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The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia -- Old Timer
Tommy "Fatty" Langtry
BORN Fought out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York, New York HEIGHT.. 5-8 WEIGHT 250-305
FATTY LANGTRY: PUDGY PUGILIST OF THE PAST
by Robert Carson
With "Butterbean" getting so much attention in the boxing ring, many fans think that pudgy pugilists are a modern-day novelty. Not so. In fact, a roly-poly ex-sailor from San Francisco gave aspiring heavyweight Jack Dempsey trouble, defeating the future champion twice, losing once, and holding him to a draw twice. And who could forget "Two Ton" Tony Galento, who put the immortal Joe Louis on his rusty duster in their title fight.
There have been lesser lights in the Beef Brigade, such as Bruce Olsen, LeRoy Jones, and Big Bill Jackson. But none of these hefty hunks can hold a candle to the granddaddy of all fat fighters. Ever hear of Tommy "Fatty" Langtry? I would say not. Poor old "Fatty" is overlooked when discussing the old timers, even though he fought and sometimes beat some of the best and toughest of the day.
Fatty first came to the attention of the boxing sports while he was a waiter at Owney Geoheghan's joint in old New York. Geoheghan was an ex-bare knuckler and now was a political thug that ran a few one-arm joints that featured prizefights in the back room.
To get a better picture of Fatty, you have to take into account his dimensions. Standing about 5-foot-8, he measured well over five feet in girth. Fatty's neck was 24 inches in circumference, and he was perched on chunky little legs. The only known photo of him (pictured above) shows him in ring togs with the close-cropped hair of the professional pug with a pleasant face and a double chin.
Not much is known about Fatty, and his boxing record is spotty at best. His first fight was against a fighter named Charley Norton, who weighed 260 pounds. It was held on January 17, 1884, at Harry Hill's popular theatre. It was to be a three-round affair under Police Gazette Rules with Harry Hill acting as referee. At the opening bell, both pugilists fought like demons. Fatty got the better shots in, and at 2:25 of the first round, Norton was sent to dreamland. Harry Hill divided the purse.
George W. Dixon, champion heavyweight of Pennsylvania, was the next to fall in three rounds.
Enthusiastic with these victories, Fatty took on veteran Bill Gobig and won handily over a four-round distance with old bare-knuckle fighter, Dominic McCaffrey, as the third man.
By now Fatty was becoming somewhat of a celebrity and getting notice in the weekly Police Gazette.
Beefy Denny Kelliher challenged Fatty to a fight for the Fat Man's Championship. It was a great brawl, as these two mastiffs pounded away at each other. At the end of six rounds, Fatty came away with the decision. It was decided for a return bout, which ended in a draw.
In Philadelphia a few days later, on March 31, 1886, Fatty fought Henry Anders wearing skin-tight gloves under Police Gazette Rules. In the first round Fatty forced the fighting and swung repeatedly with both rights and lefts, never stopping to rest. Wilting under the barrage, Anders was knocked out at 2:30 of the first round and earned a purse of $500.
On March 22, 1886, Fatty met a real toughie in Mike Boden, "The Canuck," a fighter that had faced and beat Pete HcCoy, John L. Sullivan's chief sparring partner. Hike stood 5-foot-7 1/2 and weighed between a healthy 180 pounds and 200 pounds.
The fight took place in Philadelphia and went into the dark with Fatty sustaining a fractured arm and getting a no-decision verdict. Boden and Fatty met again on May 5 with "The Canuck" wining the six-round nod.
Heavyweight champ of Chester City, John Spencer, went only three rounds until he was dispensed with. Fatty's next opponent was the toughest of the lot: Mike Conley, "The Ithaca Giant," was a strapping six-footer that hit the beam between 180 pounds and 200 pounds. The fight was held at Clark's Theatre in Philadelphia on November 6, 1886. It was a good fight and, much to Conley's surprise, wound up a draw.
Harry Andrews lasted only one round at Tom Stark's sporting house in Philadelphia. Another draw with Bill Gabig was followed by beating Bob Coffee in four. Coffee not only lost, but he broke both his hands on Fatty's thick head.
Popular "Clipper" Donahue didn't fare any better in Philadelphia on January 7, 1887. As usual, Fatty came out swinging with both hands, whacking Donahue all over the ring. In the third round, Fatty uncorked a shot that not only put Clipper down, but out of the ring into a water trough that was standing adjacent to the ring.
This seemed to be the last fight of any importance that Fatty engaged in. Oh, no doubt, he fought on after that, but details of these bouts have been lost with time. It would seem nice if Fatty eventually got weary of the ring wars and wisely decided to hang 'em up and go back to waiting tables at Owney Geoheghan's, and retire to his abode at 281 Bowery in New York City.
Fatty never will have a place in the Boxing Hall of Fame, and only dedicated boxing historians even recognize the name. It has to be remembered that Tommy "Fatty" Langtry fought with small, horsehair gloves or the murderous skin-tight gloves -- and he usually won. Hauling his bulk through those ring ropes with little time to heal from the previous battle says a lot for the spirit of the man.
You just can't help but admire the guy.
Robert Carson is a boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO). This article originally appeared in IBRO Journal No. 77.1884 Jan 17 Charley Norton New York, NY KO 1 -Norton weighed 260 lbs Undated George W. Dixon KO 3 -This man was not the famous boxer; He was a heavyweight from Pennsylvania John Spencer W 3 Denny Kelliher D Harry Anders Philadelphia, Pa KO 1 -Some sources report "Henry Andrews"; Some report "W 1" 1886 Mar 22 Mike Boden Philadelphia, Pa ND 1 Mar 31 Henry Anders Philadelphia, Pa KO 1 -Skin tight gloves were used May 5 Mike Boden W 6 Oct 28 Bill Gabig Philadelphia, Pa ND 4 Oct 30 Denny Kelliher Philadelphia, Pa L 4 -Some sources report "L 6" Nov 6 Mike Conley Philadelphia, Pa LT 2 -Some sources report 11/13/1886; Some sources report a "draw" Nov 23 Denny Kelliher Philadelphia, Pa L 4 Nov 30 Denny Kelliher Philadelphia, Pa D 4 Dec 3 Bill Gabig Philadelphia, Pa ND 4 1887 Jan 7 Frank "Clipper" Donohue Philadelphia, Pa KO 3 -Philadelphia (Pa) Times reported that police intervened and arrested the men; So, it is questionable as to whether they actually fought 1888 Dec 3 Bob Caffrey Washington, DC SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Dec 5 Bob Caffrey Washington, DC SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Dec 7 Bob Caffrey Washington, DC SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Dec 8 Bob Caffrey Washington, DC SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known 1889 Mar 25 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa ND -Weights: 305-250 Mar 28 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa ND Apr 29 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Sep 16 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa ND Sep 30 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa ND Oct 7 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa ND -Weights: 300-275 Nov 11 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The utcome is not known Nov 18 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Nov 27 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Dec 24 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known 1890 Jan 10 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Jan 21 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Feb 3 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Feb 17 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Mar 28 Bob Caffrey Philadelphia, Pa SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Nov 24 -Langtry boxed Bob Caffrey several times during the week of Nov 24-28 1892 Oct -Langtry challenged Jack Fallon to a bout; Fallon accepted; Langtry weighed 250 lbs; Fallon reportedly weighed 280 1893 Jan 2 -Phila (Pa) Item reported that Tommy "Fatty" Langtry, formerly of Philadelphia and now in New York City, is the acknowledged 300-lb champion pugilist of the world; People thought he would be proud of the title but he is apparently not Jan 26 -Bob Patterson (of Harlem, NY) challenged Langtry to a bout Jan 28 Jack Fallon New York, NY SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Jan 28 Bob Patterson New York, NY ND 3 1895 Jan 24 Bob Patterson Long Island, NY SCH -This bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known Jan 24 Bob Anderson Brooklyn, NY LT 1 -Both men together weighed over 600 lbs Jan 28 Bob Patterson New York, NY EX 3