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Saturday, May 7, 2011

1917-05-07 Benny Leonard W-KO6 Charley (Kid) Thomas [Olympia Athletic Club, Philadelphia, PA, USA]

1917-05-08 Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA) (page 11)
Only 41 Seconds Before Final Gong and the Iron Man Is Knocked Off--Assimilated Unmerciful Beating; Was Floored Three Times


With the finish of last night's bout at the Olympia Club only forty-one seconds away, the gamest boxer who ever stepped into a Philadelphia ring was battered helpless to the floor. Charley Thomas suffered the first knockout of his career and went down before several hundred right and left hand wallops handed out by Benny Leonard. The beating probably will end the career of a boxer whose grit will never die in Philadelphia's ring history.

The bout should have been stopped before it started. Thomas had been so outclassed in a contest with Leonard in the same ring May 1 a year ago that it was a case of sending the lamb to its slaughter to rematch the pair. The 1916 contest resulted in one of the most one-sided bouts ever staged in this city, and last night's match was even more so. From the outset Leonard administered a merciless mauling, and in almost every round ringside spectators yelled to the referee to stop the bout.

Thomas Floored Three Times

After assimilating punishment no other human being could have withstood, Thomas finally was knocked partly through the ropes with a right-hand punch flush on the jaw. No other boxer would have gotten to his feet again to resume action. But Thomas was not in the habit of going to the floor, no matter how hard hit, and he regained his feet in a jiffy. Leonard stood ready, and a short, snappy, crushing left hook spilled Thomas for the second time. He fell crumpled in a heap and it took Charley three strokes of the referee's arm to get up. Again Leonard was at Thomas in a flash and this time a righthander which would have felled an ox knocked the beaten boxer halfway out of the ring.

Almost every one present, even the blood-yelling, dyed-in-the-wood bugs in the gallery, shrilled in unison to "Stop it! Stop it!" Half the crowd was on its feet to see the game boxer suffer his first real knockout, while many turned their heads the other way. It was a terrible sight. On June 8, 1915, Thomas's handlers threw a sponge into the ring in the seventh round of a bout with Charley White at Boston, admitting defeat, and the Philadelphia boy had not been knocked off his feet. Last night he went down three times, and there wasn't a man in Thomas's corner who showed enough human intelligence to save the game youngster, who would never admit he was beaten as long as he could stand on his feet.

Thomas's Guard Was Down

Both times when Thomas came up for more he was struck with the hefty wallops of Leonard before Charley could get his arms up. A man doesn't have to be senseless to be knocked out. And game Charley Thomas was knocked out before the finishing blow last night. He was through after he went down the first time and only semiconscious when he got up just before the final blow.

While Thomas was beaten from the start, he was in the ring trying his utmost to drop a lucky one that would upset the dope. But Benny has the class. He is a regular boxer; he and Johnny Kilbane, and only a few others. Leonard was cool and unperturbed, all the while Charley was swinging wildly, just hopefully hoping for Benny to try one on the jaw. But Leonard is not in the ring to take 'em; he rather likes to give 'em. And he gave Charley plenty, and much more than he should have been allowed.

It Was Merciless

From the outset it was merciless. With the opening gong Leonard proved that he was out to finish his job as quickly as he could. Leonard was just as much surprised as a lot of others that his work lasted so long. He jabbed, hooked, right crossed and uppercut Thomas with blows that possessed no little force, but Charley gritted his teeth and smiled.

A left to the nose in the second round started blood from Thomas's nose and it continued bleeding until the finish. When the bell sounded for the end of the third round Charley had a lump on his left eye the size of a hen's egg, and at the finish of the fifth round that optic was completely closed. His right eye also was swollen.

Thomas was rocked and staggered several times before Leonard finally succeeded in knocking Charley down in the sixth. And in that round, with less than a minute to go, Thomas--game Charley Thomas--had to succumb to Nature and feel the sting of a knockout, dreaded by every man that draws on a pair of gloves in the twenty-four-foot ring. But he fought a fearless battle, and several times brought the crowd to its feet when he stood toe to toe with his opponent.

Broderick Rallies and Wins

Patsy Broderick rallied in the fifth and sixth rounds of his match with Young Joe Borrell and was enabled to leave the ring a winner, although he was in bad shape in the second period. Borrell substituted for Young Goldie, whose absence disappointed a lot of spectators, and while he was thought easy picking he gave Broderick a real tough ride over the route.

Frankie Clarke never looked better than in his bout with Sammy Diamond, a New Yorker, and Clarke won as he pleased. He had the better of every round and several times right handers to the jaw almost sent Diamond to the floor.

Young Medway and Young McGovern went through half a dozen frames to an even break, and Eddie McNulty was presented with a knockout by Frankie Klein in the second.

Lest we forget, there was some singing before the windup by Charley Thomas, then assisted by a trio and finally coupled into a quartet, and while the harmony was put over in good style, this was the least of the spectators' worries. Game Charley Thomas' "slaughter" was the topic of conversation as the big crowd wended to the four winds from the clubhouse.


Sports Editor Evening Ledger

Perhaps last night's bout at the Olympia A. A. can be considered a boost for the boxing game, but if it is, the boost will sent it to the bottom. Benny Leonard and Charley Kid Thomas boxed in the windup and it looked like a race between a Packard and a Ford. To carry it further, it resembled a battle between a full-grown strong man and a child. For seventeen and one-half minutes this gory spectacle was staged before a crowd of 5000, and the audience witnessed the most uneven battle ever presented in a local ring. Thomas didn't have a chance from the time he entered the arena until he was battered into insensibility near the end of the sixth round. It was not a boxing match. It was a brutal exhibition of punching, with one man inflicting all of the punishment and the other trying in vain to stave off a knockout. To me it was a pathetic punching party, only a boxer was used instead of a punching bag.

Benny Leonard is a boxer. He earns his livelihood in the squared circle, where the old law of the survival of the fittest still holds good. It is his business to battle with the best men in his class and it also is his business to prove he is the better man. He has a long string of knockouts to his credit, but in the majority of cases he stood just as much of a chance to get knocked out himself. Several times Benny was refused to continue an uneven match and stood back rather than inflict unnecessary punishment. He wanted to do it last night, but the referee refused to stop the bout until the finishing punch landed.

Thomas also is a boxer and one of the gamest men who ever stepped into a ring. He, too, earns his livelihood in the squared circle, but that does not mean that he should step out of his class to do so. He knew there was but one chance in a million to win from Leonard; his handlers knew it and the matchmaker of the club was aware of it. He had boxed Benny once before and learned then that he was no match for the New Yorker. The bout to him meant the payment of so much money to take a beating and he entered the ring for that purpose.

This is no attempt to discredit Thomas. He evidently needed the money and got it. Leonard, too, does not deserve reproach. He was asked to box Thomas, and it was purely a business proposition with him. He knew that he had something "soft," and it was an easy way to earn $1250. He did what was expected of him and he did not relish the job.

The real blame rests on the shoulders of the man who made the match. He was not deceived, for he saw the same pair box at the same club a year ago. Then it was a one-sided battle and only a question of how long Thomas would stay. Jack Hanlon is a good matchmaker, but he made a big mistake and made it with both eyes wide open. He never should have arranged the bout in the first place. In a year he puts on something like forty-four shows and arranges 220 bouts, and there isn't a man in the world he won't slip up on in one of them. It might have been hard to select an opponent for Leonard, and Thomas was the only man who would take a chance, but he should have hesitated before putting him on.

Those who saw the swaying, bleeding boxer standing helpless against the ropes in the sixth round, with both hands partly raised but in no shape to defend himself, cried out to have the uneven battle stopped. It was a pathetic sight, where brutality reigned rampant. Even Billy Gibson, Leonard's manager, called out to the referee to stop the one-sided fight and turned his head away when the last blow was struck.

As was said before, Leonard cannot be blamed. Nor can Charley Thomas, one of the gamest men who ever donned a glove. For the first time we must pass it on to Matchmaker Hanlon, with the hope that he considers his future matches from a boxing standpoint, and not the box office.

1917-05-08 The Boston Daily Globe (Boston, MA) (page 5)
Series of Rights and Lefts to Jaw Put Latter Out

Special Dispatch to the Globe

PHILADELPHIA, May 7--After playing with Charlie (Kid) Thomas much as a cat would with a mouse, Benny Leonard of New York tonight knocked out Singing Charley at the Olympia A. A. in 2 minutes 19 seconds of the sixth round.

For five rounds Leonard just kept tapping away at Thomas' face, once in a while planting a sound wallop to the body.

In the sixth, Benny went at Thomas in his workmanlike way. First he dropped Thomas with a right to the jaw.

He dragged himself together and was no sooner on his feet than he went down again. Then a series of right and left hooks sent him tumbling to the mat, down and out.

Thomas was carried to his corner and it was some minutes before he revived sufficiently to leave the ring.

1917-05-08 The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) (page 12)
Charley Kid Thomas, the local battler, went the way of many a better men before him, when he was knocked out by Benny Leonard, the New York lad, after two minutes and nineteen seconds of fighting, in the sixth round of the grand finale at the Olympia last night. A left hook to the jaw was the means of Thomas' hasty trip on the dreamland special, although two knockdowns scored earlier in the round augmented the result.

Nearly all the action was confined to the final round, Leonard taking matters easy in the first five. The sixth, however, brought a change for the better. Thomas was just getting ready for the verbal bouquets and congratulations when Benny shot over a wicked right and the singing welterweight went down like a log. He arose, only to again seek a haven of protection on the canvas as a result of another nine driving smash, but once more, as the fatal count of ten was imminent he dragged himself to an upright position.

This time, however, Leonard made sure of his quarry by setting himself and delivering a powerful left hook that knocked the local boy cold. He was assisted to his corner and revived after several minutes.

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