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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

1907-06-03 Harry Harris W-DQ8 Harlem Tommy Murphy [National Sporting Club, Lyric Hall, Manhattan, NY, USA]

1907-06-04 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY) (page S2)
"Pride of Harlem" Ordered Out of Ring at National Sporting Club.

Harry Harris won over "Harlem" Tommy Murphy on a foul in the eighth round of a ten-round contest last night, at the National Sporting Club. Murphy had fought foul throughout and was allowed to proceed by Referee Johnnie White, who called Tommy's tactic unintentional, but in the eighth, when Murphy, in plain sight of everybody, deliberately butted Harris under the chin, he sent the "Pride of Harlem" from the ring.

Harris fought an excellent battle, considering the time he has been out of the ring; his left jabs were very effective and played havoc with Murphy's temper by repeatedly jarring Tommy's head; his footwork saved him many times when it seemed as if it only needed one more punch from Murphy to put him away. The body work weakened Harris, and Murphy would probably have stopped him before the limit, had he kept his head. Murphy's work was crude and did not tend to add to his popularity.

In the preliminaries, "Kid" Egan won over Harry Phillips; Willie Dorsey bested Joe Bedell, and Jack Robinson earned the decision over "Dutch" Zimmer.

Just before the main bout Terry McGovern, George Dixon and Young Corbett were introduced and received a rousing reception. Terry seemed in fine shape, but said there would be no more fighting for him.

1907-06-04 The Evening Telegram (New York, NY) (page 7)
1907-06-04 The New York Herald (New York, NY) (page 7)
Harry Harris Wins from Murphy on Foul
In the first fight of real quality held in New York without police interference since the lapse of the Horton law, seven years ago, Harry Harris last night won on a foul from "Harlem Tommy" Murphy. The decision was received with enthusiastic approbation by the members of the National Sporting Club in Lyric Hall, fully a quarter of whom were in evening dress.

Although the battle was sensational from the tap of the gong that called the two boys to the centre of the ring until the referee, "Johnny" White, sent Murphy disqualified to his corner, the greatest interest perhaps lies in the fact that it marked a resumption of legitimate pugilism in New York.

All present were bona fide members of the club and more representative men have seldom attended a glove event. Seated around the ringside were Stock Exchange members, merchants, physicians, "men about town," politicians and owners of famous race horses. They generally approved of the referee's decision, giving the winner's share of the purse to Harris.

Murphy was rough throughout the battle, which had been scheduled to go ten rounds. At least three different times did he foul Harris before he was disqualified after fifty-five seconds of fighting in the eighth round. He was full of the fever of warfare and at all times attempted to tear his way through Harris, who remained cool, though frequently in danger of a knockout. As a fighting machine Murphy is made of the right material, but he lacks the proper gray matter under his hair.

It was an experienced boxer possessed of ring generalship surpassed by few against a fighter who was willing to accept two blows that he might land one. The boxer won simply because his opponent has more willingness than brains. Harris had permitted himself to be lured into the ring under rules that weakened him and strengthened Murphy. He was fortunate that the fight terminated in his favor.

In the opinion of many White might have proclaimed Harris the winner on two prior occasions without doing Murphy an injustice. One opportunity for action on the part of White developed in the third round, when Murphy fouled his opponent, and another in the fifth, when the Harlem lad again violated the rules.

On both occasions claims of foul were made to the referee. He, however, refused to allow them, believing they were accidental. He made it clear when he finally stopped the bout in the eighth round that he entertained no doubt on that point. Walking to the ropes on the south side of the ring, he said:--"Gentlemen, I am here to give satisfaction. I know when a foul is deliberately committed and when it is not. The foul I just passed was one of the most deliberate I ever saw."

White's speech was loudly applauded, indicating that losers and winners alike recognized the fairness of his verdict.

The fight was full of ginger throughout, but the rules operated greatly to the disadvantage of Harris. The men fought with the understanding that each must protect himself on the break away. This helped Murphy's style of fighting considerably, as it enabled him to do fine execution at close range and in clinches with his famous short arm drives.

Harris, who shows to better advantage when sparring at long range, had few opportunities to extend himself to the limit of capabilities under the adverse conditions. Notwithstanding the handicap, he made a good showing, but Murphy had the better of the exchange, particularly during the early rounds, when he almost closed Harris' right eye and landed frequently with the left to the head and the right to the short ribs.

The fifth round was marked by terrific fighting. Harris scored heavily during the first minute and a half, using his straight left jabs effectively on his adversary's jaw and body. But he weakened under the pace and Murphy had him beaten to a state of collapse with short heart and body blows when the gong sounded. The minute's rest helped Harris wonderfully and he came out of his corner for the sixth round refreshed and aggressive.

He soon scored first blood with a stiff jab to the mouth, and also reached Murphy's jaw with the right. He also made a good impression in the seventh round with a terrific left hand hook over "Harlem Tommy's" right eye.

In the eighth and what proved to be the last round Harris was scoring vigorously on Murphy's damaged eye, when "Tommy," who was hard pressed, in danger of serious consequences, deliberately brought his left hand up in the final foul.

1907-06-04 The Evening World (New York, NY) (page 12)
Pride of Harlem Butted Opponent Viciously in Eighth Round--Referee White Says that Loser's Manager Is a Liar.
Harry Harris got a decision over Tommy Murphy last night--got it when he was on the run, weak and staggering--when his mind was fighting off the Harlem demon rather than his fists. Murphy fouled him in the eighth round. The referee did the rest. It was a deliberate foul, as plain as the glove on Murphy's hand.

Nettled by the decision against Murphy, John Oliver, his manager, declared that the "Pride of Harlem" had been made the victim of a base and foul job. This is what Oliver said:

"A few days ago the Harris people sent a man to me, who offered me $3,000 to have Murphy lay down. I told them there wasn't enough money on Broadway to get Murphy to do it. And this is what they have done to us."

"Oliver's cry is that of a bad loser," said Tom O'Rourke, manager of the club. "The man he says offered him the money hasn't got a dollar. Everybody here saw the foul. It is ridiculous to say it was a job. All my friends lost money. They bet 2½ to 1 that Murphy would win."

Johnnie White, the referee, had this to say to-day about the fight:

"Having heard that Johnnie Oliver, Murphy's manager, has made the statement that he was offered $3,000 to have Murphy lose to Harris, I call upon Oliver to give the name of the person who made the proposition to him. If he refuses to make known this name, then all I have to say is that he is an unqualified liar.

"I desire to add that I have ample reason to believe that the yarn is false from beginning to end. I will give $500 to any charity selected by The Evening World if Oliver can come forward with evidence to show that his statement is true, or that I was in any way a party to such a plot."

All Saw the Foul.

If there was a job it was not apparent to the naked eye. Referee Johnny White had two chances to disqualify Murphy. Twice Harris stopped and dropped to his knees, claiming he had been hit low. And finally, when he did disqualify Murphy, even the men who had lost their wagers--and thousands were lost--took their medicine gracefully. They had witnessed the foul.

The National Sporting Club's quarters in Lyric Hall, Sixth avenue and Forty-second street, were crowded to the doors when the men entered the ring. It was a curious fight crowd. Only the elect were there. The pikers were nowhere. It was a crowd with parlor manners. The lusty-lunged hysterical fight fans of the olden days, when the Horton law was young, sat subdued and quiet. It is doubtful if at any stage the pedestrians on Sixth avenue knew, or had any reason to know, what was going on.

Three Champions There.

It was a convention of champions. Three of 'em sat in a row--wee dusky George Dixon, once invincible, now aged and withered; the quiet and well fed looking Young Corbett, and "Terrible" Terry McGovern. Surrounding them were lawyers and doctors--the highball coterie from the Waldorf-Astoria cafe, headliners from the Broadway shows, and the "also rans" of the sporting world, and last, but not least, John Philip Sousa.

Harris was the first in the ring. Norman Selby, once Kid McCoy, was his chief second. Then came Murphy, with Oliver at his ear. When they went to the centre of the ring it became known that they were to fight straight Queensberry rules. The Harris followers were chagrined. All hope of victory seemed gone. Murphy was known to be a furious and powerful combatant at that aggressive game.

Alongside of the stocky Murphy Harris's lithe, rangy body was accentuated. He spelled agility, Murphy power. When the bell sounded in the first of the ten rounds they were scheduled to go, Murphy was after Harris with a rush. Two lefts and then another crashed into the tall fighter's face, and then a vicious swing struck the body. The tall one doubled up, and they were at it in a rapid exchange of body blows. In a minute Harris's body was red from the pummeling he got. Then suddenly Harris's left shot out, and Murphy's head went back from the blow. But the Harlem boy came rushing back, and with a left to the jaw sent Harris staggering back. It was Murphy's round on aggressiveness.

Another for Murphy.

Murphy's left smashed into Harris's jaw at the beginning of the second. They came together and had a fair exchange. Then Murphy forced Harris to the ropes and shook his head back with a hard one on the jaw. Harris came out of the clinch with a jab to the face. It annoyed Murphy and was back again. But a short right uppercut stopped Harris. That round was Murphy's, too.

During the intermission the Harris followers became jubilant. The Harris of old seemed to be coming back. So far the sturdy Murphy, although his blows had landed hard, gave no sign of telling effect. Murphy's followers expressed surprise.

Murphy sent in a hard right to the body at the beginning of the third. Then out came Harris's jab again. Once, twice, three times it crashed against Murphy's face without return. Murphy, with head down and arms swinging, bored in to the tall one and suddenly Harris dropped to his knees and dragging himself to the ropes cried "foul." The crowd took up the cry, but the referee ordered Harris to continue. Murphy landed a terrific punch in the stomach. The bell parted a mix up. It was Murphy's round.

Murphy jumped from his chair with the gong at the beginning of the fourth and chased Harris around the ring. Harris kept him away with his annoying jabs, but when they clinched he suffered from Murphy's body blows. One fist after the other crashed against his heart and stomach and he began to grow weak. But suddenly his left found Murphy's jaw and then his right swing over for the first time. The round ended in a draw.

Another Cry of Foul.

The fifth started with a terrific exchange. Harris's wind was gone. He was getting wobbly and on the defensive. Murphy was fighting like a demon. Then Harris fell again, crying "Foul!"

Instantly two of his seconds were in the ring protesting to the referee. The house was in an uproar, "Give the decision to Murphy!" cried one crowd. "Give the decision to Harris!" cried the other faction. The referee shooed the seconds out of the ring and forced Harris to go on. That was Murphy's round.

Murphy leaped at Harris in the sixth. He seemed eager to finish it. He landed blow after blow and Harris clung to him in distress. At times he struck out, but all his steam was gone. All the way it was Murphy's round. Skill and pluck saved Harris.

In the seventh Harris came to life again. At the beginning he got the worst of the exchanges in the clinches, but he went after Murphy with his annoying jabs again. Murphy jarred him with a right to the head, but he came back with a terrific right to Murphy's stomach. Harris jabbed Murphy. When they came out of a clinch Murphy had a cut over the right eye. Harris's right eye was closed. It had been closing slowly for several seconds. The round was a draw.

The eighth round brought the thrilling climax. Murphy sent his left to the jaw and Harris landed two rights. They came together and clinched and fought around the ring. Then Murphy bored in again.

Murphy rushed in with his head down. As his gloves struck Harris he suddenly shot his head into Harris's face. Referee White promptly disqualified him, sending men to their corners.

Crowd Was Surprised.

The unexpected termination dazed the Murphy backers. It was some seconds before they recovered. They made a howl, but were quickly silenced. Referee White raised his hands and the noise subsided.

"Gentlemen, " said White, "I try to be fair, but I never saw a more deliberate foul, and my duty was plain."

Johnny Oliver jumped into the ring and protested to White, but his argument had no effect, and he finally led Murphy away. The crowd applauded both fighters. In his dressing-room Murphy made this explanation:

"He fouled me all through the fight. I never knew a fouler fighter. He gouged me, crushed my nose with his hand, and even bent back my fingers. And he butted me, too. That is how I got this cut over my eye."

The astute Kid McCoy made this characteristic explanation:

"Fouling may be all right if you can get away with it. Murphy got caught with the goods."

In the semi-windup Jack Robinson bested Dutch Zimmer. There were two other six round bouts. Bant Darcy defeated Joe Bedell, and Kid Eagan had a shade on Harry Phillips.

1907-06-04 The New York Times (New York, NY) (page 8)
1907-06-04 The Standard Union (Brooklyn, NY) (page 8)
Disqualified in Lively Contest with Harris for Fouling.

In a most unsatisfactory ten-round bout Harry Harris, the elongated boxer of Chicago, defeated Tommy Murphy, "the Pride of Harlem," in the eighth round on a foul before the National Sporting Club at Lyric Hall last night. Murphy was disqualified for using his head while in a clinch. Whether the foul was intentional or not the spectators could not decide, but Referee Johnny White declared that it was, and made the announcement from the ring. Up to this time Murphy had a commanding lead and looked as if he had the encounter well in hand. The fight was a vicious affair, in which many hard punches were exchanged. Murphy was the most prolific with his blows, ripping his man with telling effect in nearly every round save the seventh.

In this period Harris caught Murphy on the right eye with a left hook, inflicting a deep gash.

From the outset Murphy cut out the pace, slashing away at Harris' body and head. Murphy connected exceptionally well at close range, Harris being unable to avoid Murphy's jarring jolts to the jaw and chin. As they agreed to battle under straight Marquis of Queensbury rules, this was permissible under the code. In order to escape this punishment, Harris had to resort to clinching, and displayed some strength while in this position.

Murphy made a rushing scrap of it from the first round. He plied both hands with lightning-like rapidity. If the rules had been religiously observed, Harris should have been the loser in the fifth. In this round, after Murphy caught Harris a hard right in the wind which dropped Harry, the latter's seconds raised a cry of foul and rushed pellmell into the ring. The referee pushed them back. The combat was also delayed in the third, when Harris claimed that Murphy had caught him below the belt. The blow was a sort of glancing one, and Harris dropped into his chair, to all appearances in agony.

There is no question regarding Harris's gameness. He withstood enough grueling during the fight to subdue five ordinary men, the beating about the body and face that Murphy administered being especially severe. Murphy's soporific left hooks played havoc with Harry's countenance, so much so that when Harris retired to his dressing room his lips were considerably puffed and his visage was marked and bruised.

1907-06-04 The Washington Times (Washington, DC) (page 8)
Tommy Murphy, However, Put Up Far the Best Fight.

NEW YORK, June 4.--Tommy Murphy lost to Harry Harris on a foul in the eighth round last night at Tom O'Rourke's National Club, which holds forth at Lyric Hall.

The boys were to have boxed ten rounds, but after a very shameful exhibition on the side of both men the Harlem boy lost for butting his opponent with his head in a clinch.

For the real, active merits in the boxing line Murphy proved himself far the better man, but after being butted himself and choked with the elbow, he tried to even things up--and he lost out. Referee Johnny White, after the fight, announced that it was the most deliberate foul he had ever seen and as he was there to see fair play, he gave the fight to Harris.

Mr. White may mean well, but he didn't give Tommy a square deal on the rules or else we read the rules wrong.

In the fifth round Murphy hit Harris a bit low, and the latter claimed a foul. Mr. White decided that there was no foul, and then two of Harris' seconds jumped into the ring, ran across to their man and yelled wildly at the referee for allowing such a thing to pass his notice. Mr. White told them to get out, and ordered the boys to fight.

Tom Sharkey won over Jim Corbett the night Jim's seconds entered the arena after Jim was pretty well mussed up, but then they might have changed the rules since. Mr. White will have to enlighten us a bit on that affair.

Just before that in the third round, when Harris had one of his eyes closed, Murphy missed a low punch and Harry, seeing a chance to cop, walked to his corner with an expression of pain on his face. The referee let him rest half a minute or so and then ordered him to fight amid loud protests from the Harris men.

If Murphy fouled him Harris should have won. If Murphy did not foul him, why was Harris allowed a rest?

It is only fair to ask such questions, for the rules were stretched so far last night. Mr. White was right in ordering Harris to fight, however, as he was not hurt in the least and no punch landed on him. Quite a number of foxy fighters have won bouts this way, but then those at the ringside are not all blind, even though some up there last night were crazy enough to bet two and one-half to one that Murphy would win.

1907-06-05 The Denver Post (Denver, CO) (page 11)
Explains Alleged Fake Go
McDonald Wanted Murphy to Lay Down-Offered Him $3,000.
(By Tad.)

New York, June 5.--The suspicious circumstances surrounding the fight between Tommy Murphy and Harry Harris, in which the Harlem boy lost on a foul, before the National Sporting club, were explained today by Johnny Oliver, the manager of Murphy, who said: "last Friday a man known as McDonald, and a former newspaper man, came to me at the New Polo Athletic club and said: 'Oliver, will you take $3,000 to have Murphy lay down in his fight with Harris? Just let him put a bandage around his bad leg and when the time comes he can go down for the count.'

"I told him that we were not in that kind of business. McDonald did not explain to me anything about the details of the matter."

1907-06-05 The Evening World (New York, NY) (page 12)
To the safe and sane these things rise from the Harris-Murphy aftermath:

Tommy Murphy fouled Harry Harris, and was caught with the goods.

Harry Harris's seconds jumped into the ring and so disqualified Harris, according to the technical interpretation of the rules.


Any reasonable fight fan knows that all rules, all laws, are flexible to the application of common sense. Johnny White employed common sense. He knew that Harris's seconds were hysterical--he knew that the men who climbed into the ring were merely bottle-holders, and that Kid McCoy--the real second, the chief handler--had not violated the rules. He knew that a literal interpretation of the rule would mean that a dishonest second could finish any fight at any stage.
No matter how much Harris bruised Murphy in the clinches, no matter how foul Harris fought, the fact remains that Murphy's attempt at foul fighting was so flagrant the referee's duty was clear. Retaliation is no excuse for Murphy.

Oliver says he was offered $3,000 to lay down. He didn't take it. No man who saw the fight dare say that either man pulled. And no man of reason will condemn Johnny White for his part. It was a mighty fine thing that he was in the ring.

They are fighting around New York now. But if we have any more exhibitions of the Harris-Murphy sort it is likely that our fighting interests will once more take a train for Philadelphia.
  H. B.

1907-06-05 The Standard Union (Brooklyn, NY) (page 8)
Johnny Oliver, manager of Tommy Murphy, the "Pride of Harlem," who lost to Harry Harris on a foul at Tom O'Rourke's National Club Monday night, stated immediately after the bout that a man, whose name he gave, came up and offered him $3,000 if he would have Murphy lose to Harris.

There is heavy betting on all the bouts at the National Sporting Club.

Monday night Murphy was held favorite at 2½ and even 3 to 1. As fast as this price was offered by the admirers of the Harlem fighter it was taken in fifties and hundreds. Several of those near the ring held hundreds of dollars in cash, besides the thousands that were bet all over the hall, either in cash or "finger betting."

It was remarked that there never seemed to be a lack of Harris money, though the fight experts present gave him only an outside chance.

In the judgment of most of those present this opinion was vindicated, for Harris was badly beaten when Referee Johnny White gave the battle to Harris on a foul in the eighth round. Murphy was disqualified for butting Harris under the chin after Harris had butted him over the eye, opening a gash an inch long, from which the blood flowed down and blinded the Harlem man.

1907-06-05 The Washington Times (Washington, DC) (page 8)
Murphy-Harris Fight Has a Decidedly Bad Look.

NEW YORK, June 5.--Up and down Broadway yesterday there was nothing but talk of the Murphy-Harris fight. Some were for Harris straight, place, and show, while others took the Murphy end with its queer angles.

Just why the referee allowed Harris to butt Murphy and let it go on is still unanswered. Just why the referee allowed Harris' seconds to scamper about the ring in the fifth round and then chase them out without giving the fight to Murphy is still among the unanswered.

Johnny Oliver was the sorest man in town last night.

"I don't want to say that Murphy was double crossed," says Oliver, "but it certainly looks funny. When I refused the $3,000 offer which was made to me to have Tommy lay down, I thought we would get an even break, and the best man would win. Tommy did win by a mile, but he lost anyway. We should have won the fight twice on a foul, but when I made a kick to the referee, he wouldn't even listen to me."

One of the Harris' brokers last night at the Cadillac said that Murphy did everything but pull a knife on Harry in that fight. He said that Harris was getting better from the sixth on and Murphy, seeing no chance to knock him out, tried every dirty trick he knew.

To be fair to both sides, it was a very dirty exhibition after the sixth round. Harris used his elbow and tried to break Murphy's back over the ropes, butted him, and then got the same thing himself. If two professional pugilists can't engage in a bout without such tactics they should retire. There are plenty of clean fighters.

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