Sports Page: Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey is widely known as one of the most popular professional boxers of all time. Recognized for his aggressive fighting style and strong punching power, Dempsey reigned as the heavyweight champion between 1919 to 1926, an astounding 7 years.
Born in Manassa, Colorado, William Dempsey grew up poor and would often hang around saloons and challenge patrons to fights in which bets would be made. William didn’t become professional until the fall of 1914.
As an amateur boxer himself, Bernie Dempsey, was scheduled to fight George Copelin. As a common practice of the time, Bernie was fighting under the pseudonym of middleweight boxer Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey, but upon learning that Copelin had once sparred with Jack Johnson, Bernie immediately backed out of the fight and substituted his little brother.
It was immediately apparent to both Copelin and the audience that the man in the ring was not the scheduled contender due to his small stature. After reluctantly allowing the fight to commence, the referee as well as everyone else in the room was astounded when “Jack Dempsey” knocked Copelin down six times in the first round and twice in the second.
Nicknamed the Manassa Mauler, Dempsey would go on to box professionally until 1927. Besides being one of the best boxers to ever live, Dempsey’s fights set many records, including the first boxing match to ever exceed one million dollars in ticket sales.
After being inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954, Dempsey would live a long life of Philanthropy, Entrepreneurship and military service.
It wasn’t until 1983 at the ripe age of 87 that Dempsey would pass away from heart failure. Jack died with his wife Deanna by his side, but not before whispering the last words “Don’t worry honey, I’m too mean to die.”