Search this blog

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

1898-05-30 Jimmy Barry D-PTS20 Casper Leon (New York, NY, USA)

1898-05-31 New York Evening Journal (New York, NY) (page 6)
Bantams Put Up a Clever Twenty-Round Bout at the Lenox, Which Ended in a Draw---The Westerner Was the More Aggressive.
At the Lenox Athletic Club last night there were three good fights, growing in cleverness from the first to the last. They were all similar in a way, too. In each bout one man was stronger than the other, and in spite of the cleverness of his opponent, managed to even matters up before the limit.

The bout of the night was between "Jimmy" Barry, of Chicago, and Casper Leon for the bantam weight championship. It went twenty interesting rounds, and although Barry was coming fast at the close, any decision other than a draw would have been an injustice.

The preliminary bouts of ten rounds each were both way above the average. The opener, between Benny Leon and Mike Lyons, looked to be first one man's and then the other's. It was a slash, bang go and ended as even as ever a bout did.

The second, between Jimmy Rose, of New York, and Jim Callahan, of Philadelphia, at catch weights, was a corker. Callahan was by far the more clever, and for the first part of it ripped it into Rose's face and body right merrily. But Rose kept coming and trying, in his strong, willing way, and before the limit was reached had not only tired his man somewhat, but had evened things up in the way of damage.


Then came the bout of the night. Scales were brought to the ring and the two men weighed in, both going under 105 pounds. Barry came to the ring first and was greeted with a cheer. His seconds were William McGuire, P. Fitzgerald and Jim Franey, and his timekeeper Joe O'Donnell.

Leon appeared a moment later, accompanied by Charlie White, the Lenox Club's official referee, who manages Leon. James Leon and Angelo Napoli acted as seconds. Leon's timekeeper was "Honest John" Kelly.

As Charlie White could not, of course, referee the bout, John White was chosen for the position.

In passing it may be mentioned that Kelly Smith has declined to fight where Charlie White is referee simply because the latter is employed by O'Rourke, who handles Dixon. This seems a lame excuse even for everyday fighters, and a very bad excuse coming from Solly Smith. The management has decided that Smith may look elsewhere for a bout now that he has objected to White, and this applies to any others who do not care to box with White as referee.

The fight of the night was called at 11 o'clock. The boys agreed to break clean. The betting was two to one on Barry.

There are no prettier men in action than these two lads, Barry and Leon. Barry is a miniature of Lavigne, solid and strong through his chest. He is always coming to his man. His face is that of a sphinx. He works persistently into distance, feinting the while in a short, snappy way to draw a lead.

Leon, as graceful as a fawn, and moving shiftily about, breaks to the right, left or rear often, and then works with those tangling feints for the opening. He is wary, crafty and quick as a flash to avoid danger.

Barry began proceedings by missing a left lead, Leon going away from it like a shadow. A little later Leon sent a light left to Barry's face, and suddenly Barry was in action. The right crossed like a shot and the left swung in at the mark. There was a fighting clinch in which Leon demonstrated that he knew and had respect for Barry at close quarters.


As the rounds progressed, Barry seemed to grow impatient at his inability to land and attempted to mix it at every opportunity. It was then, in these fierce rushes of his, that Leon showed his study of the man. He blocked lead after lead, and when it seemed that Barry had him, he rushed to a safe clinch like lightning. They would break, and Leon, after shifting here and there, as Barry followed, would send his left to the head. It was the one for a rush and Barry's two gloves would whip over and around quicker than the inexperienced eye could follow them. But as fast as he was Leon was seldom in a position to be hurt. Those two sharp beady ones of his and his curious smile seemed to make Barry the more determined. He would follow his man to the ropes and then hook the left in savagely. It seldom landed fair, and as the right made its trial Leon would be inside.

In the fifth Barry started with a left. It missed, and, as if the two hands moved in sympathy, the right came over instantly. Leon blocked both, broke to the left, feinted and sent his left to Barry's head with a jolt. Barry crossed like lightning, but Casper ducked and was out of danger.

In the next Leon sent his right solidly to the body the minute he reached the distance. Barry swung left and right savagely, but again Leon blocked. The crowd yelled: "Go on, Leon!" Barry rushed and Leon's right just missed the spot as he whipped it in as Barry came. It stopped the rush, but Barry was in again instantly and no prettier ducking and blocking was ever seen.


But Barry's face was as immovable as stone, with his two sparkling, starry eyes, following his man about. Again he tried--a right straight for the jaw. Leon got away, but Barry stuck to him and finally sent a left hook to the nose that left a mark. The bell stopped his progress for a minute, but he began the next round with his old time rush: left, right, left hook. They clinched, swung loose. As Barry worked in he landed a solid left hook on the neck. Again he tried, but Leon stopped the rush with a left, and the round ended with no advantage to either boy.

The odds of Barry seemed to be false at this point. Round after round followed with his same persistent effort to get in where he could do some good, but Leon blocked and ducked, with now and then a little jab which made Barry come the faster. It went to the sixteenth before it was understood why Barry is the favorite. It is true he had been trying for fifteen rounds, but he had yet to land solidly.

Leon led his left, and for the first time Barry right-crossed fair. Leon's head wagged and Barry was on him instantly. The left hooks, the right swings, bing, bang, biff, smash, but the foxy Leon was inside or had blocked or ducked every one. The crowd shouted at the fine exhibition of defensive work.

Barry never seemed to hear or see or feel. His pace gave no sign of success or failure. He tried again the same series of swings and jolts. Again Leon blocked, ducked and tried to get close, but Barry's right met him straight and he went to his corner a second later worrying.


They were back again, going even when the eighteenth came, but the strength of Barry began to tell, and Leon was clinching more often and led less.

They went on through the next at the same fast pace and to the end.

Leon will never show to a better advantage than he did last night with Barry, and the champion will never meet a more clever man.

Barry led a hundred times, and was blocked in this most savage efforts again and again.

Leon has not the strength. He is clever--wonderfully so. He anticipates his man at every turn and effort. At times he made Barry look next to ridiculous, but never at any time did he have more than an even chance for the decision.

Barry would have won with one straight right, and no more praise can be given a man than to say in twenty rounds the champion bantam of the world could not land that one blow.

The decision, a draw, was fair to both, and pleased the crowd. It was a clever fight. A case of one man who is able to do the trick could he land and the other able to land at times, but without the strength to make it decisive.

No comments:

Post a Comment