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Friday, May 13, 2011

1903-05-13 Joe Gans W-TKO9 Tom Tracey [Pastime Athletic Club, Exposition building, Portland, OR, USA]

1903-05-14 Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR) (pages 1, 7)
Lightweight Champion Beats Tracey.
Martin Denny Tosses Up Towel as Sign of Defeat.
Fight Opens With Clever Boxing--Gans Wears Out His Game Opponent by Shower of Terrific Blows.

Tracey is a game little fellow, and I confess that I was a bit surprised at his cleverness. He is very shifty, but his blows seemed to lack steam. Tracey is very game and he took considerable punishment, but his age told against him just as I predicted it would.
I fought as hard as I could, and that's the best I could do. I worked my hardest, and I do not think anyone could have done more.

Joe Gans, the colored lightweight champion of the world, last night, before 2300 people seated in the Exposition building, beat Tommy Tracey, the local welterweight, in the ninth round. Only the towel that Martin Denny, Tracey's partner and adviser, tossed into the ring after one minute and a half of terrific fighting in this round, saved Tracey from a knockout.

The preliminary between Dick Memsic and Jimmy Reilly was an exceptionally fast battle. Both young fellows fought from the sound of the gong. Memsic showed himself to be the stronger of the two. The little Chicagoan received several stiff wallops, but they never seemed to distress him, and he always came back after more. In the fifth round he cut Reilly's left eye with a terrific left swing, and from that round to the end of the journey he made the sore optic a point of attack.

It was a Tracey crowd that paid its way into the building, but the clean-cut and decisive work of the colored champion soon demonstrated to them that Tracey was odds-on overmatched. The first two rounds brought out some of the cleverest and prettiest boxing ever witnessed in an arena in Portland. Both men are masters of the art that goes to make clean and fast fighters, and for those two brief rounds it looked as if Tracey had even better than an even break with the champion. In the third round, however, Gans cut loose, and, with right and left to the jaw, had Tracey in distress. Tommy was badly shaken up, but the almost superhuman gameness for which he is so noted showed again, and he came back and mixed it in clever style. During a lively exchange Tracey slipped to the canvas and took the count to seven. The great crowd present then began to realize that the local white man had met his master, and only the pluckiest kind of fighting on his part and a lucky punch could bring him anything but the loser's end of the purse.

Tracey Game, but Outclassed.

As the fight progressed it became clearer and clearer that Tracey did not have a look-in. He fought gamely, and always brought the fighting to Gans. He was still the same fast and clever fighter, and while his foot work was little short of marvelous, his usual cleverness in blocking seemed to be lacking, while Gans on the other hand had little trouble after the third round in blocking Tommy's body punches. Gans received three or four terrific punches in the stomach that made him wince, and Tracey, seeing that the colored lad had no liking for this sort of punishment, went after his man like a cyclone. Tracey knew after the first mixup or two that his only hope of winning lay in making it a whirlwind battle. This he did, and at close quarters he drove some hard punches into Gans' middle structure, but the stiff jolts and hooks which Gans sent to his jaw weakened Tracey in surprising fashion.

In the fourth round Tracey came back very strong, and twice he forced the colored man to the ropes. Gans seemed to be resting, and was content to send in a couple of punches to the head and jaw. In the sixth and seventh rounds Gans began to bore in.

After about 50 seconds of the eighth round Tracey stopped a straight left jab on the point of the jaw, and it made him rock like a cradle. His mind clearer instantly, and he was at Gans with a rush, landing lightly to the head and wind. In a rally in the center of the ring a left hook to the jaw sent Tracey back, and he slipped in trying to recover. The blow was hard enough to have knocked a less game man out, but at the count of eight he got to his feet. Both fought into a couple of clinches, and just as Gans had landed again to the head and jaw, and Tracey was in Queer street, the gong sounded.

End Comes in Ninth.

The one brief minute of rest was insufficient to bring Tommy back, and when he faced Gans in the ninth round it was clear that he had lost his steam and that his legs had gone back on him. He tried hard to keep Gans away. The champion was not to be disputed, and after a couple of clinches and some lightning exchanges Gans worked Tommy into a neutral corner and slammed his right to the jaw, then followed it with an uppercut that almost knocked Tom's head from his shoulders. Tracey recoiled from the force of the blow and was about to fall when Gans half straightened him up with a left uppercut. Tracey was defenseless and against the ropes, and Gans was sending right and left to the jaw, when Denny threw the towel into the ring.

When the towel fell to the canvas Referee Graney waved Gans to his corner, and Tracey's seconds helped the beaten man to his corner. He was bleeding slightly from the nose, and, although his mind was clear, he was in great physical distress. Gans was smiling when he returned to his corner, but when he saw the seconds working on Tracey he hurried across the ring and grasped the white man by the hand and said: "I hope you're not badly hurt, Mr. Tracey." Tracey took the outstretched hand and replying said: "It's all right, Joe, you beat me fair and square, and I have nothing to complain of."

Graney Takes With the Crowd.

Graney, with his customary Tuxedo, greatly pleased the crowd by his work. The men had agreed to break clean in the clinches, and once or twice when the men seemed loath to break the crowd thought it was his duty to break them. In speaking of the fight he said:

"Tracey was clearly outmatched by Gans. He is very fast and clever, but the champion was faster and could hit much harder. The men fought one of the cleanest fights I have ever referee, and their behavior stamps them both extremely fine fellows. On the whole I consider the battle a very scientific one. I consider Gans a wonder, and the man who beats him will have a hard task cut out for him."

Graney would not say whether he thought Gans could beat Britt.

Gans Shows No Distress.

In his dressing-room after the fight Gans showed not the slightest signs of having just come from the ring. He was not even breathing hard, and there was not a mark on his face or body anywhere. While dressing, he said that he was never in trouble during any part of the nine rounds and that with the exception of a couple of punches in the body Tracey had not hit him hard enough to hurt him.

"Tracey is a game little fellow," he said, "and I confess I was a bit surprised at his cleverness. He is very shifty, but his blows seemed to lack steam. I was confident that I was going to win, and I could have done so sooner, had I wanted to. Tracey is very game, and he took considerable punishment, but his age told against him, just as I predicted that it would. You know I'm still a young man and have not been fighting as long as Tracey."

"Joe is one of the most confident fighters in the ring today," said Al Herford, his manager, after the fight, "and he has never entered the ring yet that he has not felt that he was going to win. Joe never wastes anything, and it is his game to make every blow count. In his fight with Tracey he did not let himself out. He did not have to, and of course, while he showed fast, he could have gone still faster had he been forced. Tracey is a game and very fast man, and he showed himself to be a very gentlemanly fighter. The fight was clean and scientific all through."

Crowd Gathers Early.

Of the 2300 people who gathered at the Exposition building to see the great mill, fully 300 were on hand at the doors before 7 o'clock. Every car that passed the building brought its quota, and by the time the gates were opened up, there was a surging mass of spectators gathered around the ticket sellers' window.

The early crowd was not of the sort that put up any great amount of money on a fight, and the bets were accordingly limited to small sums. Four-bit here and a dollar there were to be noted, with the odds always in favor of the colored man. The Portland man was a prime favorite with those who had no money to put up, but the men who wanted to bet their gold chose fighting ability against popularity.

"Why, I've knowed Tommy for three years," said one old sport, without any teeth, "and if I had any money, it'd sure go on him. He is the finest feller that ever walked on those streets, Tommy is, and I'd sure back him."

"Huh," announced another admirer. "Tommy's me frien' too, but he don't get me money because the nigger is goin' to win. I'd like to see the Portland man got the mill, but it's temptin' fate to stack any chips on him."

A third spoke, and his "ricy Australian" accent heralded him as a native of the country Tommy came from.

"There was never an nayger livin' as could mike Trycey back bout. But I'm broke like the rist of thim," and the speaker slapped his jeans in a mournful manner, for there was no jingle therein.

By the time the most of the 2300 were seated, there was a buzz and a hum of voices, as the spectators talked over the chances of the two men.

Suddenly several dusky damsels came tripping down the stairs to the seats around the ringside, evidently implicitly believing in the ultimate victory of the colored man. They were brazen in their manner, and their appearance resembled a few black clouds on a clear sky.

Their entrance attracted universal attention from the impatient crowd, and by the time they had been safely landed in their seats, Tommy Reilly showed up with his seconds.

In another minute George Memsic, better known as Fitzpatrick, was in the ring with Reilly, and the crowd cheered vociferously for the little man who stood off Champion Young Corbett for four rounds a few weeks ago. He was a prime favorite from the beginning, and the spectators waited impatiently for the first gong to sound.

Preliminary Fought Without Resin.

"We won't start till we get some resin," announced Memsic's second, and the crowd groaned at the thought of sending down town for resin. A way out of the difficulty was found, however, and the boys went on without the resin.

The dusky lasses were not the only ones present. There were Councilmen, State Senators, a United States Senator, and even higher officials from Salem. The elite and bon ton were in full force, and glad they were to be on hand.

Young Peter Jackson was a great object of admiration for the multitude.

Peter's cranium is shaped somewhat on the pattern of a six-inch shell, painted black, with a bump on the top in the place for the percussion cap. "It looks like a chunk of cannel coal," observed one "gent."

"He ought to lick anything," announced another man. "Why, if anybody ever hit him, the blow would glance off. His head has got just three sides, like a pyramid." The rest of the listeners gurgled at the thought of Peter's head looking like a pyramid.

"It's more like an arc light at 3 A. M. from the way it glimmers," put in a third speaker. Peter worked his fanning towel industriously on Mr. Gans, and smiles wrinkled out all over the back of his neck.

Eddie Graney Arrives.

After Jack Day did the formalities of introducing the fighters to the crowd, and the little boys seated on the roof stanchions craned their necks till they nearly fell off the bars, Eddie Graney appeared.

He arrived as suddenly as a Prince in the Arabian Nights, and gave the impression that he had been plucked from space by some wandering magician. He was faultlessly attired in a Tuxedo, and, wonder of all wonders, a nice, clean, stiff white shirt.

Not that Eddie might not have the shirt at all, but it certainly was surprising that he should have one in the midst of a city tied up in a laundry strike. He probably knew beforehand that he was coming to a city of the Great Unwashed, and he came prepared, with a suit case full of shirts, nice, white, boiled ones.

The Tuxedo idea was catching with the crowd, and in all probability when another mix comes off the spectators will not be satisfied unless Messrs. Day and Grant show up in clawhammers. The fighters will also be expected to wear white duck to keep in style.

Portland as Prize-Fight Center.

It was evident at all times that the crowd was full of sympathy (and whisky) for the local men. Memsic was announced as "of Portland," and this was a good move. It won for him the loving applause of the local spectators, who are always glad to yell for a man who claims this webfoot city for his home. Then, when Tracey was announced as from Portland also, he was cheered to the echo. It seemed as though Portland was rapidly assuming a front rank as a residence place for prize-fighters.

Everybody was sorry to see Tracey lose, for he put up a good, gritty fight. He made no bones about the matter afterward, and his simple statement that he "put up his best fight, and he could do no better" won for him measures of respect. The fighting world is getting tired of being told that men were robbed in the ring and cheated of their laurels, and it was certainly refreshing to hear a man admit that he was not a match for his victor. Tracey did his best, and man could do no better.


How Tracey Combatted Against Heavy Odds and Lost.

Gans, robed in a checkered bath robe, was the first to enter the ring. He was followed by Al Herford and Young Peter Jackson. A few moments later Tommy Tracey, Martin Denny and Fred Mueller, his trainer, entered. Jack Day acted as timekeeper for the club, Jack King for Tracey. There was the usual examination of the bandages. Tracey's hands were swathed in soft bandages, while Joe's hands were only slightly covered. The seconds lost no time in putting on the gloves, and they were fighting at 10:30.

The fight by rounds was as follows:

Round 1--Both men advance to the center of the ring and shake hands. Both are cautious and they spar and feint for an opening. Tracey sends left lightly to face and tries right for the wind, but is short. Gans tries right and misses. Tom sends left again to face. Gans cleverly blocks right swing. Tracey rushes and plants right to wind and they clinch. Gans sends right and left lightly to face and they clinch. Tracey hooks a left to wind and receives a right to jaw in return. Tracey lands light to face. They clinch. Just as they break the gong sounds.

Round 2--Gans opens with left to face twice without a return. Tom rips left to the wind. Tracey tries right and left to face. Both do some clever footwork and feinting and they clinch. Tracey leads with left, but misses, and lands right to Joe's face. The blows do little damage. Gans lands right to head and left to jaw. They clinch. Tracey drives left to wind and they clinch. Joe sends right and left to face. Tom shoves his glove against Joe's nose. Tracey tries right and left for body and stops a stiff jolt on the jaw. Joe misses vicious swing and hooks his right to jaw. The gong.

Round 3--The fighting is very fast and Tom is rushing things. Gans leads right to neck. Tracey plants his left to wind. Tom gets a left on neck that shakes him up, but he neatly ducks a right swing for the jaw. They clinch. Gans sends right and left to wind. Joe plants left again to the stomach. In a mixup Tom gets right and left to kidneys. Tracey gets his left to kidneys. Tom drives a hard left to neck. Joe crosses right hard to the jaw and Tracey falls to his knees. He is fighting at the count of six and they work into a clinch. Gans again plants his right to head. Tracey leads hard left to body. They mix it and both men land right and left repeatedly in the clinches. Tracey is badly shaken up, but is fighting gamely when bell sounds.

Round 4--Gans feints left to head. They clinch. Tracey rushes into a clinch. Tracey leads right to body. Tracey slips to his knees and Gans lifts him to his feet. Tracey leads left to neck. Gans plants right to neck. Tracey gets hard right to neck. Tracey sends a hard left to body. They clinch. Tracey jabs with left to ribs. Gans sends left to face and uppercuts with right. Tracey down on his knees, takes count of nine and up. Gans smashes left to the face and ducks a right swing. Tracey sends left to the stomach. Tracey gets in hard left to body. The gong.

Round 5--Tracey leads left. They spar for an opening. Gans goes in with left. Both lead right and left. Tracey leads hard right to jaw. Both lead left and right and they clinch. Gans blocks a left swing. Tom gets a hard right on jaw and a left uppercut to jaw. Gans rushes. Tracey gets a hard right, knocks his head back and Tracey goes in for a clinch. Tracey rushes. Tracey sends left to jaw and right to kidneys and follows it with another hard right to kidneys. Tracey is rushing, Gans laughing and blocking carefully. Tracey misses with left. Gans uppercuts and they clinch. Both counter lefts just as the bell sounds.

Round 6--They spar for an opening. Tracey misses left, and gets Joe on the nose with right. Gans sends a left to Tom's jaw, and gets a straight jab in the wind. Gans lands again on the jaw with his left, and they clinch. Then Joe gets in right and left to jaw, and pushes Tracey's head back. They clinch, and then Tracey leads left, but is blocked. Break in a clinch. Gans lands a hard right to face, and Tracey leads right and left lightly. Gans sends hard right to jaw and misses with a left swing, and they clinch. Tracey leads but misses, and he tries to hug. He sends in a light jolt to neck, but Gans blocks, and slaps Tracey with his right, laughing.

Round 7--They spar, both leading right and left, but both miss. Tracey sends in light right to jaw, and they clinch. Tom leads left and jabs right, and another clinch. Tracey leads hard left, but misses, and then jolts Gans in jaw. Tracey leads light left, and puts Gans on the defensive. Tracey gets a swift left in his face, and sends right and left to the body and clinches. Tracey runs in a clinch. Tracey leads right, but he is blocked, and he hugs. Break clean and Gans rushes Tom to ropes. Tracey sends left to jaw and right to kidneys, and Gans plants right to jaw and sends right and left to a block. Joe reaches Tom's face with left and reaches with his left.

Round 8--Tracey passed over Joe's head, and then they clinch. Tom shoves Joe's head back with left, and again they clinch. Joe smashes a right to the neck, and then reaches Tracey in the face with right swing. Tracey runs in with swings and slips to the floor, taking the count to six. Tracey reaches a left and hangs on Joe, who sends a terrific straight left to the face, and then another to the face. Tom goes half down and clinches, leads a weak left, and Joe plants a right swing and upper-cuts Tracey down, who takes the count to nine. Tom hugs, and leads left swing, sparring. Gans gets weak right and left to the jaw, and sends Tom down, but the bell saves him. This is Gans' round by large odds.

Round 9--Gans comes up very fresh and aggressive, and immediately puts Tracey on the defensive. Tracey leads a short to left, and Joe sends hard left and right to face. They clinch, and Gans reaches Tom's face with right and left. Gans backs Tracey around the ring, and then another clinch. Tracey leads his left, but fails, and then tries to make an uppercut with left, but is blocked. Tom uppercuts with left, but with no force, and Gans has him going; lands right and left jabs to the face, and then suddenly Denny throws up the towel, giving the fight to Gans.


About 3500 people--some dyed-in-the-wool sports, and others betwixt and between--journeyed out to the Exposition building, last night, to see what they thought were two of the cleverest boys of their weight that ever stepped into the roped arena mix things up. What they saw was a chocolate-colored veritable fighting machine, who made good the reputation that preceded him of knowing the game from A to Z. At no time, from the sound of the gong until Martin Denny threw up the sponge in the ninth round did the clever Australian, Tracey, have a look in. It was simply a case of his being outgeneraled and outclassed at all stages of the contest.

Both men looked to be in the pink of condition. Tracey throughout the entire nine rounds fought for the body and with a very low crouch, which Gans wasn't slow to take advantage of by using a left-hand uppercut to great effect. True, Tracey did most of the leading, but that was the colored lad's game.

But what's the use of going into details? Tracey was hopelessly outclassed, and there is no questioning the fact that no matter what kind of a battle he would have cut out, Gans would have outfought him.

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