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Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey 1.jpg
Dempsey c. 1920
Real nameWilliam Harrison Dempsey
  • Kid Blackie
  • The Manassa Mauler
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Reach73 in (185 cm)
Born(1895-06-24)June 24, 1895
Manassa, Colorado, U.S.
DiedMay 31, 1983(1983-05-31) (aged 87)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights85
Wins by KO53

William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey (June 24, 1895 – May 31, 1983), nicknamed Kid Blackie, and The Manassa Mauler, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1914 to 1927, and reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926. A cultural icon of the 1920s,[1] Dempsey's aggressive fighting style and exceptional punching power made him one of the most popular boxers in history.[2][3] Many of his fights set financial and attendance records, including the first million-dollar gate, he was also a much bigger star than Babe Ruth throughout the 1920s making $770,000 for his first fight against Gene Tunney while the most Ruth made in a season was $80,000[4][5][6] and pioneered the live broadcast of sporting events in general, and boxing matches in particular.

Dempsey is ranked tenth on The Ring magazine's list of all-time heavyweights and seventh among its Top 100 Greatest Punchers, while in 1950 the Associated Press voted him as the greatest fighter of the past 50 years.[7] He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and was in the previous Boxing Hall of Fame.[2]

Early life and career

Born William Harrison Dempsey in Manassa, Colorado, he grew up in a poor family in Colorado, West Virginia, and Utah.[A][8] The son of Mary Celia (née Smoot) and Hiram Dempsey, he was of Irish and Cherokee ancestry.[9][10][11] But according to the edition of the Românul newspaper from September 25, 1927, Dempsey might have been Romanian (on his real name Teodor Domșa).[12] Following his parents' conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[13] Dempsey was baptized into the Church in 1903 following his 8th birthday, the "age of accountability", according to church doctrine.[14] Because his father had difficulty finding work, the family traveled often and Dempsey dropped out of elementary school to work and left home at the age of 16. Due to his lack of money, he frequently traveled underneath trains and slept in hobo camps.[15]

Desperate for money, Dempsey would occasionally visit saloons and challenge for fights, saying "I can't sing and I can't dance, but I can lick any SOB in the house." If anyone accepted the challenge, bets would be made. According to Dempsey's autobiography, he rarely lost these barroom brawls.[16] For a short time, Dempsey was a part-time bodyguard for Thomas F. Kearns, president of The Salt Lake Tribune and son of Utah's U.S. Senator Thomas Kearns.[17]

Dempsey often fought under the pseudonym, "Kid Blackie," although during his stint in the Salt Lake City area, he went by "Young Dempsey".[18] Much of his early career is not recorded, and stated thus, in The Ring Record Book as compiled by Nat Fleischer. He first competed as "Jack Dempsey" (by his own recollection) in the fall of 1914, in Cripple Creek, Colorado. His brother, Bernie, who often fought under the pseudonym "Jack Dempsey"—this a common practice of the day, in fighters' admiration of middleweight boxer and former champion, Jack "Nonpareil" Dempsey—had signed to fight veteran George Copelin. Upon learning Copelin had sparred with then current world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, and given Bernie Dempsey was nearing 40 years of age, he strategically decided to back out of the fight.[19] He substituted his brother, still unknown in Eastern Colorado, as "Jack Dempsey". The fans at ringside immediately knew this was not the man they'd paid to see.

The promoter became violently angry and "sailed into us, barehanded", threatening to stop the fight.[18] Copelin himself, who outweighed Dempsey by 20 lbs. (165 to 145) upon seeing Dempsey's small stature in the ring, warned the promoter, "I might kill that skinny guy." The promoter reluctantly permitted the fight to commence, and in his first outing as "Jack Dempsey", the future champion downed Copelin six times in the first round and twice in the second.[20] From there, it was a battle of attrition ("Neither Bernie nor I had taken into consideration the high altitude at Cripple Creek."), until a last knockdown of Copelin in the seventh, moved the referee to make the then-unusual move of stopping the fight once Copelin regained his feet. According to Dempsey "In those days they didn't stop mining-town fights as long as one guy could move."[21] This trial by fire carried with it a $100 purse. The promoter, angered at the switch pulled by the brothers, had laid no promised side bets, "...and even if I did, I wouldn't give you anything."[22]

Such lessons were hard, but fighting was something Jack Dempsey did well. Following the name change, Dempsey won six bouts in a row by knockout before losing on a disqualification in four rounds to Jack Downey. During this early part of his career, Dempsey campaigned in Utah, frequently entering fights in towns in the Wasatch Mountain Range region. He followed his loss against Downey with a knockout win and two draws versus Johnny Sudenberg in Nevada. Three more wins and a draw followed when he met Downey again, this time resulting in a four-round draw. Following these wins, Dempsey racked up 10 more wins that included matches against Sudenberg and Downey, knocking out Downey in two rounds. These wins were followed with three no-decision matches, although at this point in the history of boxing, the use of judges to score a fight was often forbidden, so if a fight went the distance, it was called a draw or a no decision, depending on the state or county where the fight was held.

After the United States entered World War I in 1917, Dempsey worked in a shipyard and continued to box. Afterward, he was accused by some boxing fans of being a slacker for not enlisting. This remained a black mark on his reputation until 1920, when evidence produced showed he had attempted to enlist in the U.S. Army, but had been classified 4-F.[B] After the war, Dempsey spent two years in Salt Lake City, "bumming around" as he called it, before returning to the ring.[23]

World heavyweight champion

Dempsey mock punching Harry Houdini (held back by Benny Leonard)
Dempsey mock punching Harry Houdini (held back by Benny Leonard)

Among his opponents as a rising contender were Fireman Jim Flynn, the only boxer ever to beat Dempsey by a knockout when Dempsey lost to him in the first round (although some boxing historians believe the fight was a "fix"),[24] and Gunboat Smith, formerly a highly ranked contender who had beaten both World Champion Jess Willard and Hall of Famer Sam Langford. Dempsey beat Smith for the third time on a second-round knockout.

Before he employed the long-experienced Jack Kearns as his manager, Dempsey was first managed by John J. Reisler.[C][D]

One year later, in 1918, Dempsey fought in 17 matches, going 15–1 with one no-decision. One of those fights was with Flynn, who was knocked out by Dempsey, coincidentally, in the first round. Among other matches won that year were against Light Heavyweight Champion Battling Levinsky, Bill Brennan, Fred Fulton, Carl E. Morris, Billy Miske, heavyweight Lefty Jim McGettigan, and Homer Smith. In 1919, he won five consecutive regular bouts by knockout in the first round as well as a one-round special bout.[25]

Title fight and controversy

On July 4, 1919, Dempsey and World Heavyweight Champion Jess Willard met at Toledo for the world title. Pro lightweight fighter Benny Leonard predicted a victory for the 6′1″, 187 pound Dempsey even though Willard, known as the "Pottawatamie Giant", was 6′6½″ tall and 245 pounds. Ultimately, Willard was knocked down seven times by Dempsey in the first round.[26]

Accounts of the fight reported that Willard suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs, several broken teeth, and a number of deep fractures to his facial bones. This aroused suspicion that Dempsey had cheated, with some questioning how the force capable of causing such damage had been transmitted through Dempsey's knuckles without fracturing them.[23]

Other reports, however, failed to mention Willard suffered any real injuries.[27] The New York Times' account of the fight described severe swelling visible on one side of Willard's face, but did not mention any broken bones.[28] A still photograph of Willard following the fight appears to show discoloration and swelling on his face.[23]

Following the match, Willard was quoted as saying, "Dempsey is a remarkable hitter. It was the first time that I had ever been knocked off my feet. I have sent many birds home in the same bruised condition that I am in, and now I know how they felt. I sincerely wish Dempsey all the luck possible and hope that he garnishes all the riches that comes with the championship. I have had my fling with the title. I was champion for four years and I assure you that they'll never have to give a benefit for me. I have invested the money I have made".[27] Willard later claimed to have been defeated by "gangsterism".[23]

After being fired by Dempsey, manager Jack Kearns gave an account of the fight in the January 20, 1964 issue of Sports Illustrated that has become known as the "loaded gloves theory". In the interview, Kearns claimed to have informed Dempsey he had wagered his share of the purse favoring a Dempsey win with a first-round knockout. Kearns further stated he had applied plaster of Paris to the wrappings on the fighter's hands.

Boxing historian J. J. Johnston said, "the films show Willard upon entering the ring walking over to Dempsey and examining his hands." That, along with an experiment conducted by a boxing magazine designed to re-enact the fight have been noted as proof that Kearns' story was false.[27]

The Ring magazine founder and editor Nat Fleischer claimed to be present when Dempsey's hands were wrapped, stating, "Jack Dempsey had no loaded gloves, and no plaster of Paris over his bandages. I watched the proceedings and the only person who had anything to do with the taping of Jack's hands was Deforest. Kearns had nothing to do with it, so his plaster of Paris story is simply not true."

Deforest himself said that he regarded the stories of Dempsey's gloves being loaded as libel, calling them "trash", and said he did not apply any foreign substance to them, which I can verify since I watched the taping."[29] Sports writer Red Smith, in Dempsey's obituary published by The New York Times' was openly dismissive of the claim.[30]

Another rumor is that Dempsey used a knuckleduster during the first round. Some speculated that the object used was a rail spike.[23] In the Los Angeles Times on July 3, 1979, Joe Stone, an ex-referee and boxing writer, asserted that in a film taken of the fight an object on the canvas could be seen after the final knockdown. He further asserted that the object appears to be removed by someone from Dempsey's corner. In the same film, however, Dempsey can be seen at various times during the fight pushing and holding with Willard with the palm of the glove in question and holding on to the ropes with both hands, making it next to impossible that he had any foreign object embedded in his glove, and the 'object' resembles a cigar.[27]

Further controversy was fueled by the fact that Dempsey left the ring at the end of the first round, thinking the fight was over. This was seen as a violation of the rules, however Willard's corner did not ask for enforcement in order for the referee to disqualify Dempsey.[23]

Title defenses

Dempsey and Carpentier in the arena before the fight
Dempsey and Carpentier in the arena before the fight

Following his victory, Jack Dempsey traveled around the country, making publicity appearances with circuses, staging exhibitions, and appearing in a low-budget Hollywood movie. Dempsey did not defend his title until September 1920, with a fight against Billy Miske in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Miske was knocked out in three rounds.

Dempsey's second title defense was in December 1920 against Bill Brennan at Madison Square Garden, New York City. After 10 rounds, Brennan was ahead on points, and Dempsey's left ear was bleeding profusely. Dempsey rebounded to stop Brennan in the 12th round.

Jack Dempsey vs. Georges Carpentier

Time cover, September 10, 1923
Time cover, September 10, 1923

Dempsey's next defending fight was against French WW I hero Georges Carpentier, a fighter popular on both sides of the Atlantic.[E] The bout was promoted by Tex Rickard and George Bernard Shaw, who claimed that Carpentier was "the greatest boxer in the world".[31]

The Dempsey–Carpentier contest took place on July 2, 1921, at Boyle's Thirty Acres in Jersey City, New Jersey. It generated the first million-dollar gate in boxing history;[8] a crowd of 91,000 watched the fight. Though it was deemed "the Fight of the Century", experts anticipated a one-sided win for Dempsey. Radio pioneer RCA arranged for live coverage of the match via KDKA, making the event the first national radio broadcast.[3][32]

Carpentier wobbled Dempsey with a hard right in the second round. A reporter at ringside, however, counted 25 punches from Dempsey in a single 31-second exchange soon after he was supposedly injured by the right.[31] Carpentier also broke his thumb in that round, which crippled his chances. Dempsey ended up winning the match in the fourth round.

Dempsey did not defend his title again until July 1923 against Tommy Gibbons in Shelby, Montana. Dempsey won the match as result of a 15-round decision.[33][34]

Dempsey and Firpo, 1924 painting by George Bellows
Dempsey and Firpo, 1924 painting by George Bellows

The last successful title defense for Dempsey was in September 1923 at New York City's Polo Grounds in Dempsey vs. Firpo. Attendance was 85,000, with another 20,000 trying to get inside the arena. Firpo was knocked down repeatedly by Dempsey, yet continued to battle back, even knocking Dempsey down twice. On the second occasion he was floored, Dempsey flew head-first through the ring ropes, landing on a ringside reporter's typewriter. At this point he was out of the ring for approximately 14 seconds, less than the 20 second rule for out-of-ring knockouts. Nevertheless, he was helped back into the ring by the writers at ringside. Ultimately, Dempsey beat Argentine contender Luis Ángel Firpo with a second-round KO. The fight was transmitted live by radio to Buenos Aires.[35]

Dempsey's heavyweight title-defending fights, exhibition fights, movies, and endorsements, made Dempsey one of the richest athletes in the world, putting him on the cover of TIME Magazine.[36]

Time off from boxing

Jack Dempsey holding his wife, Estelle Taylor, on his shoulder
Jack Dempsey holding his wife, Estelle Taylor, on his shoulder

Dempsey did not defend his title for three years following the Firpo fight. There was pressure from the public and the media for Dempsey to defend his title against Black contender Harry Wills. Disagreement exists among boxing historians as to whether Dempsey avoided Wills, though Dempsey claimed he was willing to fight him. When he originally won the title, however, he had said he would no longer fight Black boxers.[37]

Instead of continuing to defend his title, Dempsey earned money with boxing exhibitions, product endorsements, and by appearing in films, such as the adventure film serial Daredevil Jack. Dempsey also did a lot of traveling, spending, and partying. During this time away from competitive fighting, Dempsey married actress Estelle Taylor in 1925 and fired his long-time trainer/manager Jack "Doc" Kearns. Kearns repeatedly sued Dempsey for large sums of money following his firing.[38]

In April 1924, Dempsey was appointed to an executive position in the Irish Worker League (IWL). The IWL was a Soviet-backed Communist group founded in Dublin by Irish labour leader Jim Larkin.[39]

Loss of title

In September 1926, Dempsey fought the Irish American and former U.S. Marine Gene Tunney in Philadelphia,[F] a fighter who had only lost once in his career. In spite of his record, Tunney was considered the underdog against Dempsey.

The match ended in an upset, with Dempsey losing his title on points in 10 rounds. When the defeated Dempsey returned to his dressing room, he explained his loss to his wife by saying, "Honey, I forgot to duck."[30] Fifty-five years later president Ronald Reagan borrowed this quote when his wife Nancy visited him in the emergency room after the attempt on his life.[40]

Post-title loss

Dempsey in 1927, as he appeared on the cover of Argentine magazine El Gráfico
Dempsey in 1927, as he appeared on the cover of Argentine magazine El Gráfico

Following his loss of the heavyweight title, Dempsey contemplated retiring but decided to try a comeback. It was during this time period that tragedy struck his family when his brother, John Dempsey, shot his estranged wife Edna (aged 21) and then killed himself in a murder-suicide, leaving behind a two-year-old son, Bruce. Dempsey was called upon to identify the bodies and was emotionally affected by the incident.[41][42]

During a July 21, 1927 fight at Yankee Stadium, Dempsey knocked out future Heavyweight Champion Jack Sharkey in the seventh round. The fight was an elimination bout for a title shot against Tunney. Sharkey was beating Dempsey until the end. The fight ended controversially when Sharkey claimed Dempsey had been hitting him below the belt. When Sharkey turned to the referee to complain, he left himself unprotected. Dempsey crashed a left hook onto his foe's chin, and Sharkey was unable to beat the ten-count.

Tunney rematch: "The Long Count"

The Dempsey-Tunney rematch took place in Chicago, Illinois, on September 22, 1927 – one day less than a year after losing his title to Tunney. Generating more interest than the Carpentier and Firpo bouts, the fight brought in a record-setting $2 million gate. Reportedly, gangster Al Capone offered to fix the rematch in his favor, but the referee was changed to prevent that from happening.[43] Millions around the country listened to the match by radio while hundreds of reporters covered the event. Tunney was paid a record one million dollars for the rematch. Today's equivalent in U.S currency would be approximately $14,718,391.00.[44]

Dempsey was losing the fight on points when in the seventh round he knocked Tunney down with a left hook to the chin then landed several more punches. A new rule instituted at the time of the fight mandated that when a fighter knocked down an opponent, he must immediately go to a neutral corner. Dempsey, however, refused to immediately move to the neutral corner when instructed by the referee. The referee had to escort Dempsey to the neutral corner, which bought Tunney at least an extra five seconds to recover. Even though the official timekeeper clocked 14 seconds Tunney was down, Tunney got up at the referee's count of 9. Dempsey then attempted to finish Tunney off before the end of the round, but failed to do so. Tunney dropped Dempsey for a count of one in round eight and won the final two rounds of the fight, retaining the title of World Heavyweight Champion on a unanimous decision. Ironically, the neutral corner rule was requested during negotiations by members of the Dempsey camp. Another discrepancy was, when Tunney knocked Dempsey down, the timekeeper started the count immediately, not waiting for Tunney to move to a neutral corner.[45] Because of the controversial nature of the fight due to the neutral corner rule and conflicting counts, the Dempsey-Tunney rematch remains known as "The Long Count Fight".

Life after boxing

Portrait of Dempsey (date unknown)
Portrait of Dempsey (date unknown)

Dempsey retired from boxing following the Tunney rematch, but continued with numerous exhibition bouts. Following retirement, Dempsey became known as a philanthropist. In June 1932, he sponsored the "Ride of Champions" bucking horse event at Reno, Nevada with the "Dempsey Trophy" going to legendary bronc rider Pete Knight. In 1933, Dempsey was approached by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to portray a boxer in the film, The Prizefighter and the Lady, directed by W. S. Van Dyke and co-starring Myrna Loy.

The Riviera del Pacifico Cultural and Convention Center in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, built in 1930, was a gambling casino supposedly financed by Al Capone and managed by Jack Dempsey. Its clientele included Myrna Loy, Lana Turner and Dolores del Río.

In 1935, Dempsey opened Jack Dempsey's Restaurant in New York City on Eighth Avenue and 50th Street, across from the third Madison Square Garden. The restaurant's name was later changed to Jack Dempsey's Broadway Restaurant when it relocated to Times Square on Broadway between 49th and 50th Streets. It remained open until 1974.[46] Dempsey was also a co-owner of the Howard Manor in Palm Springs, California.[47]

Dempsey married four times; his first two wives were Maxine Gates (married from 1916 to 1919) and Estelle Taylor (married in 1925).[1] Dempsey divorced Taylor in 1930, and married Broadway singer and recent divorcee Hannah Williams in 1933. Williams was previously married to bandleader Roger Wolfe Kahn. Dempsey and Williams had two children together and divorced in 1943. Dempsey then married Deanna Piatelli, remaining married to her until his death in 1983. The couple had one child, a daughter, whom they adopted together, and who would later write a book on Dempsey's life with Piatelli.[1]

Service during World War II

Commander Dempsey (center) looking on as two seamen load an antiaircraft gun, c. 1942–44
Commander Dempsey (center) looking on as two seamen load an antiaircraft gun, c. 1942–44

When the United States entered World War II, Dempsey had an opportunity to refute any remaining criticism of his war record of two decades earlier. Dempsey joined the New York State Guard and was given a commission as a first lieutenant, later resigning that commission to accept a commission as a lieutenant in the Coast Guard Reserve. Dempsey reported for duty in June 1942 at Coast Guard Training Station, Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, New York, where he was assigned as "Director of Physical Education." As part of the ongoing war effort, Dempsey made personal appearances at fights, camps, hospitals and War Bond drives. Dempsey was promoted to lieutenant commander in December 1942 and commander in March 1944. In 1944, Dempsey was assigned to the transport USS Wakefield (AP-21). In 1945, he was on board the attack transport USS Arthur Middleton (APA-25) for the invasion of Okinawa. Dempsey also spent time aboard the USS General William Mitchell (AP-114), where he spent time showing the crew sparring techniques. Dempsey was released from active duty in September 1945 and received an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard Reserve in 1952.[2][48]

Later life

Dempsey (right) playing to box with El Gráfico journalist who interviewed him in Broadway, 1970
Dempsey (right) playing to box with El Gráfico journalist who interviewed him in Broadway, 1970

Dempsey authored a book on boxing titled Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense and published in 1950. The book emphasizes knockout power derived from enabling fast motion from one's heavy bodyweight.[49]

After the world-famous Louis-Schmeling fight, Dempsey stated he was glad he never had to face Joe Louis in the ring; when Louis eventually fell on hard times financially, Dempsey served as honorary chairman of a relief fund to assist him.[3]

Dempsey made friends with former opponents Wills and Tunney after retirement, with Dempsey campaigning for Tunney's son, Democrat John V. Tunney, when he successfully ran for the U.S. Senate, from California. He was also one of many boxers to attend the funeral of Feab S. Williams (better known as "George Godfrey").[50]

One of Dempsey's best friends was Judge John Sirica, who presided over the Watergate trials.[51]


Dempsey was an inaugural 1954 inductee to The Ring magazine's Boxing Hall of Fame (disbanded in 1987),[1] and was an inaugural 1990 inductee to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In 1970, Dempsey became part of the "charter class" in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.[52]

He recounted an incident where he was assaulted while walking home at night, telling the press in 1971 that the two young muggers attempted to grab his arms, but he broke free and laid them both out cold on the sidewalk. The story of the encounter appeared in the Hendersonville Times-News, and reported the incident had taken place "a few years [earlier]".[53] In 1977, in collaboration with his daughter Barbara Lynn, Dempsey published his autobiography, titled Dempsey. In tribute to his legacy and boxing career, a 2004 PBS documentary summarized "Dempsey's boxing style consisted of constantly bobbing and weaving. His attacks were furious and sustained. Behind it all was rage. His aggressive behavior prompted a rule that boxers had to retreat to a neutral corner and give opponents who had been knocked down a chance to get up."[3] According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, constant attack was his strategic defense.[2] In 2011, Dempsey was posthumously inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame.[54]

Dempsey was a Freemason and member of Kenwood Lodge #800 in Chicago, Illinois.[55][56][57][58]


On May 31, 1983, Dempsey died of heart failure at the age of 87 in New York City. His body was buried at Southampton Cemetery in Southampton, New York.

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
85 fights 68 wins 6 losses
By knockout 53 1
By decision 14 5
By disqualification 1 0
Draws 11
No contests 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
85 Loss 68–6–11 United States Gene Tunney UD 10 22 Sep 1927 United States Soldier Field, Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. For NBA, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
84 Win 68–5–11 United States Jack Sharkey KO 7 (15), 0:45 21 Jul 1927 United States Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.
83 Loss 67–5–11 United States Gene Tunney UD 10 23 Sep 1926 United States Sesquicentennial Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Lost NBA, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
82 Win 67–4–11 Argentina Luis Ángel Firpo KO 2 (15), 0:57 14 Sep 1923 United States Polo Grounds, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained NYSAC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
81 Win 66–4–11 United States Tommy Gibbons PTS 15 4 Jul 1923 United States Arena, Shelby, Montana, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
80 Win 65–4–11 United States Jimmy Darcy PTS 4 24 Jul 1922 United States Buffalo Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S. Retained lineal heavyweight title;
Won inaugural NYSAC heavyweight title
79 Win 64–4–11 France Georges Carpentier KO 4 (12) 2 Jul 1921 United States Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey U.S. Retained lineal heavyweight title;
Won inaugural NBA heavyweight title
78 Win 63–4–11 United States Bill Brennan KO 12 (15), 1:57 14 Dec 1920 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained lineal heavyweight title
77 Win 62–4–11 United States Billy Miske KO 3 (10), 1:13 6 Sep 1920 United States Floyd Fitzsimmons Arena, Benton Harbor, Michigan, U.S. Retained lineal heavyweight title
76 Win 61–4–11 United States Jess Willard RTD 3 (12) 4 Jul 1919 United States Bay View Park Arena, Toledo, Ohio, U.S. Won lineal heavyweight title
75 Win 60–4–11 United States Tony Drake KO 1 2 Apr 1919 United States New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
74 Win 59–4–11 United States Eddie Smith KO 1 13 Feb 1919 United States Altoona, Pennsylvania, U.S.
73 Win 58–4–11 United States Kid Harris KO 1 29 Jan 1919 United States Easton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
72 Win 57–4–11 United States Kid Harris KO 1 23 Jan 1919 United States Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
71 Win 56–4–11 United States Big Jack Hickey KO 1 20 Jan 1919 United States Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
70 Win 55–4–11 United States Jack Maguire KO 1 16 Jan 1919 United States Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.
69 Win 54–4–11 United States Gunboat Smith KO 2 (8) 16 Dec 1918 United States Buffalo Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
68 Win 53–4–11 United States Carl Morris KO 1 (20), 1:00 16 Dec 1918 United States Louisiana Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
67 Win 52–4–11 United States Billy Miske NWS 6 28 Nov 1918 United States Olympia Athletic Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
66 Win 51–4–11 United States Dan Flynn KO 1 (6), 2:16 18 Nov 1918 United States Olympia Athletic Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
65 Win 50–4–11 United States Battling Levinsky KO 3 (6) 6 Nov 1918 United States Olympia Athletic Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
64 Win 49–4–11 United States Jack Moran KO 1 (10), 1:10 14 Sep 1918 United States Moana Springs Arena, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
63 Loss 48–4–11 United States Willie Meehan PTS 4 13 Sep 1918 United States San Francisco Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
62 Win 48–3–11 United States Terry Kellar TKO 5 (15) 24 Aug 1918 United States Westwood Field Gym, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
61 Win 47–3–11 United States Fred Fulton KO 1 (8), 0:23 27 Jul 1918 United States Harrison Park, Harrison, New Jersey, U.S.
60 Win 46–3–11 United States Dan Flynn KO 1 (10) 6 Jul 1918 United States Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
59 Win 45–3–11 United States Bob Devere KO 1 (12) 4 Jul 1918 United States Joe Becker Stadium, Joplin, Missouri, U.S.
58 Win 44–3–11 United States Tom McCarty KO 1 (12), 0:30 1 Jul 1918 United States Tulsa Convention Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
57 Win 43–3–11 Canada Arthur Pelkey KO 1 (15), 1:00 29 May 1918 United States Stockyards Stadium, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
56 Win 42–3–11 United States Dan Ketchell KO 2 (10) 22 May 1918 United States Excelsior Springs, Missouri, U.S.
55 Draw 41–3–11 United States Billy Miske NWS 10 3 May 1918 United States Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
54 Win 41–3–10 United States Tom Riley KO 1 (15) 25 Mar 1918 United States Southwest Athletic Club, Joplin, Missouri, U.S.
53 Win 40–3–10 United States Fred Saddy KO 1 (8) 16 Mar 1918 United States Phoenix Athletic Club, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
52 Win 39–3–10 United States Bill Brennan TKO 6 (10) 25 Feb 1918 United States Milwaukee Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
51 Win 38–3–10 United States Fireman Jim Flynn KO 1 (10), 1:10 14 Feb 1918 United States Fort Sheridan, Illinois, U.S.
50 Win 37–3–10 United States Carl Morris DQ 6 (10) 2 Feb 1918 United States Buffalo Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
49 Win 36–3–10 United States Homer Smith KO 1 (10), 1:15 24 Jan 1918 United States Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.
48 Win 35–3–10 United States Carl Morris PTS 4 2 Nov 1917 United States Dreamland Rink, San Francisco, California, U.S.
47 Win 34–3–10 United States Gunboat Smith PTS 4 2 Oct 1917 United States Recreation Park, San Francisco, California, U.S.
46 Win 33–3–10 United States Bob McAllister PTS 4 26 Sep 1917 United States Arena, Emeryville, California, U.S.
45 Win 32–3–10 United States Charley Miller TKO 1 (4) 19 Sep 1917 United States Arena, Emeryville, California, U.S.
44 Win 31–3–10 United States Willie Meehan TKO 1 (4) 19 Sep 1917 United States Arena, Emeryville, California, U.S.
43 Draw 30–3–10 United States Willie Meehan PTS 4 7 Sep 1917 United States Dreamland Rink, San Francisco, California, U.S.
42 Draw 30–3–9 United States Willie Meehan PTS 4 10 Aug 1917 United States Dreamland Rink, San Francisco, California, U.S.
41 Win 30–3–8 United States Al Norton KO 1 (4) 1 Aug 1917 United States Arena, Emeryville, California, U.S.
40 Win 29–3–8 United States Willie Meehan PTS 4 25 Jul 1917 United States Arena, Emeryville, California, U.S.
39 Draw 28–3–8 United States Al Norton PTS 4 11 Apr 1917 United States West Oakland Club, Oakland, California, U.S.
38 Loss 28–3–7 United States Willie Meehan PTS 4 28 Mar 1917 United States Arena, Emeryville, California, U.S.
37 Draw 28–2–7 United States Al Norton PTS 4 21 Mar 1917 United States West Oakland Club, Oakland, California, U.S.
36 Loss 28–2–6 United States Fireman Jim Flynn KO 1 (15), 0:25 13 Feb 1917 United States Trocadero Hall, Murray, Utah, U.S.
35 Win 28–1–6 United States Young Hector KO 2 29 Nov 1916 United States The Rink, Salida, Colorado, U.S.
34 Win 27–1–6 United States Dick Gilbert PTS 10 16 Oct 1916 United States Salt Lake Theater, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
33 Win 26–1–6 United States Terry Kellar PTS 10 7 Oct 1916 United States Bijo Hall, Ely, Nevada, U.S.
32 Win 25–1–6 United States Young Hector RTD 3 (15) 28 Sep 1916 United States Fire Hall, Murray, Utah, U.S.
31 Draw 24–1–6 United States John Lester Johnson NWS 10 14 Jul 1916 United States Harlem Sporting Club, Harlem, New York, U.S.
30 Win 24–1–5 United States Bert Kenny NWS 10 8 Jul 1916 United States Fairmont Athletic Club, Bronx, New York, U.S.
29 Win 23–1–5 United States Andre Anderson NWS 10 24 Jun 1916 United States Fairmont Athletic Club, Bronx, New York, U.S.
28 Win 22–1–5 United States Bob York KO 4 (6) 30 May 1916 United States Eko Theatre, Price, Utah, U.S. For Pacific Coast light-heavyweight title
27 Win 21–1–5 United States Dan Ketchell TKO 3 (10) 17 May 1916 United States Mozart Theatre, Provo, Utah, U.S.
26 Win 20–1–5 United States Terry Kellar PTS 10 3 May 1916 United States Alhambra Theatre, Ogden, Utah, U.S.
25 Win 19–1–5 United States Joe Bonds PTS 10 8 Apr 1916 United States Bijo Hall, Ely, Nevada, U.S.
24 Win 18–1–5 United States George Christian KO 1 (15) 17 Mar 1916 United States Eko Theatre, Price, Utah, U.S.
23 Win 17–1–5 United States Cyril Kohen KO 4 (6) 9 Mar 1916 United States Mozart Theatre, Provo, Utah, U.S.
22 Win 16–1–5 United States Boston Bearcat KO 1 23 Feb 1916 United States Armory, Ogden, Utah, U.S.
21 Win 15–1–5 United States Jack Downey KO 2 21 Feb 1916 United States Grand Theater, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
20 Win 14–1–5 United States Swede Johnson KO 2 5 Feb 1916 United States Bijo Hall, Ely, Nevada, U.S.
19 Win 13–1–5 United States Johnny Sudenberg KO 2 1 Feb 1916 United States Bijo Hall, Ely, Nevada, U.S.
18 Win 12–1–5 United States Jack Gillian TKO 1 (4) 20 Dec 1915 United States Grand Theater, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
17 Draw 11–1–5 United States Jack Downey PTS 4 13 Dec 1915 United States Grand Theater, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
16 Win 11–1–4 United States George Coplen KO 6 (10) 19 Nov 1915 United States Lyric Opera House, Cripple Creek, Colorado, U.S.
15 Win 10–1–4 United States Andy Malloy KO 3 (10) 23 Oct 1915 United States Moose Hall, Montrose, Colorado, U.S.
14 Win 9–1–4 United States Andy Malloy NWS 10 7 Oct 1915 United States Gem Theatre, Durango, Colorado, U.S.
13 Win 8–1–4 United States Fred Woods KO 4 23 Sep 1915 United States Moose Hall, Montrose, Colorado, U.S.
12 Draw 7–1–4 United States Johnny Sudenberg PTS 10 11 Jun 1915 United States Airdome, Tonopah, Nevada U.S.
11 Draw 7–1–3 United States Johnny Sudenberg PTS 10 31 May 1915 United States Hippodrome, Goldfield, Nevada U.S.
10 Win 7–1–2 United States Emmanuel Campbell TKO 4 (4) 26 Apr 1915 United States Airdrome Arena, Reno, Arizona, U.S.
9 Loss 6–1–2 United States Jack Downey PTS 10 5 Apr 1915 United States Garrick Theater, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
8 Win 6–0–2 United States Chief Gordon KO 6 1 Apr 1915 United States Utah, U.S.
7 Win 5–0–2 United States John Pierson KO 7 3 Mar 1915 United States Utah, U.S.
6 Draw 4–0–2 United States Chief Geronimo PTS 4 26 Feb 1915 United States Pocatello, Idaho, U.S.
5 Win 4–0–1 United States Joe Lyons KO 9 2 Feb 1915 United States Utah, U.S.
4 Win 3–0–1 United States Battling Johnson KO 1 Jan 1915 United States Utah, U.S.
3 Win 2–0–1 United States Billy Murphy KO 1 (4) 30 Nov 1914 United States Garrick Theater, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
2 Win 1–0–1 United States Young Hancock KO 1 (4) 2 Nov 1914 United States Garrick Theater, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
1 Draw 0–0–1 United States Young Herman PTS 6 18 Aug 1914 United States Ramona Athletic Club Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.

Published works

  • Dempsey, Jack, Lt.; Cosneck, Bernard J. (2002) [1942]. How to Fight Tough (Softcover). Boulder, Colo: Paladin Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-58160-315-6.
  • Dempsey, Jack; Menke, Frank G. (2002). How to Fight Tough (Print). Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press. ISBN 1581603150.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Dempsey, Jack (2015). Jack Dempsey's Championship Fighting: Explosive punching and aggressive defense. Simon & Schuster. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-5011-1148-8.
  • Dempsey, Jack; Stearns, Myron Morris (1940). Round by Round (Hardcover). New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill. p. 285.
  • Dempsey, Jack; Considine, Bob; Slocum, Bill (1960). Dempsey By The Man Himself As Told To Bob Considine and Bill Slocum (Hardcover). New York: Simon & Schuster.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Dempsey, Jack; Dempsey, Barbara Piattelli (1977). Dempsey:The Autobiography of Jack Dempsey. London: W. H. Allen, Harper & Row. p. 320. ISBN 0-491-02301-4. ISBN 9780491023016

See also



  1. ^ According to a January 11, 1955 Sports Illustrated article
  2. ^ According to This Draft Card
  3. ^ "'John the Barber' fight mentor, dead. Jack Dempsey's first manager succumbs to an infection of his finger. His wife, reconciled after a long separation, is at the bedside with their children". The New York Times. September 16, 1930. Retrieved October 16, 2008. 'John the Barber,' in private life John J. Reisler, known on Broadway for many years as a barber, fight manager, and friend of the street's great and near-great, died yesterday...
  4. ^ "Jack Kearns, manager of Dempsey, dies at 80; Earned and spent a fortune as pilot of six champions. Associated with Rickard life full of drama taught Dempsey left hook Dempsey winner in 15". The New York Times. July 8, 1963. Retrieved October 16, 2008. Jack Kearns, who managed Jack Dempsey and other boxing champions, died today at the home of his son Jack Kearns Jr. He was 80 years old.
  5. ^ Radosta, John S. (October 29, 1975). "Georges Carpentier, Boxer, Dies in Paris; He Fought Dempsey at Boyle's Thirty Acres in 1921". The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2008. Georges Carpentier, who lost on a fourth-round knockout to Jack Dempsey in boxing's first $1-million gate, died last night of a heart attack. He was 81 years old.
  6. ^ "Tunney, Boxing Champion Who Beat Dempsey, Dies. Lectured on Shakespeare". The New York Times. November 8, 1978. Retrieved October 16, 2008. Gene Tunney, the former heavyweight boxing champion who twice defeated Jack Dempsey, died yesterday at the Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut. He was 80 years old and had been suffering from a circulation ailment.


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  2. ^ a b c d "Jack Dempsey". Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online. December 14, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "Jack Dempsey (1895–1983)". The Fight. The American Experience. PBS. September 22, 2004. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  4. ^ "How Hall of Famers rank for salary in 2012 dollars". The Hardball Times. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "Sport: Prizefighting's Million-Dollar Gates". March 8, 1971. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney (1st meeting) - BoxRec". Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  7. ^ "On this date: 1950 – Jack Dempsey voted the greatest fighter of the past 50 years". Honolulu Advertiser. Associated Press. January 29, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Gustkey, Earl (June 25, 1995). "This Champion Was a Real Bum : Jack Dempsey, the Man Who Inspired Boxing's First Million-Dollar Gate, Was Born 100 Years Ago". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Cavanaugh, Jack (2007). Tunney: Boxing's Brainiest Champ and His Upset of the Great Jack Dempsey (Softcover). New York London: Ballantine Books, Turnaround distributor. ISBN 978-0812967838. ISBN 0-8129-6783-6; ISBN 9780812967838.
  10. ^ "Dempsey's rise like flash of meteor; New champion battled his way to pugilistic fame in period of three years. Willard his antithesis giant Kansan disliked fighting and has only one great victory to his credit. Dempsey a powerful hitter. Willard's age camouflaged". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
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  13. ^ Kahn, Roger (1999). A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring '20s (Paperback). San Diego: Mariner Books, Harcourt, Inc. p. 175. ISBN 0156014149.
  14. ^ Topical Guide; Accountability, Age of. – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
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  19. ^ Smith, Toby (1987). Kid Blackie. Ouray, CO: Wayfinder Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-9608764-7-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  20. ^ Dempsey, Considine & Slocum (1960), p. 49.
  21. ^ Dempsey, Considine & Slocum (1960), p. 50.
  22. ^ Smith (1987), p. 82.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Pacheco, Ferdie (2005). The 12 Greatest Rounds Of Boxing: The Untold Stories. London: Robson, Trafalgar Square. p. 208. ISBN 9781861058058.
  24. ^ Cox, Monte; Soderman, Bob. "Did Jack Dempsey Take a Dive?". Cox's Corner. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  25. ^ "Jack Dempsey". Archived from the original on April 15, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  26. ^ Groves, Lee (July 4, 2013). "Notable July 4th fights". Ring Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
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  28. ^ The New York Times. July 5, 1919. Saturday Section: Sports, p. 18. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Fleischer, Nat (1958). 50 Years At Ringside. New York: Fleet Publishing Corp. p. 118.
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  31. ^ a b Sann, Paul. The Lawless Decade.
  32. ^ Fisher, Marc (2007). Something in the Air. New York: Random House. xiv. ISBN 978-0-375-50907-0.
  33. ^ rsmorodinov (June 30, 2010). "Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons (Full Film), part 1/5" – via YouTube.
  34. ^ Hao1981 (January 11, 2010). "Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons (July 1923)" – via YouTube.
  35. ^ "Cuando Firpo tiró a Dempsey fuera del ring: El encuentro por la corona mundial de Box". Revista El Gráfico. September 22, 1923. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  36. ^ "Jack Dempsey cover". TIME Magazine. September 10, 1923. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
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  38. ^ "Pick jury for trial of Kearns vs. Dempsey". The Milwaukee Journal. Princeton, New Jersey. November 16, 1927. p. 17.
  39. ^ O'Connor, Emmet (2004). Reds and the Green: Ireland, Russia and the Communist Internationals, 1919–1943. Dublin, Ireland: University College Dublin. ISBN 1-904558-20-8.
  40. ^ "Ronald Reagan ... Assassination Attempt".
  41. ^ "Dempsey's Brother Slays Wife, Self. John Dempsey Shoots Woman, Then Commits Suicide, at Schenectady. Boxer Identifies Bodies. He Is Deeply Affected by the Tragedy. The couple Had Been Estranged for Year". The New York Times. July 3, 1927. Retrieved October 16, 2008. Apparently in a spell of temporary insanity due to a recurring attack of an illness to which he had been subject for several years, John Dempsey, brother of the former heavyweight champion, fatally shot his 21-year-old revile, Edna, in a rooming house here today.
  42. ^ DEMPSEY'S BROTHER SLAYS WIFE, SELF Special to The New York Times. July 3, 1927, page 10. Accessed as PDF file for ease of reading April 22, 2018
  43. ^ Listed, Not. "1927 Dempsey loses on long count". A&E Television Networks, LLC. Archived from the original on March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  44. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
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  46. ^ Dana, Robert W. (August 1, 1949). "Tips on Tables: Jack Dempsey's Is Notable For Special Dishes". Tips on Retrieved June 22, 2012.
  47. ^ Vincent, Roger (June 18, 2012). "L.A. investors acquire Palm Springs hotel". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 16, 2012. (with correction in: "For the record". Los Angeles Times. June 22, 2012.)
  48. ^ "USCG: Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved January 16, 2011.
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Further reading

External links

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Inaugural champion The Ring heavyweight champion
1922 – September 23, 1926
Succeeded by
Gene Tunney
Preceded by
Jess Willard
World heavyweight champion
July 4, 1919 – September 23, 1926
John L. Sullivan
2 566 days
Longest cumulative world heavyweight
championship reign
2 638 days (7 years, 2 months, 19 days)
2 567 days on July 14, 1926

September 23, 1926 – September 12, 1944
Joe Louis
David Lloyd George
Cover of Time magazine
September 10, 1923
Israel Zangwill
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