On this day 98 years ago Dempsey fought Carpentier it was the first million dollar gate

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by mark ant, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. Jason Thomas

    Jason Thomas Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Interesting discussion, guys. I managed to find a ratings list for 1921 put together by mattdonnellon who is a poster here and seems very well informed on old boxing history. Here is his list:

    Champion--Jack Dempsey
    1--Harry Wills
    2--Fred Fulton
    3--Tommy Gibbons
    4--Harry Greb
    5--Georges Carpentier
    6--Billy Miske
    7--Gene Tunney
    8--Joe Beckett
    9--Bill Brennan

    Wills is the obvious top contender. Fulton was coming off a bad KO loss to Wills and had earlier been flattened by Dempsey. Miske and Brennan had already had title shots against Dempsey and been KO'd. Tunney? Had he beaten any heavies to this point?

    My take is perhaps Carpentier should be rated higher, either #2 or #3 behind Wills and possibly Fulton. Given that Dempsey had drawn the color line, Carpentier appears to me to be the best white contender out there. His wins over Billy Wells, Joe Beckett, and Battling Levinsky were KO's and so proved his unquestioned superiority. Gibbons and Greb were a light-heavy and middle whose main "victories" were newspaper decisions in ND bouts. Later events would prove Greb and Gibbons as better than Carpentier, but in 1921 their reputations probably were limited to those reading backwater whistle-stop sports pages.

    I think this discussion underplayed that Carpentier had KO'd the British Empire champions Wells and Beckett, and the world light-heavyweight champion Levinsky. Those victories being by KO's were I think critical in establishing him as a viable contender over non-punchers who were getting newspaper nods.

    Now there is the separate issue of Carpentier as an opponent in ATG evaluations of Dempsey. He doesn't rise very high for me. But as a 1921 contender, only Wills was clearly better at that point.
     
  2. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I suspect that this is more or less how it would have been.

    Some sort of mid table ranking for Carpentier, with no crystal ball to see into the future.
     
  3. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Excellent.

    However if you examine Dempsey and the color line it’s a repetition of calling it (via Richards orders) and then recording it (Dempsey talking). The first time was right after he won the championship. This was the American tradition however which Jack reminded quickly after. Then J Johnson made noise that he was looking to get Dempsey in the ring which was followed by Dempsey stating he was calling the color line (via Rickard). Again the was rescinded soon after. Bottom line what you have is this give and take which mirrored Dempsey’s turmoil with Tex culminating with Dempsey walking away from Rickard to act in his own interest to fight Harry Wills. Even without Rickard Jack found the landscape for a mixed hwt championship bout sorely lacking.
     
  4. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Rescinding not recording.
     
  5. Dempsey1238

    Dempsey1238 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Look, I admired Jack Johnson a lot. He was a great fighter and champion, but AFTER Johnson's loss to Willard, White America did not want to see other black heavyweight. Yes, Johnson pretty much damage any shot for later black fighters to get a shot at the crown. From Willard to Dempsey all the way up to Braddock, no black fighter was getting in the ring with the Heavyweight Champion of the world. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it was right. Wills should of got his chance against Dempsey, Langford should of been giving a title shot, but the race politics made it almost impossible for a black fighter to step into the ring with the Champ. In fact, looking at it from a historic point of view, I am pretty shock Joe Louis got his title shot. He could of been join in the names of Langford, Wills and so many other top black heavyweights to never get a title shot because of his race.
     
  6. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Very very true Dempsey. Most look at boxing as if it was not greatly influenced by the culture and politics that surrounded it. Of course ALL aspects of American society we’re influenced by the culture and politics of the time in question. Dempsey actually tried to pull away from this (which was impossible) to try to promote himself a bout with Wills. In the end he failed but he did try. In later years Wills cast no blame on Dempsey.
     
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  7. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I believe Dempsey was willing to fight Wills, but at no time did he personally try and be the promoter of a fight between them.
    Dempsey did not begin promoting until the Sharkey Stribling fight which was in1929, Wills had lost fights to Sharkey1926 and Uzcudun1927 he was an irrelevance at title level after these defeats . The Stribling vSharkey fight was a joint promotion with Rickard,Tex died in the middle of the arrangements and at the urging of William Carey head of MSG Dempsey took over the reins alone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  8. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Dempsey broke with Kearns to actively look for a promoter to make a fight with he and Wills. In those days the challenger pursued the champion. Here Dempsey went out on his own looking to make the bout occur himself. An unprecedented activity for a reigning hwt champion of the world. However the historical record is very clear that the powers that be were not going to let the fight happen. Years later Wills was interviewed and he laid no blame whatsoever upon Dempsey insisting that those who controlled boxing at that time were to blame and if it were up to Dempsey that the bout would have occurred.
     
  9. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Nope. Dempsey broke with Kearns because he was sick of Kearns getting there first and getting the dough, he also found some discrepancies in the accounting .The major factor was Kearns and Estelle Taylor's ,[Dempsey's wife ]mutual loathing of one another.
    This reached a crisis point in the Montmartre nIght club and restaurant culminating in a screaming, knockdown,drag out shouting match between Kearns and Taylor.with Taylor forcing Dempsey to choose between his manager and his wife!
    All this is covered at length in Dempsey's autobiography, which I might add you seem totally ignorant of!

    The point is .
    AT NO TIME JACK DEMPSEY ATTEMPT TO PROMOTE A BOUT BETWEEN HIMSELF AND HARRY WILLS.
    Which is what you stated! HISTORIAN??? OH MY GOOD GOD!
     
  10. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Dempsey searched for a promoter for a bout with Wills. A bout Rickard refused to promote. STUDY UP!
     
  11. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    At no time did Dempsey take the intiative and personally try and make a bout with Wills.Neither did he contemplate promoting one himself.
    Read his autobiography FAN BOY.
     
  12. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Certainly did. He took it upon himself to find a promoter to get both he and Wills in the ring. Culminating in at least one if not two contracts being signed.
     
  13. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Nope he did not. Paddy Mullins, Wills manager began sounding out other promoters when it became clear to him that not only was Rickard stalling about promoting the fight ,but that William Muldoon whilst publicly supportive of the bout ,was opposed to it in private.
    Study up ! Its all in Dempsey's book and Roberts' too!
    Astonishing how little you know about your idol!
     
  14. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Here is Dempsey’s comments from 1963.

    Rickard was a Texan. He had a rough time of it out in San Francisco, California, after the Johnson-Jeffries fight which he promoted in Reno. The repercussions of that fight swirled about Rick’s head for a long time after the fight and he was a victim of ugly charges and a wicked smear campaign. This experience soured him on mixed fights for the heavyweight crown. As a result he was never anxious to promote a match between Wills and myself.

    The facts clearly show that in 1926 I tried desperately to arrange a fight with Harry Wills but the deal collapsed when my guarantee was not forthcoming. Wills and I had signed to fight with a promoter named Floyd Fitzsimmons of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Wills, I understand, received fifty thousand dollars as his guarantee for signing the contract. I was to have received one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars in advance of the fight. As the date of the fight grew nearer and my money did not appear, I became anxious and asked Fitzsimmons what was the matter. He wired me to meet him in Dayton, Ohio, assuring me that he would have the money for me there. I met Fitzsimmons in Dayton who handed me a certified check for twenty-five thousand dollars and a promise to let me have the balance almost immediately. I balked at that, demanding the full amount right away. Fitzsimmons tried to placate me by calling the bank where he said he had deposited the money. The bank, unfortunately for Fitzsimmons, informed him that it did not have that much money on hand, that there wasn’t enough to cover the twenty-five thousand dollar check he had given me. Furious, I returned the check to Fitzsimmons and told him the fight was off. Later, the Fitzsimmons syndicate financing the fight sued me for failure to honor a contract. I won the case.

    When the Wills fight failed to materialize, Tex Rickard jumped back into the picture and matched me with Gene Tunney. The rest is history. And that is the real story behind the negotiations for the Harry Wills fight which never came off. I am sorry Wills and I never got a chance to square off in the ring. I am sure it would have been one beautiful scrap.”
     
  15. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    More......

    The Associated Press reported on July 17, 1925, that Dempsey appeared before the New York Licensing Commission and formally accepted Wills’ challenge. With Kearns now out of the picture, Dempsey was managing himself. On his own, with a new promoter, Dempsey made a genuine good faith effort to be matched with Wills.

    Midwestern promoter Floyd Fitzsimmons, who had produced Dempsey-Miske fight in 1920, proposed a Dempsey-Wills fight to be held in Michigan City, Indiana. Dempsey was guaranteed $1,000,000 for the fight with $300,000 due upon signing. Dempsey accepted the offer. On September 28, 1925, Wills, Dempsey, the promoter and investors met for the contract ceremony. The event made headlines. Wills received a check for $50,000. Fitzsimmons told Dempsey he would get his check the following day. The next morning, Dempsey accompanied Fitzsimmons to the bank, ready to receive the down payment. Fitzsimmons handed Dempsey a check not for $300,000 but only $25,000. “It’s all I got right now, but there’s plenty more where that came from,” said Fitzsimmons. Still willing to proceed, Dempsey asked for cash instead: “I want to see this in green…and when you give me the other two-seven-five, I’ll give you the contract. Signed.” As the tellers counted out the cash, the issuing bank was called and reported back that the Fitzsimmons account was empty. The check bounced. Fitzsimmons couldn’t even deliver one dime of a down payment. Dempsey walked. Not only had the fight fallen through again, but now Dempsey was no longer licensed to fight in New York.