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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

1893-04-06 Andy Bowen NC110 Texas Jack Burke [Olympic Club, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States]

1893-04-07 The Daily Item (New Orleans, LA) (page 4)
Referee Duffy's Decision of the Bowen-Burke Affair.
An All Night Exhibition--One Hundred and Ten Rounds That Show Bowen to be a Fair Pugilist and Burke a Nonpareil Sprinter--The Ruling Criticized.
It was 4:55 o'clock this morning when the one hundred and tenth round of the Bowen - Burke concluded, and Referee John Duffy stepping to the centre of the ring threw up his hands saying: "Gentlemen, this fight is off, I declare it to be no contest." While there were some few who upheld the referee in this stand of his, an overwhelming majority opposed it, because there was nothing whatever to justify such a course, not even Mr. Duffy's explanation made to parties at the ringside that he would not stand there any longer and run chances of impairing his health for any amount of money.

President Dixon was opposed to having the affair thus terminated and so was Captain Barrett. The fight was by no means a brutal one as can be evidenced by the fact that although the men had been fighting for nearly seven hours and a half there was not a speck of blood visible on either combatant. Had there been any brutality evinced every one would have sided with Professor Duffy in stopping the fight, but if his sole desire was to preserve his own health, he might easily have had someone take his place and let him go. Mr. Duffy left the ring in the ninety-fourth round and there was not an objection nor even a murmur raised against President Dixon's taking his place. It is true that in the last several rounds there was scarcely a blow struck and for about the last two scores of rounds Burke had done but little else than spring around the ring. But Bowen was fighting all he knew how without taking any chances against a rather strong looking adversary in whose crippled arm tale which will be detailed later on he sagaciously took but very little stock as any prudent fighter would do. It was a crying injustice therefore to Bowen, especially that the expenses of his training and a whole night's work of the hardest kind should be set at naught by having the affair thus summarily declared, "no contest."

Bowen vigorously objected to such a course of action, but it availed naught. In fact he objected to overtures for a draw from Burke made in about the forty-first round. As soon as the crowd became aware of what Burke was proposing, they jeered lustily and were quieted only when Referee Duffy announced: "Have no fears, gentlemen, this fight will be to a finish, no matter how long it takes." This assurance certainly appears strangely at variance with his final disposition.

The contest itself, however, was one of the most remarkable ever witnessed and the longest ever fought under the Marquis of Queensberry rules. The attendance was the largest that ever gathered at a ringside in the Crescent City, the low admission free calling out between 8000 and 8500 spectators.

About 9:15 o'clock Bowen entered the ring, accompanied by his attendants, Charles Kennedy, his trainer, Thomas C. Anderson and Albert Spitzladen with Frank Carambat for time keeper. He was followed shortly afterwards by Burke, whose seconds were Harry Black, his trainer, George LaBlanche, the marine, and John A. Sullivan, a local celebrity, with Joe Dare as time keeper.

Mr. A. M. Hill was official time keeper for the club.

As the men doffed their mantles their magnificent condition proved conclusively that the reports from their respective training quarters had not been exaggerated. It was evident that "a rattling good contest" was at hand.

At the ringside Bowen weighed 129¾ pounds, while Burke tipped the beam at 131½ pounds. President Dixon introduced Referee Duffy who in turn delivered the usual admonitory address to the spectators, at the same time calling attention to the fact that Captains W. J. Barrett and E. J. Donnelly were on hand with a sufficient force of policemen for the maintenance of order and decorum.

The weighing of the gloves and admonitions to the combatants were quickly disposed of. Probably it was the fact of "the Marine" being behind Burke that recalled to mind the famous pivot blow, which Referee Duffy announced would be barred. Thereupon "Time" was announced and the first round was on. A few moments were spent by both in cautious sparring, when Bowen rushed his man who in endeavoring to break ground tripped and fell, evoking the wildest cheering from the assembly. Burke was back on his feet in an instant. A clinch followed. After the break Bowen showed a preference for short range fighting, and although he had considerably the best of it, Burke appeared in no wise worried and was even smiling as he walked to his corner for his rest 'tween rounds.

It was not until near the end of the second that anything of import occurred. Bowen swung heavily on Burke's ribs. He rushed Burke to the ropes and some telling infighting was there indulged in by both. Burke planted a rather hot one on Andy's neck, but the round was Bowen's.

In the third Bowen lost no time but set to work at once planting his right on Burke's ear and later swinging heavily in the region of the heart. Some mixing followed but Bowen again had the best of it. Burke found Andy's jaw in a lively shape. Bowen rushed Burke landing heavily on his ribs, but the latter got in a clever uppercut. When the gong sounded the men were engaged in lively close fighting, which Burke had no reason to enjoy.

In the fourth matters were of the give and take order until Burke planted a severe upper cut full in the face which caused the little fellow to wax more cautious. This round went to the credit side of the Burke account.

During the rounds that intervened up to the twenty-eighth there was some fast and furious fighting. Burke's forte was in uppercutting while Bowen devoted his chief attention to the wind and ribs of his opponent. Both men occasionally hinged wildly and repeated opportunities to end matters were allowed to pass unnoticed by either. Bowen's principal drawback was in failing to follow up his unnumerable advantages. He had his man time and again, but for some reason or other held aloof thus allowing Burke to recover himself.

In the twenty-eighth Bowen scored a clear knockdown. While Burke was not done for, he determined to remain down awhile to recover himself, but as the referee counted "5" the gong sounded the end of the round.

Some "horse-and-horse" exchanges were indulged in, when at the end of the 34th the crowd began to tire, and a number of spectators left the arena. The gallery started to whistle "Home Sweet Home," and the refrain was taken up generally.

Burke began to show no disposition to fight, and breaking ground, would run like a deer from the slightest feint or pass of Bowen. In the 41st he wanted a draw, but Bowen kicked, and Referee Duffy announced that there would be a finish to the crowd, who yelled for both men to do some fighting and have the matter decided.

Both men were very weak in the 48th. Burke was knocked down and apparently completely dazed, but he staggered back to his feet and Andy himself was too groggy to put him out. From this time on Bowen had all the best of the fighting. Both men had recovered themselves wonderfully. Burke at times got in on his opponent, but his blows lacked steam. Without wincing, however, he received some terrific blows from the little fellow, and the way in which he took his gruel proved conclusively that either he can "eat punishment" or the real force of Bowen's blows does not carry all the terrors and damage accredited to them. He would hit Burke in the body as he pleased, but he could not reach the more vulnerable points.

During the 94th round President Dixon took Referee Duffy's place for the time being. In the 105th, Bowen missed a heavy swing at his opponent and stumbling over him turned a complete somersault, falling heavily on his back.

The crowd had long since tired out and yelled for a "draw." Duffy said that he would declare the affair "no contest." A howl was raised against this and the contest went on. Duffy appeared annoyed at the refusal of Captain Barrett and President Dixon to allow his deciding "no contest," and at the end of the 108th announced that if nothing were done during two more rounds he would end the matter with his threatened decision.

Bowen got in several stiff punches on his opponent, but Burke anxious to have the affair terminated without his being put out, kept sprinting around amid the jeers and yells of the assemblage so that nothing effectual could be done during these critical two rounds. Accordingly at the end of the 110th Referee Duffy declared the affair, "no contest." Bowen was very much put out over the decision, but gulping down his sorrow manfully, strode over and grasped his adversary's hand.

The combatants left the arena and the spectators hurriedly left for their homes or places of business.


A representative of The Item immediately sought out President Dixon to question him about what action would be taken regarding the decision. He at first was averse to expressing himself, but finally said:

"I am not pleased with Mr. Duffy's ruling. He had conferred with me thereon, and I told him that the men would have to combat for two weeks, if necessary, to reach a finish. There certainly had been no brutality nor anything else evinced that would justify so abrupt a termination to the affair.

Under the circumstances, the board of directors will have to pass upon whatever disposition will be made of the $2500 purse. But I can assure you that these men, who combated throughout the night, will not be left to realize that they worked so hard in vain.

"No, we will not arrange another 'go' between these two men, but the board of directors will fix upon their remuneration."

In Burke's Room.

When Burke and his attendants reached their rooms, the principal acknowledged feeling very sore from the blows that he had received in the stomach and about the ribs and heart. There were large red welts on his back as if they had been administered by a cat-o-nine-tails, sustained from violently rubbing against the ropes in avoiding Bowen's rushes. Burke said that he could do no fighting toward the end on account of injuring his hands in landing on Bowen's head early in the action. He then displayed a badly swollen pair of dukes and wrists, that indicated that some smaller bones had been fractured. These at once were given medical attention. He explained that it was on this account that he so persistently requested Bowen to have the affair declared a "draw." He was perfectly satisfied with the result, his contentment emanating principally from the fact that he had saved himself from being knocked out. He regards Bowen as a good clever fighter and still puncher, whose peculiar tactics in the ring are rather difficult to get on to. Lablanche had little to say beyond expressing his belief that it was the longest Marquis of Queensberry contest on record.

In Bowen's Room.

Andy was disconsolate over the outcome. His interrogatory to every one that came in was, "Say, ain't that hard luck?" He called general attention to the fact that he was then as fresh as when he went into the ring, without having so much as a mark to show that he had been fighting all night. Jumping on the scales it was discovered that he had lost but three-quarters of a pound during the encounter. Andy acknowledged that Burke is a clever man, but an out-of-sight sprinter. He was somewhat cheered by a visit from President Dixon, who held a private conversation with Mr. Anderson, one of Andy's seconds.

Mr. Anderson denounced the decision vigorously, saying that Bowen was perfectly willing and showed his willingness to fight. He said that the decision was hard on Bowen, who tried his best to make Burke fight. Continuing, he said: "Why, they even wanted to fluke. That man LaBlanche came over to me about the thirty-fifth round and proposed that his man would go out for $1000 of the purse. This I refused."

Bowen broke in and said: "Why, Burke was making all sorts of propositions to me during the contest, but I told him to come up and fight."

Its Future Effect.

Captain Wm. J. Barrett who has superintended all of the important fistic events given in this city said in reference to the referee's decision: I saw no reason to stop the contest. Mark the fact that despite the affair having lasted all night there was not a drop of blood visible on either man. It will have the effect of suddenly stopping fights in the future; for I have determined on this very account, that when I perceive the slightest foul, that heretofore has been allowed to pass unnoticed, I will at once put an end to the affair, no matter what the nature of the contest may be.

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