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Sunday, June 13, 2010

1899-02-07 Solly Smith L-TKO6 Oscar Gardner (New York, NY, USA)

1899-02-25 The National Police Gazette (New York, NY) (page 10)

Los Angeles Lad Was Never in the Fight.
General Opinion Was That the Beaten Man Was Not Knocked Out.
Solly Smith not only lost his fight with Oscar Gardner on February 7 at the Lenox Athletic Club, but he also lost his reputation for gameness, and in doing so became an object of derision to the 4,000 spectators present. In the opinion of many good experts he deliberately quit when he realized that he was up against it. The punch which he took advantage of to feign a knockout landed well up on the side of his head in close proximity to his ear and was not sufficiently hard to do any damage, for Gardner had drawn it back somewhat to avoid delivering it foul, it having been started just as Smith was falling to his knees. There was a cry of "foul," but Referee White decided that Gardner won after counting Smith out.

The fight on the whole was quite the most unsatisfactory that has ever taken place at the Lenox Club, probably because an unusually terrific battle was expected. Both Smith and Gardner were known to be hard fighters and having met before the Omaha lad was eager to retrieve the laurels he lost to Smith on that occasion. He succeeded in not alone demonstrating that he is Smith's master, but that outside of George Dixon he is the best featherweight now before the public. The fight was a one-sided one, Smith appearing not to have a chance. He repeatedly went down to avoid punishment and it looked several times as if he were trying to win on a foul--a most despicable proceeding in itself--but when he realized that this dodge would not work he seemed to deliberately feign a knockout as the most graceful way to evade the consequences of remaining under fire.

Gardner was in splendid form and overwhelmed his opponent from the time the bout began until it ended. He outfought the veteran Californian and never gave him an instant's rest until he had him whipped clean and running about the ring to evade his sturdy punches. Gardner showed wonderful improvement over the form he displayed when he last fought Smith at the Broadway Club, while the latter's pugilistic talents have deteriorated to a corresponding degree.

Smith did not land a dozen blows during the entire fight, and if his energies were not directed toward an effort to win on a foul he gave the best exhibition of a man trying to do so ever seen in the ring.

The men weighed 122 pounds at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Gardner having some difficulty in reaching the weight, while Smith did not scale the limit.

The club house was nearly full when the bout was called. The betting was 10 to 6 in Gardner's favor. The bout was scheduled for twenty five rounds. Both men looked well and came to the centre for instructions at 9:45 o'clock. They agreed to box Queensberry rules and break clean.

Gardner started the battle in his usual crouching and aggressive manner, and soon had Smith on the defensive. Solly went to his knees several times to avoid Gardner's rushes. Once Gardner landed a left on Smith's eye and Solly sprinted hard for the remainder of the round.

Gardner gave Smith a terrific hammering in the second, Solly getting in but one effective blow--a stiff right on the jaw that made the Kid grin his widest.

Gardner usually waited until Smith cut loose with a left or right swing, and then, stepping in, peppered the body and ribs with both hands.

Smith did considerable holding, but he did not stave off the hard wallops that came in clusters.

Smith caught a fierce thumping in the third round, his face puffing up under the hard knocks sent in by the Omaha boy. Smith was compelled to do much sprinting in order to keep out of danger, and his hard swings failed to reach.

Gardner let himself out in the fourth and Smith got a terrific walloping. Once Gardner chased Smith into the corner and pounded him until Smith was glad to wriggle out of danger. Just before the gong sounded Gardner sent Smith to his knees with a fierce left hander on the chin. It was all Gardner's fight.

Smith showed considerable weakness in the fifth, and he flopped about the ring in a wild endeavor to keep out of harm's way. Smith landed one left-hander in this round, but he took more medicine, nevertheless.

Gardner floored Smith twice in the sixth, and once Smith went to the floor after making a hard swing. Then the Omaha boy made a rush and banged Smith on the mouth with the left.

As the Los Angeles boy began falling Gardner walloped him on the jaw with the right, and the jig was up. Smith did not appear to be unconscious, but he lay still until the referee counted him out, when he got up and began to fight with his friends.

George Basselle, of New York, and Dick Moore, of St. Paul, finished the opening chapter of the entertainment. They were scheduled to box ten rounds at catch weights, and Moore seemed to have the advantage by fifteen pounds. After ten rounds of fierce slugging the decision was awarded to Moore. Charley White was the referee.

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