair amount of coaching, he will be able to hold his own against all comers.” It was further said, “White and Delaney think with Corbett that Jeffries has the making of a top-notch fighter. They believe that his experiences with Jim will be of no end of benefit to him, and that before many years he will be in line for the championship.” Perhaps all of these positive statements about Jeffries were generated in order to make up for the fib about his being knocked down.

Corbett said,
"If my arms were not as flinty as they are this fellow (Jeffries) would cripple me in a half hour’s boxing…. His arms are as big and as heavy as legs, and he keeps swinging them for all he is worth."

Harry Corbett said, “Jeffries is making a mighty handy man for Jim. … He is big, strong and a bit clever. He keeps coming for his medicine all the while and seems to like it.”

The New York World, which had a correspondent on the scene, reported that on the 9th, Corbett dropped both Jeffries and Woods. Other newspapers repeated this report. Again, it is unclear whether such unconfirmed dispatches were fabrications designed to boost Corbett, affect the odds, generate interest in the fight, and/or to stimulate newspaper sales. Perhaps the World was simply mirroring the Journal’s tactics, seeing that readers eagerly lapped up and enjoyed such stories.

Last edited by apollack; 04-09-2012 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:14 AM   #21
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Adam,

I'm writing a bit about Fitzsimmons for boxing.com just now and I dug out In The Ring With Bob Fitzsimmons to check on a couple of things. I'd forgotten how absolutely excellent it was.

Are you working on Johnson now?
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:01 PM   #22
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Yes, currently researching and writing In the Ring With Jack Johnson.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:09 PM   #23
edward morbius
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
We should all be wary of the Effete East.
"wary of the Effete East"

San Francisco is in the east?

*I am sorry if I misinterpreted you. I assumed you were speaking of Corbett. Perhaps you were just commenting on this term in the article.

Last edited by edward morbius; 04-09-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:52 PM   #24
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

My take

"I learned this afternoon of a little incident"

So this writer apparently was not himself present.

"yellow journalism"

This is an article in the SF Call, though, I don't see that the SF Examiner or NY World are relevant.

"only Hearst newspapermen present"

This draws the conclusion this reporter got his account from other reporters. He might have gotten it from anyone who was present. If I were his editor, I would have asked him to specify whom he got his info from.

"Corbett a weak puncher"

He is the only man to ko Sullivan. He had Fitz down. If this story is true, I don't see how Corbett can be dismissed as a weak puncher.

*Thanks for printing this very interesting article. Jeff obviously, off his entire record, could take it, but no one is invincible. I wonder why Corbett would think that ko'ing the green Jeff would impress Fitz, if that is the reason for a fake story. How could Jeff have had an iron-jaw rep at this point as he had yet to fight a major opponent?
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:38 PM   #25
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edward morbius View Post
"wary of the Effete East"

San Francisco is in the east?

*I am sorry if I misinterpreted you. I assumed you were speaking of Corbett. Perhaps you were just commenting on this term in the article.
Just commenting on the article's wonderful speech.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:40 PM   #26
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Most articles back then were based on dispatches or from what other papers wrote. Hence it is so important to check sources today when reviewing articles back then, which is why I rely so heavily on local primary sources and in particular folks who were actually at the fight or sparring session. Even then, I like to review several sources because not everyone sees the same thing, and that's true even today.

Corbett wasn't totally feather-fisted but he wasn't a killer puncher either. Yes he dropped Fitz, so he had some pop, but Fitz was probably 170-180 to his 180-190. He had enough power that he could stun you, though. Sullivan was inactive for 3 years and it still took him 21 rounds to stop him. But I don't fault Corbett for taking his time and gradually wearing him down - he was in there with a huge puncher and intelligently did not want to take many chances, particularly since it was a fight to the finish.

Jeff was already receiving some hype in Los Angeles and San Francisco even when he went to Corbett's camp. He was a huge dude with a very impressive looking body, and the San Francisco reporters were very high on him as a potential future title challenger even at that point, despite having seen him in only one bout. After he KO'd Dan Long, they were very excited about him. It would be like seeing Mike Tyson in his pro debut. Sure he hasn't fought anyone yet, but from what you saw, you said "Wow, this kid really looks like he could be something. I can't wait to see him again." So then you hear he's going to be a sparring partner for Larry Holmes. Some intrigue there.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:19 PM   #27
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

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Originally Posted by MadcapMaxie View Post
Even tho not too much should be drawn from sparring sessions it amazes me that so many were prepared to argue (tirelessly) that Jeffries could take George Foreman's bombs then KO him when he fatigued, when he he was laid out by what was probably the lightest hitting heavyweight champion ever.
Seeing as Foreman himself was knocked down by feather-fisted Jimmy Young, I'd expect a Jeffries-Foreman encounter to be decided by the direction a mild breeze happens to be blowing !
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:55 AM   #28
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

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Originally Posted by Legend X View Post
Seeing as Foreman himself was knocked down by feather-fisted Jimmy Young, I'd expect a Jeffries-Foreman encounter to be decided by the direction a mild breeze happens to be blowing !

C'mon man Foreman was seeing visions of Jesus and screaming "Hallelujah christ has risen in me!" and had to be restrained...just goes to show how much a banger Young really is he was just to polite to hit most people.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:06 AM   #29
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edward morbius View Post
My take

"I learned this afternoon of a little incident"

So this writer apparently was not himself present.

"yellow journalism"

This is an article in the SF Call, though, I don't see that the SF Examiner or NY World are relevant.

"only Hearst newspapermen present"

This draws the conclusion this reporter got his account from other reporters. He might have gotten it from anyone who was present. If I were his editor, I would have asked him to specify whom he got his info from.

"Corbett a weak puncher"

He is the only man to ko Sullivan. He had Fitz down. If this story is true, I don't see how Corbett can be dismissed as a weak puncher.

*Thanks for printing this very interesting article. Jeff obviously, off his entire record, could take it, but no one is invincible. I wonder why Corbett would think that ko'ing the green Jeff would impress Fitz, if that is the reason for a fake story. How could Jeff have had an iron-jaw rep at this point as he had yet to fight a major opponent?
Corbett can not always be taken at his word. Remember, he said he was up 22-0 in the first fight with Jeffries, which is a huge lie as detailed round by round reports indicate a close fight. Corbett was a known sore loser.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:32 AM   #30
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Default Re: Corbett KO'd Jeffries.

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Originally Posted by Mendoza View Post
Corbett can not always be taken at his word. Remember, he said he was up 22-0 in the first fight with Jeffries, which is a huge lie as detailed round by round reports indicate a close fight. Corbett was a known sore loser.
Jeffries of course was truthful, that's why he put his name to a story that he lost to Johnson because of "drugged tea". Below is a detailed account of the Jeffries /Corbett 1st fight.

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
William Brady, who managed both Corbett and Jeffries was in Jeffries corner for that fight ,or rather he was, after he had Tommy Ryan ejected from it after the 20th round by the Chief Of Police.

Brady said Corbett made Jeffries look like a novice, made him look a bigger fool than he had made Sullivan look years before.

After out boxing Jeffries in the early rounds, Corbett set himself in the 10 th round and hit Jeffries with his best shot.
Brady states Jeffries shook ,and he was afraid he was going down.[Brady had bet $7,500 on Jeffries and felt he was a cert before the fight.] It was all Corbett up to the 16th round ,then Brady says, Corbett's speed began to go,Jeffries still persisted in trying to out box Corbett,until finally, Brady got up into his corner and instructed him to go in for the kill ,or lose his title.
There was an old Boxing Illustrated article probably written before you were born I have it in my files. It contains interviews with both protagonists,and is entitled "
"You Were Lucky Mr Jeffries / No I wasn't Mr Corbett". Older posters may remember it.
In it Jeffries said he knew he was behind and needed a ko to save his title, but could not get Corbett in position for that one big shot.Jeffries said he tried several times for it but missed.Corbett, the supreme egotist ,stated it was just a lucky punch out of the blue, but Jeffries maintained it was planned that he had thrown it several times and missed before finally connecting and ending the fight.


Below one fight that did not happen. Photo taken from William Brady's autobiography ,"Fighting Man", from which I have quoted.

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Last edited by mcvey; 04-16-2012 at 05:17 AM.
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