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Monday, May 26, 2014

Chicago boxing troubles in 1900

1900-12-23 The Sunday Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL) (page 16)
Houseman's Resume of the Week Among the Boxers.
Game Is Temporarily Dead, and It Is Just as Well.
Blackmailers Had Much to Do with Its Taking-Off--Governor Nash Takes a Stand--Ryan and Ordway.
For a time, at least, public boxing is dead in Chicago. And, for that matter, so is boxing of the private sort. The Gans-McGovern episode of a week ago last Tuesday brought the wrath of the city fathers down on the none too well-protected head of the game, and it will require a lot of "squaring" to revive the sport in Chicago.

And it is about as well that the city has a rest. The game has been worked to death, and from the loose manner in which "boxing carnivals" were being conducted the end was in sight long before it finally came. Every hall and handball court in the city, together with many basements and garrets, was giving weekly boxing shows. Ill-conditioned men, novices, and all manner of physical wrecks were being pitted against each other, and it was only a matter of time when the coroner and his grewsome work would have accomplished that which Alderman Patterson's resolution encompassed at the last meeting of the city council.

Aside from this, the complimentary blackmailers were gradually making the impost too heavy for the promoters to carry. To begin with, there were all of the aldermen in the council who had to be supplied with a pair of seats each, and when these were not the best the howl was deep-toned and sonorous. The various departments of the city and county had to be looked after, and, with $5,000 turned away from the doors at the last Tattersalls show, this is the mass of "snow" found in the boxes after the count-up:

  198 box seats at $5 each................  $990.00
  431 reserved seats at $3 each........... 1,203.00
  302 reserved seats at $2 each...........   604.00
  301 seats at $1.50 each.................   450.50
-----                                     ---------
1,232 seats...............................$3,338.50

Thus it will be seen that no building other than Tattersalls in Chicago could stand this sort of drain and make any money at it. Every man with a friend in the council or in the police department expected "courtesies." Then there were constables, the clerks of the police, the magistrates, the bailiffs, and what not. These "requests" were generally couched in terms which threatened displeasure and gave innuendoes of interference unless complied with. It resolved itself into nothing short of blackmail. Whatever the merits or the motives of Alderman Patterson's anti-fight resolution, there is little to weep over. As between the blackmailers for money and the blackmailers for tickets, boxing in Chicago had reached a state bordering on the moribund. It could not survive much longer. Whether the fight between McGovern and Gans was honest or not does not affect this condition. Boxing would better be given a rest. If it is ever revived, bouts between high-class men to go ten rounds, and the bouts to operate under licenses of, say, $250 or even $500 each, with an effective stranglehold provision for the deadheads, will give the clubs a chance and the city of Chicago a regulating revenue.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

1910-05-20 Abe Attell ND10 Harlem Tommy Murphy [National Sporting Club, New York, NY, USA]

1910-05-21 New-York Tribune (New York, NY) (page 10)
Outpoints Murphy in Seven Rounds of Good Bout.

Abe Attell, of San Francisco, the featherweight champion of the world, outpointed Tommy Murphy, the "Pride of Harlem," in a ten-round bout at the National Sporting Club of America last night. The bout was not up to the standard, both boys being too cautious and refusing to take a chance.

Tom O'Rourke, the manager of the club, refereed the bout and performed his duties in a creditable way. Before calling the boys to the centre O'Rourke made this announcement:

"In order to protect the members of this organization from any happening similar to that of last Friday, the management has made a rule that, in case of a disqualification of the boxers for failing to give of their best work, the assessment either will be returned to the members or donated to charity."

Murphy was guilty of the only foul during the bout. In the eighth round he held Attell's left glove under his arm and ripped home several upper cuts. He also cuffed the latter several times with the heel of his glove. Attell retaliated by rubbing his beard of four days' growth on the Harlem boy's face and shoulders.

Attell showed to the fore in the first, second, third, fifth, eighth, ninth and tenth rounds, while Murphy's furious infighting gave him the call in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds. Murphy rocked the champion in the fourth round with a right cross counter that caught Attell as he came in. The blow was high and Abe soon recovered from its effects.

Attell was Murphy's superior in scientific boxing, and landed three clean blows to Tommy's one. He used a slashing left hook to the face that caused Murphy's both eyes to puff and discolor, and a left jab that drew the blood from his nose in the first round.

1910-05-21 The Evening Telegram (New York, NY) (page 8)
Attell Wins from Murphy on Points
Featherweight Champion Too Clever for the Harlem Boy in Ten Round Bout.
For the second time in the course of a month "Abe" Attell, featherweight champion of the world, handed "Tommy" Murphy, the pride of Harlem, a beating last night that he and the members of the National Sporting Club of American will not forget for some time.

Murphy was outclassed from the first round until the finish, as Attell's past experience was too much for his opponent and made him look like a novice during their ten rounds of boxing.

In fact Attell never really let himself loose at any stage during the milling, but just played safe and chopped away at Murphy's face with a left jab and in close quarters hammered at "Tommy's" midsection.

The clubhouse was crowded and when the principals made their appearance standing room was at a premium. It was the largest gathering of members seen at the club this season.

Attell was the first to enter the ring and took the southeast corner, where he was looked after by "Young" Griffo and his brother "Monte," and he stripped to white trunks, followed a second later by Murphy, who seated himself in the northwest chair and disrobed to black trunks, looking about ten pounds heavier than Attell.

While the boys were donning their mitts the announcer introduced "Knock Out" Brown, "Young" O'Leary, Stanley Ketchel and "Willie" Lewis, the latter two are scheduled to meet at the club on Friday, May 22, in the main event, for ten rounds.

It was also announced that the Sharkey Athletic Club will hold a special entertainment on Saturday, May 28, for the benefit of "Gym" Bagley, who is very ill.

When Referee O'Rourke called the boys to the centre of the ring both agreed to break clean, and after receiving instructions, at the sound of the gong for the first round, Murphy landed a light left to face and received a right to jaw. Murphy crossed left to jaw and landed right and left to the same place. Attell used a stiff left to face during the round, and landed at will. It was Attell's round.

Second Round.--Attell jabbed face with left, and Murphy crossed left to mouth. Murphy sent Attell's head back with a hard right to jaw, and Attell came back with a right uppercut to face. Attell put two lefts to wind. Murphy missed two lefts, and Attell hooked right to head. Murphy sent right to jaw, and Attell rushed him across the ring, jabbing left to face. Murphy landed a good right on jaw. They sparred and Attell hooked both hands to jaw and swung a hard right to head. Murphy sent right to jaw and a left to wind. Attell jabbed mouth with left at bell. Attell's round.

At the gong of the third round Murphy missed a left for head and they mixed it. Attell ripped right to body and left to jaw. Murphy missed two lefts for head and Attell chopped face with left. Attell sent Murphy's head back with a straight left. Murphy jabbed face with left and then misses right and left for head. Attell put blocked Murphy's left and ripped his right left to jaw and solid left to wind. Attell blocks Murphy's left and rips his right to to wind. Attell sent Murphy's head back with a straight left to face as Tommy rushed in before bell. Attell's round.

Murphy had a shade the best of the fourth round, as he landed a few hard rights and lefts to jaw and body; in close quarters the Harlem boy used a short uppercut to chin.

Attell was the aggressor from the fifth round and forced Murphy all around the ring, landing right and left to jaw and face at will, and made Murphy miss many well intended blows.

The last two rounds were of a whirlwind fashion, as both exchanged hard blows to jaw and body. In the final session Attell chopped left to Murphy's face and sent right and left to jaw, and in close quarters used a short uppercut to jaw that forced Murphy to hold.

Murphy was hissed several times during the fight for holding Attell's hand under his arms in the clinches.

Attell proved he is Murphy's master, and in a longer fight would have no trouble in winning from the pride of Harlem.

In the semi-final bout "Frankie" Mango outpointed "Young" Terry in a six round contest. McConnell won from "Joe" Fisher in the third round of a scheduled six round battle, and "Bull" Anderson defeated "Battling Larry" Ryan in the same number of rounds.

1910-05-21 The New York Herald (New York, NY) (page 11)
Featherweight Champion Proves Superiority Over Lightweight in Ten Round Bout.
"Abe" Attell did a few things last night to "Tommy" Murphy at the National Club which he may have had left over from their last meeting. Even those friends of the Harlem idol who see him as a lightweight champion through the large end of a magnifying glass, must have had some of their convictions dissipated.

There were many who argued that Murphy had won in the last clash, but last night "Abe" showed just how cheap a boxer can be made, that is to say, a boxer who has championship aspirations. It made no difference to Attell that he was giving away a dozen pounds in weight. He made up for the difference in skill.

It was the same tale practically as when they met before. Attell picked off Murphy's blows like drops of rain on an umbrella, and he peppered his home with the accuracy of a sharpshooter. At that "Abe" was not going as fast as he can. He was content to jab Murphy off and outpoint him and only put on the accelerator once or twice, and when this notch was raised in the speed limit Murphy looked like a schoolboy being cuffed by a husky country pedagogue.

Murphy tried to box instead of fight, and Attell is a past master of the science of fistics. "Tommy" did not show anything worth mentioning against his little opponent's skill, but he did show a few things in the way of bad holding that were hissed.

During the ten rounds that the bout lasted Murphy landed about one clean blow to Attell's five, it was the feather weight champion's "mill" from gong to gong, and it was pretty boxing withal.

1910-05-21 The New York Press (New York, NY) (page 9)
Featherweight Champion Bests Murphy at O'Rourke's Club.

"Say, do youse two guys room together?" shouted a wag from the gallery in Tom O'Rourke's National Sporting Club last night, in the midst of one of the clinches that punctuated the ten-round bout between Tommy Murphy, the Flatbush Farmer, and Abe Attell, the featherweight champion. Though somewhat aged, the remark was apt, for the big crowd attracted by the mill saw a poor exhibition of the manly art. In what fighting there was Attell had the better of it. The featherweight champion won the first, second, sixth, seventh, ninth and tenth rounds. The third and fifth sessions were even. Murphy had the better of the other two rounds, the fourth and the eighth.

In the first two rounds Murphy was content to spar with Attell, and in that department of the game Abe made Tommy look like a novice. Tommy decided to do some fighting in between the second and third rounds, and held Attell even in the third and bested him in the fourth. Then Abie got into the going again and evened up matters in the fifth, and had a shade the better of the sixth and seventh. Tommy came back and swept Attell around the ring in the eighth, only to have Abie take the ninth session. The tenth round opened with fireworks and closed with hugging. Attell had a shade the better of the last round.

It was a rough go. Abe came into the ring with a two weeks' growth of beard on his face and he constantly used the "whiskers punch" made famous by Battling Nelson. Abe heeled with his glove and butted with his head. Tommy looked to be doing most of the holding, but to the experts Attell's curling left arm repeatedly was seen to steal inside Tommy's right and curl around the waist. Then Abe would draw Tommy into a stinging right.

Tom O'Rourke refereed, but showed rustiness, constantly getting in the way of the boys. There were flashed of clever and hard fighting, but on the whole the least said about the bout the better.

1910-05-21 The New York Times (New York, NY) (page 10)
These Two Old Antagonists Furnish Poor Sport for Big National Club Crowd.
The question in the minds of the major portion of the big crowd that filed out of the National Sporting Club last night, after witnessing the ten-round bout between Tommy Murphy and Abe Attell, was, How much longer boxing enthusiasts of this city are going to stand for limited round bouts between these two, and which was the next club with sufficient temerity to put the bout on?

Time has proven that these two finished and overcautious boxers create about as much dissatisfaction in the sum total of a ten-round go as it is possible to get in one such encounter. The last time they were together they did get some little action in their bout.

But last night repeated attempts to save each other as much inconvenience as possible were so palpable that the tired crowd left silently and orderly, satisfied in their own minds that they had seen two past masters of the limited round game do their best to impress the fear-minded portion of the community that there is absolutely no danger in this sport whatever.

It was a tiresome affair in the sense that no damage was done, and the average boxing show crowd pays and desires to see this thing once in a while at least. Something to show for their money, so to speak. Attell left little doubt that he was Murphy's master, though his work during the ten rounds last night would not give him a decision by any fair-minded referee. Murphy, on the other hand, was aggressive, and his willingness was about the only real feature of the bout.

Only in the tenth round was anything like fast work done, and then both boys looked as if they were in earnest, which served only to impress the gathering with what could have happened to round out a good evening's entertainment if Attell and Murphy had had half the desire to please as the boys in the preliminaries.

Attell's growth of beard was the cause of much comment, and his object in wearing a hirsute appendage of such magnificent proportions was apparent in the clinches. He rubbed his chin and jaw bones on Murphy's neck and collarbone until the crowd's hissing caused him to desist.

Tom O'Rourke refereed the wind-up, and in a little speech before hostilities began he in a measure defined the club's position as regards the unfortunate affair between Matty Baldwin and Leach Cross last week. He exonerated Referee Joe Hess from any intention to do anything but what he thought was right, but he admitted that Hess was wrong and explained his action by voicing the opinion that Hess had become rattled by the clamor of the crowd.

When Attell and Murphy stood up together to receive the usual instructions it was seen that Murphy had about ten pounds the better of the weight. Attell looked his usual well-trained self and his confident demeanor led one to expect that he would extend himself nearly to his utmost ability, at any rate.

They lost no time in getting to work, and a few light exchanges, with Murphy working a straight left cleverly, gave promise of better things than what followed. One of these lefts of Murphy's landed on Abe's chin and shook him up a bit, but Attell came back quickly and got past Murphy's guard, landing a left and right lightly on the face. There were quite a few clinches and a little roughing, and Murphy landed a left swing on the neck as the bell rang.

Murphy started in for the body in the second round and landed his left cleanly. Abe came back with a rush, both hands working, and forced Murphy to the ropes. Some clever boxing followed. Murphy landed his right on the jaw, but not sufficiently hard to jar Attell. It was rather lively during the latter part of the round, with Murphy feinting with his left for the body and countering Attell's lead. Attell answered, swinging both hands, and landed left and right on Murphy's jaw as the bell rang.

The third round was characterized by careful sparring and frequent clinches. The boys did not vary their style very much. It was a case of Murphy leading first always with the left and generally falling short, Attell blocking and occasionally rushing Murphy back, getting in a right alternately on the body and the side of the head. The crowd woke up to Abe's misuse of his whiskers in this round and hissed him roundly for rubbing his face over Murphy's body.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds were practically repetitions of one another, with little of real moment doing. In the sixth round the crowd became a bit impatient and called for more action. Murphy tried to respond, but he couldn't land effectively, and Attell seemed to have made up his mind that he was not going to go any faster than he really had to. He was content to meet Murphy's lead with a left counter on the face or body just to keep the Pride of Harlem off.

The seventh, eighth, and ninth rounds were monotonous for their sameness, although there was a flash of speed in the seventh which the crowd duly appreciated and became wildly enthusiastic. Just as they had got worked up to some real demonstration the pace slackened and the crowd settled down.

Frankie Mango and "Young" Terry went through six rounds of very uninteresting boxing of the mauling sort, hitting each other under the arms mostly, with the advantage in favor of neither, in the semi-final bout.

1910-05-21 The Standard Union (Brooklyn, NY) (page 8)
Tommy Murphy's showing last night against Abe Attell, the featherweight champion, hurt his chances for a match between Murphy and Ad Wolgast for the lightweight championship, according to the opinion expressed to-day by the experts who witnessed the fight. Attell gave away weight to meet the lightweight, but got a shade the best of it. From gong to gong it was a tame fight, with Murphy a poor second. Attell landed at will and blocked Murphy's rushes in his old time manner. Those who witnessed the fight declare to-day their belief that Attell will have little trouble taking care of Jem Driscoll, the English champion, in their forthcoming battle on the coast.

1910-05-21 The Sun (New York, NY) (page 7)
Old Rivals Meet in Ten Round Bout at National Sporting Club.

Abe Attell, the featherweight champion, shaded Harlem Tommy Murphy in a fast and clever ten round fight at the National Sporting Club in West Forty-fourth street last night. Murphy put up a good fight throughout the contest and through his clever footwork managed to avoid several good swings from the champion. In the seventh and eighth rounds he rushed at Attell and sent in several good left swings to the jaw. Near the finish of the eighth round he had Attell on the ropes, sending in short body blows.

In the final round the Harlem man tried to make up for the previous rounds, which favored Attell, and rushed at the champion. Attell was there and used good judgment, sending in right and left swings to the jaw and head, while Murphy's blows went wild.

Tom O'Rourke, the manager of the club, refereed the bout. Before the fight began he apologized on behalf of the club for the mistake Referee Hess made last week in the Cross-Baldwin fight.

Attell began by placing a short left to the face and the Harlem boy put his right to the stomach. They then mixed it up and both sent in short body punches. Attell then missed an uppercut, Murphy sidestepping. Attell opened the second round by putting a left to the jaw, and in the mixup that followed Murphy put a left and right on the jaw. Attell swung his left to the jaw and jabbed the stomach with his right. Both missed uppercuts at the bell.

In the third round Attell rushed in with his head down and sent in some good jabs to the stomach. Both were clever on their feet. Attell jabbed Murphy three times at the finish of the round. Attell tried a new style of fighting in the fourth round and on the break was very clever, sending in short hooks and body punches. Murphy rushed in and put a right swing on the jaw and then sidestepped a swing from the champion. Both used good footwork in this round.

Murphy opened the fifth round by placing a left on the face and Attell came back with an uppercut which sent the Harlem boy's head back. Attell missed a swing and they clinched. Attell was good on the break and sent in some good jabs to the face. In the sixth round Attell sent his left to the jaw and Murphy came back with his left in the same place. Both missed several good swings and near the bell Murphy sent his right to the stomach.

Attell rushed in the seventh round and sent left and right to the head. Murphy came back with a right to the mouth and they clinched. Attell then sent in his left and right again to the jaw, which made Murphy shake. Murphy then jabbed the face. In the eighth round Murphy rushed and sent in several good jabs to the body while he had Attell on the ropes. Attell sent his left to the mouth in the ninth round and Murphy clinched. They both hung on for a second or two and Attell showed his cleverness in the breakaway by putting in several short hooks.

In the final round Murphy rushed, but Attell was too clever and walked away from several vicious swings. Murphy then rushed again and Attell sent right and left swings to the jaw. Murphy swung wild. It was a good fight and both boys received a hand when they left the ring.