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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Marc Lawrence, — It was 103 years ago yesterday that Jack Dempsey successfully defended his heavyweight title against Georges Carpentier in boxing’s first million-dollar gate.

Promoter Tex Rickard borrowed $250,000 ($4.4 million today) to build a 91,000-seat stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey, for the bout, and his gamble paid off: The sold-out fight earned $1.7 million at the gate ($17.5 million today), nearly four times the previous record.

It was billed as the greatest International Fight, and the attendance was the largest ever created for a boxing match.

The 26-year-old Dempsey checked in at 6’1” and 188 lbs, while 27-year-old Carpentier was more of a middleweight at 5’11” and weighed 172 lbs. Carpentier was also a WWI hero and popular on both sides of the Atlantic, a man who George Bernard Shaw claimed was “the greatest boxer in the world.”

Going into the fight, Dempsey had 66 professional fights under his belt, with 45 KOs, 6 wins by decision, 5 draws, and one win on a foul. Carpentier entered with 93 fights, winning 44 by KOs, 30 by decision, and 4 draws.

Dempsey knocked out Carpentier in the fourth round, and Rickard became a millionaire.

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