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Friday, August 13, 2010

1895-12-02 George (Kid) Lavigne W-PTS15 Joe Walcott (Maspeth, NY, USA)

1895-12-03 The Sun (New York, NY) (page 4)
The Saginaw Boy Takes Heavy Punishment, and Outstays His Rival--Thousands Cheer the Clever Combatants--Both Boxers, Especially the Winner, Severely Marked--Casper Leon Wins the Opening Bout at the Empire A. C.--Elms Scores a Knock-down in the Fourth Round, but Loses the Fight on a Foul.

Empire A. C., Maspeth, L. I., Dec. 2.--Those who like to see good glove contests came to this place early this evening to witness the much talked of fifteen round bout between the colored cyclone, Joe Walcott of Boston, and George Lavigne, the "Saginaw Kid." When the match was made some weeks ago it was stipulated that the men should weigh in at 133 pounds, the lightweight limit, at 6 o'clock tonight. When the time arrived for the pugilists to mount the scales it was found that both were under the limit, the announced figures being about 131½ pounds for each.

Walcott, as in all his other encounters, was the favorite, more because of his tremendous hitting powers than anything else, but in order to win the battle to-night he was compelled to put Lavigne out before the fifteenth round ended. In other words, if Lavigne was on his feet at the expiration of the go, he was to be declared the victor. Sam Fitzpatrick, Lavigne's trainer, said before the men entered the ring that Lavigne would undoubtedly last the fifteen rounds, while Tom O'Rourke smiled knowingly, and told his friends that the colored boy would win.

The crowd came early and in large numbers. The trolley cars from Brooklyn and Williamsburgh were packed, and the special trains from Long Island City were overloaded. Free tickets were as scarce as hens' teeth, and the deadheads who surrounded the entrance to the Empire Athletic Club's arena were, with few exceptions, unceremoniously turned down.

The preliminary battle carded between Jerry Marshall of Australia and Solly Smith of California was an uncertainty at 7 o'clock because Marshall was three pounds overweight. The men agreed to weigh in at 120 pounds, give or take 2 pounds, but Marshall tipped the scale at 3 o'clock this afternoon at 125 pounds and Smith at 118. The latter made a kick and refused to go on. Efforts were made to bring the men together, but in case they declined it was arranged to pit Joe Elms of Boston against Casper Leon of New York at catch weights.

Tim Hurst was the referee, as usual, Frank Freeman held the watch, and C. I. Harvey was the announcer. It was shortly after 8 o'clock when John L. Sullivan came in and took a seat near the ring. He was cheered for fully five minutes, and in response he lifted his silk tile again and again. A half hour later there were fully 3,500 persons present, including all the well-known local sporting men. It was finally decided to put on Elms and Leon. They were scheduled to box six rounds. When this was announced there were mingled hisses and applause. The building was corded to the doors when the fighters appeared at a few minutes before 9 o'clock. Tommy Ryan and Charley White were behind Leon, while Elms was in the care of George Dixon, the featherweight champion, and Joe Gordon. They shook hands at 9 o'clock.

First Round.--Leon led at once, but Elms came back with right and left on the head, and Casper ducked. They mixed it up with honors even, and then Elms rushed with a left on the neck. Elms rushed again, but this time Leon met him with a series of frightful swings and uppercuts that sent the Boston man to the floor. He jumped up and was clinched at the bell.

Second Round.--Leon landed a heavy upper cut and Elms clinched. Again Leon sent his left in straight and threw his right onto the jaw, but Elms was full of fighting and hugged and roughed it until the referee had difficulty in breaking the men. Elms rushed into a hot left as the bell rang. He was taking a hard punching.

Third Round.--Leon landed a straight left on the nose that drew the blood in torrents, then Casper shot in a right upper cut and a left on the neck that sent Joe to the ropes. Elms put in a good right over the heart, but Leon only laughed, and hit the Boston boy a hard blow in the mouth. Leon drove his left to the jaw, and Elms staggered, but he was still on his feet at the close.

Fourth Round.--After a moment's fiddling Leon landed a hot right on the throat. Elms landed a chance right-hand blow on the jaw and sent the New Yorker to the floor. Joe lost his head and tried to hit his man when he was down. Then as Leon got up Elms grabbed him around the legs and tried to throw him. Referee Hurst interfered at once and disqualified Elms, at the same time declaring Leon the winner. It was a decision that met the approval of the entire crowd. Time of the round, 1 minute and 38 seconds.

The stars of the night were not slow in entering the ring, and there was an ovation for each when he crawled through the ropes. Walcott's seconds were Tom O'Rourke, George Dixon, and Joe Gordon. Lavigne's esquires were Sam Fitzpatrick, Tommy Ryan, and Ted Alexander. The principals were ready to box at 9:25.

First Round.--Walcott sent his left to the jaw at once. Then he drove his right to the ribs, but Lavigne got in a good right on the neck. They exchanged lefts, and the Kid missed a hard right that flew over Joe's head. Lavigne's right landed over the heart and Walcott sent in a left on the eye that made George wince. The Kid, however, came back with a corking right on the jaw, and clinched when Joe rushed. Lavigne's work was clever.

Second Round.--They got together, Walcott putting his right over the heart. Then Joe's left went to the ear, the Kid responding with a hot cross counter on the jaw. Walcott rushed like a mad bull, but Lavigne sent right and left swings in on the head and neck until the crowd was simply wild. Walcott, however, showed no effect from the punching and went to his corner laughing.

Third Round.--Walcott's left was well stopped, but Joe's right upper cut landed, and Lavigne was a bit dazed. Lavigne came back with rather light blows and did no damage, while Walcott drove in fearful blows that were bound to tell in the end. The Kid was clearly on the defensive now, and ran away from the awful punishment that was rained upon him. But he turned suddenly and staggered Walcott with a right and left on the jaw. The cheering was terrific.

Fourth Round.--Walcott rushed, but the half dozen blows he tried to land were well stopped. The Kid put a hot left on the mouth and a tremendous right in the wind, only to get a straight left in the mouth. Walcott continued his rushing tactics, but Lavigne was away, and looked all right as he took his corner.

Fifth Round.--They exchanged lefts at long range and then clinched. They got closer and Lavigne drove Joe into a corner, where the fighting was of the fiercest nature. When they came out Walcott drove two hard blows to the face that drew blood from the Kid's nose. Walcott's blows were simply terrific, but Lavigne seemed to be right in it when he rushed Joe to the ropes just as the bell rang.

Sixth Round.--When the bell rang Walcott was after his man like a flash. Lavigne's left eye was almost closed and his nose was bleeding, but he fought gamely on. Walcott seemed to be slowly but surely chopping the white man to pieces, although the latter was doing wonderfully well. A hard swing from Lavigne sent Walcott to his knees, but he jumped up and sailed in fiercer than before. He was not hurt, while Lavigne was a bit tired as he went to his chair. It was certainly a great battle, and the crowd was wildly excited over it.

Seventh Round.--Walcott sent in his right on the mouth, and Lavigne responded with a hard one on the ear. Walcott rushed into a clinch, but on the break Lavigne hit him on the ribs with telling effect. Walcott's left landed on the damaged eye, while the Kid's best blow during the remainder of the round was a right in the neck.

Eighth Round.--They got to close quarters at once, and Walcott swinging a hard left to the ear. Lavigne came back with right and left on the face, but the blows were not heavy, and Walcott quickly retaliated with some tremendous upper cuts that made Lavigne see stars. Still the Kid was full of ginger, and went to his corner in good shape.

Ninth Round.--Lavigne was wary as he came up, but Walcott was after him and sent in some heavy body blows. Then he shot his dangerous right onto the left ear until that organ swelled to twice its natural size. Walcott saw his opportunity, and rushed in like a madman, but Lavigne's defence was wonderful, and he stayed the round out.

Tenth Round.--Walcott's left landed straight on the nose. Joe swung his right, but the Kid ran. They got to close quarters and exchanged heavy body blows until Lavigne clinched. They broke away and Lavigne landed a straight left that sent Joe's head back. Walcott returned the compliment with a fearful upper cut in the wind. They were sparring at the close.

Eleventh Round.--They began at close quarters and were clinched in a jiffy. Walcott again tried his best to knock the Kid out, Lavigne being clearly on the defensive. A fearful right swing almost cut Lavigne's left ear off, and both men were spattered with blood. The Kid, however, was fresh when he sat down.

Twelfth Round.--Walcott landed at once on the bruised ear. Lavigne rushed back with two hard lefts that sent Joe to the ropes. Walcott came on again like a whirlwind, and Lavigne had to clinch at short range. Lavigne landed a couple of stiff lefts and a great right upper cut that boomed his stock immensely. The round was Lavigne's and the cheering was terrific. It was a beautiful brace on the Kid's part, and Walcott was surprised.

Thirteenth Round.--They exchanged swings, one of Walcott's being very wild. Then the Kid rushed Joe to the ropes, where they indulged in infighting until they clinched. Lavigne rushed Walcott to the ropes a second time and got in a great left on the jaw. Walcott looked a bit discouraged when the bell rang.

Fourteenth Round.--Walcott started in to finish the job by raining left and right on the head and neck, but Lavigne came back with such a hard right that Walcott lost his balance and slipped to the floor. When Walcott got up he rushed, but the Kid was not there. Then Lavigne rushed and beat Walcott with both hands until Joe was on the run, and when the bell sounded he was in his corner, apparently at Lavigne's mercy.

Fifteenth Round.--This was the final test, and as Walcott came up he looked beaten. Lavigne drove his left to the jaw and Walcott staggered. Still it wasn't a very dangerous blow, for Walcott kept pegging away until the bell rang. Lavigne was still in the ring, and of course, per articles of agreement, he got the verdict.

It was one of the greatest fistic battles on record, and the consensus of opinion was that to a finish at the weight the Saginaw boy might win. Walcott was certainly used up in the last two rounds, and but for Lavigne's cautious tactics might have been put out. At any rate Lavigne's exhibition was wonderful, and he received an ovation as he left the ring. His face was badly punished, while Walcott did not show many marks of the battle.

Joe Walcott was seen in his dressing room after the battle. He was very much disappointed over the result. He thought that Lavigne was the greatest man in the world at his weight, and had no excuses to make. Walcott hurt his right hand in the battle and could scarcely lift his shoulder. His face showed signs of punishment. Lavigne's countenance was a sight after the go. His left ear is badly lacerated and his nose is considerably puffed up. When seen by a Sun reporter he said:

"Walcott is a hard puncher and a dangerous fellow, but I was confident from the start. I guess my claim for the light-weight championship is undisputed."

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