Welter Class is Again Popular

Damon Runyon

Salt Lake Tribune/January 4, 1916

Lewis-Ritchie Bout the Cause

THERE is always a sole topic of conversation in sporting circles from day to day. Of course, the reason the topic is sole is that sporting circles cannot conveniently cope with more than one topic at a time. The sole topic allotted to New Year’s was the Lewis-Ritchie fight.

It seems to be generally agreed that it was about the fastest contest seen in these isolated parts in many a day, and that Kid-Ted Lewis is a considerable scrapper, just as James J. Johnston has long suspected. The pasting the pale Englishman gave Ritchie will be remembered quite a while by those who saw the affair, and Ritchie himself is not apt to forget it in very short order.

None the less, Willie came in for a lot of praise from all hands for his gameness. Although he was defeated, the Californian probably made more friends and admirers in this fight than he has ever before enjoyed among the box-fight enthusiasts of Manhattan. The way he kept wading in even when the tide of gloves was running strongest against his alabaster brow, and the way he finished, proved that he has plenty of heart.

If Willie would fight oftener he would probably improve himself a great deal. The way he can battle even after a long layoff shows that. He weighed a pound or so over the recognized welterweight limit the other night, but he could easily have taken that off without any trouble.

As for Lewis, his strength and speed at 139-3/4 pounds proved that this is now his best weight, and it would seem a grave mistake to let him try to do any less, despite Jimmy Johnston’s confidence in Ted’s ability to make 135 pounds ringside for the lightweights. A twenty-round affair between Ritchie and Lewis ought to make the greatest show that the fistic game has to offer at this time. Ritchie is distinctly a distance fighter, but then Lewis, too, has frequently traveled the long route. In a twenty-rounder Lewis would very likely chance his style to some extent. At least he would hardly cut out such a terrific pace at the beginning of a long battle as for Ritchie Tuesday night.

No Call for Packy

Mr. Package McFarland of Chicago is again in our midst, and is quoted as saying that “if he gets his price,” he is prepared to engage in the gentle art of fisticuffs, never any more gentle than when exemplified by Mr. McFarland.

We do not know the figure Mr. McFarland is placing on his services now, but we do know this: There is no demand for him in New York in his capacity as a box-fighter, and there is positively no justification for anyone imposing him upon the local landscape in that capacity. There is no law against Mr. McFarland boxing here, of course, but, by the bend in the great iron horn, there ought to be!

As a private citizen, Packy is ever welcome. A pleasant-spoken, genteel young man, of comely appearance and affable manners, and class above the ordinary, no one need ever draw aside the coattails of respectability when Packy comes along. He is all right, is Packy, save and excepting when he crawls through the ropes and assumes the brutal postures of a fighter. Then he grates upon the artistic sensibilities.

McFarland is quoted as saying that “if he gets his price” he would like to battle the winner of the Lewis-Ritchie encounter, meaning the redoubtable Ted-Kid. A few moons back the possibilities of such a match would have presented many attractive features, but now Brighton Beach is too fresh and painful in the minds of the local fight followers to grant Packy a hearing. Besides, it is not likely that Packy could make a weight that would put him in reasonable scale distance of Lewis or Ritchie either.

He Had His Chance

IT HAS not been so very long ago that McFarland could have claimed the welterweight crown and been generally recognized as the champion, but Packy’s content to go along boxing as an alleged lightweight, when he was nothing of the kind, if weight divisions mean anything at all.

He might have gone into fistic history as a real titleholder, but he passed up the opportunity, and, as far as we know, has no regrets. The welterweight division wasn’t much in Packy ‘s best day, but he might have done what Lewis and Ritchie have done—put it back on the pugilistic map. The scrap between the Englishman and the California lad has re-established the division and given it a lot of class and tone and a lot of lads will be anxious to horn into it now.

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