Boxing Sports Oddities and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia about the sport boxing.



A ringside seat at the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman heavyweight title fight on Oct. 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire, cost $2,492.

Jack "the Irish Thrush" Doyle was never much of a fighter, and after a bout with Eddie Phillips, it became clear why he would never be a champion. In the second round, Doyle advanced on Phillips and threw a roundhouse right that missed completely. Doyle's momentum carried him over the rope. He hit his head on the ring apron, knocking himself unconscious, and fell to the floor below. The referee counted him out.

Consider the obstacles facing boxers in the bareknuckle days of the 19th century when the sport was illegal in the U.S. When Jack "the Nonpareil" Dempsey--no relation to the later heavyweight champ--fought Johnny Reagan in 1887 for the middleweight title, the time and place were kept secret. Early one morning, a tugboat picked then up and took them to a site on the shore of Long Island, where a ring was quickly pitched. The match began at 8:00 A.M. By the 5th round, the tide was at the heels of the boxers. By the 8th, they were knee-deep in the Atlantic Ocean. Finally the fight was moved further inland. By the 21st round, it was hailing. Snow began to fall in the 30th round. Reagan began to fall, too. After the 45th, his handlers threw in the towel, and Dempsey retained the title.

The longest boxing match ever fought took place in New Orleans on Apr. 6, 1893. The match was between Andy Bowen and Jack Burke, both of whom claimed the lightweight title after the reigning champ, Jack McAuliffe, retired. The winner-take-all purse was set at $2,500, and in order to decide who was really the new champion, the match was to be fought to a finish.

All through the contest, the fighters went at each other aggressively, pounding each other with their gloves, inflicting and sustaining tremendous punishment. Yet, as the 3-min. rounds wore on, neither fighter could put the other away. The incredible bout continued far into the night, lasting over seven hours in all. When the bell sounded for the 111th round, both fighters, dazed and weary, gave up and did not come out of their corners. At that, the referee unbelievably ruled the bout "no contest." Burke never fought again. Bowen fought only one more match; he died after being knocked out in 18 rounds.

Henry Armstrong was a name heard often around boxing circles in 1938. Not only did he hold the world's featherweight championship, he held the world's welterweight and light-weight titles as well--the only fighter ever to hold three world boxing titles simultaneously. Armstrong, who grew up in the slums of St. Louis, won his first championship by knocking out featherweight Petey Sarron on Oct. 29, 1937. In May, 1938, in a 15-round welterweight title fight against Barney Ross, Armstrong won on a decision. Then, less than a year after taking his first title, he completed his triple crown by defeating Lou Ambers on Aug. 17, 1938, on a decision.

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