Babe Ruth vs. King Tut

By George Thomas Clark on August 30, 2013
Babe Ruth vs. King Tut
Al Capone, concerned about taxes, vowed to kiss anyone who squealed before today.

I mustn’t take credit for this fistic revelation. No, I never would’ve imagined if a profound historian hadn’t commented that Babe Ruth and King Tut fought in 1929, and he, the scholar, resented reading stories by those who were not there. Few of us active today could’ve been cognizant that year, so, at the risk of angering our historian, we must confer with the internet to first confirm the fight did indeed take place and learn how such a remarkable matchup came to be and who won.

Astonishingly, the online footprints are in many places evident, though they were not released until a few hours ago, and both film clips and written testimony certify that young King Tut did indeed battle The Babe inside the ropes. How did a fellow born more than three thousand years earlier take on anyone in 1929? It was all elementary. King Tut, mummified by tape-like material similar to that protecting the hands of pugilists, was marvelously preserved and, by enhanced cloning, readily brought alive into the Roaring Twenties.

Having solved the once-unimaginable shift in time, the facilitator faced an even more overwhelming problem. He beheld a slender lad of no more than nineteen who was weakened by genetic mischief: his parents were brother and sister and left him with a congenital limp and other imperfections. How, indeed, would the facilitator prepare such a fellow to box Babe Ruth?

First, he enlisted an elite orthopedic surgeon to reconstruct King Tut’s hip. Then he called Jack Dempsey, who at times had exercised with the often corpulent Ruth and knew his capabilities and weaknesses better than any boxing man. Dempsey, retired since being twice dissected by Gene Tunney, in 1926 and 1927, was anxious to prevent the still-swatting Babe from overtaking him as the premiere athlete of the twenties, and at once agreed to privately tutor young King Tut, who was generally sequestered or, when glimpsed, said to be a welterweight from Cairo. Ruth was aggrieved Dempsey had declined to handle him and vowed to take on the ex-champ after he demolished his opponent.

We must credit Dempsey for teaching King Tut to box scientifically, like Gene Tunney, and praise the lad for bravery: even after months of eating steaks and training fiercely he never scaled more than a hundred fifty rather frail pounds. He and Dempsey were at least encouraged that Babe packed about a hundred more and, rather than train, daily consumed whiskey, cigars, and women. He was being tutored by Shakespearean scholar Tunney who, let us admit, was becoming no small drinker himself, and was at any rate not invested in the well-being of his unlettered slugger.

The fight itself, as you’ve surely concluded, could not take place publicly and would instead draw revenue from film distribution. King Tut, though not blessed with formidable muscles, proved adept at shuffling left and right and retreating, and possessed fine reflexes enabling him to duck all of Ruth’s power punches, which were either slow left crosses or slower left roundhouses. Tut did not bang but occasionally jabbed his tiring foe in the nose. By the start of the fifth round everyone knew Babe Ruth would not go the six-round distance. He’d need a knockout. And for that he’d need skates. King Tut shuffled and slid along the canvas like Hans Brinker on ice, and after another Ruthian windmill left missed, the king unleashed his only right of the fight, straight to Babe’s chin, and he dropped to a knee and puffed as he took a ten-count that could’ve extended to thirty.

This dustup remained secret since King Tut soon expired, Ruth didn’t want to be embarrassed, Dempsey and Tunney were gentleman, and facilitator Al Capone, concerned about taxes, vowed to kiss anyone who squealed before today.

George Thomas Clark is the author of Uppercuts: Tales from the Ring, a collection of boxing stories available as an eBook at and other Digital Stores. His short story collection, The Bold Investor, is also available. See the author’s website at

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  1. Beaujack 08:35pm, 09/10/2013

    Queen Nefertiti said to her boyfriend King Tut, “I can’t have sex tonight. I have my pyramid. “

  2. Clarence George 01:02pm, 08/31/2013

    Really?  I don’t find it at all upsetting.  Anyway, they are now well and truly warned.

  3. George Thomas Clark 12:48pm, 08/31/2013

    That’s an upsetting image, Clarence.  Perhaps you should warn readers.

  4. Clarence George 12:41pm, 08/31/2013

    No mention of Boris Karloff vs. Christopher Lee?  Karloff would coat his hands in his patented plaster of London, whipped up in one of his many bubbling-beaker laboratories.  But Lee was toughened by an experience while a teenager.  He witnessed France’s last public execution, that of Eugen Weidmann on June 17, 1939—  No easy task picking the winner.

  5. George Thomas Clark 10:25am, 08/31/2013

    I’d loved to have seen two of my favorites - Cowboy Luttrell and King Tut - mix it up, but Mike Schmidt has broken the story and we must wait for details.  Based on what Mr. Schmidt writes, the Cowboy should’ve been disqualified for a low blow.  Tut, however, will not be permitted to use plaster of paris in the rematch, which will immediately precede Mayweather and Alvarez.

  6. Mike Schmidt 08:18am, 08/31/2013

    Interesting C.G.- who do you like - Tess vs Tut in a Marquis dee Queesburial and then bareknuckle on this match

  7. Clarence George 05:26am, 08/31/2013

    Hey, Mike, I’m the one who first noted the Mummy-boxing connection (see my brilliant article on Stephane Tessier), and neither you nor GTC has given me the credit I so richly deserve.  I’m going to tell Robert, and you’re both going to get it.  So there (sticking my tongue out at the both of youse).

  8. Mike Schmidt 05:06am, 08/31/2013

    G.T.C this just in from a close Middle Eastern friend of mine—he says I am full of shit on this Cowboy fight result—That Tut, who was WBC Silver and Gold belt holder, was known as somebody that was impossible to keep down. He further advises that if I was a true historian I would know from watching archives of The Mummy starring Boris Karloff and Zita va va va voom Johann that it was IMPOSSIBLE to keep King Tut down hence the King moniker. Just goes to show you—what the fuck do I know!!!!

  9. Mike Schmidt 04:40am, 08/31/2013

    I am sure you can verify this G.T.C but I have a vague memory no doubt in the archives somewhere that shortly after this bout, The Tut, whose longevity makes him in my humble opinion an all time great, had a smoker with Cowboy Luttrell in a saloon somewhere close to Reno. As the story goes: Tut was beating the shit out of Cowboy until Tut’s hand wrap came undone thereby showing evidence of plaster of paris—The Cowboy, enraged, nailed the fucking cheater Mummy in the Middle Eastern Royal Jewels and was declared the winner by a Nile. If you have anything on this G.T.C please do let me know. You are aware of course from my previous posts on Dempsey vs The Cowboy that I am a HUGE COWBOY FAN. It is of course a shame we did not see the best of Luttrell as no film exists of his prime years. ONE OF THE TOUGHEST SON OF A BITCHES TAKING ALL THOSE SHOTS FROM DEMPSEY.

  10. Magoon 05:28pm, 08/30/2013

    Okay, it’s me, fine ... but I don’t get this.

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