Monday, February 8, 2016

Boxing History: Willie Meehan

Remembering…Willie Meehan
December 25, 1893 – February 9, 1953

Willie Meehan was an extraordinary fighter, who fought in every weight division from flyweight to heavyweight, against some of the greatest fighters of his era.  Meehan was one of the great characters of the ring, who spurned the idea of training, and special diets. His rise in weight wasn’t due to an increase in muscle, but an incongruous increase in his waistline. By the time Willie had grown into a heavyweight of about 190 pounds, his 5’ ft.  9”in.  body was portly in the extreme.
His physique resembled an early Tony Galento (with hair) but, rather than being a bar room brawler, type of slugger like Galento, Meehan was a clever and tricky boxer. He had speed that belied his build, and a huge collection of tricks with which to befuddle and exasperate his opponents. 

Meehan was born Eugene Walcott on December 25, 1893, in San Francisco, California, and began his boxing career in 1909 when just one month past his 15th birthday.

During his career, Meehan fought such outstanding fighters as Rufe Turner, Frank Mantell, Sailor Jack Carroll, Harry Wills, Jack Dempsey, Jack Dillon, Leo Houck, Harry Greb, Billy Miske, Fred Fulton, Sam Langford, Jeff Clark, GunBoat Smith, Bill Brennan, Tommy Gibbons, Floyd Johnson, Fred Fulton, and Jimmy Delaney.

Meehan’s most famous victories were over Jack Dempsey, just before Dempsey won the World heavyweight title.  Meehan fought Dempsey 5 times from 1917 to 1918, and came away with a 2 victories, 1 defeat and 2 draws against the future World heavyweight champion. All the fights were over the 4 rounds distance, and took place in California, which had a four rounds limit on fights at the time. While the duration of the fight certainly helped Meehan, they should not detract from his performances against Dempsey, who at the time was knocking just about everyone else out in one or two rounds.  Dempsey found Meehan’s tricky style a nightmare, and must have been pleased to see the back of him. There was certainly no title shot for Meehan after Dempsey had thrashed Jess Willard in 3 rounds to win the World heavyweight title. 

Two more prestigious scalps on the portly Meehan’s belt were point’s victories over Sam Langford and Jeff Clark, both of whom he fought and beat just two weeks apart on March 4, 1919 and March 28, 1919.

Meehan had his final fight on August 1928, when he was stopped in 7 rounds by Eddie Kid Sullivan. His final record was 83(20koes)-29-38.  After he retired from fighting Meehan worked on film production as an electrician in Hollywood.  

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1 comment:

  1. OT: In what is supposed to be the final fight of his distinguished career, Manny Pacquiao will fight one last time, but against an opponent with which he is very familiar: Timothy Bradley. The rematch happens on April 9 2016. Fortunately we can still see his training for previous fight with Tim here at the Manny Pacquiao Official Video Channel