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I remember meeting Gene Tunney in 1969 while I was working at a resort in the British Virgin Islands. Being a mad keen boxing enthusiast it was a wonderful experience being able to talk to Gene for the two weeks he stayed at the resort.
He was an intelligent and witty gentleman with a fund of interesting stories.
We did discuss the two Dempsey fights and one of his comments stuck in my mind. he said people always forget in the second fight Jack Dempsey was knocked down by Gene Tunney which was the hardest punch thrown in the fight.
He did tell me a very funny story about Ernest Hemingway who fancied himself as a bar room brawler which i won’t recount as the author comes out of it rather badly but I seem to remember Gene’s finished the story by telling me he was forced to demonstrate to Ernest Hemingway the difference between an enthusiastic amateur and a very good professional.
Iron Beach BUDDY….s’up ......
we’re just getting rid of the snow…and dealing with the local flooding from annual run off…
Had to get my girlfriend to haul up my window air conditioner unit from my basement….
while she was down there….she turned on all my outside water outlets (gotta turn ‘em off for the winter…or you’ll explode all your water pipes due to freezing..)
She’s six foot plus…and is a weight lifter…NOT A BODYBUILDER….but whatever she gets a hold of ...will generally move
from the footage available….I’d have to say Tunney beat the count…and could have gotten up earlier…had it been necessary.
Tunney was a cool customer…and knew when to stay down…
Dempsey ...had he not wanted to hump Tunney’s leg…..and should have gone to the neutral corner….may well have got his KO…..but he let his groin do his thinking…..
Still…......One of the most memorable fights of all time…and will be for a century or so…..
one more Dempsey story.
I have good friend who was a great white hope contender in the early-mid sixties. i have photos of him at Dempseys restaurant sitting and talking with Ray Arcel and other famous boxing guys of bygone era. My friend has told me that even into his sixties Dempsey was HARD as nail. He gave my friend a poke in the ribs which 50 years later he still painfully remembers. He was and is in awe of Dempsey.
For those of you interested in Dempsey and Tunney read The Dempsey bio by Roger Kahn ” A Flame of Pure Fire”. Kahn is a respected journalist and the book is well researched.
I believe Dave Barry the referee was ‘fixed” as the author of this piece explains. I grew up in Chicago and my great uncle was at the fight, he was also like many a small time bootlegger, and he swore it was not on the level.
For those interested in Tunney there was a bio written about him a few years ago that is also wonderfully researched and written. I have forgotten the author, I think his last name is Cavanaugh, but a search of the internet will tell you. The great trainer Ray Arcel toward the end of his life talked about Tunney’s alcoholism after his fighting days, which was a well kept secret especially in that generation. When I read the Tunney bio and read reviews of the book the only negative comments were about the fact that no bio has ever addressed his problem with alcohol.
Thanks for a good article.
I read Dempsey’s book/boxing manual recently. Really enjoy the frank, common-sense style of writing and old-timey phrases. Same as with the quotes in this article. Something much more mythical and impressive about these characters/events than will ever be left by this generation. Endless reels of Mayweather’s massive house on MTV Cribs…?