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1911 champions by Robert Edgren


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The Syracuse Herald

17 Dec 1911

Robert Edgren

 

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There are just three world's boxing champions in America today, Johnny Coulon, bantamweight; Abe Attell. featherweight, and Ad Wolgast, lightweight. Of these Coulon and Attcll obtained their titles by claiming them, and then defending them against all comers. Fortunately, they have been successful for several years, and there can be no question that they have earned a right to call themselves champions. There's no flaw in the title to-day.

 

With Wolgast it is a different affair. Wolgast is the only champion of the world in the ring (since Johnson's retirement) who earned his title by whipping the former holder. Wolgast whipped Battling Nelson, who had defeated Joe Gans, who had defeated Frank Erne, who had defeated "Kid" Lavigne, who had won the championship of America and clinched his right to the world's championship by going to England and knocking out the famous Dick Burge, greatest lightweight; known to England's ring followers in many long years—perhaps in all the history of the game.

 

There is no possible flaw in Wolgast's title. He is of the direct descent from the old line of kings of the lightweight class. When he stopped Battling Nelson in that gory ring at Port Richmond, Cal., he won his title on the spot, and there are only three ways in which he can lose it again. He can retire from the ring or die, or be officially beaten in a battle where his opponent makes the weight. Wolgast's enforced retirement for a few months, owing to an operation, doesn't invalidate his right to be called champion according to our American custom.

 

Ad will come out and fight again as soon as he is able to, for he's the busiest little champion we have had in some time, with the possible exception of Battling Nelson. Bat Nelson was a better champion than Wolgast in one way. He was so willing to fight that he always gave his victims a second chance if they wanted it. He fought Britt, Corbett and Gans each two or three times, these being the toughest men on his list. Perhaps Wolgast will do the same after a while. Up to date he’s been keep busy by the new claimant, and to give him credit for his

work, he surely has shown that he's the best in the world over the long route.

 

Now Johnny Coulon — no one disputes his right to be called champion in his class, although he came into the title in a roundabout way. Frankie Neil years ago took the bantam championship from Harry Forbes in San Francisco. Neil, later on, went to England expecting to pick up some easy money, and was trimmed by Joe Bowker in his first fight. Nell, sr., sent up some frightful shrieks of agony over the decision, but that made no difference. Bowker won the decision, and no doubt he was entitled to It. Bowker didn't pass the title along legitimately. He grew out of the class and began fighting featherweights. He lost several battles by the knockout route, came to America, was whipped by Al Delmont in Boston and Tommy O'Toole In Philadelphia, and went back to England and oblivion.

 

The bantamweight title had no real claimant, Delmont was over the weight and was mixing with featherweights and lightweights. Johnny Coulon, after beating Murphy, the 105-pound champion, claimed the bantam title and began "defending" it at 115 pounds ringside.

 

After a while he fought his way into public recognition all over the country, and to tell the truth, he's a corking little fighter and well worth looking over when he fights. Abe Attell is one of the wonders of the ring. He started in San Francisco nearly twelve years ago, knocked out his opponents as fast as they could be tossed into the ring with him. Went "East" as far as Salt Lake City, cleaned up there and afterward fought all over the country. He became wonderfully

clever, and for a long time contented himself with winning on points. He still had a "knockout wallop" when he wanted to use it, however and has it to-day.

 

Abe "claimed" the featherweight championship when Terry McGovern had ceased defending It. Terry didn't lose that title to "Young" Corbett. The latter never held a championship, for his fight with McGovern was 126 pounds, weigh in the afternoon. while the class limit is 122 ringside. Attell has always been able to make 122 easily, and even two or three pounds less. But to show that he was genuine as a champion he often gave away weight and fought desperate battles with such men as Battling Nelson (who couldn't do anything with Abe in six and fifteen rounds). Tommy O'TooIc. Freddy Welsh, Wolgast (then a feather), Owen Moran, Tommy Murphy, Johnny Marto and Matt Wells. Among the featherweights Attell is supreme.

 

We have no welterweight champion. Honey Mellody has some sort of a claim to the title because he whipped Joe Walcott and never lost the championship by losing a fight "at weight." But Honey lost several fights and "went back" until people not longer regarded him as champion. He says he s in shape again — but they all think that. He'll have to prove it in the ring. At present the title is being tagged about by all sorts of claimants, none of whom can establish a legitimate

claim or make a show of defending the honor against all challengers.

 

An exception to this latter statement is Mike Gibbons, who certainly can beat all of the welterweights with ease, judging by his recent fights. The only doubt connected with Gibbons as a welterweight champion is his weight. He scaled 146 ½ pounds against Coftey. and he'll have to "show" in the matter of weight before he can take it upon himself to defend the title he has claimed.

 

There is no recognized middleweight champion. Papke inherited the title, perhaps, after Ketchell's death, as he is the most recent of former holders. But he lost to Thompson in Australia, and since returning to America Thompson hasn't shown anything worth mentioning in the line of fighting ability. Papke himself lost a decision to Bob Moha, a middleweight, in Boston. On this score Moha's claim might be recognized. But there are Frank Klaus, who claims the title and who has whipped good middleweights all over the country, and Buck Grouse, whose claim looks at least as good as that of Klaus. It will take a series of battles to decide

which is the best man amongst the claimants.

 

The light heavyweight championship has died out. Tommy Burns won that title from Jack O'Brien, but Tommy toured the world, became heavyweight champion by right of conquest, lost to Jack Johnson, and retired from the ring without taking the trouble to do anything with his light heavyweight crown. Langford and Jeanette claim It. but both are over the recognized Weight Jack Johnson's retirement has left the heavyweight title without a real holder. If Johnson fights again he'll be recognized as champion until he is defeated. But he may not fight again.

In that case McVey and Langford fighting in Australia, will come as near battling for the heavyweight championship us any one else. None of the present "hopes" are in the running.

 

end

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