Inspiration From Jack Dempsey

I really like Jack Dempsey's great one liner: "A champion is someone who gets up when he can't."

It summarises, as powerfully and as swiftly as one of his explosive left hooks, the spirit of anyone who refuses to accept limitations and defeat whether they are a boxer or not.

I just quoted the line on the phone to my brother who is temporarily floored by the problem of switching off his new scanner! Dempsey might well have 'solved' the problem by smashing the scanner with a powerful punch.

At times, Dempsey fought from 'pure rage' although he also had great skill. He did not waste time in a fight but just attacked with intent.

Dempsey was born in Manassa, Colorado in 1895, the 9th of 11 children. The small hut in which his family lived is preserved there to this day. A guide book describes the extensive inspiration people gain from his life: "The people in Manassa still celebrate his greatness, which stimulates them to succeed on their own in many professions, especially the medical."

He left home at the age of 16 and learned to survive in the mining towns of the West. He had many successful fights and started boxing professionally in 1914. He knocked out the giant Jess Willard in 1919 to win the Heavyweight boxing title. Dempsey was a skilled but ferocious fighter. He didn't believe in sounding out his opponent. Willard was knocked down 7 times in the first round.

Dempsey also had a great champion's one liner for dealing with big men: "Tall men come down to my height when I hit 'em in the body." Dempsey was five inches shorter and 58 pounds lighter than the 6-foot-6, 245-pound champion, Jess Willard. But on July 4, 1919, under the scorching sun in Toledo, Ohio, Dempsey broke Willard's jaw with one of his first punches, an explosive left hook.

He knocked Willard down seven times in the first round and walloped him for two more rounds. When Willard didn't come out for the fourth round, he had four teeth missing, his eyes were closed, his nose was smashed and two ribs were cracked.For good measure,he still had the broken jaw from round one.

Dempsey did not believe in half measures. Pulitzer Prize winner Red Smith described Dempsey in the ring vividly: "In the ring, he was a tiger without mercy who shuffled forward in a bobbing crouch, humming a barely audible tune and punching to the rhythm of the song. He was 187 pounds of unbridled violence. This isn't big by heavyweight standards, yet in the judgment of some, this black-browed product of Western mining camps and hobo jungles was the best of all pugilists."

Dempsey defended his title twice in 1920 and then, in 1921, knocked out Georges Carpentier, the French light-heavyweight champion, in the fourth round. In 1923 he had a mighty brawl with challenger, Luis Firpo, a 216-pounder from Argentina who was called "the Wild Bull of the Pampas."

Firpo's first punch was a powerful right to the jaw that put the champ down. Dempsey jumped off the canvas before a count could be started and went on to knock down Firpo seven times.

Before the first round ended, an angry Firpo threw a right that sent Dempsey through the ropes and onto a sportswriter's typewriter. The writer and another man helped the champ return to the ring before the count of 10. I'm not sure what happened to the typewriter. This is the stuff that films like 'Rocky' are made of!

Perhaps Dempsey was thinking of this incident when he wrote: "A champion is someone who gets up when he can't." In Round 2, Dempsey scored two more knockdowns The second knockdown ended the bout after 3 minutes and 57 seconds of non-stop action. No wonder his fights were popular!

Dempsey took the next three years off and fought only a few exhibitions. When he returned on Sept. 23, 1926, the quicker Tunney, the marine, carved up the champ's face. Dempsey kept his sense of humour. Returning home to his wife Estelle after the defeat, he confessed: "Honey, I forgot to duck!"

Before the Tunney rematch, Dempsey fought Jack Sharkey. When Sharkey complained to the referee in the seventh round that Dempsey was hitting low, Dempsey unloaded a left hook on Sharkey's exposed chin. The fight was over. When asked why he threw the punch when Sharkey wasn't looking, Dempsey said, "What was I supposed to do -- write him a letter?"

Dempsey's return match with Tunney drew a gate of $2,658,660 (about $22 million in today's dollars) at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sept. 22, 1927 Tunney controlled the first six rounds, but in the seventh a typical blitz from Dempsey floored Tunney.

The timekeeper began his count. The referee, Dave Barry, pointed Dempsey to a neutral corner but Dempsey ignored him and went to his own corner, a few feet behind Tunney. Barry pointed again to the neutral corner and at the count of three, Dempsey started there, arriving about two seconds later. The timekeeper was at five when Barry turned to Tunney. But instead of picking up that count in unison with the timekeeper, Barry called out, "One."

So began the Long Count. At Barry's count of four, Tunney looked up at the referee. When the count reached nine, Tunney, pulled himself to his feet. He had been down about 14 seconds. Perhaps Dempsey was thinking of this incident more than the one when he was knocked out of the ring when he wrote: "A champion is someone who gets up when he can't."

Tunney ran from Dempsey for the rest of the round. In the eighth, he floored Dempsey, and then went on to dominate the last two rounds to win easily. After the fight, Dempsey lifted Tunney's arm in salute and said, "You were best. You fought a smart fight, kid." That was Dempsey's last bout. He retired with a 64-6-9 record, according to The Ring magazine.

Later, he was knocked down with another kind of blow. He lost about $3 million in the stock market crash. But like a true champion he got off the floor again to become one of the most popular restaurant owners in New York. On May 31, 1983, he died of natural causes at the age of 87.

Dempsey was a great champion. He would bounce back after knock out blows both in boxing and in life. He kept his sense of humour and was gracious in defeat. He is an inspiration not only to the people of Manassa and the USA but to the people of the world.

About the author

John Watson is an award winning teacher and martial arts instructor. He has recently written two books about achieving your goals and dreams. They can both be found on his website"> along with a daily motivational message.

The title of the first book is "36 Laws To Ignite Your Inner Power And Realize Your Dreams Now! - Acronyms, Stories, And Pictures...Easy To Remember And Use Everyday To Grab Your Life And Soar With The Eagles"

The book can be found at this URL">

The book uses acronyms, stories and pictures to help readers remember 36 laws that can gradually transform your life if you apply them.

You are welcome to publish the article above in your ezine or on your website so long as you do not alter it and keep in the words about the author and the 36 Laws.


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