Tuesday, May 24, 2016

On This Day: Luther McCarty: The Fighting Cowboy Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Luther McCarty had his life, and his potential as a heavyweight fighter, cruelly cut short at the age of just 21 years old. Known as ‘The Fighting Cowboy’ McCarty was a ‘white hope’ during the latter part of Jack Johnson’s reign as World heavyweight champion. There were many whom considered McCarty, not only the best of the infamous ‘White Hopes,’ but a future heavyweight great in his own right. Unfortunately, McCarty died before he was given the chance to prove just how good he could become.

McCarty was born on March 17, 1892, in Driftwood Creek, Nebraska, and started boxing professionally in 1911. Standing 6' feet 4” inches, McCarty was fast for a man of his size, and had a sound technique, along with a good jab, and a knock-out punch. Despite his comparative inexperience and youth, McCarty made impressive strides during his short, but meteoric career, that began in 1911. In this short space of time, McCarty defeated notable name fighters such as, Jeff Clark, Carl Morris, Jim Barry, Al Kaufman, Fireman Jim Flynn, Al Palzer, and Frank Moran. McCarty also drew over 10 rounds with the future World heavyweight champion, Jess Willard.

McCarty died after taking what seemed to be an innocuous punch to the side of the head by Arthur Pelkey, after just two minutes of fighting in the 1st round of their contest on May 24, 1913. He was 21 years old. McCarty collapsed and died while been tended to in the ring. The cause death was found to be a massive brain haemorrhage. At first, Pelkey was charged with manslaughter, but the charges were later dropped, and it is thought that McCarty’s death was caused by an old, pre-existing injury, rather than any punch that Pelkey landed upon McCarty. It is thought that McCarty had suffered a recent fall from a horse. Also, some months before, he almost drowned while swimming, in an incident, which saw him lose consciousness before he was saved from drowning.

Ironically, McCarty’s nickname was ‘Luck.’

After this tragic fight, Arthur Pelkey was never the same fighter again, winning just 8 of the 31 fights that he would have after his fateful bout with McCarty.

Luther McCarty’s final record was (including Newspaper decisions) 19(15koes)-5-1. 

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com

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