Dempsey's gloves were loaded. He cheated his ass off in this one. Willard took a terrible beating from hands cast in hard plaster and metal plated knuckles.
Source? Dempsey's manager in a famous Sports Illustrated article.
" I had bet $10,000, which we could not afford to lose, at 10 to 1, that Dempsey would win in the first round. If he did, we would make a tidy $100,000—equivalent to Willard's guarantee and substantially more than our own $27,500 guarantee.
I had schemed and connived over too many years to let anything go wrong with a bet like that, let alone with the championship of the world. The hell with being a gallant loser. I intended to win."
Please read the first hand story of the manager in SI
that was disputed:
However, this story has been disputed. Nat Fleischer, later founder of The Ring Magazine, was there when Dempsey's hands were wrapped: "Jack Dempsey had no loaded gloves, and no plaster of Paris over his bandages. I watched the proceedings, and the only person who had anything to do with the taping of Jack's hands was Deforest. Kearns had nothing to do with it, so his plaster of Paris story is simply not true. Deforest himself said that he regarded the stories of Dempsey's gloves being loaded as libel, calling them 'trash' and said he did not apply any foreign substance to them, which I can verify since I watched the taping." Historian J. J. Johnston ended all discussion when he pointed out that "the films show Willard upon entering the ring walking over to Dempsey and examining his hands. That should end any possibility of plaster of Paris or any other substance on his hands." And if the extent of Willard's injuries was exaggerated, as contemporary sources indicate, there is nothing to explain about Dempsey's hands. Furthermore, tests performed by Cleveland Williams, Hugh Benbow and Perry Payne (William's manager and trainer) for the magazine Boxing Illustrated proved that the plaster of Paris would have crumbled in the intense heat experienced on the day of the fight, rendering it useless for the purpose of inflicting damage or pain on Willard.
my personal opinion is: it could go either way, who knows?
RE: I'd never seen a man take a beating like that ...
LOL. I remember that fight and Cobb was yelling and screaming because they stopped it. I remember him saying, "I was fighting my fight." Well, if getting pummeled is fighting your fight you were doing a hell of a job.
was Dempsey's and Tunney's sparring partner. He didn't believe Jack would ever need to cheat. Anyway, my grandpa taught Tunney how to defend against Jack's left hook. Jack never held it against him and always welcomed him to his restaurant.
Yeah, I would toss it into the we will never know bucket. None of the commentators or managers or organizers or even many of the writers was immune to enlightened self interest and embellishing stories. Its was, and oft still is; a grimy world.
But we do know Dempsey fought successfully against many other fighters and even fought well in his loss to Gene Tunney. So he did have a pattern befitting a great fighter - Willard and loaded gloves or not
My grandfather was a sparring partner and friend of Jack Dempsey, too. I have a nice article about them from the Jersey Journal but it's not available online, so I can't link. There is mention of it in the link below. Maybe we have the same grandfather? NJ Boxing Hall of Fame. - ( New Window )
All I'm saying is that Dempsey's style sure looks very modern.
Just wonder if his influence made it's way down through the fabric of time and found it's height in, for example in Cassius Clay - "move like butterfly, sting like a bee"
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