By Jim Waltzer
Immortalized because the conflict of the century through Ring Lardner, the Dempsey-Carpentier heavyweight identify bout marked America's first adventure with the intersection of exhibit company, excessive society, politics, and the underworld at a unmarried wearing occasion. The conflict of the Century: Dempsey, Carpentier, and the beginning of contemporary promoting deals the definitive background of this landmark event's genesis and impact.To clarify why the struggle had this type of far-reaching impression on mass leisure and sleek tradition, newspaperman Jim Waltzer invitations readers to trip the trail to the 1921 heavyweight championship. alongside the way in which, they're going to meet a solid of outsize characters, together with the savage protecting champion (and alleged global warfare I slacker) Jack Dempsey, French pretty-boy warfare hero Georges Carpentier, promoter Tex Rickard, Dempsey's slippery supervisor document Kearns, and Jersey urban boss Frank Hague. because the story unfolds, so does an realizing of the forces that formed the Roaring Twenties and confirmed promotional hype because the MO of industrial.
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New Mexico had just been admitted as a state (number 47) that January. Near the growing city of Albuquerque, Las Vegas South had been a stop on the Santa Fe Trail, the artery that opened up the southwestern United States in the 19th century. The town built an 18,000-seat, outdoor stadium for Curley’s scheduled 45-round fight—the manager-promoter had guaranteed Johnson $30,000 plus $1,100 for expenses. Few boxing insiders gave Flynn much of a chance, but a Curley-fueled promotional campaign had piqued public interest, and the Pueblo Fireman, for one, began to believe that he would indeed restore the title to the white race.
Rickard intervened, so goes the story, with his Goldfield brethren and made Jeff whole—at 50 cents on the dollar. Jeffries later said that he stayed on only because of his allegiance to Rickard as a friend. As he exited San Francisco, Rickard bemoaned the fact that he already had sunk nearly half a million irretrievable dollars into the promotion and now had to start almost from scratch. 18 But the hero’s welcome he soon received in Nevada rejuvenated his spirits. At the Reno train station, three brass bands belted refrains under a desert sky, as old Rickard cronies and acquaintances popped out of the sagebrush.
In need of money, Johnson returned to the States, where Fireman Jim Flynn’s time had come round again. COLOR OF THE CROWN 41 Born Andrew Chiariglione in Hoboken, New Jersey, the stocky Flynn was one of many fighters who transformed their surnames from Italian to Irish. In the ring, he was tough but erratic. He now hailed from Pueblo, Colorado, where he’d been a railroad worker and, you might infer, a volunteer firefighter. Under Jack Curley’s management, he had been knocked out by Johnson four years earlier in San Francisco, but in 1911, he had had knocked out six straight opponents before Curley matched him in mid-September with another railroad man, Carl Morris, of Sapulpa, Oklahoma.