Just reading about this… these cats are hard.
After a drinking session in Coventry, Bartley was challenged to take on Blond Simey, one of two top fighters in the vast Irish clan of travellers, the Dochertys. He arrived at the old building site where the Irish clan were staying, tore off his shirt and fought off two dogs which were set on him. When it became clear his opponent wasn’t there, he overturned a car in anger and made off.
Despite these defeats, McLean claims to have fought in almost four thousand bare knuckle fights over three decades, and only lost a small number of these. This led many to give McLean the unofficial title of Heavyweight Champion of the World in unlicensed boxing. McLean’s fame even spread “across the pond”, gaining him notoriety in the United States.
At one time McLean was flown over to New York City to fight in a high-profile, multi-million pound illicit match allegedly organised by the Mafia. McLean’s opponent, John McCormack, said to be the hardest man in New York, lasted three minutes. Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and Christopher Reeve were all in the crowd; Stallone referred to McLean as “the real Rocky”. Mickey Rourke was another well-wisher, although not present at the fight, but watched a live recording of the fight.
Charles “Kid” McCoy, who was born Norman Selby (October 13, 1872 Ã¢?? April 18, 1940) was an American world champion boxer.
Born in Moscow, Rush County, Indiana, Weight 160, Heights 5’ 11", record 81 wins (55 by ko)6 losses, 9 no decision, disqualified 6 times. McCoy was noted for his “corkscrew punch”-a blow delivered with a twisting of the wrist. According to McCoy he learned the punch one evening, while resting in someone’s barn, after a day of riding the rails, by watching a cat strike at a ball of string.
Whether true or not, McCoy was known as a fast, “scientific” fighter who would cut his opponents with sharp blows. He reportedly would wrap his knuckles in mounds of friction tape, to better cut his opponents faces. He was listed # 1 Light Heavyweight of all time in “Fifty Years At Ringside,” published in the 50’s. He was also regarded as a formidable puncher, and was included in the Ring Magazine’s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.
When researching McCoy’s career it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. Nevertheless, McCoy had a fascinating life - both in and out of the fight ring. Legend surrounds McCoy’s storied boxing career. For example, he was reputed to have lulled the reigning welterweight champion Tommy Ryan into a false sense of security before their non-title match by rubbing flour on his face and pretending to be ill.
McCoy was also alleged to have invented the ruse of informing his opponent that his shoe was untied to enable McCoy to strike a blow when the unwary adversary would look down at his feet.
It is thought that the expression The Real McCoy originally referred to him.
John Mahan, also known as Steve Taylor, (January 26, 1851-1895?) was a 19th century Irish-born American bare-knuckle boxer and pugilist. He was a noted heavyweight fighter in the Northeastern United States during the 1870s and billed as having “an unbeaten record” until his prizefight with future heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan in 1881.
Sullivan rose to national prominence as a result of his victory while Mahan went into semi-retirement, taking part in numerous exhibition bouts during the 1880s. Mahan later toured the U.S. with Sullivan and became one of his chief sparring partners.
One-time coroner of Jersey City, New Jersey, he was also involved in New York City politics with Boss Tweed during his boxing career and later involved in the Tweed Ring.
“During a fight with a gang member named Tom McCann, Morrissey was pinned on his back atop burning coals from a stove that had been overturned. Morrissey endured the pain as his flesh burned, fought off McCann, and got back on his feet. Enraged, Morrissey beat McCann senseless as smoke from his burning flesh rose up from his back. The event earned him the nickname “Old Smoke,” which stuck with him through the rest of his life.”
I don’t even like getting punched with 20oz sparring gloves. Respect.
Get bareknuckled or go home.
The account of John Morrissey boxing Bill Poole, the infamous “Bill the Butcher” from “Gangs of New York.”
A Prize Fight between John Morrissey and William Poole
Morrissey Terribly Beaten and Left Friendless
The Origin of the Battle
Censorable Conduct of the Ninth Ward Police.
Great excitement was occasioned yesterday in all parts of the City, in consequence of a brutal rough and tumble fight, which took place between the noted pugilists, John Morrissey and William Poole, at the long Steamboat Wharf, foot of Amos street, North River. It appears that for a long time past, Poole and “Jim” Hughes have been at variance, and during Wednesday afternoon they accidentally met at the City Hotel, corner of Broadway and Howard street, where the matter was amicably arranged.
While they were drinking at the bar to renew their friendship, Morrissey came in, accompanied by a number of friends. As he approached the counter he looked up and exclaimed, “Hughes, are you going to give up that stake money that I won on the fight with Sullivan?” Mr. Hughes replied, “I’ll give it up when you convince me you won the fight, and not before.” To this Morrissey made some sarcastic reply.
Meanwhile Poole stood still, looking intently at Morrissey, and finally remarked in a loud tone, “Hughes, don’t you give it up to him; spend it for rum before you give it to that …” This action on the part of Poole enraged Morrissey, and he retaliated by telling Poole that he nor any other man should spend his money. The parties then entered into an exceedingly rough argument, when Morrissey asked him to fight; Poole said he would not, that Morrissey was too big for him, but if Morrissey would bring himself to an equal weight, he would fight him.
Morrissey said that he did not fight that way; but he had seen the time when he could lick him any way he could name, and then wanted to know how he would fight. Poole said he would fight with knives. At this answer, Morrissey called Poole aside and told him that he had tried to avoid fighting in that way as much as possible, but as it was his wish he would do it.
Morrissey then offered to go to Canada, each one to take a friend. This Poole would not do. Morrissey then getting rather excited told Poole that he thought he was not doing the fair thing, and that he would like to fight him. Poole feeling rather vexed at this last answer, said that Morrissey had spent half his time in State Prison, and used harsh language. This led to some hard words on the part of Morrissey, who offered to bet one thousand dollars to fifty dollars that he could whip Poole, and offered to fight him within twenty-four hours, at any place he named.
This Poole would not agree to. Morrissey then offered to bet him fifty dollars that he dare not meet him in the morning at 7 o’clock, and fight. This Poole agreed to; and it was settled to meet on the following morning at the foot of Amos Street, North River. The match being made bona fide, the parties separated and Mr. Poole immediately proceeded to Hoboken with a few friends, to stay for the night, to avoid being arrested.
At an early hour in the morning, Poole was up and dressed, and to use his own language, “felt like a race-horse.” News of the intention of Poole and Morrissey to fight spread like wildfire among the sporting hours during the evening, and heavy bets were made as to the result of the encounter. At 6 1/2 o’clock in the morning a crowd had assembled on Amos street wharf to witness the affray. There could not have been less then three hundred persons present during the progress of the fight, consisting mainly of the “fancy,” and the friends and admirers of Poole and Morrissey.
A little before 7 o’clock Poole was rowed up to the dock in a small boat. There were no seconds or bottle-holders, it being understood that the fight was to be what is termed a “rough and tumble” - the advantage, of course, being in favor of the man who first got his opponent down. Prize-fighters being usually before rather than behind time, (as the time had now reached 6 1/2) the prediction was expressed that Morrissey would not appear - that he had managed to be arrested by the Police.
Poole expressed a wish that he would come - that he “would fight him like a man” - and thought … sight more of the fight than of the money. In a few moments, however, all doubt was abandoned, as Morrissey walked down the dock, stripped for the occasion, where his antagonist stood to receive him. As he approached, the crowd opened to the right and left, and the shout went up, “Stand back! Let the two men meet!”
To this some attention was paid, (perhaps as much as usual in such a fight,) when the parties met, “eager for the fray.” He said, where is Poole? Here I am, exclaimed Poole< and both squared, and each eyed his antagonist with a kind of calculating ferocity, moving about for a chance for a half minute, when Morrissey put out his left hand, and simultaneously Poole dropped, seized his adversary about the body and threw him. in this position they remained, Poole uppermost, for about five minutes, when Morrissey said, “enough,” and the usual shout went up and the parties were speedily separated.
the crowd, fearing the police would capture them all, hastily made their way off in various directions, and Poole left in the same small boat he came across the river with. Morrissey, supported by two strangers, left the ground apparently severely injured. Poor Morrissey was weakened to such a degree, that he required assistance to get him on his feet at the close of the encounter.
His main friend, Johnny Ling, had in the meantime attempted to draw a revolver from his pocket, but before he could accomplish it one of Poole’s friends knocked him down. The fight now became general, and for a time the wharf was a scene of the wildest confusion. The friends of Poole being very numerous, beat Morrissey’s friends dreadfully, and Ling was taken away almost insensible, and quite prostrated from the great loss of blood.
Morrissey was then left entirely destitute of friends to aid him in getting home. He finally got into a coach, and was driven to his house in Leonard Street, near West Broadway, where he was attended by skillful physicians. He presented a shocking spectacle, and scarily could any of his friends recognize him. His eyes were closed and one of them was found to be gouged from one end of the socket, which injury will probably impair his sight for life.
There were large bunches on all parts of his head. His face above and below the eyes is blackened by violent blows given on the bridge of his nose. There is a hole in his cheek, and his lips are chewed up in a frightful manner. He also sustained fearful injuries about his breast, arms, and back, where Poole kicked him with heavy cowhide boots after he helloed enough. So severe are Morrissey’s injuries, that it is very doubtful whether he walks in the street for the next six months.
check out Roy ‘Pretty Boy’ Shaw http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Shaw who had a victory over Lenny and Chalie Bronson http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bronson_(prisoner) both hard barstards!
Love the stories of the old timers.
The Poole and Morrisey one is hilarious in the description of the slanging match in the bar that led to the fight.
Its been posted before but this is the thread for it…
Also a contender for moustache of the century…