Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Leo Houck: The Lancaster Thunderbolt

Leo Houck stood 5’ feet 8“, and was a extremely strong and durable fighter, who fought many of the greats of the ring during his 22 year boxing career.  Houck was born Leo Florian Hauck (also went by Houck), on November 4, 1888, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Leo Houck’s ring career spanned 1904 to 1926. During that time, he had an estimated 207 contests and fought in every division from flyweight to heavyweight.  He was at his peak at middleweight, and fought for the World middleweight and light-heavyweight titles.  In 1913, Houck fought a 6-round, no-decision contest with George Chip, who was recognized as the World middleweight champion in America, and entered the fight under the middleweight weight limit.  The no-decision rule of the time meant that after 6 rounds, no decision would be given, and Chip would retain his title.  Houck’s only way of winning the title from Chip was to knock him out.  In the end, the fight went the full 6 rounds, and Chip retained his title. 

Some months later the two men fought again, this time over 12 rounds and once more the fight went the distance, with spectators feeling that Houck had ‘won’ the fight, but once more the no-decision rule was in effect. In December 1918, Houck fought Battling Levinsky, the reigning World light-heavyweight champion, again in a no- decision match, which he could only win the title by scoring a knockout.  The fight went the full 6 rounds, with Houck being judged the loser by most ringside witnesses.

During his career, Houck fought outstanding fighters such as Harry Lewis, Young Otto, Frank Klaus, Battling Levinsky, George Chip, Jack Dillon, Billy Papke, Eddie Mcgoorty, Mike Gibbons, Fay Keiser, Willie Meehan, Johnny Wilson, Clay Turner, Jeff Smith, Gun Boat Smith, Harry Greb, Al McCoy, and Gene Tunney.

Houck retired in 1926, after winning his final 11 fights.  His final record was  57(21koes)-10-5 his record in no decision fights was 88-27-21.

Leo Houck died on January 21, 1950, aged 61.

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