Friday, July 09, 2010

Collection: N28 Jack Dempsey

Don't mistake this 19th century boxer for the Manassa Mauler who shares the same name. This Jack Dempsey was born over 30 years earlier. He may not be as famous as the champion from the 1920's, but he was just as good- if not better. Heck, in his day he was one of most popular pugilist in America and was nicknamed Nonpareil because no one could beat him. Dempsey was noted for his craftiness in the ring and his mastery as a ring general. He often fought others who outweighed him by as much as 25 lbs. and was believed to be so good that he could handily beat heavyweight John L. Sullivan.

Nonpareil was a bare-knuckle brawler who won his first fight in 1883 and didn't lose until 1889. Although that loss was in dispute since he got clocked by an illegal backhanded punch by George LaBranche. His first real defeat occurred 2 years later to Bob Fitzsimmons when he lost the World Middleweight Championship. Most believe that by this time he was well past his prime and suffering from a losing battle with tuberculosis. I've read that he had to be knocked down up to 14 times before he was officially knocked out. In 65 career matches he lost only 3 times.

It was said of him that,
"His style and method of boxing has a neatness about it … He stops blows aimed at him by his adversaries with so much skill, and hits his antagonist with such terrific force and comparative ease, that he astonishes and terrifies his opponents beyond measure … those ambitious to win the title of the middleweight champion are soon convinced of his superior knowledge and athletic prowess".
Above is his 1887 N28 Allen & Ginter card from my collection.

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