Toronto Star Weekly/November 6, 1920
Can Georges Carpentier beat Jack Dempsey in a fight for the heavyweight championship of the world? That is a question that is going to be in the minds of every man, woman and child in Canada, whether they are readers of the sporting page or not.
The answer is that Carpentier has a most excellent chance to defeat Dempsey. There is a greater interest being taken in this fight than any previous championship encounter has drawn.
People who wouldn’t know a left hook from a referee read all the dope they can get in the hope that Carpentier may have a chance. Fight experts all over the States are unanimous in assuring these hopers that Dempsey will practically murder Carpentier.
If we are to believe the experts and some of the editorial writers in U.S. newspapers, it is practically suicide for Georges to climb into the same ring with Jack. Dempsey will hit him once and it will all be over. Dempsey is the greatest heavyweight of all time. It looks bad for Carpentier.
But let the layman who is reading his first boxing dope remember that these same experts picked Jess Willard to defeat Dempsey in their farcical encounter at Toledo a year ago in July. Willard was picked by most of the boxing writers and the odds were 6 to 5 on Willard.
Experts are all victims of “Championitis.” Whoever happens to be the titleholder is the greatest fighter of all time. Thus they write reams about the wonderful superman that is Dempsey.
It is bunk and twaddle of the worst kind.
Jack Dempsey has an imposing list of knockouts over bums and tramps, who were nothing but big slow-moving, slow-thinking set-ups for him. He has never fought a real fighter.
He has been beaten by Willie Meehan, who is an acknowledged second-rater.
When Dempsey fought Willard the Kansas farmer was thirty-eight years old. Willard had been living a life of ease and sloth for several years and, according to report, drinking steadily of corn whiskey. Willard had never fought a good fight, and had won the title from Johnson in a contest that has always had the taint of crookedness about it.
Dempsey, a young and powerful puncher, went into the ring that hot day at Toledo and waited till Willard stuck out his long, slow left hand at him. Then Dempsey swung from near the floor and caught the big, fat old set-up on the jaw with a regular haymaking swing.
Willard went to the floor and Dempsey stood over him. The referee did not hold Dempsey off until he counted over Willard, but walked around the ring nervously.
As soon as Willard’s hands left the floor and he prepared to get to his feet, Dempsey crashed another swing against his unprotected jaw. Dempsey hit Willard while he was down, whenever he tried to get up, and then could not knock him into insensibility.
When the fight stopped at the end of the third round Dempsey was so tired that he was breathing drunkenly and his hands hung by his side! Willard seemed the fresher of the two, but his handlers knew that in a shorter bout he could not overcome the disadvantage of those earlier knockdowns and so tossed in the towel. In this way Jack Dempsey won the heavyweight championship of the world from a man who was never anything but a joke as champion.
Since winning the title Dempsey has appeared in only one fight. This was with one of his closest friends, who had been an invalid for over a year, all the time under a physician’s care.
Billy Miske was regarded as a jest and could not have lasted ten rounds against any good fighter, but he was an old friend of Dempsey’s and had been promised (he first crack at the title and the accompanying $25,000. He looked ridiculous against Dempsey as he would have against any good fighter. But Dempsey took no chances with him. After he had knocked Miske down and had him dazed and blind he stood behind him, and as he got to his feet, before he had his hands up, smashed him on the jaw for the finish.
So because he beat an old whiskey-rotted set-up and knocked out a sick acquaintance Jack Dempsey is hailed as the greatest fighter of all time by the critics.
On the other hand the critics have dubbed Carpentier a flash in the pan, a grandstander, a false alarm, a morning glory, a night-blooming cereus, and a number of other things. Critics agree that Carpentier would have no chance with Dempsey.
Here is the cold dope:
Carpentier will weigh 176 pounds against Dempsey’s 185, hut Carpentier has beaten men that would have chased Dempsey out of the ring.
Let those critics of Carpentier who say that he will not last against Dempsey remember that Georges fought twenty rounds with Joe Jeannettc when that great Negro fighter was at the top of his form. Carpentier, when he was 19 years old, fought Frank Klaus, who heat Stanley Ken hell, the man who knocked down Jack Johnson.
Carpentier has twice knocked out Bombardier Wells, who was one of the cleverest boxers and fastest punchers that ever lived.
In 1914 Gunboat Smith beat Jess Willard in twenty rounds out in California. Beat him so decisively that Willard was crying from the punishment he was taking.
Gunboat Smith then came over to London and was matched with Carpentier at the National Sporting Club. The Gunner at that time was one of the hardest hitters and most dangerous fighters in the game, and had just beaten the enormous Willard and most of the other white hopes. Carpentier knocked him down three or four times and had him in such bad shape that Smith, rather than be knocked out, fouled the Frenchman and lost the fight.
Carpentier then served through the war with honor and in his first big postwar fight, knocked out Joe Beckett, the champion of England, in a single round.
Recently he came to the States and fought a formerly good American heavyweight named Battling Levinsky. In the first round Carpentier was covered up and cautious. He felt out Levinsky and discovered that he had nothing to fear. Then he sailed in and, recognizing that he was up against a comparative tyro, he threw aside all thought of defense and punished Levinsky at will.
A layman would think that performance would satisfy his critics that he was a fighter as well as a matchless boxer.
But the cry of the critics is: He has no defense. He is just a swinger. Dempsey will murder him.
(Source: William White, ed. Ernest Hemingway: Dateline: Toronto. Simon and Schuster, 2002.)