Our Busy Heavies

Damon Runyon

New York American/January 6, 1917

It appears that there is about to be a lifting of the heavyweight clouds, which may result in a real championship battle involving the big title before the end of 1917.

Fred Fulton, the Rochester Giant, and Tom Cowler, of England, meet Tuesday night in a ten-round tilt over in Brooklyn. The winner of this event will fight Frank Moran in Cuba. The winner of the Cuban quarrel will probably be matched to meet Jess Willard for the crown in a long distance journey.

The Brooklyn battle may turn out to be one of those contests in which the result is purely a matter of opinion, as ten rounds is scarcely a fair test for big fellows, but the reward awaiting a definite winner is almost certain to make the men try desperately every foot of the way.

Cowler has been fighting in pretty good form of late. As a matter of fact, he never had but one real reverse since he was brought to New York by James J. Corbett. That was when little Jack Dillon potted him in two rounds. Dillon also gave Moran the greatest reverse of his career, although he did not knock him out.

Cowler has improved in his speed, and in his boxing. His greatest fault is that he seems to be rather a slow thinker, and does not know how to follow up an advantage. His last bout was with Gunboat Smith, and both sides claimed a victory. Smith had just given Moran a pasting in a ten-round bout, so Cowler’s showing against old Gunboat must be seriously considered.

The Furious Fulton

Fred Fulton, who has a new manager in the person of Frank Force, a former Minneapolis sporting writer, has been seen but once in New York. That was when he licked Al Reich. He is a gigantic fellow, nearly as tall as Willard, and for his size is very fast.

He has a corking left hand, but has impressed those who have seen him in action as being frail-bodied. Since meeting Reich he has stopped the agile, astounding Andre Anderson, but fought only four or five times the past year, so Cowler will have the advantage of more work and consequently more experience.

Fulton was matched up on several occasions with different opponents, but failed to keep any of his dates, and the impression cropped out in the boxing world that he was being nursed for a match with Willard and was afraid to take the chance of being defeated. This impression grew so strong that Willard finally declared that Fulton would have to fight a few times before he could hope for a championship match.

Fulton was knocked out once by Al Palzer, but that was when he was just starting, and he is said to have shown improvement in every fight. If he can win handily over Cowler it will be a big boost for him, but he is booked for a rough journey if Cowler continues to fight as well as in his last few bouts.

Over the Long Route

In his last bout here—the one with Gunboat Smith—Frank Moran fought like an old woman for the greater part of the ten rounds. He closed strong, however, so strong that many are of the opinion that he would have dropped the Gunner in a few more rounds.

It was the same way in his bout with Dillon. Francis took a terrific lacing, but a lot of the spectators thought he would eventually have stopped little Jack. This has given rise to the theory that Moran is a distance fighter, if he is any kind of fighter at all, and the Pittsburgher will have the opportunity of testing this theory in Cuba.

The route there is forty rounds. This is practically the finish route. Moran has fought just two twenty-rounders and was beaten on both occasions, so there is no substantial foundation for the theory as to his durability. However, he seems built for the marathon business, and that is more than can be said of most of the other heavy fellows around.

Moran is now nearly thirty years. He is not much of a hand for keeping in condition, and some of these young, tough lads who attend to that detail may prove too strenuous for him in a fight where condition is bound to count, but just at present it would seem that Moran could out-last the most of them.

Plant Flynn’s Boy

Leo (Plant) Flynn, the baron of the tank circuit, has a big boy who ought to be considered in this weeding out of the heavyweight field. Leo’s lad is Bill Brennan, of Chicago, who came through 1916 with seventeen knockouts, such as they were.

Bill has boxed Cowler on two occasions, and the result each time was close. William can sock, and he can take it, so there is no reason why he should not be declared in on the free-for-all.

Darcy talks of fighting heavyweights, but we predict for James Lester that he is going to have plenty to do hurdling Charley Weinert, Bill Miske and Jack Dillon, who are just light heavies, or Mike Gibbons, who is only a middleweight.

(Source: University of Wisconsin/New York American microfilm archive)

The works of Damon Runyon and other American journalists are now freely available at The Archive of American Journalism. Visit our bookstore for single-volume collections–-ideal for research, reference use or casual reading.