Britton a Real Champ

Damon Runyon

New York American/January 12, 1917

If they announced the weights correctly, Jack Britton, the welterweight champion, demonstrated conclusively the other night that he is one title holder who is making no false pretenses in the matter of poundage.

This is coming to be such a rarity as to merit comment. Most of the welters of today are middleweights, and practically all the middleweights are light heavies. So it is on back down the line. The lightweights are in reality welters., if we are to go by the old weight lines, while a lot of the featherweights are lightweights, not to mention the bantams who can by no stretch of the scales get within pounds of the mark established for their division.

We have been harping on this subject a long time, it is true; but it seems to us that one of the evils of the boxing game is the growing laxity with respect to the weight divisions. When Les Darcy landed in this county nt long ago he was hailed as a middleweight, although he himself admitted that he cannot do much better than 160 pounds—and cannot do that as ringside weight.

Britton weighted 143 pounds ringside for his fight with Badoud, a pound above the welterweight limit. The match was a catchweights affair. Badoud, who claims the welterweight championship of Europe, weighed 148 pounds. Even at that he was outclassed by the American, although he is a good, game, persevering youngster.

Clears Up Doubt

Britton seemed very strong, and there is no doubt he can easily scale 142 pounds, ringside. It has been claimed by some of his contemporaries in the welterweight division that Jack cannot do the welter poundage, and that he, therefore, has no right to claim the welter crown, but this ought to settle the argument.

Moreover, Jack seems to be a worthy champion. He is nearly thirty-two years old, and had been fighting about eleven years before he came to be regarded as a title-holder. He is a grand ring workman—maybe not the hardest puncher in the world, but fast, clever, and cagey. He is a good showman, and gives an exhibition worth watching.

Ted-Kid Lewis, the Englishman, is another chap who can easily make the welter limit. In fact, Lewis is generally below it. There are a few others who can do it, but the list is not a long one. Mike O’Dowd, the St. Paul fighter, who is a grant two-hundred prospect, is just as present, said to be able to scale the 142 pounds required of the welters, but he seems to be growing, and may eventually be a corking middleweight.

Soldier Bartfield, the Brooklyn boy, has been laying claim to the title for some time, and declares that he can make the weight, but he has had no opportunity of late to demonstrate that fact. Britton’s claim is generally recognized, and Britton is the lad the others will have to beat to gain the welter supremacy.

Doubt About McCoy

There is some doubt as to the ability of Albertus McCoy, middleweight champ, to make the middle limit, although Albertus loudly asserts that it is a cinch. We must take Albertus’s word for it until the contrary is shown.

Albertus has reference of course to 158 pounds ringside, which seems to be the accepted poundage for the middleweights in these parts, despite the fact that there is pretty good precedent for 154 pounds ringside.

Mike Gibbons, Jimmy O’Hagen and a few others can do the latter limit, but McCoy and his 158 pounds will probably have to be dispossessed by anyone who desires a clear title in the middleweight field. If Les Darcy and McCoy should meet at, say, 158 pounds at 2 o’clock in the afternoon for a fight that was to take place at night, and Darcy should drop Albertus, the Australian would doubtless be regarded as the middleweight titleholder, yet technically he would be nothing of the sort.

In the old days, we are given to understand, a bantam was a bantam; a lightweight was a lightweight, and so on to the end of the line. But today the boys are just what they please to call themselves, and they seem to get away with it. Britton has cleared up the situation in the welterweight division, at least, so more power to him.

A Chink Ball Player

Bill Leard, old-time minor leaguer, has dug up a Chinese ball player for Ed Dugdale’s Seattle club, of the Northwestern League.

The Chink is Vernon Ayau, and he comes from Honolulu. He is 22 years old, and an infielder, and gets a trial with Dugdale’s outfit this spring. It is not improbable that some day he may be seen in the big leagues.

Aya is not a full-blooded Chino, at that. He is half Kanakee. Hs is well educated, too. Like the Chinese college players who have been seen in this country at various times, he is a very fast fielder, but a light hitter.

There used to be a full-blooded Chink over in Honolulu who attracted the attention of every American baseball enthusiast who saw him play. His name was En Sue, and he is said to have established the record for going to first on a bunt which stands to this day, although it has received no official recognition in this country.

Another player who got his start in Honolulu was Barney Joy, a big pitcher, who played on the Pacific Coast, and was drafted by the Boston National League club, but he would never report. Johnny Williams, f the Detroit Tigers, comes from Honolulu, but is not a Kanakee.

(Source: New York American microfilm collection)