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Thursday, March 10, 2011

1902-03-10 Philadelphia Jack O'Brien ND6 Charles McKeever [Washington Athletic Club, Philadelphia, PA, USA]

1902-03-11 The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) (page 6)
Lands His Right Across in the First Round, Compelling Jack to Take the Count--Some Say More
Philadelphia Jack O'Brien was given a surprise party at the Washington Sporting Club last night in his bout with Charley McKeever. The boys had hardly put up their hands when McKeever sent his right across and landed squarely on O'Brien's jaw. O'Brien fell backward, landing heavily on his head. He stayed down the limit. McKeever was so anxious to get at his man that it required all Referee Rocap's strength to keep him away. When O'Brien regained his pins he was visibly groggy, but he managed to avoid McKeever's rushes by going into a clinch. O'Brien was hanging on and McKeever was using both hands, but to little advantage. The boys were finally separated, but O'Brien's legs were unable to support his body and he again went to the floor. He gathered himself together after a few seconds had elapsed, and again managed to duck away from McKeever's swings, which were too wild to do any material damage. In fact, McKeever lost a good opportunity to win out by his anxiety. Instead of standing off and trying to place a punch that would have settled the bout decisively, he rushed in wildly and O'Brien had just enough sense left to go to a clinch. These clinches proved the salvation of O'Brien.

* * *

At the end of the round the house was in an uproar. McKeever's admirers claimed that their favorite had won; that O'Brien had stayed down the limit, and that but for the referee's efforts to separate the two combatants O'Brien would have been unable to keep his feet. That O'Brien was on the very edge of Queer street was manifest to his warmest supporter. He kept his head clear, but his pins refused to obey instructions. It was the very other way round with McKeever. Physically he was all right, but he did not have the mental balance to follow up the advantage which he had gained so unexpectedly. Both men disregarded the conditions under which they were supposed to be boxing in this round.

* * *

Taking the work of the two men from the second round on, and O'Brien had the better of it, but the difference was not so marked as to indicate that he would have a cinch with any good boxer with a better headpiece than that possessed by McKeever. When he came up for the second round he was visibly freshened by the minute's rest, and fought clever. He used a straight left to advantage on Mac's face, and every now and then shifted to a right on the wind. The jabs soon opened McKeever's eye, and the punches on the body soon made him lose his speed. Mac fought back as game as a pebble, and although he landed a telling punch now and then, he never got the opportunity which he had lost in the first round. McKeever's performance was a surprise all around. He never showed to better advantage and as said before had he retained his head after scoring his knock down in the first round he might have secured the verdict then and there.

1902-03-11 The Philadelphia Record (Philadelphia, PA) (page 13)
But Pulled Himself Together and Bested McKeever.
Packed House Cheered to the Echo One of the Best Contests Seen in This City of Late.
Philadelphia Jack O'Brien, who is just home from abroad, bringing the middle and heavy-weight championships of England with him, came near losing all his titles to Charley McKeever, another clever Philadelphia boxer, at the Washington Sporting Club last evening. McKeever floored O'Brien with a right on the point of the jaw before the fight was 15 seconds old, and Jack barely pulled himself together in time to avoid being counted out. He was in a dazed condition when he did regain his feet, and staggered to the ropes, where he fell again, and by so doing avoided Charley's wild rush to finish the job that had been begun so well. O'Brien came to his feet again with McKeever right on top of him, with the glare of a madman in his eye. O'Brien clinched and hung on for dear life, and would not be forced off, even when Referee Rocap tried to break the men apart.

The three struggling athletes came to the ropes, and there strained and tugged, McKeever all the time doing his best to get in a telling blow. O'Brien went down again, as much from unsteadiness as the effect of blows, and then for the first time Referee Rocap had a chance to enforce the rules under which the men had agreed to fight--break clean at command and not hit in the breakaway.

O'Brien was coming around all right and the crowd, which packed the arena to its utmost capacity, shrieked in approval. But McKeever was hot after him and kept Jack hugging to avoid going the voyage. Again and again O'Brien eluded the well-intended punch and clasped Charley to his heart, holding tighter than he ever dared hold his best girl. McKeever tried to get in short-arm jolts and did land a lot of them, but none were in the right place, and soon O'Brien began to fight back. Then the house went wild with joy. It was a fight such as many had expected to see, but the wrong man was doing the hugging.

When the bell sounded ending the first round, McKeever was badly blown from his exertions, and O'Brien, while still weak and wobbly on his pins from the knock-down, was safe from such an ignominious defeat.

The one minute's rest brought both men out strong and determined--O'Brien to make up for his temporary setback, and McKeever to follow up the advantage he had obtained. McKeever was very aggressive, but O'Brien was fast and elusive. He cut Charley's eye with a glancing blow, and from that on the spectators saw plenty of blood. McKeever repeatedly bored in and tried to whip his right to O'Brien's jaw again, but he could never connect just right and the round ended even.

McKeever ran his mouth plump into one of O'Brien's straight left-hand jabs at the opening of the third round, and another blood fountain was tapped that kept flowing to the end. McKeever twice more missed O'Brien's jaw by only a hair, with steam enough behind the punch to have caused a knockout. Both men landed repeatedly, but the extreme cleverness of each made the blows go for nothing. In the fourth McKeever landed a couple of straight lefts in the face without return that made the people shout, but the round on the whole was even, like the third.

O'Brien began to come to the front with the fifth and fairly outpointed McKeever, and in the sixth O'Brien did still better with his opponent. But McKeever, although covered with blood, fought gamely--better than ever before in this city, and was doing his share of the work at the end.

O'Brien had the advantage of height, weight and reach, and just before the fight started responded to a bouquet of flowers, presented him by his admirers, by promising to "represent Philadelphia in the future as he had in the past."

It was the popular impression that O'Brien's overconfidence and desire to do a little fancy work at the outset came near costing him his reputation. Jack led once with his left, was short and then tried to repeat it, when he was crossed on the jaw. Ed. Denfass challenged the winner.

In the preliminary "Kid" Williams had rather the best of Charley Mulhall in six rounds of fast fighting. It was a very interesting bout. Mulhall's nose was made to bleed. "Kid" Love stopped Eddie Wallance in one round. Jack Lansing bested Charley Abromwitch, and Joe Kelly bested Cal McCarthy.

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