Moran Hands Kayo to the Dublin Giant

Damon Runyon

New York American/January 8, 1916

Once, twice, three times and finally a fourth time, Frank Moran knocked Jim Coffey, the Irish giant, to the floor of the ring in the ninth round of their bout at Madison Square Garden tonight. Then Billy Gibson, manager of the Irishman, tossed in a sponge and ended the fight.

Gamely Coffey had staggered to his feet after each fall, and had moved reeling around trying to get his hands up before his face, while each time the big blond fellow in front of him poised his right and drove for the Irishman’s jaw with furious force. In Coffey’s corner, Gibson and the other seconds were crouched at the edge of the ring screaming advice to their man at each successive drop, and up in the galleries and out on the main floor of the big garden, illuminated only by the huge calciums above the ring, 10,000 people who had given $25,000 to see the fight yelled in enthusiasm for Moran, while others groaned in sympathy for Coffey.

It was that same driving stupefying right of Moran’s that floored Coffey at the Garden a few weeks ago, which again found its way to the jaw of the giant tonight. He fought tonight with the spell of that right evidently hanging over him at all times, but had managed to take it and shake off its effect until a minute and a half of the ninth round had passed.

Then Moran rushed upon him like a bull, brushed aside Coffey’s reachy left and—wham. Down went the Irishman in a neutral corner. He rested upon one knee, shaking his head dumbly, and trying to clear his clouded brain while Referee Brown counted nine. Coffey got up, staggering, and tried to guard his face, but again the right of the Pittsburger crashed through to the jaw and down went Coffey again.

Gibson was half way into the ring, yelling and motioning for Coffey to take his time. The Irish lad waited until Brown said seven and then lifted his body upon a pair of very uncertain legs. As he reeled toward his corner Gibson tried to throw water on him to revive him.

Moran fairly swarmed over Coffey, pounding away with both hands, but finally steadying himself and piling in the right. Coffey’s big frame crumpled up, but he was not yet out.

Fighting instinct and a species of gameness brought him up after a long count that went all of nine seconds.

He was helpless now. His guard was down. His eyes were glazed.

There were yells from the crowd to stop the affair.

Moran went in again, bull-like and furious, and Coffey was swept off his feet. He arose, blindly, and fell against the ropes, his knees bent under him, his mouth open, and breathing with difficulty.

Gibson tossed in a little sponge, but it was so small it went unnoticed. Moran was whaling away at Coffey’s unprotected face.

Another solid blow and Coffey would have been knocked out of the ring on top of the press bench.

Gibson threw in a big sponge, and then crawled into the ring himself. Brown saw the last sponge and caught Moran’s arm, as it was raised for a swing. Coffey was still on his feet, but it was technically a knockout.

The bank played “The Rocky Road to Dublin” as they led the bruised and beaten man away while the crowd cheered the victor.

Percy Aubrey, of England, fought a draw in the first preliminary. Young Boonton, who used to box under the name of Paul Frieda, shaded young Joe Thomas in the semifinal.

Coffey was the first to enter the ring and the galleries rose to yell. He was attended by Billy Gibson, George Engle and Dan Mills, the negro fighter. Moran came in with Willie Lewis, Bartley Madden, and Maxey the Newsboy. Moran wore dark gray trunks and Coffey, who took the corner he occupied at the last fight, wore the old familiar green.

During the wait a slip bearing the following was passed about: “Reversing the time-honored custom of challenging in advance the winner of a contest, I hereby challenge the loser of tonight’s bout to meet me and in doing so I believe the public will uphold me. I desire to meet Coffey or Moran, or both, and stand ready to post a forfeit of $1,000 for my appearance, the $1,000 to go as a side wager if my opponent desires.” This was signed by Al Reich.

Moran looked dangerously full of confidence. He walked over to Coffey to examine his bandages and to shake hands. Coffey grinned at him.

(Source: Chronicling America, Library of Congress)