Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey (1895 – 1983)

William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey (24 June 1895 – 31 May 1983), nicknamed “Kid Blackie” and “The Manassa Mauler,” was an American professional boxer who competed from 1914 to 1927, and reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926. A cultural icon of the 1920s, Dempsey’s aggressive fighting style and exceptional punching power made him one of the most popular boxers in history. Many of his fights set financial and attendance records, including the first million-dollar gate, when he fought French boxer Georges Carpentier on 2 July 1921 at Boyle’s Thirty Acres in Jersey City, New Jersey before a crowd of 91,000.

Dempsey won the heavyweight title with his victory over Jess Willard on 4 July 1919 in Toledo. At the time of the fight, Dempsey weighed 58 pounds less than the gigantic Willard (who weighed 245 pounds, while Dempsey weighed only 187 pounds). Dempsey knocked Willard down seven times in the first round alone and won the fight by TKO in the third round.  

Dempsey lost his title only several years later, on 23 September 1926, losing to Gene Tunney in a bout held in Philadelphia before a crowd of 120,557 (unanimous decision).

The rematch between the two took place around one year later, on 22 September 1927, at Soldier Field in Chicago before a crowd of 104,943 onlookers: a fight which went down into boxing history as the “Long Count Fight” or the “Battle of the Long Count.” It was called the “Long Count” fight because, after Tunney was knocked down in the seventh round, the referee did not begin his count right away because Dempsey did not immediately proceed to a neutral corner. The fight, which Tunney also won by unanimous decision, has been a topic of discussion ever since.

Jack Dempsey pioneered the live broadcast of sporting events in general, and boxing matches in particular

In 1950, the Associated Press voted him as the greatest fighter of the past 50 years Jack Dempsey had a record of 53 wins in 67 fights, with six losses and eight draws. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

Jack Dempsey
Jiovanny Lopez
13″ x 7.5″
Colored pencil on paper

This artwork appears on the cover of the November/December 2022 edition of The Ring Magazine.