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Saturday, August 25, 2012

old-time boxing writers

1913-09-21 The Lexington Herald (Lexington, KY) (page S4)
Great Sport Writers of the Early Days of Boxing Game
Some of Best Newspaper Men of Europe and America Have Been the "Boys" Who Followed the Celebrities of the Roped Arena.
(By Jack Skelley in Yonkers Herald.)

In looking back for some thirty years I'm somewhat amazed at the sweeping off of so many noted, able and popular boxing writers, who in their salad days reported and wrote so profusely and proficiently on the fistic battles and champions of the past.

Clever, graphic, hustling, honest, sporting scribes, who never missed a big mill if they had to spend many sleepless nights, put up with all kinds of hardships and traveled many thousands of miles, under all sorts of strenuous conditions to get to a ringside by hook or by crook.

It was no Sunday school picnic in the bare knuckle days to report an important battle. To be chased from one state to another by sheriffs and the police, sleep in barns or any old place; eat whatever they could grab and still be on the alert for every bit of news and more made by the principles of a contest.

Elliott and James.

Sometimes it would be a couple of weeks before a safe battlefield could be found and even then the fight writers were more or less at the mercy of the outlaw mobs that followed up these mills on the turf.

If old Joe Elliott, of the New York Herald, or Ned James, of the Clipper, were alive today they could unfold many gruelling tales of roughing it to and from an important battle. But both these veteran scribes passed away many years ago, after very active, laborious careers. They were really the pioneer boxing journalists of America. "Old Joe," as his friends liked to call him, was a very high class newspaper man, who could write ably on most any subject, but personally he was a great admirer of the manly art and consequently made it his specialty. It was his fad indeed.

Both Elliott and James, with many other American journalists, crossed the Atlantic to report the famous Heenan-Sayers fight in England in 1860, for their respective papers. Ned James especially was a very enthusiastic follower of the ring. He was the recognized fistic authority of his day. He wrote and published many books on boxing that have long been out of print. Among them I remember the lives and battles of John Morrissey, John C. Heenan, Tom Hyer, Yankee Sullivan and numerous others. Poor James went blind long before he died and lived for many years in absolute obscurity up on a farm in Connecticut.

Mark McGuire.

There was old Mark McGuire, of the New York Sun, who died in 1889. Most everybody called him by his pet name, "Toppy." His life was indeed a checkered one. Before the American News Company was established McGuire handled all the newspapers in New York city. He employed some 560 newsboys, among whom were Barney Williams, who became a famous Irish comedian; Judge Dowling, Superintendent of Police Kelso and other men who subsequently attained great prominence. Among his customers were Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and T. A. Benyon. McGuire later ran the "Cayuago" roadhouse, at McComb's Dam, which was a resort for old Commodore Vanderbilt, Robert Bonner and other noted men. Later in life Editor Charles A. Dana, of the Sun, made him the fighting scribe of his paper. "Toppy" never missed an important battle and had a fund of fistic information. He was as honest as the day is long in all fistic writings and doings.

J. B. McCormack.

John B. McCormack, who for many years wrote for the Cincinnati Enquirer and other leading papers under the nom de plume of "Macon," played quite an important part in fistic journalist in his day. In 1880, McCormack matched John L. Sullivan against Prof. John Donaldson. This was Sullivan's first noted battle and he won it with a knockout after twelve rounds. "Macon" reported all the important championship mills for almost the past fifty years. He knew the game from A to Z and was a very prolific writer on his pet subject of boxing. Mr. McCormack passed in after a very active career some seven years ago. His son, George McCormack, who was also a sporting writer, especially on boxing and baseball, died from the white plague about a year ago.

Harry Weldon.

Most every sport knew the genial Harry Weldon who so ably filled the position of sporting editor on the Cincinnati Enquirer for so many years. He was probably the most popular writer of his class in the Middle-West. His sad death a few years ago was not only a great loss to his host of friends in the baseball and pugilistic fields, but a great sorrow. Harry was a kind, whole-souled fellow with a heart as big as an ox.

John Boyle O'Reilly.

This country never had a more brilliant writer on boxing than John Boyle O'Reilly, who at his death was the editor and proprietor of the Boston Pilot. He wrote and published several books on the old game and was already to defend the manly art by his clever pen. He was widely and favorably known throughout the country as a poet and as an all-around literary genius. His name will always be held in honorable regard both because of the work he achieved and because of what his name represented not only to Irishmen, but to Americans in sympathy with the spirit of Home Rule, which is ultimately to triumph in the Emerald Isle. Mr. O'Reilly died in 1890 in Boston.

Nelse Innes.

Speaking of the fistic scribes of Boston, there was Nelse Innes, formerly sporting editor of the Boston Herald, a bright, active, valorous little fellow who made a most gallant fight against consumption until he finally was counted out by old grim death away off on the hot deserts of Arizona. Charles T. Mack, another boxing writer of Boston, better known under the nom de plume of "Bill Blunt," died from the same disease in Cincinnati a few years ago. I also remember Captain A. W. Cooke of the same city who passed in about five years ago.

Peter J. Donahue.

No boxing scribe was better known some twenty years ago in the big metropolis than Peter J. Donahue, the sporting editor of the old Recorder. He wrote snappy, fearless fighting gossip under the signature of "P. Jay." In his younger days he was a fleet foot sprinter of considerable reputation. He wrote fighting for the New York World for many years, but finally went over to the Recorder with Colonel Turner. Donahue was also a very popular referee and matchmaker. He was a thoroughly honest fellow and was indeed very popular with the fans of his day. He also fell a victim to the white plague and passed away before he had reached the prime of his life twenty years ago.

Howard B. Hackett.

Howard B. Hackett was another noted boxing writer of Donahue's time. He was attached to the New York World for many years and covered all the big fights for that paper. I remember him so well at the big fistic carnival at New Orleans, in which Sullivan lost to Corbett, McAuliffe defeated Myers and I met George Dixon. It was at this carnival that Sullivan, McAuliffe and my humble self were dubbed the "Three Fighting Jacks," in 1892. Hackett was certainly a live wire in those days, and I can hardly realize he has passed and gone some fifteen years.

"Big Jim" Kennedy.

There was "big Jim" Kennedy who started out as a pugilistic scribe on the New York Times and afterward ran the Seaside A. C. and other boxing clubs in this section of the country. Kennedy for years was associated with Pat Powers in conducting the big bicycle races at Madison Square Garden and other sporting events. He had many noted fighters under his management and was well known from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts for his fair dealings and many worthy qualifications. Many years ago he ran some walking matches at the big garden with Billy O'Brien, who was also in his day a fighting reporter. Kennedy was only 45 years of age when he dropped dead, a victim of heart disease, in a Brighton Beach train on his way to Manhattan, April 20, 1904. O'Brien passed in many years before him.

Some of the Others.

There was Bayard Braiser of the New York Evening Journal, a very honest and worthy writer of fistic events, and Billy Norr, of the New York World, who, besides writing boxing and baseball was the author of a very realistic, graphic book entitled "Stories of Chinatown," which so interested Hall Caine, the noted English novelist, that he paid many visits to Chinatown to hunt up Norr's unique characters.

Tom Lee (not Chinese), former sporting editor of the Evening World, also passed in quite suddenly. William E. Harding, of the Police Gazette, and "Denver" Smith, a strong and able special fistic writer of the New York World, were others well known.

"Big Tom" Evans traveled over to Chantilly, France, to see the battle between John L. Sullivan and Charley Mitchell, and Bob Turnbull was also at the ringside in France. Turnbull started early in life as a boxer and fought Jack Dempsey and other middleweights. He afterward took to reporting fistic events and became attached to the New York Herald. Later he became interested in the real estate business and died worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars. All these boxing scribes have been swept away and many others I cannot recall, within a few years.

Across the Ocean.

Over in England there has also been quite a sweeping off of the boxing writers. There was George Atkinson, formerly editor of the London Sporting Life. He took a very active interest in the fighting game for many years, but finally joined the church and became a preacher. He died a few years ago. Many of the sports in this part of the country will remember little Ed Plummer, who reported so many skin glove fights for the New York papers. He also refereed many fistic and athletic events for some twenty years in this vicinity. He finally went to England and joined the staff of the Sporting Life, where he did good work until death counted him out some three years ago. I also recall Fred Gallaher, a very capable journalist, who came out to this country with a bunch of Irish and English athletes. Later he made a second trip with Charley Mitchell, then the boxing champion of England. Gallaher was a Dublin man and founded the Dublin Sport, which is still the recognized sporting authority of Ireland. He wrote for many American newspapers, but finally returned to London to write pugilism for several of the leading sporting journals of England and Ireland. Gallaher died suddenly from heart failure in London some four years ago. He had many friends on both sides of the Atlantic and was a very genial, good-natured, companionable man under all conditions and circumstances.

Old grim death has certainly played havoc among the prominent and able boxing writers of the past thirty years. As I look around the press seats nowadays at the ringsides I see but two or three scribes who reported fights in my day. All the others have joined the great majority. Their places are filled by younger men who know little of the hardships, dangers and all night toil of their worthy predecessors. Very few indeed of the leading fighters of the past thirty years have been counted out, but what a sweeping away of the boxing scribes! They were a good, honest, hard-working bunch and their conscientious labors in the interest of the manly art should not be forgotten. They are classed with the champions of their day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1917-08-21 Pete Herman ND10 Jack Douglas [Tulane Athletic Club, Tulane Arena, New Orleans, LA, USA]

1917-08-22 Evening Tribune (San Diego, CA) (page 9)
International News Service

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 22.--Pete Herman, world's bantamweight champion, tonight won easily from Jack Douglas, champion of the Pacific coast, and sent here by Tom Andrews, of Milwaukee, to beat Herman. Herman knocked Douglas down with the first punch in the first round and then started in to cut him to pieces. He succeeded admirably, Douglas looking like a piece of raw beef at the end.

1917-08-22 Morning Tulsa Daily World (Tulsa, OK) (page 1)
Herman First Boxing Champion to Declare War Against Kaiser
Special to The World.

NEW ORLEANS, La., Aug. 21.--Pete Herman, bantamweight champion of the world, is the first pugilistic title holder to declare war on the kaiser. At the close of his ten-round bout with Jack Douglas of San Francisco here tonight, it was announced that he had been passed as physically fit by the local selection board, would claim no exemption and was ready to go to war. He said his ten-round bout in Tulsa, Okla., Labor day probably would be his last ring engagement until after the war.

Herman never was in danger during tonight's engagement. He knocked his opponent down in the first round and boxing critics were unanimous in the opinion that the champion had won practically every round.

1917-08-22 The Daily States (New Orleans, LA) (page 11)
Herman Beats Douglas Decisively
Pacific Coast Boy Outclassed, Takes Fearful Lacing From Champion; Result of Scrap Was Hardly Ever In Doubt.

Pete Herman, 118-pound title-holder, won perhaps the easiest bout of his career last night at the Tulane Athletic Club. Herman decisively beat Jack Douglas, of San Francisco, in a 10-round no-decision bout. From start to finish, Herman's class stood out, and there was seldom a moment during the entire contest where Douglas had the slightest chance.

Herman showed all of his old-time speed and ability. He hit Douglas with every imaginable blow permissible under the Queensberry code. A half dozen different rounds, the second excepted, found Douglas on the verge of a knockout. Herman, however, was unable to slip over the Morpheus kick.

Prior to the bout, 2 to 1 was freely offered that Douglas would stay the limit. There were few takers. It was next to impossible to wager on Herman at all, the odds rising one time to 5 to 1, the champion would win on points.

Herman Tried to Bump off Douglas.

Herman apparently tried all he knew how to stop Douglas. Except in the second round, in which he stepped around the Coast boxer, the champion showered blow after blow upon Douglas. Pete, however, failed to tap the Westerner's weakest spot, the jaw. In the first round, Herman stung Douglas with a left to the jaw and sat him down. The spectators figured the bout wouldn't go the limit. Douglas, however, was evidently determined to stay 10-rounds, for when in close quarters he held on in the clinches, or at long rang, sprinted from one side to the other of the ring.

Douglas took perhaps the most cleancut lacing any boxer has received in a local ring in several years. Punished about the face, which swelled almost again as large as its original size, Douglas gave a splendid exhibition of gameness.

The Coast boxer apparently suffered a painful injury to his nose in the first round and the better part of the remaining nine stanzas, protected the sore spot. Except for a left-hand punch the Coast fighter rarely hit the champion.

Bout One-Sided; Herman too Classy.

The match was uneven from start to finish and probably staged for the purpose of showing Herman, the first New Orleans champion, to the local fans. It was estimated that the contest drew in the neighborhood of $800. Herman, it was said, had a $1,000 guarantee, win, lose or draw. Herman dropped Douglas in the first chapter and probably figured he could afford to give the spectators a run for their money before bumping off the Western boy. When Pete did cut loose in the fourth and every round thereafter, Douglas fought to better advantage, although he was on the receiving end throughout. One round was a repetition of the other, Douglas taking everything Herman aimed at him, spitting blood and retreating, first across the ring and then in and out of the corners.

The preliminary bouts furnished some tame sport. Probably the best looking preliminary boy hereabouts, Young Wolgast, hit Paddy Callahan a wallop in the jaw and dropped him face downwards on the canvas. The first mill went to Sailor Freeman, Young Connolly sinking for the count from a belt on the jaw.

Young Barrera gave Young Corbett about three inches in height and some twenty pounds in weight. In return he received a clout on the jaw and when he revived the bout was over. Laporte and Young Darcy boxed four rounds, the former winning handily.

1917-08-22 The New Orleans Item (New Orleans, LA) (page 9)
(By Ham)

New Orleanians' first look at Pete Herman as a champion convinced them that the bantam division is headed by one of the best little battlers that ever reigned over that class.

Pete didn't stop Jack Douglas, as a great many enthusiasts wagered as high as 9 to 5 that he would do, but he gave the California veteran an artistic lacing from the first round to the tenth and had Jack almost to the point of the knockout half a dozen times. In fact, if Pete had followed up with very much vigor in the second and third rounds an advantage he took in the first Douglas would have taken the full count. But Pete had the fight so well in hand that he tempered his conquest with a little mercy, evidently thinking he would stow his opponent away later on. Douglas is game and tough and he recuperated, while Pete loafed just a bit, and the last round found him battling away as best he could, though that never was at any time sufficient to cope with the champion.

Herman Never As Good.

To say that Herman loafed in those early rounds would give the wrong impression. He simply let up after fighting the most aggressive first round that he has ever been known to fight. Early in that round he hung a peach of a left hook on the point of Jack's jaw and sent him down. Jack came up with a forced laugh on his face; he had been taken much by surprise and the punch exacted a lot of his strength. But he made very well of a bad situation, and although Pete hit him scores of times on every spot of his body above the belt he managed to stick.

Herman has used a lot of "stuff" at different times and has shown class ever since "Red" Walsh discovered him shining shoes and elevated him to the ranks of preliminary fighters, but never has he shown quite as much as in that first round. His speed and his cleverness with the gloves fairly bewildered Douglas, who is an old head at the game and has met clever men before. The ringsiders who always have been somewhat lukewarm in regard to Pete could not held but break their reserve and start rooting for the native son. He showed them things in the punch line they didn't know he had.

Has Jack On the Run.

After this round you could have written your own ticket in a wager that Douglas would not be knocked out. Before the fight started 2 to 1 was asked that Jack would stay the limit.

Nor were the fans disappointed when Pete didn't show punch enough to stop Douglas. He had the wallop but when Jack got iinto tight places and was in danger of being rocked to sleep he decided that discretion was the better part of valor and he kept on the run. Two or three times he turned his back to Pete and made away as though he intended to hurdle the ropes. But that was not his intention; he didn't lack courage--he simply adopted that as the only means of frustrating the champion in his knockout designs.

Champion Doesn't "Stall"

Because of the palpable one-sidedness of the match and because it was only a 10-round no-decision affair the "house" was not a very large one for a champion, and especially a native son champion, to draw. Doubtless the promoters were heavy losers on the experiment, which does not speak so very well for Herman as a drawing card. But Herman made himself stronger with his home fans than he ever has been. He did not "lay back," as is the custom of champion when there is nothing for them to gain and as has been Herman's practice in a great many of his fights. On the other hand, he started fighting from the tap of the gong and he never stopped. He carried the fight in every round and the few punches that he did not block or parry he took without wincing or slowing up. Douglas' widely reputed punch had no terror at all to the champion.

Jack no doubt has a pretty good punch but we suspect that Pete took it out of him when he slapped him on the jaw in that first round.

Laporte Defeats Darcy.

There were preliminaries galore--too many. The best was between Al Laporte and Young Darcy. The latter gave Laporte a good time of it for a round or two but Laporte, who is developing into a pretty good boy, overcame the lead and won out in four.

The star performers, next to Herman, were Referee Sam Goldman and Joe Fick. Goldman is demonstrating that it is possible for a referee to please the fans. Fick sang a few songs while men well known in the fight game passed around their hats and took up a collection for the widow of Police Captain Garry Mullen. The collection netted $187.85, $50 of which, it is said, was given by G. D. Bryan, owner of the Bowie race track and part owner of the track now being built at Shrewsbury.

1917-08-22 The Saginaw Daily News (Saginaw, MI) (page 1)
(By Associated Press.)

New Orleans, Aug. 22.--Pete Herman, claimant to the bantamweight championship of the world, never was in danger Tuesday night during his ten round no decision bout here with Jack Douglas of San Francisco. Herman knocked his opponent down during the first round. Boxing critics were unanimous in awarding the fight to Herman.

1917-08-22 The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) (page S8)
Nothing but remarkable stamina saved Jack Douglas, Pacific coast bantam champion, from a knockout at the hands of Pete Herman, world's title holder, in their ten-round bout at the Tulane A. C. Tuesday night. Floored by a left hook to the jaw in the first twenty seconds of the bout, Douglas was on the receiving end of the most severe punishment the whole ten rounds but managed to weather the storm and escape going to the floor a second time.

Intended merely to give Herman an opportunity to show his fistic wares, Douglas served the purpose admirably. A hard hitter with a good left, he was dangerous enough to make Herman careful, but at no time was a match for the champion at boxing. As per agreement no decision was given.

The Times-Picayune's score of the rounds gives Herman all but the seventh, which was even, and in at least half the rounds Herman won so decisively as to make it almost no contest.


To onlookers it appeared that Herman might have finished Douglas during either the first or second round of the fight, but he slowed up apparently with the idea of giving the spectators more of a run for their money. Then later on in the scrap, when he wanted to put over a sleep-producing punch, he was unable to connect. Douglas, after the early sessions, learned to block Herman sufficiently to avoid going down. He was groggy again and again but always saved himself from the floor.

Odds at the ringside shifted heavily to Herman. Practically no Douglas money was in sight except that there would be no knockout and Herman backers were forced to lay eight and nine to five on a knockout. Since Douglas lasted, the Douglas backers won these wagers.

Herman started off like a flash. After a few seconds' sparring he shot a heavy left hook to Douglas' jaw, which sat the Californian down for the count of five. The champion backed away and gave his opponent a brief breathing spell and then set upon him like a tiger. He drove Douglas from corner to corner and when the latter clinched, Pete's arms, working like a pivot on Douglas' body, drove him free again.


By the time the first round was two-thirds over it looked like a certain knockout. Douglas had not landed a single solid blow on Herman's face or body and had been hit scores of times. The Californian was bleeding from nose and mouth, his eyes were swelling, he was staggering about the ring.

"Have a heart, Pete," yelled the gallery. "Don't make it a slaughter."

And Herman stopped in his tracks and gave his opponent a few seconds' rest. In fact, Herman did little punishing for the remainder of the round.

Douglas looked mighty bad when he went to his corner, however. He was bleeding profusely from mouth and nose, and was plainly groggy. The minute's rest worked wonders, however, and he came up for the second round fresh enough to catch Herman a stinging left flush on the jaw in the opening exchange. A second left on Herman's jaw stirred the champion to action, however, and a series of in-fighting engagements, in which Douglas was literally slaughtered. Fifteen, twenty, thirty trip-hammer blows to the kidneys and abdomen, with practically no return, and then a left or right hook to the jaw, which sent him staggering away--that is the way Herman handled the clinches. At least twice during the session it appeared Douglas was ripe for the count of ten, but Herman seemed in no hurry. The Californian was sent to his corner, however, with his mouth badly cut and his body hammered to a fiery red. Obviously he had assimilated terrific punishment.


As the third round opened Douglas caught Herman a hook to the abdomen and later got in a left to the champ's jaw. Pete, however, returned the compliment with a series of staggering lefts and rights to the jaw. Douglas' work was a big improvement over the first two sessions, however, although the round was Herman's by a big margin.

In the fourth Douglas' body seemingly was hammered to a jelly by the champ. Breaking away from in-fighting, Herman took Douglas on in toe to toe slugging matches. Douglas fought with all the vigor and steam he possessed, but the speed of the champ was too much. Pete's lightning blows did their work, and Douglas, bleeding, reeled away. Douglas was bleeding freely at the end of the round.

Douglas showed a good flash in the opening of the fifth round, but Herman sent him rocking away with a left to the jaw. Douglas had to break ground fast to escape punishment. Then Douglas sought to clinch, and the cyclone of Herman's piston-like arms tore him loose and sent him reeling away.

Early in the sixth, another series of in-fighting exchanges--if they could be called exchanges--took place. At times Pete's arms hit as often as thirty times before a return blow came. Douglas got in a few good blows, but was badly beaten up during the round.

Douglas showed to far better advantage in the seventh. He adopted boxing tactics, jabbing with his left and getting away from Herman's rushing shower of blows. Giving Douglas full credit for perhaps a dozen squarely placed blows in the first half of the round, the round could be called even. For in the latter half, Herman again cut him to ribbons with the inevitable tattoo on the abdomen and hooks to the face.


Herman waded in at the outset of the eighth round after a knockout. He threw boxing caution to the winds and took the best Douglas could send in the hope of getting over the sleep punch. Douglas covered and Herman resorted to footwork and speed, traveling round and round his opponent, hitting with all his strength at every opening. It was a beautiful exhibition of boxing. In the fifty or sixty seconds of this demonstration, Douglas scarcely laid a glove on the champ. The heavy work had the Californian in a bad way at the end, but still on his feet.

The intermissions seemed to help Douglas wonderfully. No matter how worn he seemed at the end of a round, he came up strong and flashy at the sound of the gong for the next session. The ninth was no exception. He set on Herman like a tiger and sent home numerous hefty punches, but the champion shook them off lightly and countered so viciously that Douglas was soon backing up groggily. Douglas always finished second in these exchanges. Running, dodging, blocking as best he could, saved Douglas from the floor as the round neared the end. He seemed ripe, but still alert enough to escape the fatal blow.


Herman sailed in at a terrific pace in the final round and beat his opponent severely, but still the knockout was lacking. In this as in the eighth and ninth, the champion was putting every ounce of strength into the effort. Douglas' stamina, however, survived the storm.

Perhaps in another two or three rounds the knockout would have come. Certainly, human flesh could not have weathered such body punishment much longer.

Herman came out of the fight practically unmarked.

Sammy Goldman was the third man in the ring and he gave a faultless exhibition. Happy Littleton refereed the prelims.

One corking good bout was among the four preliminaries. Al Laporte won a decision over Young Darcy after four rounds of real scrapping. They received hearty applause for their efforts.

Pat Callahan took a "Brodle" the first time he was hit by Young Wolgast and Wolgast gets credit for a "K. O." Young Corbett knocked out Young Barrere in the second round. Sailor Friedman disposed of Young Conley in about half a round. It didn't look like Conley was out, but Friedman obviously outclassed him.

A collection taken up for the Gary Mullen fund netted $187.85.