Coffey Beaten by Frank Moran

Damon Runyon

Washington Herald/October 20, 1915


Blond Pittsburgh Battler Hangs Punch on Dublin Giant’s Jaw in Third.

Kayoed On His Feet

With a swinging right-hand smash to the celebrated “glass” jaw, that followed fast on top of a left-hand jab to an already badly damaged eye, Frank Moran knocked Jim Coffey, the Irish giant, groveling on his face in the rosin dust of the ring at Madison Square Garden tonight.

About a minute and thirty-eight seconds of the third round had passed when the blond Pittsburgher connected. He had been craftily fiddling for some time to get that wallop across. He had taken poke after poke in the face from Coffey’s left, but closing in and smothering Coffey’s right, and always watchfully waiting with that one big punch.

He got it through in the second round and had Coffey drunk on the ropes, but the Irishman recovered. In the third, with 10,000 people all apparently yelling for Coffey, the Pittsburgh man again connected. Down went Coffey on his face. He staggered to his feet as Referee Brown counted three, and clung to the ropes. Moran rushed upon him and started a swing, but Brown pulled him away and pushed the dazed Coffey to his corner. The face of the Irishman was bruised and discolored. His eyes were heavy as with a great sleep. He was out, standing up.

Voluble, and angry, Billy Gibson, Coffey’s manager, rushed about the ring, denouncing the action of the referee.

“Who ever heard of a man being declared out when he is on his feet?” he demanded. “Brown didn’t give us a count.”

Another punch would surely have knocked Coffey cold. There was no reason for Brown permitting it to be delivered. That crushing smash to the jaw ended the fight to all intents and purposes. And Moran began working toward the end in the second round. He let Coffey fight himself out in that round, giving way with head and body to the Irishman’s every punch while the packed galleries howled for the pride of Roscommon. Then, in the next round, the Pittsuburgher began cutting down his man.

He knew too much for the big Irishman. Veteran of many a long hard battle, the Pennsylvanian had no difficulty in working Coffey around to just where he wanted him. Moran does not give any particular impression of grace or effectiveness, at first, but he soon developed the latter. When he cut loose with his right, Coffey rocked from head to foot.

Over in his corner, Gibson and old black Joe Jeannette were yelling advice at him, but Jim’s eyes were glazing and his legs were limber. He covered weakly under the second round assault, and came up apparently fresh enough for the third round, but he was soon wobbling again, and Moran pressed relentlessly forward with left-hand jabs and right-hand clouts.

They clinched once in the second, with Moran grinning confidently over Coffey’s shoulder. They tussled to the center of the ring, and after a little more fiddling, during which Moran ever swung that right at a “ready.” The Pittsburgh man shot out his left. The brittle jaw of Coffey went back, wide open—then whang! Down went the hope of Roscommon. The right hand of Moran had lifted and dropped forward like a hammer.

Gibson claims Coffey was not in distress. He says if his corner had thought so a towel would have gone in, but to the spectators it seemed that the Irishman was far enough “out” to justify the action of Brown.

Jim might have recovered—but not Tuesday night. He made a game fight and he lost. That’s all there is to it.