The Furious Fulton

Damon Runyon

New York American/January 11, 1917

There was vast excitement over in the Broadway Sporting Club Tuesday night after the furious Fred Fulton had flattened T. Cowler. Not in many a semester have the lads been stirred so strongly.

Billy Brady shinned up the side of the ring to Fulton’s left ear as the furious one sat with his long legs sprawled out in front of him while his seconds tore the gloves from his prehensile fingers, and Bill was in quite a high fever.

The former manager of James J. Corbett and James J. Jeffries, both heavyweight champions of parts in their time, clung to the auricle of the Gopher State Goliath for quite a spell, babbling his admiration. Tom O’Rourke gazed upon the giant with covetous eyes, but found several yards of words to express his delight.

Out in the foyer of the dingy old Brooklyn club, Billy Madden, famous old-time handler of pugilists, cornered Frank Force, manager of Furious Fred, and asked many questions. Bob Smith, once manager of Frank Erne, the former lightweight champion, was discovered illustrating Fulton’s left hand smack to a gent who had arrived a minute too late to see the battle.

 James Was Wrong

James J. Johnston, who picked up Thomas after Tom had been discarded by James J. Corbett, and brought him back to fairly earnest consideration among the heavyweights of the day, frankly admitted that he was greatly mistaken about Fulton.

“He is a much better fighter that I thought,” said James, as he gazed ruefully upon the battered features of Thomas, while Jack Grace, the old globetrotter; Ted-Kid Lewis, the English welterweight, and Alex Goodman labored in the corner to revive the fallen one. “I thought Thomas would beat him sure. Fred is a vastly improved man over his fight with Reich. What a left hand! Oh, what a left hand!”

All the folks were talking about Fulton’s left hand after the fight. It was that maulie that did most of the work for the Minnesota man. It was that maulie that Billy Madden was most curious about when he quizzed Frank Force.

“Is he a natural left hander?” queried William, meaning does the Furious Fred favor his south paw in the ordinary incidents of life, such as eating, scratching his back or reaching for his hat, and Force said yes.

“I thought so,” said Billy. “He did not use his right hand much, and it struck me that his left is natural, and not the result of development. I do not ordinarily care much for these natural left-handers, but I like this fellow. We had one left-handed champion, and I was never overly food of him. That was Jim Jeffries.”

“Fulton has a good right hand, but he did not use it much tonight because he did not have to,” said Force. “Al Palzer gives him more of a fight every day in the gymnasium than Cowler put up.”

(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.