Corbett McCoy, fixed fight, or Corbett's last big win?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by janitor, Apr 14, 2018.



  1. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    We keep bumping into this question from time to time, so I think that it needs its own thread. I will put the evidence out there, and while I don't think that it will lead to a definite conclusion, it will at least allow people to make their own minds up.

    The fight was the last to be held under the Horton Law. McCoy was coming off win's over Mayer and Choynski, and had not lost in his last eleven fights, so he would have been sacrificing a potential title fight. Rumors of a fix circulated before the fight, which always lends credence to the prosecution in my eyes. The odds shifted from 10/8 for Corbett, to 3/1 as the figth drew near.

    The fight ended in the fifth round, and it sounds legitimate from ring side reports. Corbett seems to have really gone after McCoy in rounds 3, 4, and 5. Let's look at some descriptions of how the fight finished:

    New York Sun
    Corbett belted him a left to the stomach and made McCoy visibly weaken. Jim whipped in three or four uppercuts, and the kid was gradually sinking, Corbett drove a corking left smash to the pit of the stomach which doubled the Kid up in a heap on the floor. McCoy groaned in agony.

    New York Journal
    Corbett landed two lefts to the stomach which made McCoy wince with pain. A right to the heart then sent him down, and he did not beat the count.

    I could go on.

    If McCoy did take a dive, then he made it look very convincing.
     
  2. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    The fight itself convinced the overwhelming majority of observers that it had been on the level, and many who had suggested that it was going to be fixed back tracked. The matter would probably have been resolved, had it stayed at that. Enter Mrs Vera Corbett.

    She filed divorce for adultery, and at the same time alleged that the fight had been fixed. She claimed that the original plan was for Corbett to lie down, and that she personally wrote a check to McCoy for $2500. There are inconsistencies in her story, such as why the money would be payed to McCoy if Corbett was going to lie down. She also alleged that the arrangement was changed at the last minute, after Corbett refused to lie down, so McCoy agreed to oblige. This also seems unlikely, since the point of the exercise, would be to know the outcome in advance. She later claimed that the Corbett Sharkey fight was also fixed.

    McCoy was also having marital problems at the time, and his wife also came out with the same allegations. McCoy responded by claiming that she had obtained $600 worth of jewelry on false pretenses. Mrs Corbett (yes Corbett) then claimed that McCoy Sharkey and McCoy Choynski were also fixed. In an attempt to clear his name, McCoy gave the telegraph company permission to publish all his dispatches. Subsequently McCoy went home to pick up some items for his exile, and a confrontation occurred, in which Mrs McCoy threw a whisky decanter at him. She claimed that he punched her, and he denied it. Mrs McCoy then claimed that McCoy had taken money to carry Choynski, and that his only fight that was on the level, was the Sharkey fight which he lost.

    Subsequently Corbett and his wife reconciled, and she retracted her story. Mrs McCoy stuck to her story.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  3. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Conclusions

    While there are some compelling elements to the case for the prosecution, I think that the fight was on the level.

    The ring side descriptions of the fight itself, make it sound legit.

    While the fact that both wives testified is hard to overlook, there are a number of glaring contradictions in their stories, both in themselves, and between them.

    My guess is that Gentleman Jim got his last big win!
     
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  4. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti The Ad Wolgast of Googling Stuff Full Member

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    I've gone through more papers, and there are a lot more questions in the next days reports than I believed. From what I've gone through, I see 6 saying it was legit, plus 3 with not explicit comment (which I'd take to mean it was legit), versus 4 calling it a fix or questionable.

    Perhaps the best conclusion is that if George Siler couldn't tell watching it at the time, how are we going to tell over 100 years later.

    Says the fight did not look like a fake
    The sun., August 31, 1900, Page 2, Image 2
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    The referee says Corbett won legitimately.
    The evening world., August 31, 1900, Page 6, Image 6
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    "Fighting was on the level"
    The Brooklyn Daily Eagle., August 31, 1900, Page 10, Image 10
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    The New York Times, August 31 1900
    Against [it being a fix] it may be said that McCoy took a needlessly severe punishment, if all was prearranged. As to his condition, there is no question that he entered the ring heavier than he has ever fought before. The weights were not announced officially, but Corbett looked to be about 190, and McCoy was hardly less than 175 pounds.

    The Cincinati Enquirer says Referee Charley White didn't doubt it was legitimate and they say no reason to disagree with him.
    The Buffalo times said it did not look like a fake. I've looked at a few of the Buffalo papers, and they seem to be the same report.

    Not explicit comment (unless I missed it)
    I don't see any explicit comments in The Standard Union, but it says that after "McCoy's face was puffed and swollen, and his right eye was discolored"
    It also said "At the ring side there were men from Chicago, and Cincinnati, San Francisco and Denver, Stl Louis and Salt Lake City, Buffalo and Atlanta."
    I don't see any explicit comment about it being a fix in The Atlanta Constitution.

    The Salt Lake herald., August 31, 1900, Image 1
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    For it being a fake or questionable
    The New York Tribune called it a fake
    The Brooklyn Citizen commented on peculiar betting and said "A great many seem to be of the opinion that the fight was not on the level"
    Brooklyn Times Union "Corbett Won a Very Shady Looking Bout"
    In the San Francisco Cali L. M. Houseman says it was a blatant fake (you can find that paper here, but the site isn't loading for me ATM
    This content is protected
    )
    George Siler wrote for the Chicago Tribune, he said it looked suspicious, but said it was hard to tell if it was fixed or on the level, and suggested the final blow was hard enough to put McCoy out for the count, but had little doubt of Corbett's superiority.
     
  5. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Please don't ban me Full Member

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    So one of Corbett's best wins is against a light heavy he outweighed by nearly 20lbs?

    Corbett is massively overrated.
     
  6. Rainer

    Rainer Active Member Full Member

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    The referee Charley White, fighters Gus Ruhlin,Tom Sharkey,Jim Jeffries,and Bob Fitzsimmons, all thought it was genuine.
    So did The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, The New York Sun, and The Police Gazette. After the fight Corbett sailed for the UK with another woman so his then wife certainly had a motive for claiming the fight was fixed.
     
  7. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

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    Everything I read seems like the fight was on the level.

    MCCoy was a pound for pound talent of the times.
     
  8. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti The Ad Wolgast of Googling Stuff Full Member

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    One of the reports estimated McCoy's weight at 175 and Corbett's at 190. McCoy was described as the heaviest he'd been at, but in good condition.
     
  9. Rainer

    Rainer Active Member Full Member

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    Neither man weighed in ,McCoy was estimated in one report to be 170lbs, and Corbett around188/190lbs,rather heavy for him.
     
  10. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Lennox Lewis's best win was against a cruiser weight who he outweighed by 25 lbs!

    Numbers without context don't tell you very much!
     
  11. Rainer

    Rainer Active Member Full Member

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    Holyfield was 217lbs, that's a heavyweight.
    Heavier than
    Sullivan
    Corbett
    Fitzsimmons
    Some of Jeffries fights
    Hart
    Burns
    Johnson
    Dempsey
    Tunney
    Schmeling
    Sharkey
    Baer
    Braddock
    Louis
    Charles
    Walcott
    Marciano
    Patterson
    Johansson
    Liston
    Ali
    Frazier
    Spinks
    Holmes
    Spinks M

    One hundred and seventy pounds is NOT a heavyweight!
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  12. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    It is if he can hang with the best heavyweights of his day!
     
  13. RealDeal

    RealDeal Active Member Full Member

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    His best win was over prime Vitali imo, regardless of the fact it was from a cut.
     
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  14. RealDeal

    RealDeal Active Member Full Member

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    I have to admit I’m not too familiar with the whole backstory around this fight, but from what has been posted here, the wives’ stories definitely don’t seem to add up. What’s that saying about a woman scorned?
     
  15. Rainer

    Rainer Active Member Full Member

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    But he by and large he couldn't . Corbett beat the **** out of him.Choynski was a super middle at best. his wins over heavies of class were Goddard,Ruhlin ,and Maher
    Holyfield was 47lbs heavier than McCoy,no comparison.
    Holyfield was heavier than 24 of the other heavyweight champions.How many was McCoy heavier than, or even around the same weight as?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019