Dempsey may not have been invincible – like Jack Johnson before him, he tasted defeat before winning the heavyweight crown – but he was a legitimate ring great with a wealth of hard-earned experience to support his high reputation. It is a city of fights and fighters, of hockey and heroes, of broken dreams and immortal glory, a city unlike any other. To be sure, the “Phantom Title Fight,” Dempsey vs Wills, serves as a warning as to what happens when outside pressures and interests interfere with competition. “Dempsey seemed a rejuvenated man when the going started them into action in the sixth, no longer did Dempsey permit the black man to take the lead. Ali vs Joe Louis : verdict -- … A postscript to this story concerns the fact that, despite efforts to keep the alleged fight secretive, it did leak out. Dempsey reportedly received $100 and Johnson $200. Enter one Harry Wills, a Louisiana native known as “The Black Panther.” A man with a rectangular frame, Wills kicked around the heavyweight division for years, hoping to get a chance at the world title. Pictured below: Dempsey in his pomp – destroying the giant Jess Willard to capture the world heavyweight crown in 1919 “The tide had turned and the Dempsey followers scented victory for their man. There may be other evidence to give credence for this fight. Then came the seventh round and the finish. Yes, I think he won and he taught me more that night than I have ever dreamed of before. Eventually people, including those in the media, started asking aloud what was so wrong about giving a deserving challenger a crack at the heavyweight crown. “Johnson’s right crosses befuddled Dempsey and he couldn’t fight in his usual style. Eskin pressed further and Jack refused to comment. Jack Dempsey at this time was in his prime at 27 years of age and Heavyweight Champion. Dempsey did not deny it which he could have done, but why the silence and continued secrecy? Also, the weights mentioned varied from one newspaper to another. – George Foreman. But ironically enough, Wills became so renowned and respected that even white America took a shine to him. Dempsey vs Wills will forever be the heavyweight superfight that never was. To be sure, matters like this make for uncomfortable discussions. “The Galveston Giant,” famed for his arrogant ways and his openly consorting with white women, so outraged white America during his turbulent reign that he virtually guaranteed that no title shot would be given to a black man for many years after. Above all Lew Eskin himself wrote in the aforementioned long departed “Fight Beat” magazine that he showed the clippings to Dempsey at one of the New York Boxing Writer’s dinners a few years prior to 1985. Yet for a student of boxing history this newspaper may have reported the most stupendous undiscovered event in the history of the sport. He hit me so hard and so fast for a while there I could hardy get my breath.". 05822990, is a trading name of Kelsey Publishing, Registered No. For here was a new kind of fighter, a vicious ring assassin who set a savage pace, advancing relentlessly in his awkward crouch, which in fact made him deceptively hard to hit. Instead, Dempsey fought and lost to Gene Tunney twice, the second time in insanely controversial fashion, while Wills went on to close out his career without a world title shot.
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