Grantland Rice regarding Dempsey-Willard

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by HOUDINI, Aug 25, 2019.


  1. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    It was easy to see in the middle of the third round that the conqueror of Jack Johnson would never answer another bell. For, in the meanwhile, the right side of his face had swollen to unbelievable proportions. The flesh there had been so badly cut and jabbed and mashed by Dempsey’s terrific hitting force that purple blotches began to intermingle with the red.

    If you could imagine a thick hamburger steak, painted blue and purple and crimson, plastered to the side of a man’s face, you might get some idea of how Willard looked in the middle of that third round. If a six-inch shell had exploded against his right jaw it could hardly have changed his features more.

    No dreams came to him of a vanishing title. He knew no anguish of fading glory. With glossy, rolling eye and a foolish, twisted face he reeled along his way to oblivion.

    The endless punishment he had received had first deadened his nerve cells and shut off all electricity that runs the human system. The deadening growth had moved to the brain, so that in the closing minutes of the fight he had no sign of intelligence left. He stood or reeled without any sign of comprehension displayed over his face—if you’d care to call something a face that some time before had lost any resemblance to anything human or to anything even belonging to the wild.

    The wonder is that his vast system had enough vitality to carry that much punishment and still stay up. For after the first round Dempsey scored no further knockdowns, unless two are so registered where Willard crumpled against the ropes and hung there like a side of beef on display in a butcher shop. No other man could have taken that much punishment and lived.

    If there was any pity in the prize ring (which there isn’t) it might have found expression here where this man once known as the physical marvel of the ring—this man who five minutes before had stood with a bold and confident look as champion of the world, trained to the day, as fit as he could ever hope to be—now stood as an open target for an opponent nearly fifty pounds lighter and six inches shorter in stature—a target that rocked and swayed under the blistering sun while 50,000 looked on and waited for the coming end.

    As time was called for the third round there was no need of Walter Monahan’s sponge to announce that Jess had closed his engagement as champion of the world and that Jack Dempsey now wore that crown that had belonged in turn to Sullivan, Corbett, Fitzsimmons, Jeffries, Johnson and Willard.

    And Dempsey had proved to be the most spectacular champion of them all.

    It had taken Corbett twenty-one rounds to knock out Sullivan. It had taken Fitzsimmons fourteen rounds to drop Corbett. Jeffries had needed eleven rounds to crush Fitz. Johnson travelled fifteen rounds to blog out Jeff, and Johnson lasted twenty-six rounds against Willard. But Dempsey, with the crushing force and the blazing speed, in those punishing hooks, delivered with either fist, needed no such leeway.

    Only a matter of a few seconds saved Willard a one-round knockout for, if the bell had known a second’s delay, Dempsey would have drawn another one-round verdict to add to his amazing list of one-round affairs.

    How Willard ever stayed on his feet after the fusilade of that first round will ever remain one of the mysteries of the game. Doughboys have taken a .45 bullet into their bodies and still rushed forward for one last trench knife blow.
    It was unbelievable. From less than ten feet away we looked on and refused to credit the vision of our eyes. It looked as if every punch must tear away his head, but in place of this the fountain continued to gush, the features continued to swell, the raw meat continued to pop open in deep slits as the red surf rolled from his shaking pulp-smashed frontispiece.

    If Willard had not been in wonderful shape he would have been killed. He surely would never have answered the bell for the second round.

    Dempsey left the ring unmarked. He had planted his nerve-killing blow before Willard had ever found opportunity to test the hitting power of his long, tremendous arms. Where was the famous uppercut? No one will ever know, for before the Kansan had a chance to test either, his motive power was paralyzed and he needed every ounce of vitality left to keep him on his feet.

    And how this Dempsey can hit! No wonder Carl Morris and Fred Fulton and so many others crumpled up before his blows. When he hit Willard it was exactly the same as if some strong man had swung upon the ex-champion with a heavy hammer. It felt as if raw steel had broken through his skull. He fell before a man who must be able to hit harder than any man who ever lived.
     
  2. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Not here for the fairy tales Full Member

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    Is this from a novel based on the fight?
     
  3. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    Next day newspaper report.Granny Rice is one of the greatest ever.
     
  4. RockyJim

    RockyJim Boxing Addict Full Member

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    You sure as hell don't see writing that in the newspapers today...he's one of the BEST. I THINK he's the one who came up with the name "The 4 Horsemen" for the great Notre Dame backfield in the 1920's...
     
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  5. RockyJim

    RockyJim Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Some have said that Willard's face wasn't as bad as has been reported...anyone think differently now??? He reported this from less than 10 feet away....
     
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  6. RockyJim

    RockyJim Boxing Addict Full Member

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    October 18, 1924...the Four Horseman have arrived....nope...Grantland Rice named them
     
  7. he grant

    he grant Historian/Film Maker Full Member

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    Look Dempsey pummeled Willard and there is no disputing it .. that said, there was something funky with his left glove. I'm not saying he had loaded gloves but something cut Willard in a way we never saw after in any Dempsey fight including Firpo ...you also have to give Willard unbelievable credit for fighting like hell in the second and third round , often on competitive terms. Carefully watch what exists of those rounds .. Not only does Jack look exhausted but Willard, who looks covered in blood which may or may not have made his injuries look worse than they were , fights back often , hard and is in the fight .. it has always made me question how the fight might have gone if Dempsey was not allowed to stand over Jess and pummel him while he was getting up .. TO have this passage by Rice is perfect because he was one of the great sportwritting myth makers of the 1920's and there is no doubt that Dempsey was aided to some degree by writers who helped spin his legend.

     
  8. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    Yes.
    Outlined against a blue-grey October sky, the Four Horseman rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden......
     
  9. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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  10. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    No. Those last two rounds were one sided. To claim Willard fought back in any way comparable to the punishment he was receiving is pure hogwash. Jess was obliterated for three rounds. No Dempsey’s gloves were not loaded and this has been proven via first hand accounts of the wrapping. First thing Willard did when he entered the ring was to examine Dempsey’s taped hands.
     
  11. Senya13

    Senya13 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    He was far from being one the best boxing writers, IMHO, both in understanding boxing and in writing style.
     
  12. louis54

    louis54 Active Member Full Member

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    Classic
     
  13. louis54

    louis54 Active Member Full Member

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    Tumult and the shouting was excellent....he used to play golf with louis....knew all the ballplayers from Cobb to ruth to mantle and Mays
     
  14. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    Equal to A 4TH Grade fingerpainter judging Van Gogh and Picasso as bums. This world is in trouble. ****in' SNOWFLAKES!
     
  15. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    "He grew old on the road and anyplace where they would pay to see him he called his hometown and stayed until he ran out of opponents.
    All the while, Archie Moore knew he was a great fighter and he held on to that and never let it go. Punks got rich fighting in the Garden during the war. And Archie Moore, a light-heavyweight, was tipping over 200 pound assassins for moving around money. Preliminary boys made as much as he did. The professors would know all about this. You hear a lot of this, told by different men in various ways, in curfew-cheating saloons.
    They'd sing the late coming happiness in there too, beating Joey Maxim and Bobo Olson, getting the shots in the senility of his athletic career. They wouldn't miss the laughs then and the pictures in the newspapers and being represented by a lawyer who became the governor of Ohio. THEY WOULD REALLY DIG IN ON THAT COLD NIGHT'S WORK IN MONTREAL A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO WHEN HE WAS DOWN THREE TIMES IN THE FIRST ROUND, AGAIN IN THE FIFTH AND GOT UP TO KNOCK OUT YVON DURELLE." Jimmy Cannon
     


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