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Old 07-16-2012, 12:52 PM   #1
janitor
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Default Wills Tunney came close to being made

Not sure how this slipped under the radar:

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Old 07-16-2012, 12:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

Dempsey defends his failure to fight Wills prior to the Tunney match:

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Old 07-16-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by janitor View Post
Dempsey defends his failure to fight Wills prior to the Tunney match:

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Wills was on the slide by 1926, Dempsey was going that way too, but I think he would have had enough left to beat Wills who was nowhere near as elusively mobile as Tunney.

Tunney too, would have greatly enhanced his rep if he had fought Wills at that time ,imo .
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

If Tunney had been the first to beat Wills on the slide and Dempsey he'd go down as a top10 HW and some would claim Wills wasn't on the slide, although we know he was

The cynical side of me questions why they waited for Wills to be out of the country to suggest such a match up? Dempsey had been criticised for his comp at this time and for not facing Wills
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by mcvey View Post
Tunney too, would have greatly enhanced his rep if he had fought Wills at that time ,imo .
In fairness to Tunney, he seems to have wanted the fight more than Wills. By this time Wills likley knew that he was slipping, and thought that his best strategy was to sit on his #1 status.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
The cynical side of me questions why they waited for Wills to be out of the country to suggest such a match up? Dempsey had been criticised for his comp at this time and for not facing Wills
It is hard to be sure.

The politics behind the fight were a lot more complex than people realise. Dempsey seems to have been less resistant to a fight with Wills than Rickard was.

Part of the strategy of all parties was to wait for Wills to get old.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

Wills would've been beaten by Tunney and Dempsey by 1926.

It still doesn't excuse Dempsey for not fighting Wills throughout the previous decade however. Dempsey and his management always came up with statements to the press about how they were willing to face Wills and why the fight had not taken place yet, but in the end they just never pushed for it with easier options around.

I believe the year of inactivity along with Wills's age after blowing out a poor opponent in Floyd Johnson in 1925 did him in. He did sit on his number one status at this point and it didn't turn out to be a very good idea as he was passed over by another contender for a title shot anyway.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

Dempsey not fighting Harry Wills from 1919-1924 is a crime. No way a 36 year old fading Harry Wills, who firmly established himself # 1 contender for 7 straight years, should have been forced to fight Tunney in 1926. Wills had nothing left to prove, he should have gotten a direct shot.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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If Tunney had been the first to beat Wills on the slide and Dempsey he'd go down as a top10 HW
No way, especially since Tunney never beat any of the upcoming crop...Godrey, Schmeling, Sharkey
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by TheGreatA View Post
I believe the year of inactivity along with Wills's age after blowing out a poor opponent in Floyd Johnson in 1925 did him in. He did sit on his number one status at this point and it didn't turn out to be a very good idea as he was passed over by another contender for a title shot anyway.
In fairness to Wills, Rickards strategy for elimination him, seems to have been to keep matching him against the top contenders until he got the result he wanted.

First he had to fight Fulton...

Then he had to fight Firpo...

They they said "why don't you fight Gibbons next?"

You get the picture.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by janitor View Post
In fairness to Wills, Rickards strategy for elimination him, seems to have been to keep matching him against the top contenders until he got the result he wanted.

First he had to fight Fulton...

Then he had to fight Firpo...

They they said "why don't you fight Gibbons next?"

You get the picture.
He wanted to make Wills-Fulton 2, when Fulton was campaigning for a shot at Dempsey
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
If Tunney had been the first to beat Wills on the slide and Dempsey he'd go down as a top10 HW and some would claim Wills wasn't on the slide, although we know he was

The cynical side of me questions why they waited for Wills to be out of the country to suggest such a match up? Dempsey had been criticised for his comp at this time and for not facing Wills
All this is discussed in Cavanaugh's recent bio of Tunney, so no, it didn't slip under the radar.

And no, Tunney wasn't cynically trying to capitalize on Wills being out of the country. He was trying to find the shortest route to Dempsey. It was Wills who begged out of this match-up.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

Great find and very interesting, I met Jack and even though he was in his 70's he looked and spoke like a man who would never duck anyone.

Most of the old timers I knew that knew the game said Dempsey had no fear for any man.

The powers that be did not want the chance of another Johnson and I think this article shows that. Tunney was trouble for the rusty Dempsey s legs but Wills would have stood with Jack and been more of a sitting target, IMO Dempsey would have KO'd Wills

Its a shame Jack is getting the blame for this one and people are calling him a raciest but blacks that knew him also knew this was not true.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by SuzieQ49 View Post
Dempsey not fighting Harry Wills from 1919-1924 is a crime. No way a 36 year old fading Harry Wills, who firmly established himself # 1 contender for 7 straight years, should have been forced to fight Tunney in 1926. Wills had nothing left to prove, he should have gotten a direct shot.
I agree, but Wills didn't welcome all comers either. Wills did not want to meet Tunney, nor did he want to meet George Godfrey. Wills vs Godfrey would have been a heck of a match. Godfrey's manager tired many times to make the fight.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:40 PM   #15
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Default Re: Wills Tunney came close to being made

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Originally Posted by janitor View Post
In fairness to Tunney, he seems to have wanted the fight more than Wills. By this time Wills likley knew that he was slipping, and thought that his best strategy was to sit on his #1 status.
I believe Wills said I am the stand out contender and should not have to enter eliminators,or words to that effect.Of course he was right , he had been the stand out challenger, but he was about to come apart at the seams as Sharkey proved.
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