1919-09-19 (158lbs) Mike O’Dowd nd-w pts 10 Soldier Bartfield, The Auditorium, St Paul, Minnesota, USA

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1919-09-19 (158lbs) Mike O'Dowd nd-w pts 10 Soldier Bartfield, The Auditorium, St Paul, Minnesota, USA. Made at 158lbs, the St Paul Pioneer reported that at no time during the contest were O’Dowd’s titular laurels ever at risk from a man outweighed by ten pounds. During the course of the fight it was O’Dowd who landed the harder, cleaner and more frequent punches, and when at close quarters it was usually Bartfield who broke ground first. However, it was certainly not one-sided, Bartfield managing to rush O’Dowd to the ropes several times to slam away, scoring with blows from both hands before going back to his boxing. Although Bartfield clearly won the second and eighth sessions, using his famous back-hand punch, which was legal at the time, O’Dowd won most of the others.

Ten days later, on 29 September, at the Armory AA, Jersey City, New Jersey, an over-the-weight O’Dowd (164) collected an eight-round press decision over Augie Ratner (154lbs), having risked his title claim. He presumably did the same when facing the 146lbs Steve Latzo (nd-w pts 6 at the National AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 18 October).

Before meeting Mike Gibbons, two more fights in November where his rivals were thought to have made 160lbs saw O’Dowd score two-round knockout wins over Billy Kramer at the Lyceum Theatre, Paterson, New Jersey on 6 November and Jimmy O'Hagan at the Roller Palace Rink, Detroit, Michigan on 10 November. It is unclear what weight O’Dowd made for the contests against Kramer (scheduled for eight rounds) and O’Hagan (scheduled for ten rounds), but reports seen stated that had either man won inside the distance the title would have changed hands.