Jack Dempsey vs. Jack Sharkey

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Dempsey and Sharkey before the fight
The knockout punch in round seven

Jack Dempsey 194 lbs beat Jack Sharkey 196 lbs by KO at 0:45 in round 7 of 15


  • On June 14, 1927, promoter Tex Rickard announced that Dempsey and Sharkey would fight at Yankee Stadium on July 21, with the winner to meet Gene Tunney for the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • There was a crowd of 82,000.
  • Spectators at ringside included theatrical producer David Belasco, composer Irving Berlin, Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, singer Amelita Galli-Curci, gangster Mike Heitler, actress Peggy Hopkins Joyce, former Dempsey manager Jack Kearns, former World Lightweight Champion Benny Leonard, magazine publisher Bernarr Macfadden, baseball manager John J. McGraw, steel magnate Charles M. Schwab and theatrical producer Florenz Ziegfeld.
  • The gate was $1,083,530.
  • Dempsey's purse was approximately $252,759, and Sharkey's was $206,803.
  • In a pre-fight poll of 25 sports writers, 16 picked Sharkey to win and nine picked Dempsey.
  • Sharkey entered the ring as a 7 to 5 favorite.
  • Sharkey dominated the early rounds. “I thought he was going to knock me out,” Dempsey admitted afterward.
  • Broadcaster Graham McNamee told radio listeners that Dempsey was "groggy" and appeared to be "going" after a Sharkey barrage in the first, the third, and again in the sixth.
  • James Dawson of the New York Times reported that Sharkey had "badly outboxed Dempsey," leaving the former champion to "flounder around the ring, flat-footed, bewildered, and staggering like a blind man finding his way."
  • Harvey Woodruff of the Chicago Tribune considered Dempsey "finished" in the fourth and a "gory sight."
  • Dempsey landed a series of low blows in round seven. Sharkey turned to the referee to protest, and Dempsey knocked him out with a left hook to the chin. "I hit him with one of the last good punches of my life," Dempsey said later. "It was everything I could throw. His chin was sticking out there, unprotected. I couldn’t miss."

From A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring '20s By Roger Kahn:

Unlike Tunney, Sharkey carried the fight to Dempsey. He had a snapping left hand and he moved far ahead through the first five rounds. Only Dempsey's great staying power saved him. [Manager Leo P.] Flynn shouted to Dempsey between rounds, "Go to the body. He doesn't like it in the guts." Sharkey had a special tactic to protect his middle. He wore the belt of his boxing shorts high.

Dempsey's body blows slowed Sharkey in the sixth and Dempsey continued body-punching in the seventh. One punch bounced off a Sharkey elbow and landed against a hip. Another seemed—the newsreels don't show this clearly—to land below the high belt line. Sharkey turned to the referee, Jack O'Sullivan, and dropped his hands. He started to complain, "He hit me low and—" He did not finish the sentence. No prudent man facing Jack Dempsey in a prize ring dropped his guard. Ever.

Dempsey threw his great left hook into Sharkey's jaw. Sharkey fell and rolled awkwardly so that he was lying face down. He clutched his groin and writhed and winced. But he didn't start wincing until after Dempsey's hook to the jaw.He was hooked to the jaw and fell clutching his groin. O'Sullivan counted Sharkey out.

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