Thread: Rough & Tumble in Old New York
2/19/2009 11:36am, #11
Jorge Luis Borges explained his inspiration for the story Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities (actual Monk Eastman here). My understanding is that an adaptation of that story serves as the introduction to the new edition of Gangs of New York.
William Muldoon beat up a barekuckle boxer.
Muldoon is another fascinating character. He developed his wrestling in friendly matches at camp while serving during the American Civil War. Later, he went to Paris to serve as a volunteer in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war. While in France he learnt Greco-Roman, which became his main style thereafter.
When he returned to NYC he was appointed to the Police Department by John Morrissey (thus the connection to the above post). Muldoon served in the NYPD for five years, toward the end of which he won the world GR title and decided to go professional. He retired undefeated some years later and started working as a trainer for boxers and wrestlers, most famously getting John L. Sullivan in shape for his big fight against Jake Kilrain (the final bareknuckle London Prize Rules match for the championship).
In 1921, after boxing was re-legalized in NY, Muldoon became the inaugural Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. There's a 1927 profile online at the New Yorker (subscription required), and the following year a biography was published for which Jack Dempsey wrote the foreword.
In any case, the text of the articles above is taken from a collection of historical news related to boxing at the website of the Vermont Boxing History & International Pugilist Review; it's stuffed with savory morsels like these:
A most sanguinary battle for 100 guineas, and a subscription purse of twenty, in imitation of the London amateurs, was fought on Monday, in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators at Hazely common, Hants, between an Oxfordshire man of the name of Woodcock, and a professional bruiser of fame in the county of Somerset of the name of Tring, who was backed by the amateur Capt. Hicks. In the first round which lasted four minutes, Tring was knocked down after a dreadful conflict, and the two sebsequent rounds were as courageously maintained. In the fourth round both combatants were blind, and they fought in that state twenty minutes, when Tring[e] got a broken jaw, and was beaten nearly lifeless.
A fatal pugilistic contest took place on Wednesday sevennight, at Rollestone, near Burton upon Trent, in the county of Stafford. On the preceding evening, Charles Beale, a farmer from Strenton, and Stringer Tonks, a basket-maker, of Repton, having quarrelled, agreed to meet the next day at Rollestone, to decide their dispute. The constable of the parish was present as stakeholder! The combatants fought with a determination and courage seldom witnessed, until the 31st round, when Tonks struck Beale a dreadful blow under the ear, and death terminated the fight.“Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
2/19/2009 12:21pm, #12
Jack, if you're not already, you should be on the Bartitsu Forum email list - http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/Bartitsu_Forum/ . It's focused on Barton-Wright's system but there also are numerous discussions about Victorian-era street gangsterism, mixed-styles contests of the 19th and early 20th centuries, etc.
2/19/2009 12:23pm, #13
Seriously...how many of us who've fought amatuer or professionally have the sack to go for 31 rounds?
2/19/2009 12:27pm, #14
BTW, "bottom" was the 19th century slang for sack (as in, "Fitzsimmons showed great bottom in this round").
2/19/2009 12:29pm, #15
2/19/2009 12:33pm, #16
Front paged this. Great stuff. I'm sincerely pleased that this forum is off to a good start.
2/19/2009 4:29pm, #17
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
Very nice find!
I couldn't imagine the NYT saying that someone's face was "beat to a jelly" nowadays.
2/19/2009 4:35pm, #18
Good job, Jack.
Originally Posted by Jack Rusher
Originally Posted by Baldy
2/20/2009 12:58am, #19
"Victorian era gangsterism" is the best phrase I've heard in a long time.
2/20/2009 9:52am, #20