US heavyweight boxer
Heavyweight boxing champion 1919-1926
Born-1895- in Manassa, Colorado
At age 16, Dempsey had begun hopping on trains and traveled west to fight as a professional. He would go into saloons and challenge for fights saying "I can't sing and I can't dance, but I can lick any man in the house". His exact fight record is not known because sometimes he boxed under the pseudonym, Kid Blackie. This practice continued until 1916.
1914 - In between, he first appeared as Jack Dempsey, drawing with Young Herman in six rounds. After that fight, he won six bouts in a row by knockout (as Jack Dempsey), before losing for the first time, on a disqualification in four to Jack Downes. During this early part of his career, Dempsey campaigned in Utah frequently.
He followed his loss against Downey with a knockout win and two draws versus Johnny Summerland in Nevada. Three more wins and a draw followed and then he met Downes again, this time resulting in a four round draw.
He fought in more than 100 semi-pro and professional bouts before winning the heavyweight championship in 1919 by knocking out Jess Willard.
Defeats to "Fireman" Jim Flynn, (1917) Willie Meehan, and Jack Downey, kept Dempsey in the minor circuit.
It wasn't until he met manager Jack "Doc" Hearns did Dempsey's career take off. After scoring 5 consecutive first round knockouts, Dempsey met Jess Williard for the World's Heavyweight Boxing Title on July 4, 1919. Dempsey butchered the 6 ft 6 inch 270 pound Williard, knocking him down seven times in round one, and finally stopping him in the third. Dempsey became the first fighter to generate a million dollar gate. His knockouts over Luis Firpo and George Carpenter are legendary. He lost his tile after almost 7 years to Gene Tunney. Lost to Tunney in the "Battle of the Long Count" and retired.
1931 - At 36, Jack Dempsey announced his comeback and fought hundreds of exhibitions. He knocked-out over 40 opponents, sometimes 3 or 4 in one night.
1940 - At 45, he returned for the final time and knocked out 3 opponents in one month. Dempsey went on to run his famous restaurant on Broadway for almost 50 years.
He was in the Coast Guard.
Married 4 times, 3 children.
The Ed Sullivan Show ( 7 episodes)
1951) - Himself
1954) - Himself
1955) - Himself
1957) - Himself
1957) - Himself
1967) - Himself - Audience Bow
1968) - Himself - Audience Bow
He was in a movie, sports films, specials, some TV, from the 1920's-1970's.
Inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, 1980.
Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, 1990.
Pictured on one of fifteen 32¢ US commemorative postage stamps in the "Celebrate the Century" series, celebrating the 1910s, issued in Feb, 1998.
This page is copyright © s9.com