1923-07-04 Jack Dempsey w pts 15 Tommy Gibbons, The Arena, Shelby, Montana, USA - WORLD

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1923-07-04 Jack Dempsey w pts 15 Tommy Gibbons, The Arena, Shelby, Montana, USA - WORLD. Referee: Jack Dougherty. This fight was famous for the fact that the town went bankrupt in staging the fight, having guaranteed the champion $300,000. The fight itself provided few thrills, with Gibbons (175½) proving to be very elusive for round after round, never staying in one place longer than he needed. By the fourth, Dempsey (188) was cut over both eyes and although he was landing some heavy blows, especially to the body, Gibbons was still light on his feet and able to box his way out of trouble. It was at close quarters where the fight was won, as Dempsey mauled and pounded Gibbons unmercifully to pile up points. The last five sessions saw Gibbons tiring rapidly, but his superb defensive skills and ability to make Dempsey miss enabled him to get to the final bell where the referee’s decision went to the latter. There were no knockdowns.

When Tex Rickard matched Dempsey against Luis Angel Firpo, Harry Wills’ manager, Paddy Mullins, obtained a court order directing Rickard to show why the proposed fight should not be halted because of a $25,000 forfeit posted with the NYSAC a year earlier. Somehow, Rickard overcame that problem and the fight went ahead, on the premise that Wills would have to wait. Later, a claim that the Governor of New York had not desired a mixed match was strongly refuted.

Firpo had arrived in America from Argentina in early 1922, but it had not been until he knocked out Bill Brennan, Jack McAuliffe 11 and Jess Willard that he sprung to notice, the contest with the former champion, who was knocked out inside eight rounds at Boyle’s Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey on 12 July 1923, ensuring him of a world title shot.

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