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Old 03-15-2011, 11:32 PM   #1
Cmoyle
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Default Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

There was a recent post on this site in which an individual took a shot at what I wrote in my book about Sam Langford concerning a fight between Sam and Joe Jeannette that got me to thinking. I wonder what some of the more knowledgeable posters would view as Sam’s most important win. I certainly don’t feel as though it was the December 20, 1913 win against Jeannette. Although it was a good victory, I just don’t believe it was especially significant.
What do some of you believe his most important win was?
And as for the post I’m referring to the individual stated that I spent about two sentences covering arguably Langford's most important win and that I dropped the ball as a result.
Huh, two sentences? Here’s what I wrote in my book about that December 20, 1913 fight between Langford and Jeannette in Paris, France. I think it’s quite a bit more than two sentences, and plenty of coverage for one out of 300 plus professional fights, but for those of you who haven’t read the book I’ll let you be the judge from the following excerpt below:
“Sam and Joe Woodman set sail for Paris aboard the steamer Kronprinzessin Cecille on December 2nd. Sam would face Joe Jeannette, this time at Luna Park on December 20th.
As the bout neared, Joe Woodman felt compelled to reply to reporters comment on Sam’s weight:
“Tell everybody to cut that out about Sam having run to fat. As you know, Sam is tremendously big-chested, and while he has certainly grown heavier, he is all muscle. His legs, too, have become larger, but they are as firm as a tree. To show that I am not shooting any hot air, I am willing to make the light heavyweight limit for any man in the world. All the saying that Sam has gone back, that is all bunk.”
Meanwhile, Sam went about the business of preparing for the fight. In typical fashion his training was not without some lighthearted moments. It was reported that he made time to spar daily with famous writer George Bernard Shaw, who was a decent boxer, as well as a huge boxing fan.
Jeannette believed that he would repeat his previous performance and emerge victorious. His confidence was buoyed by the fact that he and his manager has successfully lobbied for the scheduling of a full twenty-round contest. Joe was well known for his endurance, and the longer match would greatly increase the odds in his favor.
The fight turned out to be a corker. The two men wasted no time feeling one another out, and the action was fast and furious from the opening bell. Boxing reporter F. Hurdman Lucas wrote that the pair put on the most entertaining heavyweight contests in French history.
Lucas reported that Jeannette appeared nervous in the first five rounds, a trait that the writer had not witnessed in Joe before, but he went on to say that now, having seen Langford in all his glory, it was understandable that Joe would be apprehensive. “I would sooner face a battery of cannon that the Boston Tar Baby,” wrote Lucas.
Jeannette, as shown in their previous encounters, was the more effective at long range where he effectively utilized his left jab to land with great frequency to the face and body. At close quarters, Sam was Joe’s master. Throughout the first twelve rounds the battle seesawed back and forth as the two men sought to exert their will upon the other.
In round thirteen Sam set himself apart from his foe as he floored Jeannette three times. The first knockdown occurred when Sam worked himself inside and suddenly got home with a quick right hand, immediately followed up with a well placed left hook to the head. Jeannette went down for a count of nine before slowly rising with glassy eyes. As he regained his footing, his corner showered him with a partial bucket of water, raising cries of protest from the crowd. The cries died as Sam quickly advanced and landed another combination that sent Joe crashing to the canvas for the second time in the round. Once more the durable big man climbed to his feet, but he discovered his legs were unstable and he fell to the floor for a third time. Somehow he managed to rise again, and as Sam prepared to deliver the coup de grace the bell rang ending the round.
Miraculously, but certainly not to the surprise of everyone who knew much about Joe and his recuperative powers, he managed to come out strong for the fourteenth and held his own during the round. He also won round fifteen, and the crowd vigorously applauded his courageous performance. The two men split rounds sixteen through nineteen.
Joe came out in the twentieth and final round throwing caution to the wind. Leaving himself uncovered he immediately began a two-fisted attack. Sam slowed him up with a vicious left hand swing that landed full on the mouth and produced a flow of blood. Another left and right sent the big man reeling backwards into the ropes where he swayed about unsteadily. It looked like the end was near, but Joe dodged the powerful blows aimed at his jaw and by generous use of clinching managed to finish the bout on his feet.
The crowd roared its approval for the performance exhibited by both fighters. Sam was awarded the decision. Based upon his performance the press one more held him up as the next logical opponent for the champion, while Jeannette was praised for his courageous performance.”
Arguably Langford’s greatest win? Why? Because the French Boxing Federation was bent out of shape that they couldn’t get Johnson to agree to defend his title and Paris and declared the fight between Langford and Jeannette was for the heavyweight championship of the world? Nobody else recognized it as a world heavyweight title fight, and nobody outside Paris viewed Langford as the world champion as a result of the victory. Sam certainly didn’t consider himself the new heavyweight champ. The flaky French Boxing Federation then turned around five months later, in May of 1914, and announced their recognition of Jack Johnson as the heavyweight championship of the world once he agreed to defend his title against Frank Moran the following June in Paris.
And while Langford’s win over Jeannette in December of 1913 was a good win, it was the tenth time the two men had fought one another. And it wasn’t like it was the first time he’d defeated Joe. In fact, I think I’d rate the first time Sam defeated Joe, in their second contest back in late 1905, as a more significant victory for him and his career than his win in their tenth meeting, because that victory led to his one and only fight with Jack Johnson.
So far as my coverage of Langford’s fights in the book is concerned, I feel as though I devoted plenty of text to what I believed were his most significant bouts. I could have used a lot more material, and in fact the initial draft was comprised of over 160,000 words. It was only after I learned that most publishers prefer a biography in the range of 80,000 – 110,000 words that I decided to edit it down to its final tally of approximately 113,000 words. As it was, it still ended up being 429 pages long. It was tough to cut that much material, but I think it probably ended up making for a more readable book since it would have been over 600 pages long in its original format.
But like I said in the beginning of this post, it might be interesting to learn what others view as Langford’s most important career victory. What do some of you think?
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

To minimize the importance of that bout, and state that their second bout in 1905 was more important because it led to the a bout with Johnson, who at that time was only a contender, is a point I completely disagree with.

Look, Im not going to get into another pissing contest with you.

My logic in the belief that this was arguably Sam's most important victory is based around the entire context of that fight. You encapsulate that fight into a Langford-Jeanette scenario, when in fact it was very much about the anti-Johnson sentiment at the time, the rush by rival promoters to stage the Johnson-Johnson bout against the Langford-Jeanette bout as a means of trying to overshadow Langford (Which was largely unsuccessful) and to show that he was still an active champ. The very fact that Johnson fought that bout allowed him to silence, to a degree the Federation, which is why they had to sanction the Johnson-Moran fight the following year. The entire context of that fight, which was largely ignored, made it, as I have stated before, arguably Langford's most important victory. It was certainly the closest he ever got to the HW championship. Did he have "better" wins? Probably. But to me this fight, at the time, and during Langford's life, was the most IMPORTANT victory of his career. There was certainly a larger political backdrop there that needed to be told but wasnt. Whether you disagree with me, or not I think its a valid criticism, and one of the few I had of your book.

Its similar to the logic some people use when saying that Greb's most important win was his victory against Tunney, when, during his life it wasnt at all. He was completely expected to defeat Tunney who was still not yet in his prime. Its only when you take that win out of context and place it in light of what Tunney later accomplished that it begins to take on a greater importance. In my opinion, when one examines what was going on in France at the time, this was his most important victory.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

You're definately entitled to your opinion, and I respect it, regardless of whether or not I agree with it. I mainly took exception with the comment about only devoting two sentences to the fight in the book.

I would still be interested to learn what others think Langford's most important victory was. In fact, now that you mention it, it might be interesting to learn what others, as well as yourself, do believe Greb's most important victory was while we're at it.

I'd agree with your point about it not being his initial victory over Tunney. Believe it or not, I still hope to one day get an opportunity to read your book on Greb.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

It is a good question.

I am thinking the 1912 dec 26 KO of McVey was probably the best. I think it probably established the superiority of Langford over McVey and with it came Langford's status as the best fighter never to win the world title. I think the Jeanette fight Klompton talks of was also very important.

At the time, i think that win over Philadelphia Jack O brien is another huge win, and one that is underated today. O Brien was a former world heavyweight champion and Light heavyweight champion and known as a world class foe,who was near impossible to stop. This might have been Sam's biggest and most important win.

Of course i could be totally wrong, what do you guys think? It is funny, Langford seems to have been successful because of the number of opponents consistently beaten rather than because of the high caliber of opponents beaten (not that he didnt beat great fighters).
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

His win over Joe Gans by far! Two wks later he was in against Jack Blackburn. now that's a man. If Arum or King had a talent like that more recently to promote he'd be undefeated and making over $50 million a fight


distant runner up: his come from behind KO of wills, his thrashing of the dixcie kidd and his demolitions of george godfrey. so nice, he did all three twice! lol

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Old 03-16-2011, 04:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

Just ordered your book Mr Moyle............interested to read it, have meant to read it for a while
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

On flim, the win over Jeanette. On his record? Maybe his KO over Wills when Langford was past his prime.
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

He looks good on film beating Hague as well
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmoyle View Post
There was a recent post on this site in which an individual took a shot at what I wrote in my book about Sam Langford concerning a fight between Sam and Joe Jeannette that got me to thinking. I wonder what some of the more knowledgeable posters would view as Sam’s most important win. I certainly don’t feel as though it was the December 20, 1913 win against Jeannette. Although it was a good victory, I just don’t believe it was especially significant.
What do some of you believe his most important win was?
And as for the post I’m referring to the individual stated that I spent about two sentences covering arguably Langford's most important win and that I dropped the ball as a result.
Huh, two sentences? Here’s what I wrote in my book about that December 20, 1913 fight between Langford and Jeannette in Paris, France. I think it’s quite a bit more than two sentences, and plenty of coverage for one out of 300 plus professional fights, but for those of you who haven’t read the book I’ll let you be the judge from the following excerpt below:
“Sam and Joe Woodman set sail for Paris aboard the steamer Kronprinzessin Cecille on December 2nd. Sam would face Joe Jeannette, this time at Luna Park on December 20th.
As the bout neared, Joe Woodman felt compelled to reply to reporters comment on Sam’s weight:
“Tell everybody to cut that out about Sam having run to fat. As you know, Sam is tremendously big-chested, and while he has certainly grown heavier, he is all muscle. His legs, too, have become larger, but they are as firm as a tree. To show that I am not shooting any hot air, I am willing to make the light heavyweight limit for any man in the world. All the saying that Sam has gone back, that is all bunk.”
Meanwhile, Sam went about the business of preparing for the fight. In typical fashion his training was not without some lighthearted moments. It was reported that he made time to spar daily with famous writer George Bernard Shaw, who was a decent boxer, as well as a huge boxing fan.
Jeannette believed that he would repeat his previous performance and emerge victorious. His confidence was buoyed by the fact that he and his manager has successfully lobbied for the scheduling of a full twenty-round contest. Joe was well known for his endurance, and the longer match would greatly increase the odds in his favor.
The fight turned out to be a corker. The two men wasted no time feeling one another out, and the action was fast and furious from the opening bell. Boxing reporter F. Hurdman Lucas wrote that the pair put on the most entertaining heavyweight contests in French history.
Lucas reported that Jeannette appeared nervous in the first five rounds, a trait that the writer had not witnessed in Joe before, but he went on to say that now, having seen Langford in all his glory, it was understandable that Joe would be apprehensive. “I would sooner face a battery of cannon that the Boston Tar Baby,” wrote Lucas.
Jeannette, as shown in their previous encounters, was the more effective at long range where he effectively utilized his left jab to land with great frequency to the face and body. At close quarters, Sam was Joe’s master. Throughout the first twelve rounds the battle seesawed back and forth as the two men sought to exert their will upon the other.
In round thirteen Sam set himself apart from his foe as he floored Jeannette three times. The first knockdown occurred when Sam worked himself inside and suddenly got home with a quick right hand, immediately followed up with a well placed left hook to the head. Jeannette went down for a count of nine before slowly rising with glassy eyes. As he regained his footing, his corner showered him with a partial bucket of water, raising cries of protest from the crowd. The cries died as Sam quickly advanced and landed another combination that sent Joe crashing to the canvas for the second time in the round. Once more the durable big man climbed to his feet, but he discovered his legs were unstable and he fell to the floor for a third time. Somehow he managed to rise again, and as Sam prepared to deliver the coup de grace the bell rang ending the round.
Miraculously, but certainly not to the surprise of everyone who knew much about Joe and his recuperative powers, he managed to come out strong for the fourteenth and held his own during the round. He also won round fifteen, and the crowd vigorously applauded his courageous performance. The two men split rounds sixteen through nineteen.
Joe came out in the twentieth and final round throwing caution to the wind. Leaving himself uncovered he immediately began a two-fisted attack. Sam slowed him up with a vicious left hand swing that landed full on the mouth and produced a flow of blood. Another left and right sent the big man reeling backwards into the ropes where he swayed about unsteadily. It looked like the end was near, but Joe dodged the powerful blows aimed at his jaw and by generous use of clinching managed to finish the bout on his feet.
The crowd roared its approval for the performance exhibited by both fighters. Sam was awarded the decision. Based upon his performance the press one more held him up as the next logical opponent for the champion, while Jeannette was praised for his courageous performance.”
Arguably Langford’s greatest win? Why? Because the French Boxing Federation was bent out of shape that they couldn’t get Johnson to agree to defend his title and Paris and declared the fight between Langford and Jeannette was for the heavyweight championship of the world? Nobody else recognized it as a world heavyweight title fight, and nobody outside Paris viewed Langford as the world champion as a result of the victory. Sam certainly didn’t consider himself the new heavyweight champ. The flaky French Boxing Federation then turned around five months later, in May of 1914, and announced their recognition of Jack Johnson as the heavyweight championship of the world once he agreed to defend his title against Frank Moran the following June in Paris.
And while Langford’s win over Jeannette in December of 1913 was a good win, it was the tenth time the two men had fought one another. And it wasn’t like it was the first time he’d defeated Joe. In fact, I think I’d rate the first time Sam defeated Joe, in their second contest back in late 1905, as a more significant victory for him and his career than his win in their tenth meeting, because that victory led to his one and only fight with Jack Johnson.
So far as my coverage of Langford’s fights in the book is concerned, I feel as though I devoted plenty of text to what I believed were his most significant bouts. I could have used a lot more material, and in fact the initial draft was comprised of over 160,000 words. It was only after I learned that most publishers prefer a biography in the range of 80,000 – 110,000 words that I decided to edit it down to its final tally of approximately 113,000 words. As it was, it still ended up being 429 pages long. It was tough to cut that much material, but I think it probably ended up making for a more readable book since it would have been over 600 pages long in its original format.
But like I said in the beginning of this post, it might be interesting to learn what others view as Langford’s most important career victory. What do some of you think?
Is your book still available ? Good post
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

Yes, my book is still available. You can find it on Amazon, or if you prefer to order an inscribed or signed copy directly from me you can do so via my website [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] or by emailing me at [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:25 AM   #11
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The knee jerk reaction might be to say that Greb's most important win was his title winning effort against Wilson, his victory over Walker, or even some of his wins over P4P fighters. Greb had a lot of great victorys and important wins but in my opinion Greb's most important win was Tommy Gibbons IV. Of course he had "better" wins but the Tommy Gibbons IV fight was the biggest buildup and most important victory for him as it was sorrounded by massive media attention and really propelled him into stardum. After his unlooked for victory Greb was everywhere. He was doing radio spots, starring in vaudville, doing exhibitions and guest stints as referee, and writing in newspapers. The fight also solidified his standing as a top contender/title threat at MW, LHW, and HW and very nearly got him a shot at Jack Dempsey. Once he beat Gibbons, and in the fashion that he beat him, nobody was dismissing him anymore. That was the fight that broke Greb into the big time.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: Sam Langford's Most Important Win?

I guess my own knee jerk reaction might be to say the same thing concerning Langford's wins over Gans and Hague for a similar reason. Gans was the lightweight champion of the world at the time, and as a result of his victory over Hague he became the heavyweight champion of England. Many British fans, still bitter over Johnson's backing out of an agreement to fight Langford at the National Sporting Club should he win the title from Burns, claimed Sam was the new world heavyweight champion. The period of time, 1909, would have been a great time for a second fight between Langford and Johnson.

Greb-Dempsey is obvously another fight that should have happened. Tim Cohane, the sports editor of Look Magazine quoted Tunney on the matter as saying, "Greb was a clever fighter, but so was Dempsey, and he had the instinct to kill you. I do not subscribe to the theory, offered occasionally, that Greb would have outpointed Dempsey. Jack would have caught Harry eventually and knocked him out. Dempsey, to my mind, was the greatest fighter who ever lived."

Of course, some believe that Tunney's calling Dempsey the greatest fighter who ever lived was his way of elevating himself to that position, given that he defeated Dempsey twice. And if Tunney himself outpointed Dempsey twice, albeit over two ten round bouts, whose to say Greb might not have been able to do it as well?
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:27 PM   #13
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The only scheduled 45 rounder of Sam's career was Fireman Flynn III on Saint Patrick's Day, 1910. He had just turned 27, and was auditioning for the movie camera. Flynn would take nearly a year off, then rebound from this eighth round knockout loss to embark on a career best 10(9KO)-0-0 streak, not losing again until his title shot at Johnson. Coming before Johnson-Jeffries, this was Sam's best opportunity to be seen in American nickelodeons prior to the ban on the interstate transport of boxing films.
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