Category Archives: Bob Quackenbush

Outdoor Wars … Legendary Bouts in Famous Stadiums (Part 2 of 2)

By Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com

In last week’s article, we looked at nine classic prize fights that were contested at well known outdoor stadiums.  In Chicago, it was Soldier Field and Comiskey Park; in New York, the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field; and in Washington D.C., Griffith Stadium.  

Yankee Stadium – 1923

This week, the spotlight will be on “The House that Ruth Built”, the legendary Yankee Stadium. Though the Bambino and his famous baseball teams were the star attraction at this venue, and the New York Giants football team was the gridiron tenant (1956-73), the sport of boxing brought in big names and big crowds, as well.  It was said that Yankee Stadium was Joe Louis’ personal fight club as he appeared there so many times (twelve times per BoxRec).  The stadium was actually prepared for the fight game as a concrete vault with radio lines permanently installed for broadcasters was buried in the ground under second base.

Thirteen famous bouts highlight Part 2 of our look at famous prize fights in the great outdoors. [Reminder … this is not an exhaustive list, but a selection of some of the most famous bouts contested at this location.]

YANKEE STADIUM, the Bronx, New York City:

  • Jess Willard defeated Floyd Johnson by technical knockout in round eleven on May 12, 1923.  In the first boxing event ever held at Yankee Stadium, promoter Tex Rickard organized a benefit program staged as a heavyweight carnival from which a worthy challenger for champion Jack Dempsey could be selected. The 6’ 6” Willard who was 41 and not active at the time was brought in to face the young Johnson who was 38-2.  Willard trained hard and was good for a few rounds, pounding Johnson with uppercuts until the younger fighter took control. Somehow, Willard made it to the eleventh and caught Johnson with a huge punch to end the round, and Johnson couldn’t answer the bell for round twelve. 63,000 were there to see it.
  • Max Schmeling defeated Joe Louis by knockout in round twelve on June 12, 1936.  The experienced Schmeling (59 pro bouts) used timing and counter-punching to conquer the young and powerful Louis, sending him down with a big right hand before an estimated 60,000. Louis would later get a title shot, defeating Jim Braddock in 1937. 
  • Joe Louis defeated Max Schmeling by knockout in the first round on June 22, 1938.  In their much anticipated rematch, Louis pounded Schmeling in front of a sell-out crowd, knocking him down three times in 56 seconds. The third time, the German’s corner threw in the towel as the referee continued the count, and Schmeling could not get up. 
Max Schmeling versus Joe Louis … The Rematch
Continue reading Outdoor Wars … Legendary Bouts in Famous Stadiums (Part 2 of 2)

Outdoor Wars … Legendary Bouts in Famous Stadiums (Part 1 of 2)

By Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com

In the world of boxing, indoor arenas are the venues that typically come to mind.  These locations with their traditional images of sweat, cigar smoke, and packed crowds close to the ring are what is envisioned when “prize fighting” is the topic of discussion.  Wonderful examples would be Philadelphia’s Blue Horizon, The Olympic Auditorium and Hollywood Legion Stadium in Los Angeles, and, on a larger scale, Madison Square Garden.

Firpo versus Dempsey at the Polo Grounds by George Bellows

However, many title fights have been held in the “great outdoors” at facilities such as baseball and football stadiums. Some even took place in temporary structures built for specific events, the most famous being the “Fight of the Century” between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries in Reno, Nevada, on July 4, 1910.  

Most of the famous outdoor bouts took place in New York City, with several more in Chicago.  There were others, too, but for the purposes of this article, the focus will be on the Big Apple and the Windy City, plus a fight in our nation’s capital.  Here’s a look at several well known contests held in some legendary outdoor venues from years gone by.  [Note: This is not an exhaustive list.]

SOLDIER FIELD, Chicago:

  • Gene Tunney defeated Jack Dempsey by unanimous decision on September 22, 1927.  This was the famous “Long Count” bout where Tunney went down after a combination in the seventh round, but the referee did not start the count until Dempsey went to a neutral corner. Tunney, “The Fighting Marine”, who took the heavyweight title from Dempsey a year before, defended it successfully as he dropped the “Manassa Mauler” in the eighth and controlled the remaining rounds. This was the first fight in history where the gate exceeded $2,000,000.
“The Long Count” at Soldier Field
Continue reading Outdoor Wars … Legendary Bouts in Famous Stadiums (Part 1 of 2)

World Cup and Boxing Cross Paths

*** FLASHBACK  – This article originally appeared on dmboxing.com on June 10, 2010. The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia, and runs from June 14 through July 18.


By Bob Quackenbush / for dmboxing.com

Friday, June 11, 2010 marks the beginning of a month-long sporting event that is viewed by more people around the globe than any other, including the Olympic Games.  What is this event?  The World Cup soccer tournament.  Held every four years, this spectacle captivates audiences from Asia and Africa, to North and South America, and, of course, Europe.  People from all walks of life will be watching on everything from fuzzy-imaged old TV’s to the fanciest LCD/HD big screens, as well as in person at stadiums throughout the host nation which is South Africa.

Why would an article about soccer (or “football” as it is known in most of the world) show up on a boxing website?  The reason is that the two sports crossed paths over thirty-two years ago in a special way.  On October 1, 1977, the great Pele, generally acknowledged as the most outstanding soccer player of all time, was wrapping up his career at Giants Stadium playing his final game with the New York Cosmos of the old North American Soccer League.  A true ambassador of the sport, Pele, who had played his entire career for Santos F.C. of Brazil, and for the Brazilian National Team, came to the United States in 1975 to play for the Cosmos and to give the sport a “shot in the arm” in the USA. This match was his testimonial game, as the Cosmos faced his former club, Santos, with Pele playing one half for each team.

Continue reading World Cup and Boxing Cross Paths

The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

I am delighted to bring you a feature article that was published on dmboxing.com in August 2012, and is one of my favorites.  It is about a historic venue that I remember growing up as a kid; I attended many boxing and wrestling matches there.  My friend Bob Quackenbush captures it all in his excellent piece.  This is part two, as part one was just posted last week for your viewing.

By Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com

olympic auditorium 1970s The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue  (Part 2 of 2)

Though boxing was the sport that put the Olympic Auditorium on the map, legions of young fans in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s remember this place as the hallowed ground of Championship Wrestling.  Throughout the 1930’s, matches were held there regularly; but with the growth of television, later wrestlers such as Gorgeous George, Lou Thesz, Count Billy Varga, Freddie Blassie, the Destroyer, Mr. Moto, Mil Mascaras, Bobo Brazil, John “the Golden Greek” Tolos, Harold Sakata (who played the role of Odd Job in the movie “Goldfinger”), and Rocky Johnson (father of Duane “the Rock” Johnson) became household names.  Presided over by an actor-turned newscaster-turned sports announcer, the great Dick “Whoa Nellie” Lane, they were incredible shows in the pre-WWF days.

Continue reading The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 1 of 2)

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I am delighted to bring you a feature article that was posted/published on dmboxing.com in August 2012, and is one of my favorites.  It is about a historic venue that I remember growing up as a kid; I attended many boxing and wrestling matches there.  My friend Bob Quackenbush captures it all in his excellent piece. This is part one, with part two to come next week for your viewing.

By Bob Quackenbush /  dmboxing.com

In the world of championship boxing, the arenas which host the bouts quite often become nearly as famous as the warriors which graced their canvas stages.  Those which come to mind are legendary venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Cobo Arena in Detroit, the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, and more recently, the Las Vegas sites such as Caesar’s Palace, the MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.

Continue reading The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 1 of 2)

The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

by Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com

 

Though boxing was the sport that put the Olympic Auditorium on the map, legions of young fans in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s remember this place as the hallowed ground of Championship Wrestling.  Throughout the 1930’s, matches were held there regularly; but with the growth of television, later wrestlers such as Gorgeous George, Lou Thesz, Count Billy Varga, Freddie Blassie, the Destroyer, Mr. Moto, Mil Mascaras, Bobo Brazil, John “the Golden Greek” Tolos, Harold Sakata (who played the role of Odd Job in the movie “Goldfinger”), and Rocky Johnson (father of Duane “the Rock” Johnson) became household names.  Presided over by an actor-turned newscaster-turned sports announcer, the great Dick “Whoa Nellie” Lane, they were incredible shows in the pre-WWF days.

Continue reading The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 1 of 2)

by Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com


In the world of championship boxing, the arenas which host the bouts quite often become nearly as famous as the warriors which graced their canvas stages.  Those which come to mind are legendary venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Cobo Arena in Detroit, the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, and more recently, the Las Vegas sites such as Caesar’s Palace, the MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.

For boxing fans in Southern California, though, one name stands out when it comes to the sweet science:  the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.  The edifice was constructed in 1924 in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games of 1932 (the location at 1801 South Grand Avenue led to its later name of the Grand Olympic Auditorium). At the opening ceremonies on August 25, 1925, celebrities such as screen legend Rudolph Valentino and boxing champion Jack Dempsey were in attendance.  Dempsey had also turned over a spade of soil at the official ground breaking ceremony prior to construction.

Continue reading The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 1 of 2)

World Cup and Boxing Cross Paths 


By Bob Quackenbush / for dmboxing.com

Friday, June 11, 2010 marks the beginning of a month-long sporting event that is viewed by more people around the globe than any other, including the Olympic Games.  What is this event?  The World Cup soccer tournament.  Held every four years, this spectacle captivates audiences from Asia and Africa, to North and South America, and, of course, Europe.  People from all walks of life will be watching on everything from fuzzy-imaged old TV’s to the fanciest LCD/HD big screens, as well as in person at stadiums throughout the host nation which is South Africa.

Why would an article about soccer (or “football” as it is known in most of the world) show up on a boxing website?  The reason is that the two sports crossed paths over thirty-two years ago in a special way.  On October 1, 1977, the great Pele, generally acknowledged as the most outstanding soccer player of all time, was wrapping up his career at Giants Stadium playing his final game with the New York Cosmos of the old North American Soccer League.  A true ambassador of the sport, Pele, who had played his entire career for Santos F.C. of Brazil, and for the Brazilian National Team, came to the United States in 1975 to play for the Cosmos and to give the sport a “shot in the arm” in the USA. This match was his testimonial game, as the Cosmos faced his former club, Santos, with Pele playing one half for each team.
Continue reading World Cup and Boxing Cross Paths