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Friday, December 30, 2016

Bob Fitzsimmons' loss to Jim Hall, fake or not?

1890-02-12 Evening News (Sydney, NSW, Australia) (page 2)

Hall v. Fitzsimmons.--There was an excellent house at Foley's last night to witness the match between the well-known middle weights, Jim Hall and Fitzsimmons. The advertised conditions of the match set forth that it was for forty rounds, £100, and the middle-weight championship. Certainly the display was not up to championship form. Hall was manifestly out of condition, as, after boxing two rounds, in which not much harm was done, he attempted to force the fighting, but his condition completely failed him, and at the end of the round two weak men were pushing one another about in the ring without strength enough to do harm of the mildest description. At the commencement of the fourth round Fitzsimmons advanced, and Hall accommodated him with a right somewhere in the vicinity of the jaw. Down went Fitzsimmons, who rolled on his back and kicked, but he did not get up when time was called, and referee Taylor adjudged Hall the winner. The business of the evening was preceded by some good boxing bouts between Ryan and Willis, and the brothers Griffo.

1890-02-12 The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW, Australia) (page 5)
There was not a very good house at Foley's Hall last evening when business commenced, and, even when half-price time had arrived, the seats were by no means uncomfortably crowded. The reason for this may have been that the match between Jem Hall and Bob Fitzsimmons, said to be for £100 and the high-sounding title of middle-weight champion of Australia, was not sufficiently advertised, or it may have been a doubt on the part of the regular patrons of boxing contests as to its genuine character. Hall's appearance at ring-side on Saturday evening, when he seemed to be imitating the example of the once a nous Joe Nolan, who preferred to get himself fit on gin, was certainly anything but assuring. The color thus given to the ever-present suspicion in the minds of regular ring-goers, was somewhat confirmed last night by the utter absence of anything like genuine enthusiasm, or even the ordinary preparations for an important contest. Ice might have been fetching Melbourne prices by the way it was dispensed with. Those who paid to witness what they expected would prove an exciting encounter had some return for their money in the shape of a smart set-to between Starlight and his trainer, a pair of darkies, who boxed with a will, and were followed in turn by Willis and Ryan, and the brothers Griffo. Over what should have been the bonne bouche of the evening we could wish to draw the veil of silence, as the less said the better. Hall was in no condition for a 40-round encounter, and was completely at the mercy of his opponent in the third round. Yet, although Fitzsimmons had made a pretence of backing himself for a "fiver" on entering the ring, he made no effort to knock out his beaten antagonist when he had matters all his own way. We can only suppose that that formed no part of the programme, as Fitzsimmons soon after got knocked down too easily it appeared, and sprawling over the floor like a dying duck in a thunderstorm until he was counted "out." His defeat deceived no one who is in any way capable of judging the merits of a boxing match; not even the South Australian cricketers, who were present on the occasion, and who must carry away with them a curious opinion of the way in which these matters are ordered in Sydney. But what must they think of the way in which Hall's performance is belauded in the columns of a couple of our contemporaries, from one of which something better might surely have been expected. But why such a shrewd man of the world as the proprietor of Foley's Hall should allow his patrons to be disgusted with the way in which they are periodically treated, has always been a mystery beyond our comprehension.

1890-02-12 The Referee (Sydney, NSW, Australia) (page 8)
Another Victory to his good Right Hand.
The last fight Hall will have before leaving by the Alameda on Wednesday next was that with Bob Fitzsimmons, the clever and agile New Zealander, who has been looked upon as one of our smartest middle-weights for two years now. They fought for £100 and the gate money. Hall was all abroad in the matter of condition, having enjoyed himself a deal since he licked Boland, and confirmed his claim to the championship. There were three preliminary spars, Starlight and Anderson, both negroes, Willis and Ryan, and Griffo brothers giving pretty goes.

Hall was seconded by Jack Fuller and Dunn, and Fitzsimmons by Lewis. The latter looked in far the best condition, for Hall's white skin looked soft as that of a girl.

The first round was chiefly noted for Hall's long and effective left leads and heavy rights on the ribs, one of these nearly bringing Fitz down and for Fitz a clever countering and determined attempts with the right at the jaw. Hall evaded these easily, his quick instepping and neat guarding serving him well. Fitz got his shoulder well up to Hall's attempt at the point.

Round 2 was similar, though Hall did much more execution than Fitzsimmons, and discolored his left peeper with a hot right. He also stabbed the New Zealander in the mouth heavily, and visited his ribs hard and straight with the right.

Coming up to the third Hall carried out his avowed intention of taking all Fitz could give, and giving him a quick quietus if he could. He fought furiously, but Fitz's cleverness with his head caused the champion to beat the air and Bob's shoulders a lot, and he soon pumped utterly. Neither could do much damage, but Hall got awfully groggy, and nothing but his level head saved him. He kept his long left poking out, or came in with his forearm across Fitz's throat, and so was just able to last the round, recovering a bit by walking round and dashing in a good left in the mouth and a hard right on the jaw that shook Fitz up bad just on corners.

Very busy indeed were both men's attendants during the minute spell, and they came up middling well for round 4. Fitzsimmons looked very confident, and advanced smilingly to meet his antagonist. He feinted with his left to draw Hall, and laid his jaw bare for one second. Rising on his toes Hall brought the right smashing across, hissing through his teeth like a blacksmith welting hot iron. It dropped with all his weight and strength on Fitz's jaw, just above the point, and Bob fell in a heap under his conqueror's legs as the impetus carried him on. Right on his back he rolled, and lay screwing up his face and looking very cronk.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten--out, said Mr Jack Gowland, the time-keeper, and it was all over. The seconds dragged Fitz to his corner, but he slid off the chair again, and even when taken to the dressing-room did not seem to know where he was. Mr A. J. Hales was referee, and all arrangements were in perfect order.

1890-02-12 The Sportsman (Melbourne, VA, Australia) (page 4)
By Wire--From Our Own Correspondent.
  SYDNEY, Tuesday Night.

The contest between the two middle-weights, Jim Hall and Fitzsimmons was over in three rounds and 10 seconds. Even money was laid, Hall being the favorite. Things looked pretty even till well in the third round, which Hall finished by getting three rights in at close quarters. Both were apparently in bad fettle, and the pace in this round made them very tired. As soon as they went up for the fourth, Hall landed right and left on the jaw, and Fitzsimmons did not come up to time. There was considerable surprise at the sudden ending.

1890-02-19 The Sportsman (Melbourne, VA, Australia) (page 4)
Jim Hall and Fitzsimmons.
From Our Own Correspondent.

Tuesday last I wired you the result of this match, Hall having won in three rounds and a few seconds. It was supposed to be for the middle-weight championship, and as Hall was about to leave for 'Frisco, some interest was taken in it. However, the least said about it the better. I had occasion previously to remark about Hall's carelessness in the matter of getting into condition, and giving his patrons a decent show for their money. This time he was far from fit. Fitzsimmons has a peculiar reputation, for, as far as I can recollect, all his matches have ended peculiarly. A while ago at the end of a very poor show he signified his intention of retiring from the arena, as "there was nothing in it." It would have been better for himself and the public if he had kept his word. If he doesn't show something better very soon, there will be very much less in it. In the match in question, Fitz, who is very tricky, appeared to hold his own for three rounds, but, commencing the fourth, Hall sent in both hands and he went down, deaf to the call of time, and though apparently very much dazed, recovered rapidly when the sponge went up. Enough said.

1891-03-23 The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH) (page 2)
He Is Ready For Jim Hall.
The Early History of the Middle-Weight Champion.
Baltimore, March 22.--Muldoon left town to-day. A reporter of the American told Fitzsimmons that the great wrestler would return to the city on Thursday, and as he had been deputized by Joe Harris, Jim Hall's backer, to arrange a match for Fitzsimmons and Hall, the reporter would like to get Fitzsimmons' opinion of his fellow-countryman. Fitzsimmons gives it thus:

"Hall should be ashamed of his conduct. He knows that I am under a contract; but as soon as that expires, which will occur in a few weeks, I intend to make it hot for all of them. It is very probable then that Hall will turn tail and take the next boat for Australia. I have known Hall all my life, both of us being raised in the same place. For a long time he posed as champion; I was content to work at the forge and eke out a living for myself and wife. I disliked notoriety, and was averse to going into the ring. About two years ago, I grew desperate and arranged to fight Hall. I beat him in five rounds, and was given ten shillings for it. When I picked up my street clothes I found that they had robbed me of every cent I had, including the studs in my shirt. Fake fights were then all the go, and for a mere pittance scores of young fellows would allow Hall to stop them in four or five rounds. I was a greenhorn at the time and sadly in need of money. We had a fake fight, with the agreement that I was to fall in the sixth round. When the third round had been finished Hall was so weak that he could hardly hold up his hands. I became disgusted, but in order to keep up my part of the contract took pity on Hall, and dropped to the floor at the beginning of the next round. I can defeat Hall to a standstill with any thing in my hands from a pillow to a sledge hammer. I then determined to leave home and try my fortune in America. I worked my passage over, fell into good hands and made a match with McCarthy. This chance was a god-send. I defeated him easily, and with the winnings paid off my old debts and brought my wife to America. Then followed my fight with Dempsey, which made me a rich man. I never saw Jack until I faced him in the ring, neither have I seen him since. Dempsey made a game fight, showed wonderful courage, but was outclassed. We, in Australia, thought him invincible. I found him an easy target."

"My next fight," continued Fitzsimmons, "will in all probability be with Ted Pritchard, the present champion of England, and who recently defeated Jack Burke in the Pelican Club at London. The Troy people offer $25,000 for the match, and, if Pritchard will concede to the terms, he will find me eager for the fray."

After the interview Fitzsimmons wanted to find a barber shop. When told that the good people of Baltimore prohibited such doings as shaving on Sunday, he remarked that it was a "bloody" outrage.

1891-03-29 The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH) (page 10)
Bob Fitzsimmons has made a good clean breast of his antipodean fistic career, and by so doing he has put himself much more favorably before the American people. His statement, which bears the impress of truth, shows that pugilism is not overly profitable in that far-off land. He beat Hall in five rounds there, and his reward for doing so was--just think of it--ten shillings, or, less than $2.50 of American money. Shortly afterwards Hall, who seems to have had command of some little money and was willing to part with it for pugilistic glory, offered Bob $75 to let him lick him in six rounds. Fitz accepted the offer, for he was in dire need of money, but he says he had hard work keeping his end of the bargain, as Hall was so tired at the end of three rounds that he had to fairly throw himself out in the fourth to get the money.

Hall has made a good many cracks since he came to this country about his willingness to fight Fitzsimmons, but after this statement he will have to come to Hecuba immmediately or be considered admittedly beneath Fitzsimmons' class. Billy Muldoon, it has been stated, came East with the power to make a match on behalf of Hall with Fitzsimmons, but up to date if any one has seen the color of his coin the fact has been strangely overlooked by the ever alert newsgathers of the press. Hall is unquestionably a remarkably scientific man. His performances in San Francisco show this, but that he is an out-and-out fighter remains to be proved. He was not able to best Billy McCarthy, whom Fitz and Jack Dempsey both defeated with ease, and certainly on this showing he would have no chance with Fitzsimmons.

1892-04-16 The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH) (page 16)
In Their Australian Fight?
Something About Jim Hall and Bob Fitzsimmons.
"Smiler," an Australian Sporting Authority.
Tells of the Australian Sluggers and Their Victories.
He Says Hall Whipped Fitzsimmons "on the Square"--Other Matters.
Now that Jim Hall and Bob Fitzsimmons are matched any reliable information about their alleged fake fight in Australia will prove interesting. The gentleman who refereed that fight is now in this country. His name is N.J. Hall, of Australia, better known as "Smiler," sporting editor of the Sydney Referee. "Smiler" was in Chicago the other day, and the Chicago Globe has the following about him:

"Smiler" came into the city unannounced, and when met by a representative of the Daily Globe at "Sol" Price's was surprised to think that his arrival had been known to any newspaper reporters. He had, as he put it, been riding in the cars for five days, was tired, and did not intend to visit the newspaper offices or have any thing to say until to-day.

"Now that I am captured," he said, "I presume I will have to talk. Now what can I tell you?" asked "Smiler," smilingly.

"Something about Hall and Fitzsimmons, of course."

commenced with fitzsimmons.

"Well, I will begin with Fitzsimmons, and wind up with any thing and every thing you want to know. Fitz was never considered of any account as a fighter at home, and he never won a fight to amount to any thing, but I happened to see him in a go with 'Starlight,' the colored pugilist, in which the latter caught Fitzsimmons a right-hand smash alongside of the head, which every body thought was a settler. Fitzsimmons came back and whipped his man. After seeing that I made up my mind that Fitz was a fighter, and advised him to go to America and get on a match with 'Jack' Dempsey. When the match was arranged I tipped 'Fitz' as a winner for which I was ridiculed and laughed at so much that I was honestly ashamed to show my face on the street. Every body in Sydney considered Dempsey a world-beater, but I was satisfied in my own mind from what I had read of Dempsey that 'Fitz' outclassed him, height, reach, strength, &c. I could not see how he could lose. Well, you know whether I was right or not."

"If Fitzsimmons was considered of no account in Australia, how did Jim Hall stand?"

"Hall! Well, if there ever was a fighter in this world Hall is the man. He was always considered away over Fitzsimmons or anybody else in his class in the fighting line at home, and for honesty and gentlemanly bearing. 'Gentleman Jim,' as we called him, took the cake. I hope you will excuse me for that slang remark, but I heard that in San Francisco."

"Did you referee that last fight between Hall and 'Fitz,' in which the latter says he laid down for $75?"

refereed the sydney match.

"Yes I did, and I will tell you just how it was, and I hope I will forever settle that controversy. Hall was matched to fight somebody. I can not remember exactly who it was, but I know that he had only been training a week, had taken considerable medicine, and was naturally very weak. Fitzsimmons worked hard every day, and was in the pink of condition. He paid a visit to Hall's training quarters and engaged him in a friendly bout. I did not see it, but from what I heard afterward 'Fitz' had a little the best of it. After that they both fell into the hands of a speculator named Cook, who intended bringing them both to America to match them against anybody and to give sparring exhibitions. This Cook arranged a fake match between them, and for some reasons, best known to Cook, he agreed to give Fitzsimmons $75 to lay down. I, of course, did not know anything about it at the time, but found it out afterward.

"fitz" was in the pink of condition.

"Well, as I was saying, the match was arranged and was to take place at Larry Foley's Hall. 'Fitz,' as I said before, was good and strong and in the pink of condition, while Hall was weak and sick. They appointed me, as you are aware, to act as referee, so before they shook hands I asked them both if the fight was on the square, and they both answered in the affirmative, and from the way 'Fitz' went at Hall and from the way the fight terminated I was satisfied it was on the square."

"How was the fight?"

"How was it? Why, 'Fitz' went at Hall like a whirlwind as soon as time was called and made it pretty lively for 'Jim,' and when the latter came to his corner after the round he was blowing like a porpoise. While Hall was sitting in his corner he said, 'What is he trying to do? Cross me?' I thought there was something crooked about the affair then, but the fight, as far as it had gone, looked straight. 'Fitz' repeated his tactics in the second round and did his utmost to settle Hall, but the latter's cleverness and generalship were the only things that saved him. Hall went to his corner at the end of the second round a very weak and sick man. He vomited, and I actually thought he would never go up for the third round. All this time 'Fitz' was anxiously waiting for the call of time, and when it was called he rushed across the ring at Hall, bent on finishing him then and there. He let fly his left, which was stopped cleverly, and then swung his right with such force that when Hall ducked to avoid 'Fitz' he fell against the ropes.

hall gets in a knock-out blow.

"When he straightened up he tried to find Hall with his left, but the latter, although weak, met him with a stiff one in the stomach. Fitz came again and Hall balked him with his left, and, putting his left glove on Fitz's face, shot the right swiftly across on "Bob's" chin and mouth, which knocked him down and out. Fitz fell flat on his face and did not recover for fully five minutes. When he was picked up it was seen that the blow had cut a gash from his mouth down to his chin.

"It was the clearest knock-out I ever saw, and I have seen hundreds of them. Now, you have the history of that fight, and I say now, if the fight was supposed to be a fake, it was no fake when the men met in the ring, for I never saw a fairer, squarer or a fight more on its merits, wherein Fitzsimmons was more anxious to win than that one; and if Fitzsimmons agreed to lay down, as he said he did, or as he was supposed to lead Hall to believe he would not be trying to double-cross him, for if ever a man tried to win a fight Fitzsimmons did in what he terms his 'fake' fight with Hall.

"I will say this much for 'Fitz:' I think he can whip any man in the world at 154 pounds, but if ever he tackles Hall at catch-weights there will only be one man in it, and that man will be 'Jim' Hall, for I do not believe there is a man living that can defeat him or make a fight with him at 164 pounds."

considers hall the superior man.

"There is any number of people who think that 'Fitz' outclasses Hall in America," said a bystander.

"So I understand. But they have never seen Hall fight. I tell you, he is cleverer, cooler and a better general than 'Fitz,' and, as I often remarked at home, I used to get a chill when I stood in Hall's corner. In a fight he was cool."

"Have you seen Dempsey since your arrival in the country?"

"I have. I stopped in Portland with him three days, and I tell you, I never met a finer gentleman, that is, for one in his line of business, in all my life. He kindly sparred for me while there, and I thought him extraordinarily clever. I of course was surprised to see such a small man for a middle-weight. Why, we would no more think of letting a man of his weight go against a middle-weight in Australia than we would have a feather-weight fight a heavy-weight. His name and "Tom" Sayers' ought to be bracketed."

"What kind of a man is "Mickey" Dooley?"

"Mickey!" We consider him the best, and without a doubt the greatest pugilist the southern hemisphere ever saw. He is a shade too heavy for the middle-weight division and a little too light for the heavy-weights, but for all that we think he can defeat any man in the world, bar Slavin, with bare knuckles. He has never been defeated at that game, and has beat all the men that Slavin and Jackson whipped. "Shadow" Maber, now in this country, is another phenomenal fighter, and I am pleased to say that I brought him out. It was when I was editing a paper in Brokenhill that I first saw the "Shadow." He came to my office and told me he could fight."