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Friday, April 29, 2011

1915-04-29 Benny Leonard ND10 Johnny Kilbane [Federal Athletic Club, New York, NY, USA]

1915-04-30 New-York Tribune (New York, NY) (page 15)
Featherweight Champion Forces Fighting in Practically Every Round.
Leach Cross Outpoints Hommey in Bout Full of Action from Start to Finish.

Johnny Kilbane, of Cleveland, featherweight champion of the world, and one of the cleverest boxers who ever drew on a glove, had all the better of Benny Leonard, of the East Side, in a ten-round contest at the Federal A. C. last night.

There was scarcely a round of the ten in which Kilbane did not force the fighting, and he landed the greater number of the clean punches throughout the battle. Leonard fought in streaks, and in streaks only. Most of the time he applied the doctrine of "safety first" to his work and made it a point to keep far out of harm's way. Seldom did he unbuckle, and although the unneutral crowd booed the champion, charging him with poor work, it was Leonard's fault that the bout was not of the sensational order.

Kilbane laid down the gage of battle in every round except the first. He kept after Leonard, trying with all the cunning of the master workman to force an opening for his leads, but to no purpose. Leonard was, to say the least, cautious. Many said he was afraid. But the records will attest that he once fought ten rounds with Johnny Kilbane, and this can be turned into most anything by a nimble press agent.

In another and more sensational battle Leach Cross, the ever formidable East Side boy, checked the career of Packey Hommey momentarily. This bout was a slasher from start to finish, and Cross won on his ring generalship. This same generalship was aided in no small measure by an advantage of almost eight pounds in weight. Hommey was game and aggressive, but his aggressiveness earned him a multitude of hard knocks, and he left the ring a rather bruised and battered young man.

Witnessing a bout on the Bowery is not without its thrills and its grewsome possibilities. This is especially so if one be a newspaper man. There are the guardians of the gate at the entrance to the ringside. They "wouldn't send nowhere fer no newspaper guy," and they tell you so.

They back up their statements famously when in the presence of special officers. There are the rules of the Fire Department, and likewise of the State Athletic Commission, but these are honored only in the breach. Such piffling circumstances must not annoy persons who never had a headache in their lives.

At the Federal A. C. last night the aisles were blocked by spectators, who stood or crouched, and in the back of the building, near the barroom, the standees were lined ten deep. It would have been nice and convenient had a fire broken out. But what matter a few lives? Then there are the rules of the State Athletic Commission.

The order was promulgated some time ago that horns, bells and other noise making contrivances be barred from the boxing clubs of this state. Last night horns of various descriptions announced the arrival of a local fighter in the ring. As if this did not make the night hideous enough, the spectators hooted and sang.

It also was ordered that the main bout be in the ring by 10 o'clock. Kilbane and Leonard entered some half an hour later. Then Joe Humphries flaunted all rules by introducing Terry McGovern. He admitted that he was breaking the rules, but Terry was introduced just the same. Yes, there is still work for the State Athletic Commission.

But to return to Kilbane and Leonard. It may be said that the champion never tried so hard in any of his local bouts. He was in there trying with might and main at all times. He rushed, fought in close and tried everything in his repertory, but Leonard, remembering safety first, set his mind on avoiding punishment. He succeeded fairly well, but the champion won as he pleased.

1915-04-30 The New York Times (New York, NY) (page 11)
Featherweight Champion Content to Wrestle and Clinch Instead of Box.

Johnny Kilbane of Cleveland, holder of the world's featherweight title, did not enhance his reputation last night at the Federal A. C. on the Bowery when he stepped out of his class to box Benny Leonard of the Bronx ten rounds. It was an unsatisfactory contest, in which the pair wrestled and clinched throughout the greater part of it, and at the end the ambitious young Bronx lightweight had earned a draw. It was expected that Leonard would give the champion a pretty fair idea of his chances with the topnotchers of the lightweight division, as he has cleaned up the best featherweights in the country, but Leonard was making his debut among championship timber and showed throughout that he could not forget it. The result was that Leonard did not display his best wares, and the bout was not a fair test for the champion.

While good judges of boxing will probably make it an even thing between the pair, local partisanship made many favor Leonard, but the latter, with rare exceptions, showed no inclination to mix matters. He outboxed Kilbane and unquestionably scored more points, but the champion's continual leading and disposition to force matters left little to be desired between the pair. There were many cat calls and lots of hooting, but the majority of the spectators could not discriminate between a fighter and a boxer, and it invariably follows that a bout between two men of opposite styles terminates unsatisfactory.

It was announced as a handicap match, as Kilbane was supposed to be going out of his division to face an opponent who would have the advantage in weight, but as a matter of fact there was only two pounds difference in the weights announced. Kilbane tipped the scales at 128, while Leonard weighed 130 pounds. The advantage of two pounds did not aid Leonard in his style of boxing.

The champion experienced considerable difficulty in finding an opening. He was anxious to exchange punches, but the Bronx lad would have none of this style of boxing. Almost every time Kilbane tried to force Leonard to open his guard the latter would cover up or clinch. Before the champion could get Leonard to try punching, Gibson's protégé had secured a good lead. He did not heed the shouting of the fans, but used considerable strategy in avoiding many stiff blows, which, had they landed, would probably have put Leonard in a bad way.

It was not until the eighth round that a real hard blow found its mark. Near the end of this session Leonard caught his man rushing in and landed a smashing right in the jaw. This seemed to encourage the local man, while it came somewhat as a surprise to the champion. Leonard took the initiative and landed two straight lefts in the face without a return. He followed this up with two more, but received a hard right uppercut in the face which caused him to steady himself.

Kilbane opened the tenth round with two hard jolts to the head, and Leonard replied with a left jab in the face. The champion drove Leonard all over the ring, but was not successful in landing many blows, as Leonard was too clever to be caught off his guard.

Leach Cross and Packey Hommey furnished a fast ten-round contest for the semi-final, which was in striking contrast to the wind-up. Cross, who had the advantage of nearly seven pounds made such good use of this that he experienced little trouble in winning. As in his past bouts in this city, Cross showed himself to be a poor boxer, but a splendid ring general. He punished Hommey about the face and body and, although the latter took his medicine gamely, he was no match for the fighting dentist.

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