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Old 11-22-2012, 04:49 PM   #16
Lord Tywin
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Default Re: Wills Turned Down $5000 Chance To Spar With Challenger Dempsey In 1919

How did Dempsey look at 38
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: Wills Turned Down $5000 Chance To Spar With Challenger Dempsey In 1919

Dempsey lived the high life, after he went Hollywood, he had his nose reshaped, hob nobbed with Fairbanks, Rogers etc and generally had a good time for three years.
Wills was a health nut who lived a spartan life, fasted regularly , and went on long hikes. Your question makes as much sense as comparing Ali or Johnson at 38 ,with Lennox or Vitali.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: Wills Turned Down $5000 Chance To Spar With Challenger Dempsey In 1919

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I can't vouch for the veracity of Kearns article though, since it was printed in 1925 ,and Wills was very much alive ,you would have thought he was running the risk of libel if it was untrue.

Just for you P.P.

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mate I genuinely don't profess to know how good Wills was or if he'd beat Dempsey or not.

I do think this Kearns article sounds exceedingly unlikely. Libel laws consist of proving something causes loss or damage and show some proof it isn't true

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I know he is 38 here, but Wills does look slow and ponderous against Paulino here in this decent print of their fight. The ko punch looks pretty innocuous but Wills seems to have gone back badly.

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He looks terrible, but he was 38 and had already given up on getting that big payday so won't have had any drive anymore. Also think about how Ali looked at 38, think how Roy Jones looked at 38

If he wasn't much better than that Dempsey would KO him but I do think he was probably quite allot better than that
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: Wills Turned Down $5000 Chance To Spar With Challenger Dempsey In 1919

Arcel stated Wills was a good journeyman and Dempsey would beat him. Both Johnson and Langford picked Dempsey to beat Wills. Fleischer wrote Wills size and lack of speed would make a short night if he fought Dempsey.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:09 AM   #20
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Default Re: Wills Turned Down $5000 Chance To Spar With Challenger Dempsey In 1919

Wills a good journeyman.

Wow Houdini you must really hate that era. Wills was on of the top 2 heavyweights for about 7 years running. Arguably number 1.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:41 AM   #21
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Default Re: Wills Turned Down $5000 Chance To Spar With Challenger Dempsey In 1919

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Originally Posted by HOUDINI View Post
Arcel stated Wills was a good journeyman and Dempsey would beat him. Both Johnson and Langford picked Dempsey to beat Wills. Fleischer wrote Wills size and lack of speed would make a short night if he fought Dempsey.

Wills was the number one contender for a significant part of Dempsey's reign.
That he deserved a title shot is beyond dispute.
Why he did not receive that shot will be argued as long as whether Ali could have beaten Louis.

Wills was no journeyman ,whether he was as good as the trio of coloured fighters that preceded him is another question.

Wills may have been fortunate to get Langford /Jeannette/McVey just as their suns were setting, if so he was equally unfortunate to come along when the aftermath of the Johnson/Jeffries race riots was still fresh in memories.
Let them fight each other , but keep them away from the title seems to have been the case.

Wills was criticised for the calibre of some of his opponents in the 20's , he was described as , "feeding on a diet of well chewed meat".

Paddy Mullins undoubtedly did not want to take any chances with his aging tiger , gambling perhaps on public opinion eventually forcing Dempsey into a defence against the Panther.

If this was the case it backfired disastrously.

Wills did not fight Gibbons, Godfrey or Tunney ,it should be said that he had already earned his shot , but if he had beaten one of them the pressure on Rickard/Kearns/Dempsey would have been almost impossible to shrug off,imo.
Mullins repeatedly turned down Godfrey and Tunney,I don't know if Gibbons brainstrust were prepared to put him in with Wills, possibly not.

Whether at that stage of his career, he would have been the winner in any one of that trio of contests is a moot point however.
From January 1922 until October 1926 [when Dempsey lost the title], Wills best win was a dreary points dec over Firpo whom Dempsey kod in 2 rds flooring him multiple times.
If Wills did box under wraps against Firpo,as some one has suggested ,he may have done better to take a leaf out of Jack's book and go all out to make an emphatic statement by taking the Argentinian out early,and rasing his profile with the paying public.

Fact is Harry got shafted, who is to blame?
Maybe all the cast have some degree of culpability in the affair?
Rickard for bowing to political pressure,Kearns for using that excuse to sidestep a dangerous challenger, Dempsey for being led by the nose by both of them.

Dempsey's autobiography reveals a hesitant man, surprisingly deferential to both Tex and Doc.
I don't find it a stretch to believe he was manipulated by those two button pressers.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:06 AM   #22
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Default Re: Wills Turned Down $5000 Chance To Spar With Challenger Dempsey In 1919

It is possible.

Fighters are always a lot bolder when they don't have a title to loose, and Wills himself was not riding as high at this point.
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