Dempsey vs Sharkey: Fighter sent crashing to canvas while complaining to ref (Video)


    Jack Dempsey KO 7 Jack Sharkey
    Date: July 21, 1927
    Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, USA
    Referee: Jack O’Sullivan
    Purses: Dempsey-$352,000, Sharkey-$211,000
    Division: Heavyweight

    Dempsey vs Sharkey Facts & Stats
    Former champion and fight legend Jack Dempsey faced rising contender Jack Sharkey in a heavyweight title elimination bout for the right to challenge Gene Tunney for the title.

    Dempsey, previously the champion, had lost his title to Tunney 10 months earlier.

    One of the most popular athletes in history, the crowd-pleasing Dempsey was known for drawing record attendances and this was no different as 77,000 packed Yankee Stadium for this non-title affair.

    Dempsey wobbled in Round 1, fell behind early on the scorecards early as a result of his younger opponent’s speed and offensive technical prowess.

    Then in Round 7, the fighter dubbed the ‘Manassa Mauler’ unleashed a barrage of body shots with bad intentions on Sharkey. Forgetting boxing’s first and foremost rule, ‘protect yourself at all times,’ Sharkey turned to the referee to complain about a Dempsey low blow.

    While Sharkey protested, Dempsey uncorked a thunderous left hook that landed square on Sharkey’s jaw. The punch sent Sharkey crumbling to the canvas, still clutching his groin.

    He would be counted out.

    After the bout, when Sharkey’s handlers complained about what had transpired, Sharkey, who would eventually win the title in the years to follow, rebuffed them, insisting, “It’s all in the game.”

    Was Dempsey guilty of a foul?

    Absolutely, positively not!

    Boxing is not basketball where players can call timeout whenever they please. In boxing, only the referee can halt the action in a fight. As a result, a fighter doesn’t have to refrain from punching during “live-action” in order to give his opponent ample time to complain to the referee, converse with his trainer, showboat, take a breather, or wave “Hi” to his girlfriend.

    If a fighter chooses to take his eyes off his opponent during “live action,” it’s his fault if he gets clocked as long as he’s upright and not on the canvas. (It’s a foul to punch an opponent while he’s on the canvas, regardless of whether the referee has halted the action).