McCoy and Darcy

Damon Runyon

New York American/January 16, 1917

Albertus McCoy, the lead-legged middleweight champion of America and Brooklyn, and J. Lester Darcy, the Australian actor, will probably be matched for better or for worse within the next few weeks.

Tom O’Rourke has offered the lads a purse of $25,000 for their efforts in a ten-rounder, and expects to stage the event right here on Manhattan Island. Tom says he does not care how the young men split the purse.

Darcy will probably demand the larger share of the money, but Albertus is a very foolish matchmaker if he does not seize the fat end himself. He is the title-holder and Darcy is the challenger. Dar y is entitled to nothing now except a chance to display his ability.

After getting a louder and more prolonged ballyhoo than any individual of recent years Darcy’s name has died away to a whisper. He has to fight someone to regain his suddenly faded prestige, and for obvious reasons Albertus McCoy is probably the only man that J. Les cares to take a crack at just at present.

It is said that Darcy thinks the man who fights him ought to be satisfied with about a fifth of $25,000, even disdaining the suggestion of a fifty-fifty split. He will doubtless be intensely astonished if Albertus McCoy, champ, insists on, say, $15,000 for his end, which would leave $10,000 to the challenger, but it strikes an outsider that Albert is entitled to at least that if the purse is up to O’Rourke’s offer.

Missed His Chance

Darcy has his opportunity and passed it up. A long line of American fighters—Jeff Smith, Mike Gibbons, Billy Miske, Jack Dillon and numerous others, and all of them pretty good cards—waited to meet the Australian.

He could have made more money in his first appearance in the ring here than most fighters make in a couple of years. He could have commanded a championship stage. He waited. The ballyhoo commenced to back up. He went on the stage. The ballyhoo faded out entirely.

Darcy must make his opening American ring bow for a great deal less money than he could have grabbed in the beginning. Albertus may be enough of a come-on to agree to a split of a $25,000 purse on an equal basis with the Australian, but even so Darcy will be taking less than he could have grabbed at the start.

As a matter of fact, many believe that a $25,000 purse is overbidding a Darcy-McCoy meeting. They do not believe that it will draw that much, but that, of course, is O’Rourke’s risk. McCoy has never been a card, even around his home town of Brooklyn. Since the glamour of his arrival has worn off Darcy is not apt to be a glittering attraction, except against a man who is regarded as a real topnotcher, and we regret to state that A. McCoy, champion though he is, does not rank in that class.

The astounding fluctuation in the stock of J. Lester furnishes an illuminating lesson for other box-fighters. It looked for a time as if the young man would quickly corral most of the loose change in the American boxing game; now it would appear that he will have to get out and hustle for a breakfast stake like the rest of the lads.

The Rise of Fulton

Fred Fulton is another young man who has recently gained much notoriety in these parts, but it must be said for Fred that his notoriety is based on a little something in the way of fistic achievement.

It is to be hoped that Fred will live up to his promise to keep failing about among the heavyweights until he has hacked a path right up to the door of J. Willard’s cottage, and not rest on the theory that he is the “logical contender” for the heavyweight title.

Fred seems to be a mighty health candidate for J. Willard’s crown all right, and we expect to have a ticket on him when he meets the Pottawatomie pounder, but meantime there are other worlds for him to conquer.

He licked T. Cowler in such impressive fashion as to earn the econimums of even T.C.’s manager, J.J. Johnston; but in licking T., Fred only did what others had done before him—Moran, Jack Dillon, et al.

It is our opinion that Fulton can knock the tar out of all the other heavyweights now infesting the premises of fistiana, but we would like to see him do it, just to make sure we are right. This thing of a man winning one fight, gathering a little publicity, and then rushing out and making loud noises about the championship is nonsense.

Let us see more of Fred, we say.

Let ’Em Strike

Now, of course, the baseball players are not going to strike. There are a great many reasons why the ballplayers are not going to stroke. A hundred or more of these reasons are the better of the big league pastimers, including most of the real top-liners

Another pretty fair reason is that if the baseball magnates ever get the idea that the players are really going out, there will quickly be a compromise. This announcement may not be official, but it is a pretty good betting proposition.

The players would be amazed if they knew how very, very little interest is taken by the public in their proposed walkout, or holdout, or whatever it is. Not five fans in every hundreds in the big league towns have any inkling what the row is all about, anyway.

Fans take no interest in baseball politics. All they care about is the game of baseball itself, and they know that someone will be along to play it, whether it is Speaker, Cobb or some busher.

All the ballplayers in the big leagues—every one of them—could walk out, and remain out, and if their places were filled up with whatever men the magnates could gather, in two years the old big leaguers would be a faint memory.

There will be no strike, but it might be a good thing for the game if a lot of players now cluttering up big league diamonds would withdraw, and make their withdrawal permanent.