1930-06-12 Max Schmeling w disq 4 (15) Jack Sharkey, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1930-06-12 Max Schmeling w disq 4 (15) Jack Sharkey, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Jim Crowley. Meeting for the vacant title, Schmeling (188) became the first man to win the heavyweight title while sitting on the floor. The opening two rounds saw both men sorting themselves out until Sharkey (197) picked the pace up in the third and stepped in with heavy blows to head and body to have Schmeling wobbling at the bell. Although the German had landed heavily on occasion with short rights, Sharkey had come to no harm. In the fourth Sharkey looked like a man who meant business and he was soon at work, ripping in punches from both hands before stunning Schmeling with a heavy right to the head, immediately prior to dropping him with a left to the body with just seconds of the session left. Unable to get up and fight on Schmeling had to be carried to his corner before the referee belatedly disqualified Sharkey for going low. Regardless of what was said about the punch being a fair one, Nat Fleischer of The Ring magazine, who was well placed to judge, stated that it was a wild swinging left hook that landed well below the belt. He went on to say that the blow sank into Schmeling’s groin with the full force of Sharkey’s shoulder and body behind it and thus ended an affair that was beginning to become one-sided.

Following the contest, which left a bad taste in the mouth, the NYSAC only confirmed Schmeling’s position as champion six days later on the proviso that he would have to give Sharkey a return, while the NBA went along with the verdict. However, on 7 January 1931, Schmeling, inactive since winning the title, was suspended in New York for continually refusing to meet Sharkey. At virtually the same time he was also in danger of forfeiting NBA recognition in favour of Young Stribling, who the Association reasoned had been beaten on a debatable points decision over ten rounds by Sharkey in the elimination series and had since defeated several of the leading contenders. Common sense eventually prevailed and the NBA’s stance was soon forgotten once Schmeling signed to defend against Stribling.

Meanwhile, on the ‘black’ title front, Al Walker took over Bearcat Wright’s claim when outpointing him over ten rounds at The Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia on 17 June 1930, but following a bad defeat at the hands of Walter Cobb at the Jamaica Arena, Queens, NYC, New York on 18 May 1931 any recognition he may have had was extinguished. Still seen as the ‘black’ heavyweight champion by the great majority, George Godfrey defended his claim against Elijah Lee (w rsc 1 at Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis, Indiana on 20 August 1930), Seal Harris (w co 4 in Lansing, Michigan on 7 November), Harris again (w co 3 at The Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 8 December) and Wright (drew 10 at the City Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia on 19 December)