As part of the WBC Year of Boxing, we celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of when Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey KO`d Light
Heavyweight Champion Georges Carpentier, resulting in the first Million-dollar gate.
“Dempsey Gate” was dubbed the “Fight of the Century.” Jack Dempsey, “The Manassa Mauler,” who was world heavyweight champion, was defending his title for the third occasion, this time against debonair and elegant Frenchman Georges “Orchid Kid” Carpentier, a World War I hero pilot, who had been awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm. The boxing match galore, was historic for totted up gate receipts of 1,789. 238 dollars.
A first in boxing promotion, which revolutionized sports coverage via an emerging technology known as the radio playing a revolutionary role. It was the first boxing title match, broadcast live over the then crackling airwaves. Henry Hascup, President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and Boxing Historian, will chronicle why Jersey City was chosen as the venue for this extraordinary championship bout, and how the fight changed boxing promotion as well as the fight career impact for Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier.
Flamboyant Tex Rickard promoted this fight, transforming it into an extravaganza. Almost thirty years later, Norma Desmond, who was played by the legendary Gloria Swanson, in Sunset Boulevard, perhaps had all of this in mind, when she famously quipped: “I am big…it`s the pictures that got small!” Tex, who was the creator of the third incarnation of Madison Square Gardon, and built seven more replicas of it around the country, also thought and bought big. He rightly concluded that The Garden just wasn`t cavernous enough to realize his gargantuan ambition.
So, he audaciously borrowed quarter of a million dollars to build his own stadium at Boyle`s Thirty Acres. Ninety thousand fans crammed into it, to prove him right. His profit was a cool five hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
A rugged, scowling unshaved Jack weighed in a one hundred and ninety pounds, compared to a beaming smooth faced Georges` one hundred and seventy four pounds. For the first time, a bevy of beautifully attired ladies attended, to see the French pompadour, try and match his quicksilver silky counter punching skills, against the iron fisted onslaught of the Manassa Mauler. Harry Ertle was the Referee.
Jack grimly pursued, while initially elusive Georges, prudently hit and moved around. In round two a mighty surprise, as Georges landed a huge short right to the jaw, momentarily staggering Jack. Jack started to dominate in the third, and in the fourth it became a slugfest. Early in that round, Jack dropped Georges with a powerful left right combination. A badly hurt Georges only just managed to regain his feet at the count of nine. Jack who was a ruthless finisher, wasn`t going to let this opportunity slip/slide or pass. Another left right combination to the head and then a crunching right hook to the body, crumpled and dropped Georges again, and it was all over at the one minute sixteen seconds mark. The orchid had wilted in the eye of the storm!
Several more fights of the century came to pass over the ensuing years of the twentieth Century, but none was similar to this triumph, as a thrilling and memorable buccaneering bonanza. Tex who died young aged fifty nine, following complications after an appendectomy, was variously described as a bartender, gambler and a promoter. This gamble of his paid off BIG TIME, at the start of the Roaring Twenties.