DID BENNY LEONARD AND JACK BRITTON STING THE PUBLIC?
BY THOMAS S. RICE.
If the deal last night was not a cold-blooded fake it would take a Philadelphia lawyer to offer a defense to the charge of faking. Those at the ringside who followed the progress of the bout closely, who saw Britton go down, claiming foul injury from a blow that was not foul in any respect, and then saw Leonard, a champion of the world since March 28, 1918, a professional pugilist since 1912, and always famous for his coolness and brains, hit an opponent who was down, cannot claim ordinary intelligence if they do not wonder whether it was possible that either Leonard alone, or Leonard working in cahoots with Britton, purposely ended the bout with Leonard's obviously foul blow in order to save Leonard from the record of having been outpointed by Britton.
Points to Remember.
Britton, whose right name is William J. Breslin and who was born Oct. 14, 1885, at Clinton, N. Y., weighed 146¼ pounds yesterday at 2 p. m. Leonard, whose original name was Benjamin Leinert and who was born on April 7, 1896, in New York, weighed 139¼ at 2 p. m. They were in a handicap match, with a weight limit of 147 pounds, for the welterweight championship. Leonard had all to win and Britton had all to lose, except that if Leonard went into history with the record of having been cleanly outpointed in the 15-round limit by the aged Jack, it would have been a decided blow at Leonard's reputation as a boxer and would have hurt him when he eventually entered the welterweight class. There were excellent reasons why Leonard should not want to lose a clean decision, even to a man in a weight class higher than that in which Leonard was the already acknowledged champion.
Leonard, like all the rest of our topnotch boxers these days, is essentially a business man, looking to the future. Those who saw him knock down Rocky Kansas in the past winter and then make no effort to finish Kansas, will be convinced that Leonard is a business man when they hear talk of Leonard now being matched again with Kansas.
Britton, Winning, Invites Foul.
Bear all that in mind. Bear also in mind that when Leonard failed to knock out Kansas a ton of money is said to have been bet on him by his own people to knock out Kansas. The betting last night is said to have been 6 to 5 that Leonard would win.
According to our observation last night Britton had a clear advantage on points in all of the first 12 rounds, except the 11th, which was Leonard's, and the eighth, which was probably a draw. Britton was winning by a mile on points, and even the most fanatical of Leonard's own special following knew he was losing. What those people knew, Leonard, one of the craftiest of the crafty in the ring, also knew. Furthermore, the equally astute Britton knew that Leonard was losing, and losing by a wide margin. The pace was beginning to tell on the 37-year-old Britton, but it was likewise telling on Leonard. Nothing but a chance knockout could have made Leonard a winner, and there was nothing to indicate that he would have such good fortune in facing so elusive and resourceful an opponent.
It was entirely Britton's bout up to the time Britton claimed to have been hit low in the 13th round.
They sparred rapidly and ineffectively in the 13th. The only incident was when both of Leonard's feet shot from under him as he stepped back, and he sat down with great violence. It was a pure slip.
When they resumed they went at it as they had done for 12 rounds, until Leonard rushed Britton in the open ring, and directly in front of where we sat with Ed Hughes, The Eagle cartoonist, on one side, and Frank Blunt, who was covering for the Associated Press, on the other. In the rush Leonard led both right and left, and the left landed on Britton's body, well above the belt. There was not an iota of foul in the blow. That is positive, and one who saw it was fair, as plainly as we saw it was fair, was Referee Patsey Haley.
Haley's action in beginning to count out Britton, and his direct statement to us and others after the affair, showed that he never for a minute believed Britton had been hit low.
Acting out of his bluff of a foul, Britton dropped his hands to his waist and slowly sank to the floor, but as an actor he is a joke. He exclaimed that he was fouled, but gave no physical indications that he had been hit below the belt or had even been hit hard above the belt. He went down to his haunches, then to his right knee.
Leonard ran around Referee Haley and swung a right to Britton's jaw, which blow had no great sting, at that, but it knocked Britton off his haunches and he flopped down somewhat upon his back.
Britton, instead of acting the part of a man suffering from the agony of a foul, plus a right swing to the jaw while on his knees, was extraordinarily full of pep. A man who has been fouled seriously enough to drop him in a bout in which his title is at stake, is not usually able to talk fluently, to wave his hands in argument and to turn to the reporters, drawing their attention in eloquent language to the contention that he had been struck while down. All of that Britton did.
Why Did Britton Claim Foul?
That brings us to the meat of the coconut.
Why did Britton go down, claiming a foul, when he positively was not fouled, and he was winning by a mile?
If Britton had already been hit low, then the natural presumption would have been either that Leonard hit him accidentally, or that Leonard purposely hit low in order to escape the odium of having the record show that his rival outpointed him, a thing which many desperate and hard losers have done in similar circumstances.
But Britton was not hit foul in the first place, and Leonard must have been perfectly aware of that. Leonard was also perfectly well aware that if Britton got up and resumed fighting Britton would surely win, anyhow, despite the by-play about the foul. One sure way for Leonard to lose on a foul, when he saw that the referee had not accepted Britton's first claim of foul, was to hit Britton while Britton was down, not to knock an old friendly enemy for a goal, y'understand, but to land a nice, full, sweeping swing that everybody in general, and the referee and judges in particular, could see.
Benjamin Leinert (Leonard) did that very thing. The champion of the world for more than four years, and the professional boxer for more than ten years, who never before had lost on a foul, so far as we can find in Tom Andrews' book, swung a nice, clean but far from soporific right to the head of Britton--and had lost on a foul instead of having the records tell the truth--that he had been clearly outpointed.
Was It a Frame-Up?
Leonard and Britton met in the Velodrome on 225th st., Manhattan, before a crowd of some 22,000 or more, which paid big money and traveled long distances to see a meeting between two champions, a meeting which, as far as it went, was a one-sided victory for Britton until Britton claimed to have been fouled by a blow that was not foul.
The fact that Britton's claim of foul in the first instance was unwarranted gives every boxing fan the right to ask: Was the bout a deliberate frame-up, so prearranged that Leonard was not to have the discredit of having been outpointed when his followers believed that no boxer on earth could cope with him in science?
Did Britton and Leonard have an understanding, backed by forfeits, that if Britton should be winning on points, or for that matter, whether Leonard should be winning on points, the bout should terminate in the thirteenth round with Britton winning on a foul and retaining his title, and with Leonard charged with no more than losing his head or accidentally fouling an opponent, who was out of his class, anyhow? Such a finish meant that neither boxer would lose prestige in the records, each would still be champion of his class, and they would almost certainly meet again before as large or a larger crowd, that might even pay more money than the crowd of last night.
Did Somebody Make a Killing?
All of which questions the fans who so liberally patronized the bout last night, and are expected to patronize a return bout, had the right to ask themselves--and to ask Leonard and Britton, and possibly the Boxing Commission. Those questions are apart from the betting.
If somebody had known that Britton was sure to win on a foul in the thirteenth round, somebody could have made a fortune taking the money Leonard's own people were said to be wagering on him at 6 to 5 to beat Britton, could that somebody not? That somebody could have cleaned out Leonard's special following from Brownsville to the Bronx, from Dan to Beersheba, as many of them were cleaned out when he failed to stop Rocky Kansas? Did somebody so clean 'em out?
Leonard Is Outboxed at Every Angle By Aged but Agile Welter Champion
The one line given to the bout in the records will tell that Leonard, lightweight champion, lost on a foul after going the respectable distance of 12 and a fraction rounds--the time was 2 minutes 42 seconds in the 13th round--with the champion of a high class. That was a great desideratum for Leonard. The followers who backed him to knock out Kansas and to beat Britton, believed him invincible as a boxer, and their belief was worth a fortune to Leonard.
Those who saw the bout will always remember that Leonard made an unexpectedly poor showing against the crafty and amazingly agile 37-year-old Britton. Britton completely outboxed Leonard offensively and defensively. Both being clever, and elusive, and long-experienced it was natural that each should know the counter or block for every lead, and they had met in the ring before, but Britton outguessed Leonard so often that Leonard's admirers were astonished, as were many of the newspapermen.
Britton constantly landed his left hand to the head with a sort of long hook for which Leonard had no adequate defense, although it seemed to be an easy blow to block Britton reached Leonard with stiff rights to the jaw and occasionally reached the body but he paid little attention to the body.
Could not Swarm Over Britton.
Leonard was best when he carried the fight to Britton. He did that in the eighth round enough to make the round a draw and in the eleventh enough to win the round by a comfortable but not overwhelming margin. Britton seemed to tire in the arms and body in the eighth and 11th, but in the ninth and 12th he came up stronger and more aggressive than Leonard.
Never could Leonard swarm over Britton with right and left hooks, or dodge under Britton's guard and swing and hook him to the body. He was able to do that to Richie Mitchell, Rocky Kansas and other good men, but there was nothing doing with Britton. Britton pulled or ducked away, stepped back or broke ground so rapidly and skillfully that Leonard could not follow an advantage he gained once. When hardest pressed, as in the eighth and 11th rounds, Britton would fight himself clear, then used his long left hand for straight lefts to the face, which seldom carried force but were so well timed that they landed enough to beat Leonard to the punch and to break up his plan of attack.
Leonard's lip was cut in the fourth by a left, and the constant prodding with the left discolored Leonard's right eye in the same round.
At no stage was either man in serious danger of a knock out, but the scrap was interesting because of the cleverness on each side in defensive work, as well as in the offensive.
Britton a Poor Actor.
Whether Leonard tried his best against Britton will be questioned. Our own opinion is that he did and that he was helplessly whipped in the 12 rounds and 2 minutes and 42 seconds of boxing. Leonard appeared pale, and bore an air of lacking confidence.
As events proved, he had no occasion to worry, except about how much the dear old public would pay for the return match. The bout was destined to end in such fashion that the record of neither man would be impaired, but the reputation of Britton as an actor was irretrievably ruined by his garrulousness and his gestures after that "foul" that was not delivered while he was on his feet, and after the nice, record-saving foul landed by Leonard while Jack was on his knees.
Having seen that 13th round we should say that one of the ring-around-arosey members of the wrestling trust could do a profitable business instructing some of our pugilists in the art of facial expression and general simulation of the effect when claiming a foul. Those lads of the wrestling trust have ever been known to deceive physicians, but Britton would not have deceived a kindergarten scholar.
1922-06-27 New-York Tribune (New York, NY) (page 10)
Jack Britton Wins Over Benny Leonard on Foul in Thirteenth Round of Bout at Velodrome
Unfair Blow Delivered With Welter Champion On His Knees
Lightweight Titleholder Rallies After Rival Gets an Early Lead on Points; 30,000 See Battle of Fistic Kings; Fitzsimmons Stops Sam Mossberg
By W. J. Macbeth
Jack Britton, welterweight champion of the world, was awarded a decision over Benny Leonard, lightweight champion, after 2 minutes and 42 seconds of the thirteenth round of the fifteen-round final bout at the New York Velodrome last night. Britton was awarded the fight on a foul, by Referee Patsy Haley.
Britton, who had shown evident signs of distress after a brilliant start, dropped to his knees after taking a light left hook to the stomach. While he was in this position and after several seconds of apparent deliberation, during which time there was no count, Leonard calmly walked around Referee Haley and brushed Britton's chin with the top of his right glove. Britton appealed to his corner to claim foul.
The blow that ended the fight was not of sufficient force to bruise a baby's curly locks. But it was a foul blow, whether or not intentional, and Haley was absolutely correct in his ruling. This greatly heralded match was one that will do the game no good. It had every earmark of "one of those things."
It appealed to the expert fight critic much in the nature of a clown act that had been cleverly rehearsed.
Had it not been for the unexpected though dramatic ending the exhibition might have passed muster. But the unsatisfactory ending, coming as it did, left just one conclusion to be drawn. Our burly boys were fighting not for glory but for their respective percentages of the gate receipts and with the fine prize money in sight they evidently kept the weather eye peeled for another big "house" in the not distant future. If this bout was on the up and up then a spiral is the shortest distance between two given points.
Britton Piles Up Many Points
Presuming for an instant that this entertainment was all it should have been, then the lightweight champion would have had to score a knock-out to win the mill. Britton piled up so many points in the early rounds that Benny's only chance to even the tide was to stop him. No one expected the lightweight champion to employ the means he did toward this end.
The exhibition was clever. Deucedly clever. They are fast boys, possessed of punishing straight left jabs. While he was fresh and strong Britton more than held his own. He used his superior weight to the very best advantage and on every occasion when opportunity presented in the clinches he laid his weight on his lighter opponent.
The first round was rather tame. They fiddled around a great deal, apparently to try each other out, and what little landing was done fell to Leonard's honor. He made good use of his straight left jab in the opening round. But from the second to the end of the seventh the veteran welterweight champion more than held his own with his younger, lighter, but shiftier opponent. Invariably Britton would beat Leonard to the punch--the straight left especially, and when the two would come to close quarters by virtue of his superior weight and strength, effected the more telling execution.
Repeatedly from the second to the seventh round Britton would back Leonard into a corner or up against the ropes, and when Benny was denied free sea room would score heavily to the face with left or to body with right. Both showed some very clever blocking, and Leonard in particular some shifty ducking. But once when Benny stood over against the ropes and permitted Britton to shower lefts and rights on the face and jaw, with no other attempt at defense except to roll his head--well, right there the show began to look just a bit screwy to the wise fish.
Benny Shows Up Well in Eighth
Leonard began to show to real advantage for the first time in the eighth round. And that was just about the time the "Grand Old Man" of the prize ring began to tire and slow. The great beads of perspiration that stood out like pearls early in the fracas had dried to glistening silver points.
Britton's blows plainly had lost their earlier primitive snap. He was cuffing, not hitting. Jack threw in the high speed in the ninth and held Benny to even terms for the round. But with Leonard it seemed a case of his resting up. Through the tenth, eleventh and twelfth the lightweight champion gave the Old Master a good, sound trouncing. He sent him back with a straight left and rocked him repeatedly with rights--straights, swings and hooks.
Britton was rapidly weakening under Leonard's attack when the unexpected transpired in the thirteenth. He almost collapsed in his chair when he returned from the buffeting of the twelfth. Britton tried to bluff and began to force the fight in the thirteenth. But when Benny rushed him and swung a left for the stomach, which may have landed just a trifle low, he went down to his knees, plainly with the sole intention of taking a rest.
It was then that Leonard, after apparent due deliberation, calmly walked around Referee Patsy Haley and delivered a love tap to the chin that resulted in his disqualification. That is what most of all, left reason to doubt that the exhibition was strictly genuine. Fortunately the crowd was satisfied. But it is horrible to conjure what might have resulted had any but an idol of Leonard's well known integrity and repute delivered such a blow in such circumstances.
Huge Bowl Packed
The huge amphitheater reminded the oldtimers of Boyle's Thirty Acres the afternoon of July 2, 1921, when Jack Dempsey knocked the French idol, Georges Carpentier, for a row of shoemaker's lasts. A pure case of deception, of course, for the Velodrome bike track, where the fight was held, is little more than one-quarter the capacity of the Rickard arena in Jersey City. But the bleacher seats thrown tier upon tier behind the track itself reared the ulterior vantage points quite as high, and in the soft twilight and later in the semi-light the yawning bowl indeed appeared stupendous.
There is no denying the fact that the lightweight champion is the greatest magnet in the profession--barring only, perhaps, Jack Dempsey--from the box office point of view. Wherever and whenever Benny Leonard fights there you will find the genus fan in overflowing numbers. As early as 5 o'clock in the afternoon the long lines began forming before the ticket booths up town and from then until long after the preliminaries were under way a steady stream from all directions kept pouring into 225th Street. Surface lines and the Broadway subway soon was choked with traffic, but the Madison Square organization had perfected ideal policing plans and there was absolutely no confusion. The staff of ushers, also, saw that every patron got the seat for which his coupon called.
Early it was evident that the Velodrome would open to a capacity crowd, provided it was humanly possible to handle the multitude without. The most enthusiastic fight fan is somewhat leery of investing big money in fight features for an open air show, especially when the weather is so contrary and unsettled as it has been around gay old New York this June. As a consequence the vast army, and among them the great majority of the dyed-in-the-wool fans, waited over until to-day before making their purchases. This of course somewhat delayed the arrival of the crowd, but the spite of it the big bowl continued to fill nicely, and before the first preliminary was introduced the vast bleacher spaces were more than three-quarters filled. There was never occasion for worry about the choice seats of the infield, for those reserved had all been sold in advance.
Joey Leonard Wins
Joey Leonard, a younger brother of the lightweight champion, made his professional debut in the four-round curtain raiser. Leonard gained the decision over Sammy Marco, of the Bronx. Joey weighed 130 pounds and Marco 133½.
Dempsey Gets Big Greeting
Before Jack Stark, of the Bronx, and Johnny Cooney, of the West Side, who weighed 125 and 127½ pounds, respectively, had finished the second preliminary of six rounds, ominous clouds rolling out of the east threatened a fine drenching for the unconcerned thousands gathered within the big bowl. With the prospective storm blew in one William Harrison Dempsey, known to Georges Carpentier, Jess Willard, Bill Brennan and the other heavyweights as champion of the world. The crowd gave him a rousing reception.
Claude Tibbets, of Albany, and Mike Hamil, of Amsterdam, N. Y., who acted as judges, declared the exhibition a draw without offending any one's feelings. Cooney was the one to show the marks of battle. In the fourth round Stark caught him on the bulb of the nose with a left hook and thereafter Cooney's face was smeared with blood.
Eddie Fitzsimmons, of Yorkville, knocked out Sam Mosberg, of Brooklyn, after one minute and nine seconds of battling.
There didn't seem to be much activity in the money market, so far as the Leonard-Britton mill was concerned. What little wagering was done was on the proposition of a knockout. Britton supporters offered 5 to 6 that Leonard would not stop Britton in fifteen rounds.
Round by Round Description Of Welterweight Title Bout
Leonard jabbed a left to face. They sparred. Britton was short with a left twice. Leonard jabbed a left again and Britton missed three jabs. Britton missed a right uppercut. Leonard put a left to face and a right to head. They exchanged lefts at close quarters. Leonard put a left to face as they clinched, Britton landing a right to face at close quarters. Leonard put a right to face and Britton a hard right to body. Britton put two stiff lefts to body. Leonard put a left to face, but missed a right swing for jaw as gong sounded. It was Leonard's round by a shade.
Leonard jabbed a left to face and they clinched. Britton put a left to stomach, but ran into a stiff straight left. Leonard jabbed a left twice to body and hooked a left to face as they clinched. Britton was short with a left, but tried again and connected. Britton shot a hard right to Benny's jaw, which shook up the champion. Britton swung two hard lefts to face and put a hard right to face. Leonard jabbed Britton twice with hard lefts, but Jack countered with a hard right to the jaw that spun Benny. Leonard turned Britton around with a wicked right to the jaw as the bell rang. It was Britton's round by shade.
Britton was short with a left, then put a light left to body. Leonard jabbed Britton five times with a left without a return. They fell into a clinch and Britton got a couple of light body blows at close quarters. Leonard jabbed again and danced away. Britton swung a right to body and a left to head. At close quarters Britton got in a hard right to the short ribs. They clinched and Britton put a right to body on the breakaway. Britton worked in close and put both hands to body. He blocked a hard left swing. Leonard jabbed Britton with a left three times, then put two hard right uppercuts to the face. Britton put a straight left to face at the bell. It was Britton's round.
There was a trickle of blood from Benny's nose as he came out of his corner. Benny jabbed a left to face and then swung a hard right to Jack. Benny put three snappy lefts to face. Britton put left to face and hooked a left hard to body. Leonard put a hard right swing to the neck. They clinched and Britton roughed Benny up, swinging a solid right on the break. Britton caught Leonard coming and shook him with a right to the jaw. At close quarters he put both hands hard to body. Each missed left leads. Leonard was wild and Britton had no difficulty ducking his left. It was Britton's round by a shade.
Leonard put a left to the body and blocked a left to the face. Britton shoved Benny into a neutral corner, but Leonard jabbed him out of the way. Britton seemed a trifle wild and was flailing his left awkwardly. Leonard jabbed a left to the face. Again Britton rushed Leonard into a neutral corner and put a left and a right to the body. Leonard jabbed a left to the face. Britton swung a hard right to the head. A straight left drew the blood from Benny's nose. Leonard missed a wicked right swing for the jaw by an inch. Britton was wild with a right. They came to close quarters and both missed rights. The round was even.
Leonard put two left jabs to body and left to face, then was short with a left. He jabbed a left again, twice without return. Leonard blocked two left leads and stepped outside a right swing. They came to close quarters and Britton put two light rights to body. Leonard stunt Britton with a right to body. Britton swung a hard right to face. They fought into Benny's corner and each landed hard rights. Britton put a right to face and Leonard hooked a left to body. Britton crowded Leonard against the ropes and swung a left and right repeatedly to Benny's face as the lightweight tried to duck. Leonard put three straight lefts to face without a return just before the bell. It was Britton's round.
Leonard put a left to the face, but Britton evened it up with a left and right to the body. Britton backed Benny into a corner and swung a left and right to the head. Britton put a hard left jab to the face and swung a hard right to the body. Leonard jabbed a left to face twice and swung a right to the body. Leonard jabbed Britton's head back on his shoulder blades with his left and then blocked Britton's left to the face. Britton spun Leonard with a hard swing to the head. Britton put a hard right to the face. Leonard returned the compliment. Leonard jabbed a left to the face, but Britton put a hard right to the body. It was Britton's round.
Leonard put a left to body and danced around Britton. He retreated twice. Leonard blocked left and right swings and danced outside of Britton's right. Britton uppercut with a right. Leonard put a light right uppercut to face. Leonard put two straight lefts to face and a left to body. Leonard put a right to body as he clinched. They got in close and exchanged hard rights to body. Leonard jabbed Britton twice with a left to face and ducked two hard left hooks. They both connected with a left and Benny got inside a wicked left hook. Benny shot a left to face. They exchanged lefts and Leonard put a hard left to body at the bell. It was Leonard's round.
They exchanged lefts to the body. Britton was short with a left to the body. Leonard rushed Britton, swinging two hard rights to body and uppercutting with a right. Britton rushed Leonard to ropes and put a hard right to jaw. Jack put a light left to body. Benny put a left to body, but Britton spun him with a left to the face. Britton stabbed a left to face twice without a return. Benny couldn't get away from Britton's left. Leonard put a left to mouth. He repeated, then blocked Jack's right to jaw. In a neutral corner, Britton swung a left and right to body. Britton put a left to face, but Benny returned the compliment at the bell. The round was even.
Leonard put a straight left to body and ducked a right to body. Leonard stabbed a left to face. Leonard put a left to jaw. Britton swung a right to face as they came to close quarters. Britton put two hard lefts to jaw and swung a hard right to head. Leonard got a straight left to jaw. Leonard stabbed a left to face and got a left jab in return. Leonard missed with a left and took a right to body. Leonard jabbed Britton's mouth with a left. Britton was short with a right. They exchanged lefts. Leonard blocked a right and put a left to jaw as the bell rang. It was Britton's round.
Leonard put a left to body and they clinched, Britton tapping at close quarters. Britton was short with a left and Leonard jabbed him half a dozen times with a left. He swung two hard hooks to jaw and then rushed Britton and landed a hard left and right to jaw that had Britton staggering. Leonard locked a wildcat and jabbed Britton into position, then swung a left and a right hard to jaw. Britton missed two right swings. He seemed arm weary. Leonard waited coolly for an opening then shot a left and a right hard to jaw. Leonard rocked Britton with a left hook to the chin. He slammed him with lefts and rights till Britton was drunk and dizzy as the bell rang. It was Leonard's round by a mile and Britton was lucky to survive. He dropped into his chair.
Leonard was cautious and waiting an opening for his right. Three times he jabbed Britton with the left. He walked around him, shooting lefts at will. Britton was short with a right, but on the next try shook Benny with a right swing to the jaw. Leonard ducked another right, then missed another swing himself.
Next time he caught Jack with a right, but bumped into a right himself in return. Britton rubbed Leonard's jaw with a half dozen rights and lefts, then shot a hard right to the body. Leonard turned Britton around with a left to the face, then shot a hard left hook to the jaw. Leonard danced around, snapping straight lefts to face. They missed right swings as the round ended. It was Leonard's round.
They exchanged lefts at close quarters. Leonard rushed Britton and landed a hard left to the body. They fiddled around. Britton was short with a left and they came into a clinch. Trying to dance back, Benny tripped and fell flat on his back, while the crowd giggled. They exchanged lefts and Jack uppercut a hard right to the face. Leonard put a hard left to the stomach as they came to close quarters, but took several hard lefts to the stomach in return. While Britton was on his knees from a left hook to the stomach, Leonard tapped him lightly to the jaw. The referee allowed Britton's claim of a foul.
1922-06-27 The Evening Post (New York, NY) (page 5)
Leonard Loses Bout To Britton on Foul
Lightweight Champion Outpointed by Veteran When He Hits Opponent While Down.
--------Jack Britton, the welterweight champion, was awarded the decision over Benny Leonard, the lightweight title holder, in the thirteenth round at the Velodrome last night on a foul.
The disappointing finish came about the middle of the round, when Britton after receiving a hard blow to the wind went down to the canvas on one knee. As he appeared about to get up, Leonard rushed at him and struck him on the head before he was up. Referee Haley waved Leonard to his corner and gave the decision to Britton.
Up to this point the bout ????ed with action, and the veteran Britton surprised the big gathering of over 20,000 with a marvelous defence which had Leonard resorting to every trick in his ring repertoire to reach him.
For ten rounds it appeared as if Britton had the better of the bout on points. Leonard's face showed signs of the repeated jabs which Britton sent over. The older boxer's generalship and his uncanny ability to keep shifting away from Benny's incessant attack kept the lightweight champion's leading confined almost exclusively to a left jab which did not appear to worry Britton very much.
In the eleventh round Leonard cut loose and started to make up lost ground. He con?????ed every blow in his collection and buffeted Britton all over the ring. The veteran took everything that Leonard had and although he was weary and ????ing, he weathered the attack as only a ring master can and ???? and kept going away until the bell brought relief. By that time Benny was pretty tired after this ???? ?? ???????? had ???? the ???? round he did little work and moved away from Britton most of the time.
Leonard's host of followers implored the lightweight champion to finish Britton in that eleventh round, but Jack was too rugged to go down. The manner in which he rejuvenated in the twelfth was surprising.
Leonard went out to force the milling again in the thirteenth and ???? found it difficult to penetrate Britton's defense. A hard left to the wind, ???? over doubled Britton up and he went down slowly on one knee. There was a look of pain on his face and he seemed distressed. Referee Haley waved Leonard to one side, but, at once Benny lost his head and, ????ing he ???? Britton ???? a ???? to get up, he rushed ??? and sent a ???? left to the head.
For the first time in his career Leonard heard the jeers of a ???? crowd. He ?? ???? ??? ???? it was unintentional and ???? ?? ?????? believed that Britton ??? ???? up when he hit him. The referee was in the best position to judge.
1922-06-27 The Evening Telegram (New York, NY) (pages 4, 8)
RADIO ON AUTO DESCRIBES BOUT
New Invention Brought News to Occupants Riding About the City.
--------One party of fight fans enjoyed the Leonard-Britton bout without the expense of admission tickets or the discomforts of crowding just the same as if they had been occupying ringside seats. During the entire bout they were riding around the city in an automobile fitted with a radio receiving apparatus and heard every blow and incident of the bout described.
The radio adapted to the automobile so that constant communication is possible while the car is in motion is the latest wonder of the wireless. It was tested for the first time last night and was a great success.
Apparatus Is Concealed.
The automobile is a stock five passenger eight cylinder Lincoln touring car. When first sighted it was standing in front of the apartment house at No. 420 West 116th street, where lives its owner, John H. Hayden, vice president of the Independent Wireless Company, of No. 85 Winter street.
The machine did not betray in any way the fact that it was equipped with radio. The antennae are concealed in the canvas of the one-man top. The instruments are hidden beneath the front seat. A door at the feet of the occupants of the back seat is opened to expose the receiver. There is no connection whatever with the ground.
In Mr. Hayden's car the steel of the chassis supplies all the "ground" there is--all that is necessary, despite the insulation provided by the rubber tires. It is a translation of the principles of airplane wireless to the uses of the motor car, with this difference:--The radio equipped plane usually has a wire antenna stringing out behind, while Mr. Hayden's car has not.
In the back seat of Mr. Hayden's car sat Everett A. Brown, a radio engineer, now with the Independent Wireless Company.
Word from the Ringside.
Mr. Hayden drove east to Morningside Drive and then south. He ran the car slowly at first--not more than ten miles an hour. The horn began spilling the words of the announcer at the Velodrome. The fight was in the second round. As the car passed 114th street he was saying that Leonard had just landed two light lefts to Britton's jaw and that Britton, although staggered, did not seem "particularly dazed."
"The round has ended," the announcer said as the party crossed 115th street. "The men have gone to their corners. Britton is having his face washed. With the blood off it does not look so bad. The crowd is cheering Leonard."
At that point a terrible wheezing and crackling arose. The car had passed the Cathedral, ran down Cathedral Parkway and turned into Columbus avenue.
Then Mr. Hayden drove across to Riverside Drive and stopped again, and the fight was minutely described until Britton won on a foul.
The antennae consist of twelve lengths of No. 14 copper wire, each eight feet long, strung from front to back of the car top, concealed between the two layers of waterproofed material, with one lead wire running down the back and underneath the body to the instruments. The "ground" wire ends at the muffles.
Britton, Winning on Points, Awarded Decision Over Leonard on Foul
BRITTON, FOULED, DEFEATS LEONARD
Jack, Leading in Points, Hit by Benny When Down in Thirteenth--Ending Looks Bad.
By George B. Underwood.
Down in the hollow of the big bowl-shaped New York Velodrome, in the centre of a swirling, milling, somewhat mystified and dumbfounded mob of close to twenty-five thousand boxing fans, Jack Britton, world's welterweight champion, defeated Benny Leonard, king of the lightweights, last night.
The thirty-seven-year-old veteran of the squared circle won on a foul in the thirteenth round.
He probably would have won on points except for an apparently unthinking, but most suspicious action of Leonard, who struck Britton while Jack was on one knee with Referee Patsy Haley counting over him.
Had Leonard been a young, inexperienced boxer, or even a veteran but hot-headed ring man, his act of striking a fallen opponent might have been considered a natural one.
But for a cool, heady, experienced boxer of Leonard's type and temperament to commit the faux pas Benny was guilty of last night, and to offend in the manner he did -- the lightweight champion ran around the referee to get at Britton and was most deliberate in landing the blow--certainly was peculiar enough to arouse the suspicions of the most level-headed spectator.
To be sure Leonard, since he was knocked out by Joe Shugrue and Frankie Flemming in the early days of his career, never had been treated to quite the pasting which up to the dramatic ending in the unlucky thirteenth Britton gave him. There is a possibility that Leonard, with the tide suddenly turning and Britton grovelling on the floor from a punch to the wind, lost his head and committed an offense entirely unexpected of him.
One feels inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt inasmuch as up to the sudden ending there had been no sign of anything suspicious and the contest apparently was being waged strictly on its merits.
Benny Ring Rusty.
Leonard was not at his best. He was stableworn and ring rusty from lack of contests. Britton was in the proverbial fighting pink. With a string of tune-up contests under his belt and a wind-up period at Saratoga, where he apparently found Ponce De Leon's fabled Fountain of Youth, the veteran was at superb ring edge.
For ten rounds Britton, with a consummate display of boxing wizardry and ring generalship, outboxed and outfought Leonard at every turn. The veteran kept atop of Benny, crowding him all of the time. It was no raw slugger who was forcing the fighting, but a wonderfully clever, heady ring man who kept his flanks protected as he steadily forced the attack and Leonard, stableworn and ring rusty, plainly was nonplussed.
If there was anything wrong about those first ten rounds we failed to see it, and we never watched a boxing contest any closer than we did last night. We were not quite sure, remembering some of the bouts we have seen Leonard in, knowing of the friendship between Managers Gibson and Morgan and at forgetting what happened when Morgan's man, Levinsky, met Carpentier, what might happen.
But if there was anything "phoney" about last night's contest up to its dramatic ending the boys pulled it so fine that we don't object to being fooled and would like to see 'em do it again.
When you see a fellow act himself and cross with his right as Leonard did time and again last night, when you see him put every ounce of strength and energy in a curling hook or punch, when you see venom blazing from a boxer's eyes--a fire and enmity which no man alive is thespian enough to dissimulate--you will not, if you are level headed, put much stock into cries of "fake."
After they had got warmed up last night we never saw two boxers apparently bend more energy and concentrate more efforts on laying the other low than did Leonard and Britton.
Neither Under Leash.
Britton constantly put everything behind his punches. Several times he landed flush to the jaw with all his weight behind the blows. He is not a knockout puncher, however, and he failed to knock Benny off his feet, although he did catch Benny off balance and send him sprawling with a push early in the thirteenth round.
Leonard did not unleash labeled haymakers as often as Jack. That isn't Benny's way. But whenever he saw the right opening Leonard did not hesitate in putting every ounce of power he could cram in behind the blow.
The only time in which we saw either of the boxers fail to take quick advantage of an opening was in the first round, when Benny missed a glaring opportunity, Britton led wide and pulled himself off balance, leaving an opening as wide as the proverbial barn door. Leonard failed to take advantage of it.
That, however, was before either of the two had warmed up rightly and both were feeling each other out.
At no other time during the bout did we fail to see either box like a master and with apparently every intent to win as quickly and decisively as he could.
At the end of the tenth round Britton, boxing as he hasn't boxed since he made Kid Lewis look like a tyro in Madison Square Garden a year ago, had a lead as long as the proverbial twenty blocks.
Leonard's first round was the eleventh, in which he twice staggered Britton and had the veteran on the verge of a knockout. Only Jack's superb ring generalship, his great fighting head and stout fighting heart saved him from being dropped for the count. It is only a real ringmaster that can work out of holes such as Leonard had Britton in in the eleventh round.
At the start of the twelfth Britton, who plainly was feeling the effects of the pace and of Leonard's heavy smashes, further showed his ring generalship.
Instead of covering up and going on the defensive, as some of the experts declared he should have done, considering the big lead he had--a lead which Leonard could have overcome only with a knockout--Jack continued to force the fighting.
The Right Tactics.
That was right, for he had shown the way to beat Leonard was to crowd him and never give him a chance to get well started. Besides a slowing down on the pace by Britton would have exposed Jack's whole hand and would have made Leonard cut loose like a wolf on the blood scent.
By forcing the fighting and eternally keeping atop of Leonard Britton took the twelfth round just as he did all the other stanzas except the eleventh.
The thirteenth round, the weird if not unlucky thirteenth, started with Leonard shooting a left to the body and then landing a left and right to the jaw. Britton rallies and swung a right to the ear. Jack jabbed Benny twice in the face.
Benny crowded Jack into a neutral corner. Britton fought himself free and in a mix-up in the open ring caught Benny off balance and with a shove sent the lightweight champion sprawling.
They mixed it warmly when Leonard arose, with Britton having a shade the best of it. In the midst of a mix-up Leonard, who at the time had shifted and was standing with right arm and foot extended, dug an ugly left to the wind.
We didn't see the blow, for Leonard's back was turned, and his body hid his left hand. His right was over Britton's shoulder, and so the punch must have been landed with the left hand.
Britton sank to the canvas, wrapping his arms about his midsection. His seconds yelled "foul," and the quick witted Britton, resting upon one knee, seconded the claim.
Referee Haley rightly ignored the claim and, bending over Britton, started the count. Haley was in between Leonard and the fallen fighter. Benny ran around Haley and, as Britton rested on one knee, Leonard deliberately struck him with his left hand.
Haley's Action Justified; Had No Option After Leonard's Action
--------For a second Haley seemed at a loss as to what to do. Then he straightened up, ordered Leonard to his corner and declared Britton winner on a foul.
The decision was right and the only one possible for Haley to make. It was in keeping with his honesty, fearlessness, experience and reputation.
Leonard at first wouldn't listen to it and, leaning over Britton, started to count over him himself. Haley grasped Leonard by the shoulder and sternly ordered him to the corner.
Charlie Leonard, brother of the champion, rushed into the ring and proceeded to argue with Haley. So did Manager Gibson, rather reluctantly it seemed.
The ring finally was cleared. Many of the spectators could not quite understand what had happened. Some of them thought Haley had disqualified Leonard for hitting low. It was several moments before Announcer Humphries could induce quiet enough for him to declare that Referee Haley had awarded the decision to Britton on a foul and had disqualified Leonard for striking his opponent when down.
We know enough of the ring game to understand what inroads the professional gamblers have made on boxing as well as in all professional sports and some amateur sports in fact. Perhaps that slimy gentry was responsible for Leonard "losing his head" and striking a fallen opponent.
But we repeat, the only suspicious thing about the contest was its weird and unsatisfactory ending, and up to that point we never saw an apparently more earnestly and honestly waged encounter.
It is possible also that, granting Leonard did not wager on himself to lose, that he purposely did so in order to cut down the odds for his coming battle with Lew Tendler. That is possible, but we believe improbable, inasmuch as up to the ending Leonard apparently tried desperately to win, but found it beyond him because of the great skill and ring generalship of his opponent, coupled with his own stableworn condition and ring rustiness.
Benny Needed It.
Incidentally the fight should do Leonard a world of good from a competitive angle. It is fortunate for him that he is going to get one more bout--that with Rocky Kansas at Michigan City, on July 4--under his belt before tackling Tendler.
There is no doubt but that the Leonard of last night was far from being the same wonderful ring man of three or four years ago. Competition will bring back some of Leonard's former form but it is doubtful if he ever again will be quite the same man he was at the zenith of his career.
There is no need of any detailed description of the fight by rounds. Save for the eleventh and the thirteenth there was a sameness to the sessions which recounting only would demand repetition.
We went there last night expecting to see Leonard win on points if not by a knockout. Instead we saw Britton, in superb fighting form, outbox and outfight him from every angle, and apparently honestly so.
Britton not only landed almost at will with his well known port paw, as crafty, cunning and lightning swift a left hand as any boxer ever boasted, but drove his right to head and body with speed and accuracy.
The welterweight champion forced the fighting throughout. During the early rounds he attempted to he??de Leonard into leading, but Benny as usual insisted on fighting a countering battle.
After the second round Britton was wise enough to see that the best results were achieved by crowding and keeping atop of Leonard, and from then on Jack stopped coaxing Benny to take his turn at making the pace.
Some of Leonard's supporters who have the habit of sitting at the ringside and bellowing "He can't muss your hair, Benny," were dumbfounded to see Britton not only muss their favorite's hair but to cut his lip, draw the claret from his nose and bruise him otherwise about the face and body.
Save only once or twice, Britton's none too powerful blows never did anything except rattle Benny's molars. In the fourth round Britton really staggered Leonard and in the ninth had him really groggy for a few seconds.
Leonard's heavier punches several times had Britton wabbly, but by a great display of ring generalship Britton would rally and carry the fight back so hard to Leonard that he drove Benny on the defensive.
Taken all in all, the exhibition of the thirty-seven-year-old veteran was one of the most brilliant and commendable the squared circle has seen in a long time.
It was too bad that Britton's apparently merited victory on points should have been marred by Leonard's tactics.
Apparently Benny realized that his only chance of turning the tide lay in a knockout, and despite the fact that he had Britton on the canvas in the thirteenth round he did not feel himself capable of the feat and deliberately lost on a foul rather than be beaten soundly on points.
A knockout is the only other way Leonard could have won, for Britton had such a commanding lead in the thirteenth that nothing Leonard could have done in the fourteenth and fifteenth, with the exception of a knockout, could have availed.
About twenty-one thousand persons witnessed the encounter. There were 18,851 paid admissions, according to the official figures. The gross receipts were $130,265.50 and the net receipts $112,500. It was said that Leonard received thirty-five per cent, or $39,375.70, and Britton thirty per cent, or $33,750.60.
If that is so, it was against the rules of the State Athletic Commission, which makes fifty per cent the limit a club can pay for a star bout.
Leonard 139 1-4, Britton 146 1-4.
Britton's victory on a foul came after two minutes and forty-two seconds of boxing in the thirteenth round. Weighing in at two o'clock yesterday afternoon, Britton scaled 146¼ pounds and Leonard 139¼. The seven pounds advantage Britton had in the weights was offset by Leonard's youth and punching power.
Eddie Fitzsimmons, from the Britton stable, knocked Sam Mosberg, from the Leonard stable, stone cold after one minute and nine seconds of fighting in the scheduled twelve-round semi-windup.
Jack Stark and Johnny Cooney, rival featherweights, went six slashing rounds to a draw, and Joe Leonard, brother of the champion, outpointed Sammy Marco, a little known military boxer, in the four-round curtain raiser.
Jack Dempsey, world's heavyweight champion, was introduced from the ring, and Joe Humphries announced that Dempsey "stood ready to meet any man in the world."
Johnny Buff, world's bantam champion, who defends his title against Joe Lynch at the Velodrome on July 10, was introduced and received an ovation.
Battling Nelson, former world's lightweight champion, wanted to be introduced, but was ignored. Such is fame.
Radio experts, with their outfits, covered the bout from the ringside and broadcasted an account to all stations within a thousand miles.
RESULTS OF LAST NIGHT'S CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT IN TABLOID FORM.
--------World's Welterweight Championship.--Jack Britton, titleholder (146 1-4 pounds), vs. Benny Leonard, world's lightweight champion (139 1-4 pounds). Scheduled fifteen rounds. Won by Britton on foul after 2 minutes 42 seconds of boxing in thirteenth round.
Eddie Fitzsimmons (137 1-2 pounds) knocked out Sam Mosberg (139 1-4 pounds) after 1 minute 9 seconds of boxing in first round.
Jack Stark (125 1-2 pounds) vs. Jimmy Cooney (127 pounds). Six rounds. Draw.
Joe Leonard (130 pounds) vs. Sammy Marco (133 1-2 pounds). Four rounds. J. Leonard winner.
Referees.--Patsy Haley for Leonard-Britton and Leonard-Marco contests; Johnny McAvoy for other two bouts.
Judges.--Claude Tiplitz, of Albany, and Mike Hammil, of Amsterdam.
1,685 seats at $2.20 $3,707.00
7,174 seats at 3.30 23,674.20
2,709 seats at 5.50 14,899.50
2,394 seats at 7.70 18,433.80
2,089 seats at 11.00 22,979.00
2,800 seats at 16.50 46,200.00Exchanges, $372.30.
Paid attendance, 18,851.
Gross receipts, $130,265.50.
Net receipts, $112,502.
State tax (five per cent), $5,921.15.
Leonard's share (thirty-five per cent), $39,375.70.
Britton's share (thirty per cent), $33,750.60.
18,851 PAID TO SEE CHAMPS IN ACTION
More Exits Needed to Avoid Fire Hazard--Seating Arrangements Ideal.
--------The open air arena of the Velodrome last night was suited to the element of the spectacular with which an appearance of Benny Leonard always is invested. It presented great opportunities for being seen--and heard. Both these opportunities were utilized to the full by the milling thousands of fight fans who gathered early. To be sure, it has been raining a good deal of nights lately, and the canniness of the boxing denizens kept them outside the gates until the sight of a new moon told them they needend worry about rain checks. Then the rush was on.
No sooner were they in a position to see and be seen than they made themselves heard. Shouts of encouragement for the preliminary fighters were as constant as the tattoo of the leather pushers in the ring. And it wasn't a stag assemblage. Handsomely gowned women were conspicuous in summer finery and, if the truth be told, they knew all the angles of fisticuffs as well as the men. Under the glare of the lights the silk shirts of the east side elite colored up the scene like a flower garden.
At the gates there was no distinction of personages. Automobile parties passed in beside the elite of Cherry Hill and Belmont Park. Cosmopolitan the crowd was 18,851 of 'em, and they came from east side, west side, all around the town--and it is fitting that the east side should appear first on the list.
It was estimated at nine o'clock there were at least 1,000 motor cars outside the arena.
More Exits Needed.
The seating arrangements were ideal and the crowd came into the spacious arena without any confusion. This, however, was not the case in going out. If ever the Fire Department permitted an organization to endanger the lives of thousands of its patrons the Velodrome is an example of this. Thousands of persons were forced to travel in a circle before they reached the exit on 235th street and among these were women, several of whom fainted and one of whom had her arm crushed.
Night fighting is here to stay and the management of the Velodrome is to be congratulated on the splendid manner in which its work was carried out, but to avoid possible danger to life and to prevent the Velodrome from being a fire hazard in which the death roll would be high in the event of a fire the management should take the bull by the horns and before the next fight is staged erect two or three runways from the arena to the open fields adjoining the Velodrome and use these as exits.
If this hint is not followed the Boxing Commission and the building officials should get busy and act quickly.
1922-06-27 The Evening World (New York, NY) (page 22)
AT THE LEONARD-BRITTON BOUT
By Thornton Fisher
LEONARD HITS BRITTON WHEN DOWN AND IS DISQUALIFIED
BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS ENDS SUDDENLY IN 13TH ROUND
Clever Hebrew Loses Head and Hits Jack While He's On One Knee.
BENNY IS DISQUALIFIED
Lightweight Champion Outpointed Up to Sudden Ending of Bout in Velodrome.
By Vincent Treanor.
The Benny Leonard-Jack Britton bout at the new Velodrome, 225th Street and Broadway, last night came to an unsatisfactory end in the thirteenth round just as it was becoming interesting. Either through chagrin at defeat that was staring him in the face or in a moment of forgetfulness, not at all becoming a champion such as Leonard is and has been, Benny struck Britton two blows while Jack had one knee touching the ground, or nearly so. Twenty-five thousand people, blood all a-tingle, looked on without knowing what was transpiring. Leonard had sunk a left hook into Britton's mid-section after a moment or two of fiddling, while they were a foot apart in the centre of the ring. Jack didn't flop or stagger as the blows landed. He began to sink slowly like a ship that had sprung a leak. It seemed minutes before his bending knees, or rather his right knee, touched the canvas. He came up again slowly, almost to his haunches. Leonard, his face blanched even through a red blotched left cheekbone, hair disheveled, and desperation written all over him, stepped in and swung a left to the side of Britton's head. Jack didn't topple over. Benny swung his right.
LEONARD SHOULD HAVE STEPPED ASIDE AND WAITED.
Neither punch unbalanced Britton, but as the second blow landed he raised his left hand over his face, while the right reached for the region of his groin. Meanwhile the counting judge at the ringside was waving his arm, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Referee Haley didn't take up the counting, as referees usually do. Instead he didn't seem to know how to act. Britton wasn't crippled, as fighters hit low usually are, but he knew that Leonard had done something he shouldn't have done. He looked toward his corner for his manager, but even he didn't know what was up.
Finally Joe Humphries, wise old bird and cool headed, tried to get Haley's eye. He got into the ring and then the situation became clarified. Haley had arrived at the conclusion that Leonard had fouled Britton by hitting him when he was (according to the rules) down. But Haley's judgment didn't jibe with that of the official counter out, Ed Purdy. In the latter's opinion Britton was down and subject to the count, and had not Leonard stepped in with the alleged foul blows, Jack might have been declared knocked out. Leonard would have then become welterweight champion.
There is no excuse for Leonard. Even if the blow that sank Britton was absolutely fair, he should have stepped one side and waited until Britton was safely planted on his feet before starting another punch. If he had felt himself a winner up to that point he might have done so.
THE THIRTEENTH ROUND TELLS THE STORY OF THE BOUT.
The last round--the thirteenth--really tells the story. It was like this:
ROUND THIRTEEN--Benny's left cheek was cut as he came out for this round and his hair was very much mussed. He rushed Britton across the ring with a left which bounced off Jack's ribs and up to his head. For the next minute Britton did all the leading. Then as he blocked Leonard's right swing for the head he pushed Benny away so forcibly that Leonard went down on the floor and rocked there to his shoulder blades. Britton didn't think this an infraction of the rules and he actually let Benny do the apologizing. Jack was using a lot of rough stuff now pulling his glove across Leonard's face, breaking from close quarters and generally mussing Benny up. They stood together fiddling in the centre of the ring when Leonard suddenly hooked in a left to the pit of Britton's stomach. Few saw the punch. It was dangerously low. Britton began to sink slowly to the ground. As one knee touched the floor Leonard walked in and hit Britton a left punch on the face. Britton evidently in pain made no attempt to protect himself or block the punch. Instead he nodded for his manager to come into the ring. He was reaching to his groin with his left hand. The timekeeper, Ed Purdy, said he had begun to count as soon as Britton's knee touched the floor. He had reached nine when Leonard landed the left punch. Referee Haley stepped between the men and pushed Leonard back. He assisted Britton to arise and escorted him to his corner. The whole thing happened so suddenly that no one knew what had really occurred. Charley Leonard, Benny's brother, jumped into the ring to find out how Haley had decided, and Britton's manager also got inside the ropes to see what it was all about. Joe Humphreys, after consulting Haley, told the crowd that Leonard had been disqualified for hitting Britton when down.
Before this Britton had the fight--it really had reached the fight stage--won by a mile. He outboxed, outsmarted, outgeneralled and did everything a champion should do. He astonished everybody. As the bout progressed Britton became disdainful of Leonard's vaunted ability. He was on top of Leonard nearly all the way. He did all the leading and all the forcing and had Benny on the retreat throughout. He tried, very much against nature, to shoot right-hand punches higher up but he stopped this early.
However, Jack covered himself with glory. He showed himself to be a marvel. At thirty-seven he stands out, not only as the conqueror of Leonard (omitting the alleged foul stuff) but as an athlete who is not only a credit to himself but to the profession of boxing.
Leonard, we are sorry to say, has gone back sorrowfully. He plainly is not the man he was. Our score of the rounds last night, faithfully kept, was this: First, Britton; second, Leonard; third, even; fourth, Leonard; fifth, Britton; sixth, Britton; seventh, Britton; eighth, Britton; ninth, Britton; tenth, Britton; eleventh, Leonard by a wide margin; twelfth, Britton, and thirteenth--the mixup.
Only in one round, the eleventh, did Leonard really shine. He licked Jack badly in this session, had him all at sea and on the way to a knockout, but Jack came back in the twelfth and regained the lead. He kept it, too, up to the time Benny landed that stomach punch which caused Britton to sink.
In his dressing room afterward Britton claimed the punch was foul and low. For Leonard, Billy Gibson said Britton fouled Benny continuously with low punches. Our story of the rounds specify these instances. Once a low punch of Jack's dislodged Benny's fighting equipment inside his tights.
Jack Dempsey's appearance was the big noise of the occasion. The champion was introduced from the ring and got a tremendous ovation. "Anybody," he told Joe Humphries, in response to Joe's question as to whom he would fight. During the fight Dempsey hobnobbed at the ringside with ex-Gov. Cox, the Democratic Party's nominee for President against Harding, and Samuel M. Vauclain, President of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. When he tried to duck the crowd and get out of the amphitheatre the champion was mobbed. He was lucky to get back to his hotel and to bed with his Palm Beach suit intact.
LEONARD GETS $39,375.70 AND BRITTON $33,750.60 OF $130,265.30 GATE.
By John Pollock.The gross receipts of the welterweight championship battle between Jack Britton and Benny Leonard at the Velodrome last night, which was won by Britton on a foul in the thirteenth round of their fifteen-round contest, drew a gate of $130,265.30, including the Government tax of 10 per cent. Twenty-one thousand fight fans witnessed the battle, of which 18,851 paid. The net receipts amounted to $112,502, from which Leonard drew down 35 per cent., bringing his end up to $39,375.70, while Britton received 30 per cent., which gave him $33,750.60. The State received $5,921.15, which was 5 per cent of $118,423. The tickets sold for the fight including the Government tax, were as follows:
1,685 at $2.20 $ 3,707.00
7,174 at 3.30 23,674.20
2,709 at 5.50 14,899.50
2,394 at 7.70 18,433.80
2,089 at 11.00 22,979.00
2,800 at 16.50 46,200.00
THE FIGHT BLOW BY BLOW
ROUND ONE--They're off. Benny blocked Britton's first attempt, a left for the head. Leonard backed Britton around the ring and made him miss twice with his left before Jack finally grazed the stomach with his south paw. Benny hooked a right to the stomach while Jack's attempt at a counter slipped around his neck. Benny then stepped in with a solid right to the body. Britton landed his first good punch, a left dig to the stomach, and then came to close quarters. Britton again dug his left in the stomach and cuffed Benny on the neck with his right and there was a business like mixup for a second. Britton landed his right lightly on Benny's ear while Benny was trying to outfeint him. A left miss by Britton was followed by the same hand that landed on Benny's Adam's apple. Twice more Britton tried with his left, but fanned the air. Britton's round on execution.
ROUND TWO--Benny put a light left on Jack's chin. A little fiddling and both overreached with rights for the head. Britton got inside Leonard's left and clouted Benny twice on the jaw and in back of the neck with his right. Benny laughed as he blocked Jack's attempts at body infighting. Benny stuck a straight left on Jack's mouth and Jack countered with a right to the ribs. Britton cut loose a right of the open glove variety which knocked Benny off his balance. He was forcing Benny around the ring with left leads, principally to the stomach. Jack missed a left for the chin and then brought the same hand down to the stomach.
ROUND THREE--Leonard got some smelling salts before this round started. Benny put a left on Jack's chin and Britton dug his right to the ribs. Benny blocked two of Jack's left leads then landed four lefts in succession on Jack's face and smothered Jack's attempts at body blows. Britton then rushed Leonard to the ropes with a left dig on the belt line. Benny's midsection well covered with forearm and elbows. About an even round.
ROUND FOUR--They were both fresh as they started this round. Both led with lefts at the same time, which did no damage. Benny blocked Jack's left to the face and then crossed a hard right to the jaw. The crowd roared at this. Benny stuck his left into Jack's stomach and ducked under Britton's right swing. Again he made Britton miss with his right and Jack walked in swinging rights and lefts to the body. Britton got in close again and drove in both hands to Benny's stomach, and as Leonard stepped back crossed his right to Benny's jaw. Not strictly according to rules. Benny registered surprise. The referee warned Britton. Britton was desperate and putting everything he had in his punches. Benny's glove blocked his left for the chin while they were on the ropes. As they came out in the centre Jack drove his right to the body. He was more of a fighter than a boxer in this round and his aggressiveness entitled him to it.
ROUND FIVE--Benny hooked a left to the chin. Britton's right landing on the elbow. Jack got Benny in a corner and tried to crowd in a right to the jaw, which Benny avoided. They fiddled at long range, during which Leonard twisted Britton off his balance. Benny stuck a straight left on Jack's mouth, Jack retaliating with a right to the stomach. Benny then stepped in with a right to the jaw, which riled Britton into a fierce body attack. Britton missed with a left to the jaw, but got his right over. Benny stuck in a savage left to Jack's chin, but Jack walked right in with a left to the stomach.
SIXTH ROUND--Benny had Britton missing with both hands. They did a lot of feinting, Benny finally hooking a left to the chin. Benny put two rights on Jack's chin and curved the right over on the ear. Britton got real rough in a clinch and pounded the back of Benny's neck. Benny landed a straight right on Jack's chin and Jack then stuck a left to the face and reached Benny's jaw with a right. There was a lively mixup in Leonard's corner during which both scored with body punches.
SEVENTH ROUND--The first good punch of this round was Britton's straight right to the ribs. He then backed Benny around the ropes, swinging right and lefts to the head but being blocked by Leonard. Benny reached back to adjust his tights and Britton stabbed him with a hard left to the mouth. They came to clinch shortly afterward, Jack cuffing Benny's ears roughly. Britton got Leonard in the corner while he shot his right to the ribs and left to the head. As they came to a clinch Britton shoved Benny off and Benny, to show he had some strength, threw Jack back against the other side of the ring. They both landed left jabs and then Benny missed with his right. Britton outboxed Leonard completely in this round, although no serious damage was done.
EIGHTH ROUND--Britton stood up and actually outboxed Benny, beat him to left leads, peppered his body with both hands and had Benny looking very unlike a champion. Britton tried his awkward right to the head and missed. The best thing Benny did so far was curse rights to Jack's chin. If it hurt Jack didn't show it. Jack hit Benny with his left, first in the body, then on the nose. Finally Benny woke up and landed hard on Britton with two lefts to the face.
NINTH ROUND--Benny put a left on the point of the chin and made Jack miss with a right. Jack then dug his left in the stomach. Benny woke up and crossed a clean right to the chin. Benny stepped in close and worked an inside uppercut on Jack's chin. Britton hooked a low left to the stomach cleanly. Benny drove a right to the ribs. Jack was short with a left to the chin as they came to a clinch.
TENTH ROUND--Leonard stuck a right to the body and Jack countered with a right to the chin. Jack grazed Benny's chin again with another right, drove him back with a left hook to the face and went around his neck with another right. He was driving Benny before him when suddenly Leonard stopped, short hooked two solid lefts to the chin and crossed a hard right to Jack's head. Benny tried with two lefts, one landing, and was stabbed by the stiff Britton's left in the face. Benny took three lefts on the face to get in a right dig at Jack's stomach. Jack tipped Benny on the chin with a left, then fanned the air with a long right swing.
ROUND ELEVEN--Britton beat Benny to two lefts to the face and then Benny spun Jack with a right to the jaw. Twice more Britton stuck his left into Benny's mouth and Benny became desperate. He swung a hard right to Britton's jaw that seemed to make Britton fight all the harder. He hooked two lefts to Britton's chin driving Jack back on his heels. He stuck in another left to the face, then crossed the right to the jaw and for the first time had Jack in a bad way. Jack bluffed with three left swings and he seemed weak on his pins. Benny knocked down two left leads and hooked the same hand to Jack's jaw twice. Jack stood up manfully and fought back hard. He drove a right to Benny's body and raised it to his jaw. Benny became very aggressive and rushed Jack across to a neutral corner with a hard right to the chin. Leonard's round.
ROUND TWELVE--Britton assumed the aggressor, but Benny beat him to four lefts to the mouth and then made him miss that awkward swing with the right. Jack landed a one, two, right and left, to Benny's chin, reached the body late with his left and crossed a right cleanly to Benny's jaw. Coming out of close quarters Benny hooked his left to the jaw and grazed Jack's eye with a right, but Britton kept right on top of him. He uppercut Benny in the stomach with his right twice, and repeated on the third attempt. He then fanned Benny's face with lefts and rights and made Benny miss widely with a right swing. As they went to a clinch Jack pounded Benny's neck, rabbit fashion. Benny then swung Jack around with a right to the chin. Three harmless jabs by Leonard and a right cross to Britton's chin ended the round. Britton taking the lead again.
SEE STORY OF FIGHT FOR 13TH ROUND.
Seen and Heard at Ringside
By Richard Freyer.
TWO BLOCKS FROM ALBANY, June 27.
The Leonard family started the evening with a bang. Brother Joey, who Benny thinks will be the next lightweight boss, went four laps against Sam Marco. Joe was given the judge's decision. He is a likely looking lad and made a big impression on his first appearance.
------The judges in the first bout, as well as for the evening, were imported. One, Claude Tibbits, came all the way from Albany, which is a short distance to this place when one considers the trip from Brooklyn Bridge, and the other, Mike Hammel, stepped in from Amsterdam, not Avenue, but town.
------Patsy Haley made the first bout look something like a home affair. Patsy hails from good ole New York City. He refereed the first setto.
------John A. Drake, the old time plunging partner of John W. Gates, watched Joey Leonard very closely from the ringside. "He'll be a good one," he said, "but, just like a two-year-old race horse, he's got to learn the game. There's no better place to do it than right in there before a crowd.
------The second quarrel was between Johnny Coney, no relation to the island, and Jack Stark, former amateur. Johnny McAvoy, all dressed up in a beautiful white costume, without trimmings, was in the ring to see that the boys slammed one another.
------John the Barber, who managed Jack Dempsey for twenty minutes, or was it seconds, was among those present. So was Bat Nelson, wrapped up in a perfectly lovely red sweater and white flannel trousers.
------Joe Humphreys announced the riders. He came near forgetting himself when he started to ask the audience to lay off inhaling the weed. Joe didn't appear at home at all. The air seemed to affect him. Maybe it was cause Joe was many miles from his downtown home.
------Jack Skelly liked the layout of the arena. Also the way things were handled and the fights too. No wonder, Jack only lives a few steps from the Velodrome.
------Senator Jimmy Walker sat at the ringside and had reason to feel proud of the boxing legislation that made such a wonderful turnout of Republicans and Democrats and the one Prohibitionist. One Prohibitionist among 30,000 in these days is some average.
------As an added attraction to the second bout William Harrison Jack Dempsey blew in. The crowd forgot the fighters and centered all their attention on the heavyweight boss. Jack looked in the best of shape, but didn't relish the attention. He was dressed in an ice cream suit-vanilla flavor--and a purple necktie.
------Jimmy Dougherty, Baron of Philadelphia, arrived in time to hear Joe Humphreys call the second bout a draw. Jim took a seat alongside of Mr. Drake.
------Just got a close-up of Dempsey. He is sporting a big three-carat (it's as big as a turnip) ring with platinum setting. It could very easily be used in case the lights went out.
------Eddie Fitzsimmons, 137½, and Sam Mossberg, were participants in the semi-final. The boys are stable mates of Leonard and Britton, and it was short and sweet.
------Fitzsimmons, of the Morgan-Britton combination, hit Mossberg on the chin after one minute of fighting. He followed with two more hard punches and practically stood Mossberg on his ear. Sam went down to stay. The bout lasted one minute and nine seconds.
------Fitz and Mossberg are real good friends, and when Sam came to Eddie told him he was sorry he had to knock out a friend. Mossberg, a real good sport, said it was all in the game.
------The brevity of the contest gave the fans a chance to stretch and look the arena over. Somebody offered five bucks for a fifty-mile sprint, and the bleacher boys woke up.
------Bob Moran, County Clerk of the Bronx, who often subbed as Mayor of New York for the late John Purroy Mitchel, came in just as one of his neighbors, Fitzsimmons, knocked Mossberg for the goal.
------Dave Shade, who fought Britton in the Garden recently and who has won his last thirty fights, rushed to the ring side a la Vincent Astor. Dave wore evening clothes in honor of the fight being held in the evening. Even at that Dave looked just as good as he fights.
------The fans grew impatient when the main boys didn't show up during the next ten minutes. Joe Humphreys, master of diplomacy, fixed the fans by introducing Danny Frush.
Then came Dave Shade of California and his evening gown. His costume was well received. Then the greatest pugilistic product of the State of New Jersey, according to Joe, Johnny Buff.
1922-06-27 The New York Call (New York, NY) (page 5)
BRITTON WINS FROM LEONARD ON FLUKE FOUL
In Thirteenth Round Jack Says He Was Hit Below the Belt and Sprightly Trots to His Corner.
--------The Britton-Leonard fight at the Velodrome last night wound up in a fiasco in the thirteenth round when lightweight champion Leonard smashed Britton in the face with a left swing off his shoe tops as Britton crouched in the middle of the ring on his knee, holding his gloves over his groin, claiming he had been struck below the belt.
Referee Patsy Haley declined to give Britton a count, as Britton deliberately sank to his knees and apparently was on the point of disallowing the original claim of foul and ordering Britton to rise and continue the fight.
Impatient over what seemed to be a stall for time by the tired patriarch, champion of the welterweight division, Leonard rushed across the ring, and copped him on the jaw with a pendulum swing that picked up rosin from the canvas on the way.
The crowd began to squawk and Britton calmly walked to his corner, and sat down. Leonard's seconds swarmed all over the ring, arguing with Referee Haley, who waived them aside and took a neutral corner.
Tom O'Rourke, chairman of the New York Boxing Commission, at the ringside, said he saw no blow to cause Britton's claim of foul but he did see the left to the face which he said was a palpable misdemeanor.
Joe Humphries, announcer, seemed loath to allow the claim of foul, but Haley stuck to his guns and refused to permit the bout to continue. Humphries showed his neutrality by saying "Haley claimed there had been a foul, though Leonard's blow was unintentional."
Leonard's seconds claimed that Britton had raised his knees from the floor and was crouching, not kneeling. It was a parallel case almost to the foul blow by which Gunboat Smith lost his fight with Georges Carpentier in London.
Britton appeared to be down on one knee. He did not appear, however, to have been struck below the belt, and if he was struck low he was not hit hard. Britton himself had peppered Leonard very close to the waist line many times during the fight, causing repeated howls from the lightweight champion seconds to "Keep them up there."
While there was a bit doubt as to the first alleged foul, the referee left no question as to the second.
Britton demonstrated that he was not injured by the blow that he claims was foul, by immediately protesting to Haley after the second blow was struck and then rising and walking unassisted to his corner. The maneuver probably will go down as a historic trick of the ring and the only explanation seems to be that Britton was fatigued.
Up to this time the old fellow was using the hairbrush on this clever young delegate of the smart-aleck generation. He worked his butterfly left jab round after round to Leonard's face and his hard right to the body was about as hard as a humming bird's kick.
Britton jostled Leonard rather severely a few times when his cleverness at feinting and jabbing had drawn the lightweight champion's guard away; but on the whole he did no damage, and Leonard got much more radical treatment in the first seven rounds with Rocky Kansas than he took with Britton.
Benny bled from the mouth as he sat in his corner after the fight, but the battle was unusually free of bloodshed. Britton's cleverness was too much for Leonard, himself a clever ring man. Repeatedly he made Leonard miss fierce left hooks to the head by not more than two inches. Any one of these blows that missed in this manner might have floored Jack for the count--but they missed. Britton nearly passed out in the eleventh.
In that round Leonard caught him with another right to the jaw, which spun Jack to a corner on the ropes. There he smashed Leonard with both hands on the chin, but Benny plunged back with a pair of left smashes on the chin which caused Jack to stagger weakly.
Ninth Goes to Leonard.
This was Leonard's biggest round. Britton had a safe lead on points on five others. Leonard took the ninth and possibly the tenth, and the best that could be said for the others was an even break. After his disastrous eleventh, Britton made a remarkable come-back in the twelfth, jabbing and mauling Leonard around the ring as much as he had been jabbed and mauled.
In the thirteenth Leonard was butted half-way across the ring as Jack endeavored to work his way out of a corner. Benny sat down hard on the floor, but immediately acknowledged to Britton that it was unintentional before resuming proceedings.
Regardless of what the arguments that will follow the fight may bring forth, Britton demonstrated again that he is the boxing master of his division or possibly any other division. A heavier or a younger man might stop him, but the younger man in his own division has yet to appear, and Leonard, the kingpin of the lightweights, was unequal to the job.
The capacity of the arena was $180,000 at last night's prices, and every seat seemed to be filled. Tex Rickard said the fighters would get 50 per cent of this, to be divided evenly.
The early crowd got first look at Joe Leonard, the young brother of the lightweight champion, who showed unmistakably the teachings of the maestro in a four-round maiden romp with Sammy Marco, another novitiate of the sanguinary sport. Young Joe has been understudying on the quiet for three years in the hope of assuming the title after Benny's passing. He easily outpointed Marco in four rounds, showing the Leonard snap and precision in his punching and the Leonard shiftiness on his bowwows.
Jack Dempsey was waved into the party by a coterie of coppers, cappers and volunteer cheer-leaders. He looked like a week's wash in a white suit made of bath towels.
That made three champions in the house, and, the night being young, there was still a chance of Johnny Buff's appearance.
"Bat" Nelson on Hand.
The battered and patched facade of old Bat Nelson was seen about the ringside emitting shrill treble notes of protest against this modern extravagance which fills an arena with a money capacity of $180,000 on a Monday night in the no-man's land of Manhattan; whereas the doughtiest battler of them all was hysterical that there was a time 15 years ago when Tex Rickard hung up a purse of $30,000 to be split between himself and Joe Gans at Goldfield.
Bat was bedizened in a sweater that made Joseph's Coat resemble a bolt of gunnysacking draped on a ring post. Bat announced that he was now in the sweater business, selling these wondrous garments, form-fitting and equipped with two quart pockets, prices on request.
Rickard at 8 o'clock said that he did not expect the house to fill up. Tex was a pessimist.
By the time the third preliminary was called for the park was jammed with 28,000, ranged in tiers against the black sky, and there were other thousands outside the Velodrome fighting their way through cordons of peanut merchants, ice-cream hucksters, and program peddlers in a futile attempt to get within a stone's throw of the gates.
3 to 1 on Benny.
At the ringside the business men were giving and grabbing bets of 3 to 1 that Leonard would win either by a knockout or a decision and even money that Britton would get no worse than a draw. No bets of startling size were reported.
The fight was waged in the same steel-framed ring that was erected in Jersey City for the Dempsey-Carpentier fight, the ring in which Leonard beat Rocky Kansas at Madison Square Garden last winter, in which Britton outpointed Dave Shade a few months ago, receiving only a draw, and in which the bantamweight title passed from Pete Herman to Johnny Buff.
The ropes were white with fresh, snowy flannel bandages, and a season's gore had been bleached from the canvas mat which has felt the thump of so many hapless pairs of shoulders.
1922-06-27 The New York Times (New York, NY) (page 19)
BRITTON DEFEATS LEONARD ON FOUL
Lightweight Champion Is Disqualified for Hitting While Opponent Is Down.
BOUT ENDS IN THIRTEENTH
Referee Declares Welterweight Titleholder Victor After 2 Min. 42 Sec. of Round.
26,000 ON HAND FOR MATCH
Many Fashionably Dressed Women in Ringside Seats Among Immense Throng at Velodrome.
--------Jack Britton, 37-year-old ring veteran, still is the world's welterweight champion. In his bout against Benny Leonard, world's lightweight champion, at the Velodrome last night, Referee Patsy Haley awarded the decision to Britton in the thirteenth round on a foul.
The end came 2 minutes 42 seconds after the round had started when in a swirling attack Leonard landed a left to the stomach. With the blow Britton went down on one knee, his face distorted in pain and supporting himself with his right gloved fist. Referee Haley thereupon stepped to the side of the fallen champion, as if to count over Britton. Before the referee could proceed, however, Leonard, eager and excited, hopped around Haley and swung a left to the face as Britton was on his knee. Then Referee Haley stepped between the boxers, waved them to their corners, and caused it to be announced that Britton was the winner of the contest on a foul.
When the decision was announced by Joe Humphreys, the boxers stepped out of the ring amid the mingled shouts of the crowd that was partly acclaiming and partly voicing dissatisfaction. Referee Haley stepped to a neutral corner of the ring, and, in explaining of his decision to ringside critics, said:
"I awarded the bout to Britton on a foul. Leonard floored Britton with a left hook to the stomach. Britton claimed the blow was foul, but I disagreed with him. I was preparing to start a count over Britton, when Leonard stepped up and struck Britton while the latter was down. It was this foul that I disqualified Leonard on and awarded the bout to Britton."
Decision Stuns Crowd.
The sudden, unexpected ending to the contest stunned the crowd. Ringside spectators stormed to the side of the ring and clamored for an explanation. The sentiment of the gathering was divided. Many thought that Leonard had been disqualified for striking the left to the stomach, others thought there was no excuse for disqualifying Leonard at all. While the gathering was loud in its vocal demonstration, there was no indication of concerted disorder. After the excitement of the sudden finish had simmered down, the crowd left slowly and orderly. Urged by the special policemen, the crowd poured from the arena in a steady stream and the Velodrome soon was emptied.
The finish came as an unwelcome climax to a contest which provided a brilliant exhibition of skill by two past masters of the art of boxing. In a sense the contest was disappointing, however. The unsatisfactory finish was not the only disappointing element in the battle. Leonard failed to show up to expectations, in fact, failed to show up to the form he has exhibited in many of his previous local bouts.
Britton, on the other hand, showed surprisingly good form, and appeared to be an easy winner on points up to the time of the foul. Leonard, who was the favorite in the betting before the battle at odds of as high as 3 to 1, failed to show any form which would warrant these odds. The lightweight champion was careful and cautious throughout the contest, almost to the point of timidity, and lost many glowing chances to demonstrate his hitting power at the expense of Britton.
There were times when Leonard stung Britton noticeably with powerful right crosses or left hooks to the jaw which sent the welterweight champion reeling about the ring. But invariably Leonard hesitated in following what appeared to be an advantage, or he missed with punches which carried damaging power. Under the circumstances Britton was enabled to recover his equilibrium whenever danger threatened.
Seven Rounds for Britton.
Of the first twelve rounds Britton appeared entitled to the honors in seven sessions. These were the second, third, fourth, fifth, ninth, tenth and twelfth.
Leonard apparently discarded his caution, went in and outboxed Britton in the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds. In the eleventh round Leonard, concentrating his efforts in a determined effort to knock out his rival, almost succeeded in crushing Britton under the power of his blows in a furious two-handed assault which had the welterweight champion reeling like a drunken man and the crowd in a frenzy of excitement.
The lightweight champion, however, deliberated too long in what course to pursue in the situation, and Britton quickly recovered. The welterweight champion recovered so completely that he came back and outpointed Leonard in the twelfth round. In the thirteenth session, or that part of it that transpired before the unwelcome climax, honors were about evenly divided.
A crowd which taxed the capacity of the great arena turned out for the bout. Every nook and cranny of the huge bowl was occupied when the two champions entered the ring. The capacity of the arena is said to be 26,000. If so, this many persons made the journey to the battle centre. They came in droves from early evening until after dusk. Subways, surface cars and elevated trains were jammed with humanity headed for the fight. Automobiles pulled up to the arena entrance in steady streams and were parked by the hundreds in the seats.
In the battle as it progressed Britton appeared the complete master of his rival. Calling on all the ring wizardry at his command, the welterweight champion outboxed and outfought his contemporary of the lighter ding division. On the attack Britton was active with an assault which smothered Leonard's blows at times and had the lightweight champion missing repeatedly with his hardest punches.
Veteran's Offensive Consistent.
Making sporadic outbursts, Leonard outpointed the welterweight champion in brilliant boxing exchanges at long range, while the lightweight champion worked a stinging, accurate left jab to the face with effect. But the exhibitions by Leonard were flashes which, when measured against the consistent, untiring offensive of Britton, suffered by the comparison. It was through his relentless forcing, with its superb though light attack, that Britton gained the honors over Leonard in seven of the rounds.
In the four rounds he won, however, Leonard gave the gathering an indication of his real ability. The trouble with the lightweight champion was that his work was not sustained. This difference in aggressiveness swung the tide of battle in Britton's favor.
The first round was evenly divided. Both boxed cautiously and with the utmost regard, obviously, for each other's ability. The round was spent for the most part in the "feeling out" process, wherein both boxed at long range in the common endeavor to detect a weakness or to develop a method of forcing an opening.
In the second round, however, Britton cut loose a notch and outboxed and outfought Leonard. A stinging right to the jaw early in the round made Leonard seek the shelter of a clinch. At close quarters, however, Britton pumped rights and lefts to Leonard's stomach until the lightweight champion was forced to break. After shaking off the effects of the right, Leonard jabbed with his left in an effort to keep Britton at bay, but Britton bored in continually and in the last minute grazed the jaw with another right. Just before the bell Leonard almost upset Britton with a hard right cross to the jaw.
Leonard started flashily in the third round, jabbing Britton repeatedly with the left to the face and upsetting Britton's attack. The welterweight champion kept trying, however, and, forcing matters, peppered Leonard with both hands to the face and body. Before the bell Leonard was bleeding from the mouth, the result of a left hook.
A sharp left hook, followed by a hard right cross to the jaw early in the round, stung Britton in the fourth round and made the welterweight champion extremely cautious for awhile. Britton quickly recovered, however, and fought back valiantly. In a clinch Britton fought himself clear with a succession of rights and lefts to the jaw which drew a complaint to Referee Haley from Leonard. The men were ordered to box and Britton outfought Leonard to the bell.
In the fifth, too, Leonard started well, but was soon on the defensive as Britton forced matters, leading with both hands in a varied assault. In a clinch Leonard almost wrestled Britton down.
Leonard Shows Improvement.
Leonard went on the offensive in the sixth round and through this session, and in the seventh and eighth outboxed Britton. The lightweight champion's attacks, however, were light because of the caution he displayed in leading at his rival. With persistent left jabs, occasional left hooks and intermittent right crosses, Leonard made Britton miss repeatedly through this part of the battle. In the seventh round Leonard befuddled Britton with a crushing right which sent the welterweight reeling off balance in the last minute of the round, but Britton protected himself against assault until the bell.
Through the ninth and tenth rounds Britton, returning to the attack, carried off the honors. His work, as in his previous favorable rounds, was consistent and untiring while Leonard fought only in flashes.
Leonard had his best round in the eleventh, which, by the same token, was Britton's worst. The lightweight champion, with a succession of left hooks to the jaw, started soon after the bell beginning the round to hammer Britton into submission.
Leonard almost succeeded. Three sharp left hooks in rapid fire order sent Britton staggering and back against the ropes in a neutral corner. The welterweight champion was in distress, on the verge of a knockdown and possibly a knockout, and the crowd was in an uproar urging Leonard on to a knockout victory. Leonard leaped into the attack willingly, but as Britton covered instinctively, the lightweight champion was wild with a shower of swishing rights and lefts aimed at the jaw of the almost helpless welterweight champion.
Leonard stepped back suddenly and began boxing at long range, but the lightweight champion was too cautious in this situation and Britton recovered quickly. Just before the bell Leonard suddenly leaped in with another vicious outburst which carried Britton before it to the ropes, but the bell sounded without any damage being accomplished by the lightweight champion.
Britton Recovers from Attack.
Britton's seconds worked industriously over the welterweight champion during intermission between rounds and Britton responded to the bell for the twelfth apparently fully recovered. Leonard reverted to his cautious style in this session and was outboxed and outfought by Britton. The welterweight champion forced matters continuously and landed several times with rights and lefts which grazed Leonard's jaw. Leonard missed the majority of his punches while others were blocked by Britton or thrown off the welterweight champion's attack.
In the thirteenth round honors were about evenly divided, until the sudden ending almost in midring. Britton was forcing matters, Leonard was holding his own with a retaliatory assault in which he gave blow for blow with the welterweight champion. Catching Britton's guard up, Leonard suddenly leaped in during the last half minute with a ripping left hook for the body.
The punch landed and Britton went down on one knee with pain written on his face and his left arm signaling wildly to referee Patsey Haley, who stood shaking his head negatively, apparently preparing to count. Then Leonard leaped in with a left to the face, and the disqualification followed.
In the semi-final bout scheduled for twelve rounds, Eddie Fitzsimmons, Yorkville southpaw, knocked out Sam Mossberg, former international amateur lightweight champion, in 1 minute 9 seconds of the first round. Johnny Coney and Jack Start, local featherweights, boxed a draw in a six-round bout. In the first bout, a four-round contest, Joey Leonard, brother of the lightweight champion, won the decision over Sammy Marco.
STORY OF THE FIGHT TOLD ROUND BY ROUND
Britton Draws First Blood in Third With Left Hook to the Mouth.
--------Britton was first to enter the ring, climbing up the steps at 9:35 P. M. He was followed a moment later by Leonard. Both were well received. Before the bout Jack Dempsey, world's heavyweight champion, and Johnny Buff, world's bantamweight champion, were introduced. It was announced that Britton weighed 146¼ pounds; Leonard's weight was announced as 139¼ pounds. After posing for pictures the men were called to the centre of the ring for instructions by Referee Patsy Haley. The bout started at 9:42.
Leonard landed the first punch, a left to the face. The men sparred and danced around the ring. Leonard twice jabbed a left to the face without a return. Britton was short with three left hooks to the stomach and wild with a left hook to the face. Leonard jabbed his left to the face, and the men clinched. Britton landed a left to the stomach as Leonard came in. In a clinch Leonard clubbed a right to the face, and Britton worked a hard one to the stomach. Leonard crossed a right which was high, and Britton dug a left to the stomach. The men were sparring at the bell.
Leonard jabbed a left to the face. Britton was short with a left to the stomach and wild with a left hook to the face. He rushed Leonard to the ropes and the men clinched. Britton grazed Leonard's stomach with a left hook and blocked Leonard's return. Britton stung Leonard with a heavy right to the jaw. Leonard fell into a clinch at close quarters. Britton worked both hands to the body, forcing Leonard about the ring with leads to face and stomach. Leonard twice jabbed his left to the face and Britton grazed Benny's face with a right. Leonard almost floored Britton with a right on the jaw just before the bell.
Leonard jabbed a left to the face, while Britton was short with a left to the stomach. Leonard four times jabbed Britton's face with his left and blocked Britton's return while the crowd yelled wildly. Britton sunk a hard right under the heart. Leonard jabbed the face with his left, but Britton, grabbing his opponent's glove, pulled Leonard to him and punched the body. Britton hooked a left to the face and drew blood from Leonard's mouth. In a clinch Britton countered on the stomach. Britton forced Leonard to the ropes just before the bell under a shower of rights and lefts to face.
Leonard jabbed his left to the face and they clinched, after which Leonard again jabbed a left to the face, following with a right to the jaw which stung Britton. The latter fought back and punched Benny's stomach at close quarters. Britton sent Leonard's head back with a left hook to the face. Leonard was wild with a right to the jaw as the men were breaking from a clinch. With right and left to the jaw Britton sent Leonard to the ropes. Britton landed a left on the face and they exchanged left jabs to the same spot. Leonard missed a left hook to the face and Britton jabbed a left to the face. At close quarters Leonard hooked a left to the jaw. Britton grazed Leonard's jaw with a right just before the bell.
After preliminary sparring Leonard landed two lefts to the face. Britton was wild with a right. Leonard swung Britton off his balance in a clinch, the latter almost falling to the floor. Leonard landed with a right to the face, but Britton rushed him to the ropes with rights and lefts to the body. Britton hooked a right to the jaw. Britton beat Leonard's left lead with a right to the head. Leonard grazed the jaw with a right. Britton jabbed his left to the face and crossed a right to the same place. Leonard missed with right and left leads to the face. Leonard forced Britton to the ropes and dug a left to the body before the bell.
Leonard led with a left to the stomach. The men sparred. Leonard hooked a left to the face. Leonard jabbed a left to the face and Britton was high with a right cross. At close quarters Britton pounded the head and Leonard hooked a right to the stomach. Leonard drove a right to the head. Britton hurt Leonard with a right cross to the jaw. Britton forced Leonard to the ropes, where they exchanged blows. They exchanged lefts to the face. Britton again forced Leonard to the ropes and swung with both hands as Leonard dodged before the blows. They exchanged lefts at long range.
As they came up for this round Britton was bleeding from mouth and Leonard had a lump under his right eye. After sparring at long range Britton forced Leonard to the ropes, landing with left and right to the jaw. Leonard hooked a left to the stomach but missed a blow to the face. Leonard jabbed a left to the face, but took a left hook to the face in return. Britton rushed in with left and right to the face. In a clinch Leonard wrestled Britton to the ropes. Britton beat Leonard with a right to the face. Leonard crossed with a right which sent Britton off his balance. They were sparring at the bell.
They exchanged lefts to the stomach, after which Britton hooked a left to the face and then jabbed a left to the same place. Britton grazed the jaw with a right, then dug a left to the stomach. Leonard jabbed to the face and dodged Britton's right. Leonard hooked a left to the stomach and the men clinched on the ropes. Leonard ripped a right uppercut to the face in close. Leonard twice jabbed a left to the face without a return, outboxing Britton in a spirited rally at long range. Britton then sailed into Leonard with lefts and rights to the stomach. Leonard hooked a left to the stomach as the bell clanged.
Both were short with lefts to the stomach. Leonard landed a left to the face and made Britton miss a right. Leonard forced Britton to the ropes, jabbing with his left and causing the crowd to yell. Leonard grazed the chin with a right uppercut and hooked a left to the stomach, but took a right to the jaw in return. Britton grazed the face with a left hook. Britton twice jabbed his left to the head and then crossed with his right. Britton four times jabbed the face with his left without a return. Britton forced Leonard to the ropes, where the men clinched.
They exchanged lefts to the face. Britton crossed a right to the jaw. Leonard danced around until Britton caught him with a grazing right on the jaw. Leonard missed a right cross, and then three times hooked his left to the face. Leonard, with his left arm rigid, held Britton at bay. Leonard hooked a left to the stomach. Britton twice jabbed his left to the face and dug a right to the stomach. The men sparred at long range. Britton grazed the face with a terrific right. The men were in a clinch at the bell.
The men went into a clinch. Leonard hooked a left to the jaw, which spun Britton around. They sparred and Leonard again hooked a left to the jaw. Benny then crossed with a right to the jaw, which almost floored Britton. After sparring at long range Leonard sent Britton reeling against the ropes with a left to the jaw. The crowd was wild and yelled for Leonard to finish his opponent. Leonard was slow in taking advantage of the opportunity and Britton quickly recovered. Britton missed a left hook to the face. Leonard forced Britton to the ropes under a shower of rights and lefts just before the bell.
Leonard four times jabbed with his left. Britton missed with his right for the face. He crossed left and right to the jaw, then missed a right for the jaw. Britton grazed the face with a left and Leonard missed a right to the jaw. Britton hooked a left to the jaw and crossed a right to the same place. Britton forced Leonard to the ropes with rights and lefts to the stomach, then landed a right under the heart, following with right and left to the jaw. Leonard hooked a left to the stomach, but missed a right for the jaw. Leonard grazed the jaw with a right just before the bell.
They went to close quarters, Leonard hooking a left to the stomach. Britton, in retreating, grazed the face with a right. Leonard jabbed the face with a left. Leonard hooked the left to the jaw. The men clinched. In withdrawing Leonard's feet got into a tangle and he fell to the floor. The crowd laughed. Britton landed left and right to the face, and hooked a left to the face, but took a left hook to the stomach in return. Leonard then sent in another left hook to the stomach, and Britton sank to the floor on one knee, claiming a foul. While Britton was on one knee Leonard leaped in and struck him a left to the face. Referee Haley stepped between the boxers as the crowd yelled wildly, ordered Britton to his corner and caused it to be announced that Britton had won on a foul.