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GorDoom
05-31-2006, 04:15 PM
Reign of the Pittsburgh Windmill: Incredible Harry Greb

By Mike Casey

Some men just look like fighters. They don’t have to make a fist, strike a pose, strut around the place or talk the talk. One look into their eyes, one scan of their features, and you know they’ve got the right stuff.
Harry Greb, like the great Stanley Ketchell before him, looked like a fighter all over. The tight eyes, the harshly scraped hair and the lean body told you at a glance that Greb was a man apart even in the toughest sport of all.
Legions of great pretenders have discovered to their disappointment that you cannot buy, steal or fake what is only given to the chosen few. A mean look and a hard attitude won’t protect you from a harsh dose of reality if you are not cut from the right cloth.
There have been a great many fighters who have tried to imitate Harry Greb and inherit his impregnable armour and fighting heart. Most of them are tucked away and forgotten in boxing’s vast A to Z archives with maybe ten or twelve fights on their log.
If Harry Greb had a dozen fights in a year alone, he was going slow. Nicknamed the Pittsburgh Windmill because of his perpetual motion style, Harry was no less fast and furious in the rate at which he swelled his astonishing ring record. When he was all done, he had jammed 299 fights into the short space of fourteen years, having fought everybody who was somebody in a golden era of teeming talent.
For those interested in the finer details of decimal points, Greb averaged 21.5 fights a year, and only the Grim Reaper finally stopped him in 1926. Boxers of Harry’s era had to fight frequently to earn any meaningful money, and winning a world championship didn’t necessarily buy them a ticket to a more leisurely lifestyle. The heavyweight champion was just about the only guy who could afford to take a walk on easy street. The difference between the average annual salary of Harry Greb and Jack Dempsey was immense.
A perfect illustration of this fact is that between winning the middleweight championship from Johnny Wilson in 1923 and losing it to Tiger Flowers in 1926, Greb defended his title six times and engaged in a total of fifty-six fights.

Series

As for the list of illustrious fighters he faced, many of them in ongoing series and most of whom he defeated, we can only shake our heads at the sheer breadth and depth of talent. Harry bounced around the weight divisions like a mischievous rubber ball, whipping the cream of his own class, thrashing top quality light-heavyweights and heavyweights and even roughing up Dempsey in their famous sparring sessions of 1921.
Greb defeated George Chip, Al McCoy, Jeff Smith, Mike McTigue, Eddie McGoorty, Tiger Flowers, Gunboat Smith, Battling Levinsky Jimmy Slattery and Maxie Rosenbloom.
He was two and one over the brilliant Tommy Gibbons, and also split a pair of decisions with Tommy’s gifted brother, Mike, the legendary Minnesota ace whose marvellous defensive skills won him the nickname of the St Paul Phantom.
In four out of five meetings with that other master boxer, Tommy Loughran, Greb was the boss.
He twice bested heavyweight contender Bill Brennan and was also too good for one of the greatest light-heavyweights of all in the Hoosier Bearcat, Jack Dillon. Giant killer Jack also specialised in terrorising bigger men, but little ol’ Harry was all over him in their two meetings.
In their second match at the Toledo Coliseum in Ohio in 1918, Greb administered a terrific thrashing to Dillon. The local newspaper reported that Harry pounded Jack’s nose to a pulp, staggered him and overwhelmed him.
Greb gave Gene Tunney a brutal beating in their first fight at Madison Square Garden in 1923, so much so that an infuriated Gene retired to his bed with his sore body and applied his formidable intellect to devising a game plan for his revenge.
Game and incredibly courageous to the end, Tunney had endured a hellish fifteen rounds from the relentless Pittsburgher. Gene was a weary man by the fifteenth and final round, his face a mess, content to just muddle his way through the last of the nightmare as Harry forced him to the ropes and shelled him with flurries to the face and the body.
Greb was never a true puncher. His knockout percentage was paltry. But the damage he did to the great ring mechanics like Tunney and Jack Dillon certainly ridicules the myth that Harry was a light hitter.
Tunney, wonderfully shrewd and brainy, learned well from his savage lesson. He was undoubtedly Harry’s master in their wonderful five-fight rivalry, though not as comprehensively as the history books suggest. Historians and researchers have lately credited Greb with the newspaper decision in their fourth fight at Cleveland, which would make Gene the three to two winner in their series. After their final scrap, Greb reportedly visited Tunney’s dressing room and good-naturedly barked, “I never want to fight you again.”
Forever eager to get to the next place and the next thrill, Greb didn’t hang around killing time in the early phase of his career either. In 1915, while still serving his boxing apprenticeship, he engaged in successive fights with Billy Miske and the dangerous Jack Blackburn, who would go on to achieve greater fame as the master trainer of Joe Louis.
Even the loss of sight in one eye failed to curb Greb’s enthusiasm or dull his ability. Historians disagree on which fight caused the injury, but it is most commonly believed that Harry suffered a detached retina in the first of two vicious fights with Kid Norfolk. Greb kept the injured eye a secret from all but his wife and closest friends, finally consenting to its removal in a private operation in Atlantic City. A perfectly matching glass eye was substituted, attached to the eye muscles by sheep tendons.
However, a further operation later on proved too much even for Harry’s great heart. Shortly after his second title match with Tiger Flowers, Greb underwent an operation to remove facial scars sustained in an automobile accident and from his multitude of tough fights. He died on the operating table on October 27, 1926.

Praise

Writers, fans and fellow opponents came to praise Harry Greb when he was alive, and they praised him when he died. Incredibly, nearly eighty years after his passing, Harry’s name is still writ large on the boxing landscape.
Many of today’s fighters use Greb as the ultimate reference when the talk turns to giving every last drop and fighting to the death. His name is mentioned in reverence in cult TV programmes. The International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) recently voted him the greatest middleweight of all time. Many fight fans and experts also rate him tops in the pound-for-pound stakes.
The accolades are endless and the conclusion is crystal clear. In the era of five-minute fame, Harry Greb has become an icon for all the ages, a roguish and familiar ghost we are happy to have in our house as a permanent guest. Not because of sentiment, but because he earned the right to be there.
Perhaps the explanation for Greb’s enduring and universal appeal really isn’t that complex. Even when he was alive and kicking in the roaring twenties, Harry seemed timeless and oddly ethereal. He was rock ‘n’ roll thirty years before the term was invented, and yet he wasn’t. He was too special and too indefinable to be shoe-horned into any era or hitched to any passing trend.
Greb loved to fight and he loved to live. He did both with total conviction and commitment. Once in your life, if you are lucky, you get to brush against such an individual. You can feel the electric and sense the danger, but you know to your frustration that you can never step into that special zone and be that man.
How does a guy who rarely visits a boxing gym beat some of the greatest fighters who ever came down the trail? How does he drive cars at breakneck speed without breaking his neck? How does he drink through the early hours after going fifteen brutal rounds with Mickey Walker and then wrap up the celebrations with a return fight out on the sidewalk? Greb did all of those things.
As contemporary writer Frank G Menke said of Harry, “The only thing he ever seems to do in training for battles is to get himself a new haircut and a fresh shave. Sleep is something he gets – when he thinks about getting it.”
In 1926, the Oakland Tribune gave its readers an update on Harry’s strenuous preparations for an imminent fight: “Harry Greb, middleweight champion of the world, is shooting pool in Los Angeles today and will top his training in the south tonight at a dance. It is quite likely that Harry will exercise tomorrow in a taxi cab and arrive here Monday in perfect condition for his ten-round fight with Jimmy Delaney at the Auditorium Wednesday night.”
Fellow fighters spoke of Harry Greb in awe. Gene Tunney observed, “Greb could move like a phantom and had ring cunning far beyond estimates made of him in the press.”
Such was Tunney’s admiration for Harry, he was a pall bearer at Greb’s funeral.
Jack Dempsey described Greb as the fastest fighter he ever saw. Irish ace Jimmy McLarnin said, “If you thought I was great, you should have seen Harry Greb.”

Flattery

It would be interesting to know how Harry regarded such flattery. Quite possibly, he lapped it up. More probably, he wondered what all the fuss was about.
He certainly had a sense of humour and seemed to admire honesty and candour in others. During some lusty infighting in one of his two wars with Tiger Flowers, Greb suffered the rare experience of being caught off guard. As he was going through his usual repertoire of punching, thumbing and cussing, he was taken aback by Tiger’s polite request not to take the Lord’s name in vain. “I thought he was kidding,” Harry said later, “but I’ll be damned if he didn’t mean it.”
Greb had even more devilish fun with fellow great, Mickey Walker. Mickey, the pugnacious Toy Bulldog, was the reigning welterweight champion when he stepped up to challenge Harry for his crown on July 2, 1925, before a crowd of 50,000 at the Polo Grounds in New York. The two warriors waged one of the greatest fights ever seen at the famous venue, with Greb coming through after a terrific rally in an unforgettable fourteenth round.
Slightly lagging at that point in the fight, Harry suddenly nailed Mickey with a big right that had the Toy Bulldog hurt and tottering. Walker backed into his own corner and swayed glassy-eyed as Greb unloaded punch after punch.
Then followed a magical moment. Mickey shook his head, water spraying from his black hair, and cracked Harry on the chin with a big right. The heaving crowd went wild. As Damon Runyon reported, “A roar rolled up out of the bowl under Coogan’s Bluff that must have echoed over all Harlem and Washington Heights.”
The pace of the fight had been tremendous throughout and Walker closed strongly to win the final round. But it wasn’t enough. Greb had once again prevailed with his almost unique mix of ferocity, speed, guile and cleverness.
It was all too much for referee Eddie Purdy, who twice fell and injured a knee joint in trying to keep up with the whirling dervishes.
But the great rivalry didn’t end with the clang of the final bell. Greb and Walker met up later at the Guinan club, a noted New York nightclub of the time, where they drank champagne and chatted to the glamorous owner and hostess, Texas Guinan. Happy and well oiled by the time they hit the night air at around two or three in the morning, Harry and Mickey began discussing their fight for the first time.
It was then that Mickey put his foot in it, offering the opinion that he would have won the match if Greb hadn’t thumbed him. Harry couldn’t have that and offered to beat Walker again right where they stood. Greb couldn’t wait to get his coat off, but it got stuck around his elbows as he pulled too hard and Walker belted him with a terrific uppercut. Mickey always bragged thereafter that he won their unofficial return.
The two men got lucky. The only person around at that hour was a massive Irish beat cop called Pat Casey, whom Walker described as being as big as Primo Carnera. Familiar with Greb and Walker and their idea of a good night out, Casey waived the incident and told them to get off home.
Walker enjoyed ribbing Greb but always acknowledged Harry’s superiority as a fighter, placing him on the gold standard with Stanley Ketchell and Jack Dempsey.
Mickey never forgot one incredible incident from the Polo Grounds classic. “Harry could hit you from impossible angles. Once, after he missed a right to my face, he spun all the way around so that his back faced me. I relaxed my guard and waited for him to turn around. But before I knew what was happening, his left was stuck in my mouth. I still don’t know how he did it, but he hit me while his hands faced in the opposite direction.”

Saloon

How I wish that I could visit a fighter’s saloon bar in heaven (assuming the old gentleman upstairs permits such a facility) and find Greb, Stanley Ketchell and Carlos Monzon sitting at the same table discussing their greatest fights. They have always struck me as spiritual brothers, despite the span of years and circumstances that separated them. They were giants of men who lived and fought with a burning passion and then left us suddenly just as we were beginning to wonder if they were eternal.
Ketchell was shot to death when he was twenty-four. Greb died at thirty-two and Monzon was gone at fifty-two. It is easy to become maudlin about such things and trot out the old Marvin Gaye line about the good dying young.
But in all truth, do we really enjoy watching wild horses grow old?



Copyright © Mike Casey

GorDoom
05-31-2006, 04:19 PM
HARRY GREB'S CAREER RECORD

Cyber Boxing Champion
Harry Greb
The Human Windmill

Born: June 6, 1894, Pittsburgh, PA
Died: October 22, 1926, Atlantic City, NJ
Height: 5 ft, 8 in. Weight: 142-173 pounds

Record: Total pro bouts 299. You count 'em.

1913
10 Mar W.J. Miller Pittsburgh, PA W3 (amateur)
11 Jun Al Storey Pittsburgh, PA W3 (amateur)
12 Mar Red Cumpston Pittsburgh, PA W4 (amateur)
4 Apr George Koch Pittsburgh, PA W4 (amateur)
8 May Red Cumpston Pittsburgh, PA W4 (amateur)

29 May Frank Kirkwood Pittsburgh, PA ND6
19 Jul Battling Murphy Pittsburgh, PA TKO2
13 Aug Lloyd Crutcher Puxsutawney, PA KO1
11 Oct Harvey "Hooks" Evans Pittsburgh, PA ND6
22 Oct Mike Milko Pittsburgh, PA ND6
17 Nov Mike Milko Pittsburgh, PA ND6
29 Nov Joe Chip Pittsburgh, PA KO by 2
6 Dec Harvey Sherbine Pittsburgh, PA ND6
12 Dec Terry Nelson Altoona, PA KO3

1914

1 Jan Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
10 Jan Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
2 Mar Mickey Rodgers Steubenville, OH WDQ5
14 Apr Fay Kaiser Pittsburgh, PA ND6
13 May Fay Kaiser Pittsburgh, PA ND6
25 May George Lewis Pittsburgh, PA ND6
29 May Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
15 Jun Walter Monoghan Pittsburgh, PA ND6
29 Jun Irish Gorgas Pittsburgh, PA ND6
20 Jul John Foley Pittsburgh, PA ND6
27 Jul George Lewis Steubenville, OH ND10
10 Aug Irish Gorgas Pittsburgh, PA ND6
24 Aug Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
31 Aug John Foley Pittsburgh, PA ND6
26 Sep Jack Fink Philadelphia, PA ND6
14 Nov Terry Martin Philadelphia, PA ND6
7 Dec Joe Borrell Philadelphia, PA ND6

1915
1 Jan Bill Donovan Philadelphia, PA ND6
8 Jan Howard Truesdale Philadelphia, PA ND6
12 Jan Bill Miske Philadelphia, PA ND6
25 Jan Jack Blackburn Pittsburgh, PA ND6
10 Feb K.O. Baker Pittsburgh, PA ND6
4 Mar Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
6 Mar Tommy Mack Washington, PA ND6
13 Mar Jack Lavin McKeesport, PA ND6
25 Mar Harry Baker Pittsburgh, PA ND6
15 Apr Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
22 Apr Joe Borrell Pittsburgh, PA ND6
24 May Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
31 May Fay Kaiser Connellsville, PA ND6
25 Jun Fay Kaiser Cumberland, MD ND10
8 Jul Red Robeson Kerenton, PA Exh 6
12 Jul Tommy Gavigan Pittsburgh, PA ND6
21 Jul George Hauser Elwyn, MD KO6
22 Jul Fay Kaiser Cumberland, MD ND10
23 Aug Al Rogers Pittsburgh, PA ND6
13 Sep Al Rogers Pittsburgh, PA ND6
18 Oct George Chip Pittsburgh, PA ND6
16 Nov Tommy Gibbons St. Paul, MN ND10
16 Dec Kid Graves Pittsburgh, PA KO by 2
(Greb broke arm in second round)

1916
26 Feb Walter Monoghan Pittsburgh, PA ND6
1 Apr Kid Manuel Pittsburgh, PA ND6
27 Apr Grant "Kid" Clark Johnstown, PA ND6
6 May Whitey Wenzel Charleroi, PA ND6
3 Jun Kid Manuel Pittsburgh, PA KO1
17 Jun Whitey Wenzel New Kensington, PA ND10
26 Jun George Chip New Castle, PA ND10
7 Aug Al Grayber Pittsburgh, PA ND6
28 Aug Jerry Cole Pittsburgh, PA ND6
4 Sep Fay Kaiser Cumberland, MD W10
16 Oct Jackie Clarke Lonaconing, MD W10
21 Oct Harry Baker Pittsburgh, PA ND6
4 Nov K.O. Sweeney Pittsburgh, PA ND6
8 Nov Willie Brennan Erie, PA ND10
14 Nov Jackie Clarke Lonaconing, MD KO3
17 Nov Willie Brennan Buffalo, NY ND10
24 Nov Tommy Burke Buffalo, NY KO10
27 Nov George "K.O." Brown Pittsburgh, PA ND6
26 Dec Bob Moha Buffalo, NY ND10

1917
1 Jan Joe Borrell Pittsburgh, PA ND6
13 Jan Eddie Coleman Charleroi, PA KO2
20 Jan Jules Ritchie Philadelphia, PA KO4
29 Jan Fay Kaiser Lonaconing, MD W20
10 Feb Mike Gibbons Philadelphia, PA ND6
12 Feb Willie Brennan Buffalo, NY ND10
5 Mar Frank Brennan Pittsburgh, PA ND6
20 Mar Tommy Gavigan McKeesport, PA KO5
23 Mar Herman Miller Johnstown, PA KO5
2 Apr Young Ahearn Pittsburgh, PA KO1
14 Apr Al Rogers Charleroi, PA ND10
16 Apr Zulu Kid Pittsburgh, PA ND6
30 Apr Al McCoy Pittsburgh, PA ND10
5 May Jackie Clarke Cumberland, MD D20
9 May Harry Baker Uniontown, PA KO1
19 May Jeff Smith Buffalo, NY ND10
22 May George Chip Pittsburgh, PA ND10
14 Jun Frank Mantell Pittsburgh, PA ND10
2 Jul Buck Crouse Pittsburgh, PA TKO 7
30 Jul Jack Dillon Pittsburgh, PA ND10
6 Sep Battling Levinsky Pittsburgh, PA ND10
11 Sep Jeff Smith Milwaukee, WI ND10
14 Sep Jack London New York, NY TKO 9
17 Sep George K.O. Brown Dayton, OH TKO 9
22 Sep Battling Kopin Charleroi, PA TKO 4
24 Sep Johnny Howard New York, NY TKO 9
6 Oct Billy Kramer Philadelphia, PA ND6
11 Oct Gus Christie Buffalo, NY ND 10
19 Oct Len Rowlands Milwaukee, WI ND10
23 Oct Gus Christie Chatanooga,TN W8
2 Nov Soldier Bartfield Buffalo, NY ND10
19 Nov George Chip Cincinnati, OH ND10
3 Dec Willie Meehan Pittsburgh, PA ND 6
5 Dec George Ashe Johnstown, PA ND10
8 Dec Terry Martin Charleroi, PA KO3
17 Dec Gus Christie Charleroi, PA ND12
25 Dec Whitey Wenzel Pittsburgh, PA ND10

1918
4 Jan Terry Kellar Pittsburgh, PA ND10
14 Jan Battling Kopin Charleroi, PA KO1
21 Jan Augie Ratner New Orleans, LA W20
29 Jan Zulu Kid Bridgeport, CT W14
(Scheduled for 15, but halted at end of 14 because of
local law requiring performances to end by 10:30 p.m.)
4 Feb Jack Hubbard Lonaconing, MD KO3
7 Feb Frank Klaus Pittsburgh, PA Exh 3
18 Feb Bob Moha Cincinnati, OH ND10
25 Feb Mike O'Dowd St. Paul, MN ND10
4 Mar Jack Dillon Toledo, OH ND12
11 Mar Mike McTigue Cleveland, OH ND10
18 Mar Willie Langford Buffalo, NY ND6
4 May Jim Coffey New York, NY EX 3
4 May Joe Bonds New York, NY EX 3
13 May Al McCoy Cincinnati, OH ND10
15 May Clay Turner Bridgeport, CT W15
20 May Soldier Bartfield Pittsburgh, PA ND10
24 May Gunboat Smith New York, NY Exh 5
29 May Soldier Bartfield Toledo, OH ND15
20 Jun Zulu Kid New York, NY ND 6
24 Jun Frank Carbone Bridgeport, CT W15
4 Jul Bob Moha Rock Island, IL ND10
6 Jul Harry Anderson Cleveland, OH Exh. 4
16 Jul Soldier Bartfield Philadelphia, PA ND6
27 Jul Eddy McGoorty Ft. Sheridan, PA ND10
6 Aug Battling Levinsky Philadelphia,PA ND6
9 Aug Clay Turner Jersey City, NJ ND8
21 Sep Billy Miske Pittsburgh, PA ND10
11 Dec Corp. Baker London, England KO 1 Army bout
12 Dec Pvt. George Ring London, England L 4 Army bout

1919
14 Jan Leo Houck Boston, MA W12
20 Jan Young Fisher Syracuse, NY ND10
23 Jan Paul Sampson Pittsburgh, PA ND10
27 Jan Soldier Bartfield Columbus, OH ND12
31 Jan Tommy Robson Cleveland, OH ND10
3 Feb Len Rowlands Pittsburgh, PA KO3
10 Feb Bill Brennan Syracuse, NY ND10
17 Feb Battling Levinsky Buffalo, NY ND10
28 Feb Chuck Wiggins Toledo, OH ND10
3 Mar Chuck Wiggins Detroit, MI ND8
6 Mar Leo Houck Lancaster, PA ND6
17 Mar Bill Brennan Pittsburgh, PA ND10
25 Mar Happy Howard Johnstown, PA ND10
31 Mar Billy Miske Pittsburgh, PA ND10
2 Apr Tommy Madden Butler, PA KO2
7 Apr Young Fisher Syracuse, NY ND10
8 Apr "One Round" Davis Buffalo, NY ND10
25 Apr Leo Houck Erie, PA ND10
28 Apr Battling Levinsky Canton, OH ND12
6 May Clay Turner Boston, MA W12
8 May Willie Meehan Pittsburgh, PA ND10
13 May Bartley Madden Buffalo, NY ND10
26 May Tommy Robson Syracuse, NY ND10
16 Jun Joe Borrell Philadelphia, PA KO5
20 Jun Yankee Gilbert Wheeling, W. Va TKO4
23 Jun Mike Gibbons Pittsburgh, PA ND10
4 Jul Bill Brennan Tulsa, OK W15
14 Jul Battling Levinsky Philadelphia, PA ND6
16 Jul George K.O. Brown Wheeling, W. Va W10
24 Jul Joe Chip Youngstown, OH ND12
11 Aug Terry Kellar Dayton, OH W15
23 Aug Bill Brennan Pittsburgh, PA ND10
1 Sep Jeff Smith Youngstown, OH ND12
3 Sep Battling Levinsky Wheeling, W. Va ND10
18 Sep Silent Martin St. Louis, MO ND8
13 Oct Sailor Petroskey Philadelphia, PA ND6
17 Nov George K.O. Brown Canton, OH ND12
24 Nov Larry Williams Pittsburgh, PA ND10
27 Nov Zulu Kid Beaver Falls, PA ND10
29 Nov Soldier Jones Buffalo, NY KO5
10 Dec Clay Turner Buffalo, NY ND10
12 Dec Mike McTigue Binghamton, NY ND10
15 Dec Billy Kramer Pittsburgh, PA ND10
22 Dec Clay Turner Philadelphia, PA ND6

1920
6 Feb Zulu Kid Kalamazoo, MI ND10
21 Feb Bob Roper Pittsburgh, PA ND10
9 Mar Clay Turner Akron, OH ND12
22 Mar Larry Williams Pittsburgh, PA ND10
17 Mar Tommy Robson Dayton, OH W12
25 Mar George K.O. Brown Denver, CO W12
5 Apr Capt. Bob Roper Denver, CO W12
15 May Tommy Gibbons Pittsburgh, PA ND10
2 Jun Clay Turner Philadelphia, PA ND8
28 Jun Frank Carbone Rochester, NY ND10
5 Jul Bob Moha Canton, OH ND12
8 Jul Larry Williams Buffalo, NY ND10
31 Jul Tommy Gibbons Pittsburgh, PA ND10
14 Aug Bob Moha Cedar Point, MI ND10
20 Aug Chuck Wiggins Kalamazoo, MI ND10
28 Aug Ted Jamison Grand Rapids, MI ND10
6 Sep Chuck Wiggins Benton Harbor, MI ND6
22 Sep Ted Jamison Milwaukee, WI KO6
21 Oct Gunboat Smith South Bend, IN KO1
28 Oct Mickey Shannon Pittsburgh, PA ND10
10 Nov Bartley Madden Kalamazoo, MI ND10
22 Nov Bob Moha Milwaukee, WI ND10
11 Dec Jack Duffy Pittsburgh, PA KO6
21 Dec Capt. Bob Roper Boston, MA W10
25 Dec Jeff Smith Pittsburgh, PA ND10

1921
20 Jan Johnny Celmars Dallas, TX W10
29 Jan Pal Reed Boston, MA W10
25 Feb Jeff Smith Boston, MA W10
16 Mar Jack Renault Pittsburgh, PA ND10
1 Apr Happy Littleton New Orleans, LA W15
6 Apr Jack Renault Montreal, Que., Canada ND10
11 Apr Soldier Jones Toronto, Ont., Canada KO4
5 May Bartley Madden Pittsburgh, PA ND10
13 May Jimmy Darcy Boston, MA W10
20 May Jeff Smith New Orleans, LA D15
29 May Chuck Wiggins South Bend, IN ND10
24 Jun Chuck Wiggins Terre Haute, IN ND10
29 Aug Kid Norfolk Pittsburgh, PA ND10
5 Sep Chuck Wiggins Huntington, WV ND10
20 Sep Joe Cox New York, NY W10
24 Oct Jimmy Darcy Buffalo, NY W10
4 Nov Charles Weinert New York, NY W15
11 Nov Billy Shade Pittsburgh, PA ND10
25 Nov Homer Smith Newark, NJ KO 6
6 Dec Fay Kaiser Philadelphia, PA ND8
23 Dec Whitey Allen Syracuse, NY TKO 7

1922
2 Jan Chuck Wiggins Cincinnati, OH ND10
1 Feb Hugh Walker Grand Rapids, MI ND10
20 Feb Jeff Smith Cincinnati, OH ND10
13 Mar Tommy Gibbons New York, NY W15
12 May Al Roberts Boston, MA KO5
23 May Gene Tunney New York, NY W15
(Won Vacant North American Light Heavyweight Title)
26 Jun Hughey Walker Pittsburgh, PA ND10
10 Jul Tommy Loughran Philadelphia, PA ND8
26 Sep Al Benedict Toronto, Ont., Canada KO2
29 Sep Capt. Bob Roper Grand Rapids, MI ND10
27 Oct Larry Williams Mariesville, RI TKO 4
10 Nov Capt. Bob Roper Buffalo, NY W12

1923
1 Jan Capt. Bob Roper Pittsburgh, PA ND 12
15 Jan Tommy Loughran Pittsburgh, PA ND10
22 Jan Billy Shade Jersey City, NJ ND12
30 Jan Tommy Loughran New York, NY W15
(Retained American Light Heavyweight Title)
5 Feb Pal Reed Newark, NJ ND12
16 Feb Young Fisher Syracuse, NY W12
23 Feb Gene Tunney New York, NY L15
(Lost American Light Heavyweight Title)
16 Jun Len Rowlands PA KO3
31 Aug Johnny Wilson New York, NY W15
(Won World Middleweight Title)
4 Oct Jimmy Darcy Pittsburgh, PA ND10
11 Oct Tommy Loughran Boston, MA L10
22 Oct Lou Bogash Jersey City, NJ ND12
5 Nov Soldier Jones Pittsburgh, PA ND10
15 Nov Chuck Wiggins Grand Rapids, MI ND10
3 Dec Bryan Downey Pittsburgh, PA W10
(Retained World Middleweight Title)
10 Dec Gene Tunney New York, NY L15
(For American Light Heavyweight Title)
26 Dec Tommy Loughran Pittsburgh, PA W10

1924
18 Jan Johnny Wilson New York, NY W15
(Retained World Middleweight Title)
22 Feb Jack Reeves Oakland, Ca W4
24 Mar Fay Kaiser Baltimore, MD KO12
(Retained World Middleweight Title)
19 Apr Kid Norfolk Boston, MA LDQ6
5 May Jackie Clark Kenilworth, MD KO2
12 May Pal Reed Pittsburgh, PA W10
12 Jun Martin Burke Cleveland, OH ND10
16 Jun Frank Moody Waterbury, CT KO6
26 Jun Ted Moore New York, NY W15
(Retained World Middleweight Title)
21 Aug Tiger Flowers Fremont, OH ND10
4 Sep Jimmy Slattery Buffalo, NY W6
15 Sep Billy Hirsch Steubenville, OH KO8
17 Sep Gene Tunney Cleveland, OH ND10
13 Oct Tommy Loughran Philadelphia, PA D10
11 Nov Lew Comasana Phillipsburg, PA KO3
17 Nov Jimmy Delaney Pittsburgh, PA W10
25 Nov Frankie Ritz Wheeling, W. Va. KO2

1925
1 Jan Augie Ratner Pittsburgh, PA W10
9 Jan Bob Sage Detroit, MI ND10
19 Jan Johnny Papke Zanesville, OH KO7
30 Jan Jimmy Delaney St. Paul, MN ND10
17 Feb Billy Britton Allentown, PA W10
23 Feb Young Fisher Scranton, PA WDQ6
27 Mar Gene Tunney St. Paul, MN ND10
17 Apr Johnny Wilson Boston, MA W10
24 Apr Jack Reddick Toronto, Ont., Canada W10
1 May Quintin Romero Detroit, MI W10
6 May Billy Britton Columbus, OH W12
29 May Tommy Burns Indianapolis, IN ND10
1 Jun Soldier Buck Louisville, KY ND10
5 Jun Jimmy Nuss Marquette, MI KO5
2 Jul Mickey Walker New York, NY W15
(Retained World Middleweight Title)
16 Jul Maxie Rosenbloom Cleveland, OH ND10
23 Jul Billy Britton Columbus, OH W10
27 Jul Ralph Brooks Wichita, KS ND10
31 Jul Otis Bryant Tulsa, OK KO3
4 Aug Ed "K.O." Smith KS KO4
12 Aug Pat Walsh Atlantic City, NJ KO2
17 Aug Tommy Burns Detroit, MI W10
12 Oct Tony Marullo Pittsburgh, PA W10
13 Nov Tony Marullo New Orleans, LA W15
(Retained World Middleweight Title)
14 Dec Soldier Buck Nashville, TN W8

1926
11 Jan Roland Todd Toronto, Ont., Canada W12
19 Jan Joe Lohman Omaha, NE W10
26 Jan Ted Moore Los Angeles, CA W10
29 Jan Buck Holly Hollywood, CA KO5
3 Feb Jimmy Delaney Oakland, CA W10
12 Feb Owen Phelps Prescott, AZ W10
26 Feb Tiger Flowers New York, NY L15
(Lost World Middleweight Title)
1 Jun Art Wiegand Buffalo, NY W10
15 Jun Allentown Joe Gans Wilkes-Barre, PA W10
19 Aug Tiger Flowers New York, NY L15
(For World Middleweight Title)

kikibalt
05-31-2006, 04:39 PM
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iskigoe
05-31-2006, 05:51 PM
Mike great story

Hype Igoe listed the Gerb -Walker fight as one of his top 20 fights . Thats alot to say considering he saw about every championship fight from Corbett to louis .

I read the story about the fight after in the bar that night a little different . Alan Ward wrote in an article about Kearns . They did in fact start kidding each other about who was the better man and it got heated up . They went up stairs to settle it . Ward wrote that they started to take off their coats and all the people there stopped them . He said they both had a genuine liking for each other ,cooled down and left the bar arm in arm .

Kearns a cutie for publicity let it get out that the two had slugged it out . To show how ridiculous the whole alcoholic episode became Jack said Hype Igoe venerable sports writer who couldnt punch the stuffing out of a loaf of french bread challenged both boys . Hype probably could have wipped them too .

Hype Igoe H.O.F.

mike
06-01-2006, 11:12 AM
ahh- the greatest middleweight ever and the third greatest,at least of all time -only robinson and armstrong in that class--the best of the best he was. just fantastic. well never see the likes of him,,ever again.

bodyblow
06-01-2006, 11:47 AM
As usual Mike Casey's article is poorly researched and full of factual errors.

jim
06-01-2006, 12:18 PM
then feel free to educate us and also ;write something yourself instead to contributing nothing but critcism as you see it.

iskigoe
06-01-2006, 12:20 PM
I rather enjoy Mike Casey's stories . He often includes Hype Igoe and other writers of the past . The problem is not in research , its in picking which way to write something thats been retold ten different ways . Example in Roger Kahns book about Dempsey A Flame of Pure FIRE , Mr Kahn writes Hype Igoe kept his ukelele in the refrig to improve the sound . The story I believe to be true is that Hype often went to a bar in N.Y.C. called the battling nelson bar and grill. The bar was pretty rough but most sports reporters and theater people hung out there. Damon Runyon who was one of those wrote . They would frisk Hype at the door and take away his ukelele because he would get all the waiters singing and slow down business. The mgr named Jack Dunst would lock the uke in the refrig . Which was said to have later on soured its tone .

So you see its not often the research its which version you have found or believe . Its as hard to pick which story is true , as it is to say who's the greatest fighter .

Hype Igoe H.O.F

Ted Spoon
06-01-2006, 04:35 PM
I'm almost positive that bodyblow is giving us all a good sarcastic ribbing, I like it.

There is no way one could be so against the grain when Mike is one of the finest writers out there. As has been mentioned before, he combines the exhaustive research of a grizzled historian with the articulation of an English professor.

Informative and fun, his articles always seem to prompt good natured arguments in the 'old timers' section.

Greb was, well, Greb. Nobody else like him, and that is referring to the entire list of pugilists we know. Something special was Harry Greb.

bodyblow
06-01-2006, 05:45 PM
Since someone decided to be snarky I decided to take his advice and write my opinion on the article. Opinions are still welcome here arent they? Even if they arent agreed with by everyone? Ill set my mate straight on what Ive found:


"He was two and one over the brilliant Tommy Gibbons"

He was actually 2 and 2 with Gibbons.

"He twice bested heavyweight contender Bill Brennan"

He bested Brennan 4 times.

"Tunney, wonderfully shrewd and brainy, learned well from his savage lesson. He was undoubtedly Harry’s master in their wonderful five-fight rivalry, though not as comprehensively as the history books suggest. Historians and researchers have lately credited Greb with the newspaper decision in their fourth fight at Cleveland, which would make Gene the three to two winner in their series."

He also won a gift decision in their second bout. The majority of newspapers gave the bout to Greb and said he won as easily as he did in their first bout. That makes it two victories a piece and one bout up to serious debate in five bouts.

"Historians disagree on which fight caused the injury, but it is most commonly believed that Harry suffered a detached retina in the first of two vicious fights with Kid Norfolk."

It has only recently become vogue to question which bout Greb lost the sight in his eye. His friends and family were all unanimous in the bout they said Greb blamed. Ill take their word (and Greb's) over today's "historians."


"How does a guy who rarely visits a boxing gym beat some of the greatest fighters who ever came down the trail?"

Easy, he doesnt. Greb was an extremely diligent student of the game who trained as hard if not harder than anyone else in the sport.

"How does he drive cars at breakneck speed without breaking his neck?"

He may not have broken his neck but he broke several bones in several accidents, the final one resulting in his death.

"How does he drink through the early hours after going fifteen brutal rounds with Mickey Walker and then wrap up the celebrations with a return fight out on the sidewalk? Greb did all of those things."

No he didnt. Greb wasnt a drinker. The only drink he rarely took was the wine his father distilled, and then only on special occasions. He didnt have a fight with Walker in the street as is so common in mythology because Walker was taken immediately to Polyclinic Hospital to have his numerous cuts sewn up. Afterwards he was taken back to his hotel room where his WIFE and sparring partners took turns applying ice packs to his face. The fact that Walker's wife was present is often forgetten when people tell the story of his after the bout rematch with Greb because they always say "and Walker was at the bar with one of his girlfriends." Bah! His wife and child, and several other family members were with him throughout his training camp and after the fight.

"As contemporary writer Frank G Menke said of Harry, “The only thing he ever seems to do in training for battles is to get himself a new haircut and a fresh shave. Sleep is something he gets – when he thinks about getting it.”

I wouldnt quote Menke on anything related to Greb. He hated Greb and during Greb's life RARELY had a positive word to say about him in his editorials.


"I thought he was kidding,” Harry said later, “but I’ll be damned if he didn’t mean it.”

Never verified and highly unlikely. Greb was a devout Catholic who donated thousands to area churches in Pittsburgh. Its unlikely in an era far more religously conservative that he would have taken the lords name in vain and he certainly wouldnt have been surprised at someone at least as devout as he taking issue with it.

"Slightly lagging at that point in the fight, Harry suddenly nailed Mickey with a big right that had the Toy Bulldog hurt and tottering. Walker backed into his own corner and swayed glassy-eyed as Greb unloaded punch after punch.
Then followed a magical moment. Mickey shook his head, water spraying from his black hair, and cracked Harry on the chin with a big right. The heaving crowd went wild. As Damon Runyon reported, “A roar rolled up out of the bowl under Coogan’s Bluff that must have echoed over all Harlem and Washington Heights.”

Greb was not behind in the fourteenth round in fact he was comfortably ahead and Walker needed a KO to win. He simply battered Walker from pillar to post in the fourteenth and the only thing dramatic about it was Walkers ability to remain upright. He never rallied in that round. In the fifteenth he rallied but by then it was too late and of course that wouldnt have made Casey's story as dramatic.

"But the great rivalry didn’t end with the clang of the final bell. Greb and Walker met up later at the Guinan club, a noted New York nightclub of the time, where they drank champagne and chatted to the glamorous owner and hostess, Texas Guinan. Happy and well oiled by the time they hit the night air at around two or three in the morning, Harry and Mickey began discussing their fight for the first time.
It was then that Mickey put his foot in it, offering the opinion that he would have won the match if Greb hadn’t thumbed him. Harry couldn’t have that and offered to beat Walker again right where they stood. Greb couldn’t wait to get his coat off, but it got stuck around his elbows as he pulled too hard and Walker belted him with a terrific uppercut. Mickey always bragged thereafter that he won their unofficial return."

See above.


Casey's story is neither original nor factual. Its simply a rehash of old pulp stories which populated sports magazines from the fifties written by guys like Jack Kofoed, Harry Cleavline, and James Fair. Highly sexed up and highly fictional.

GorDoom
06-01-2006, 05:55 PM
Bodyblow:

When it comes to Mike Casey you are WAY outta line here. He is one of the most erudite boxing historians extant. When it comes to taking your snarky opinion over a well respected writer like Casey I'd venture to say 99.99% of the CBZ will side with Casey.

& as Chuck Hasson mentioned, what's with all the hostility? It's not only unnecessary but juvenile. Lighten up, man. It's just fucking boxing not the israeli-Palestinian Peace Accords.

GorDoom

bodyblow
06-01-2006, 06:04 PM
No hostility here, just one mans opinion. Sorry.

P.S. Who is Chuck Hasson? I wasnt even aware he said anything to me... Was it on this post? I dont get auto replies so I dont know.

mike
06-01-2006, 06:07 PM
listen, instead of being snarky yourself-at least you did bring in some facts. so state the facts without being a wise ass. still dont know about your apparent anger at the guy-- if you disagree with some things --say it-present the arguemnt ,as you just did. did he rub you the wrong way boy-o.

bodyblow
06-01-2006, 06:14 PM
Look Ive stated my case. Im not going to continue any further because its obvious this isnt going anywhere other than a possible unproductive flame war. You can take what I said or leave it. As Mr. Gordoom said its only boxing.

iskigoe
06-01-2006, 06:20 PM
BODY BLOW

You must have known Gerb and his family very well to be so sure .

I have been greatly inspired by reading stories like mike's they make you want to research and learn more . Its history lighten up .

mike
06-01-2006, 06:33 PM
anyhow- if you wrote some stuff post it. you seem to know a good deal. if you have some favorite topics or whatever i would like to hear it and so would casey-so as you said -fuck th flame wars--but why start one when you certainly know your greb also.

mike
06-01-2006, 06:35 PM
peace

bodyblow
06-01-2006, 06:48 PM
I knew some of his family and friends and Ive also spoken at great length about him with a guy who has been writing a book on him for years. Through those people and the usual magazine fair I developed an interest in him myself. Im no expert by any means but the basic facts listed above are not difficult to glean.

Its just a cool era, made more so by the fact that there isnt a whole lot out there about it in terms of audio/visual material.

Personally my interest lies more in the middleweights and welterweights of the 1940s and 50s. Whew, I love to hear stories about those guys whether its fiction or not.

iskigoe
06-01-2006, 07:24 PM
My grandfather Hype Igoe wrote that he felt Gerb tricked Kearns into thinking
Walker had a chance to win. Also that he pretended to act like he was not training for their fight . The night before the fight he came out of a night club drunk with to girls on his arm . Turned the corner left the girls and went home sober . All so it would to get back to Kearns and Walker so walker would be to confident .

He also felt Gerb was a head throuh the whole fight.

Igoe

bodyblow
06-01-2006, 07:44 PM
Its true, Greb's grandson told me Greb would drink applejuice instead of whiskey to get the gamblers to bet against him. Greb would often multiply his earnings by betting on himself. Some fighters in those days would throw the occasional fight after betting against themselves to clean up. Greb cared to much about his record to do this so he would trick gamblers and oddsmakers into believing he was out of shape. His grandson said he got an almost perverse joy out of doing this.

iskigoe
06-01-2006, 07:54 PM
It seemed so did my grandfather by telling it . He wrote that that Greb has everone so fooled into betting on Walker . Some poor Dr at a bar drinking to much and not listening to the fight bet 10,000 in the 13th round on walker to any one who would take it . The bookies ate him up

In many of his stories he tells how fights and mgrs would use the press to throw off the other fighter and make them over confident . But i guess this must still go on .

bodyblow
06-01-2006, 08:43 PM
Let me just say your grandfather was fantastic. I have film of him interviewing Lou Nova after Nova knocked out Max Baer. Unless Im mistaken Igoe also did radio commentary on some of the earliest radio broadcasts from the 1920's and early 30's. You are correct that he should be in the hall of fame.

Chuck1052
06-01-2006, 09:07 PM
There have been an incrediable number of articles, columns,
and news items containing very inaccurate information
about Harry Greb's personal life, fighting style, and training
habits. Mike Casey writes very well, but his article about
Greb contains much of the inaccurate information that
has been passed down over the years. Bodyblow has
addressed many of the said inaccuracies.

In regards to Greb's training methods, I have been
told by a boxing researcher that while Greb rarely
sparred much before a bout, but his training regimen
included a lot of roadwork (a run of ten miles was
common for him) and handball sessions. Believe it
or not, the researcher thought that playing handball
enabled Greb to land telling blows with punches thrown
from a tremendous number of angles.

A number of current boxing historians regard Greb as a
an aggressive swarmer with awesome stamina and a very
unorthodox fighter when describing his boxing style, but
he could do much, much more in the ring despite being far
from being a classical boxer. Because Greb was so fast
and had astonishingly effective footwork, it was very hard
to hit him with a solid blow.

- Chuck Johnston

cmoyle
06-01-2006, 11:35 PM
I have a picture of Greb playing handball. If someone can tell me how to post it here I'll do it.

PeteLeo
06-02-2006, 12:31 AM
I have a video that shows a little of that. Also shows Greb hitting the bag. PeteLeo.

Gallicrow
06-02-2006, 05:55 AM
Here's the handball video in flv format (plays with Flash?). I didn't notice until just now that the other guy is Philadelphia Jack O'Brian!
http://s19.photobucket.com/albums/b177/gallicrow/?action=view&current=greb_handball.flv

iskigoe
06-02-2006, 09:26 AM
Bodyblow

Boy would I love to see that interview . The only time I have heard his voice is on line a few words before the 2nd Louis Schmeling fight . I think Max was on of Hype favorites . I have a telegram from Max and Dempsey , says sorry we can not attend the dinner for your 30 yrs of service . Regards from your two pansies . Dempsey and Baer . Also have a picture of him in front of a mike with two other guys . Im not a home but
I think the mike says N.B.C.

kikibalt
06-03-2006, 12:28 PM
http://i5.tinypic.com/11jp2l1.jpg