Tuesday, May 30, 2017

On This Day: Jack Dempsey 'The Manassa Mauler' Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Remembering....Jack Dempsey June 24, 1895 - May 31, 1983

Jack Dempsey ’The Manassa Mauler’ was one of the most colourful and popular heavyweight champions of all time and his reign oversaw a huge boost to the profile of the sport, as a whole, during the 1920’s. Born William Harrison Dempsey on June 24, 1895, Dempsey took the name ‘Jack’ from the great middleweight champion of the 1880s, Jack ’Nonpareil’ Dempsey. Turning pro in 1914 at the age of 19, Dempsey endured many hardships on his way up, and often took employment in mines, and other hard labouring work in order to get by. Dempsey was a tough fighter, with a knockout punch in both hands and an all-action aggressive style.

After a few years, Dempsey was taken on by manager Jack Kearns, and together the two men began to make waves and Dempsey was guided to a world contest in 1919. Dempsey won the World heavyweight title when he destroyed Jess Willard in 3 rounds. As champion, Dempsey became the most popular World heavyweight champion since John L. Sullivan. In 1921, Dempsey defended his world title against the Frenchman Georges Carpentier, in what turned out to be the first Million dollar gate. Dempsey also had million dollar gates in his defences against Luis Angel Firpo and Gene Tunney, to whom he lost the world title on points on September 23, 1926.

On September 22, 1927, Dempsey came close to regaining his World heavyweight title from Gene Tunney, when he floored Tunney in their rematch. However, the chance was lost when Dempsey failed to go to a neutral cover for some seconds and gave Tunney some crucial extra seconds to rest.

Dempsey retired after the second Tunney fight, and remained extremely popular for the rest of his life, and is still considered by many today to be one of the greatest ever heavyweight champions. Dempsey’s final ring record was 62(49koes)-6-10.

Watch Gene Tunney Vs. Jack Dempsey World Heavyweight Fight:

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