John L. Sullivan vs. Herbert Maori Slade

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1883-08-06 : John L. Sullivan 205 lbs beat Herbert Maori Slade 201 lbs by TKO in round 3 of 0

  • Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA

This bout was largely the workings of Richard Kyle Fox, editor of the popular National Police Gazette newspaper. Fox despised world heavyweight champion Sullivan and was searching desperately for a fighter to take the laurels away from Sullivan. Through former champion Jem Mace, Fox learned of an Australian giant named Herbert Slade. Brought by Mace to San Francisco, Slade stood over six feet, two inches tall and looked to be 225 pounds of pure muscle. Fox quickly backed his latest discovery, dubbing him (incorrectly) "the Maori Half-breed." Thanks to Fox, Slade's challenges of the champion were widely publicized as he was brought across the country en route to New York.

The fight took place in Madison Square Garden, beneath its newly installed electric lights, before ten thousand people, Sullivan's largest audience yet. Despite the size disadvantage, Sullivan quickly overwhelmed his opponent and put Slade down almost immediatley with a right hand. When he rose, Sullivan promptly sent him reeling off of the stage. Helped back into the ring for the opening of the second round, Slade managed to last only a few more seconds before being sent down again. After his seconds helped him to his feet, Slade took off running, trying to escape the ring. Sullivan helped him in this pursuit by coming up behind him and punching him clean through the ropes. People ringside shoved the reluctant challenger back in for more beating. In the third round, Slade went down again, though he did manage to remain inside the ring this time. Dragged to his corner by Mace, he could no longer continue. The police made it official by storming the stage and forbidding further action. After this, many in the crowd stormed the ring to congratulate Sullivan on his stunning victory.