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THE AUSTRALIAN RING.

Reminiscences and Records. (BY "BOXER-MAJOR.") Copyright; All Rights Reserved by the Author. BOOK II.— CHAPTER 90. Sydney saw all to little of the late Jack McGowan, the Melbourne lad who held the feather and lightweight championships for so many years, and always seemed capable of coming back, after months or yeavs or laborious toil on the wharves, and stopping the jig of his temporary successor. A truly srreat little boxer was shapely Jack, whose curly, well -formed head and handsome features wore known and loved In evey" boxing hall In Axistralia, Jack had been before the Victorian, and. I think, even the Westraltan public » or a good many years before at last being induced to some to Sydney and, strange to say, his lights here, when he did come, were far from satisfactory to him, either from a monetary or a sporting point of view. Looking over newspapers I came across the story of his first appearance m Sydney, and as It occurred nearly 15 years ago, it will be read with interest by the many thousands of lovers of the game who were but youngsters then. Of his opponent on that occasion, the late "Cocker" Twoedie, Sydney saw quite enough, if not too much. He was a very clever boxer, who hoped to emulate the wonderful Griffo, whose occupation of newsboy he also followed, but, though brilliant, he was flashy, and would not" take a lacing, even m his early youth, when ho was a far better boxer than the boys he had to contend against. . His career m America was brief and . very much the same as It Was here, and on his return, without fame or booty, to Sydney, ho followed the path of self-indulgence until it brought him to bitter poverty and an early grave. McGpwan died m harness. He kept a boxing school as well as working for his second wife and two families, as a wharf laborer, and he collapsed from heart failure, while giving a pupil a lesson. He was always sober and reputable, and held In the highest respect by all classes. The two met In Sydney on Monday, March 3, 1902, and the following is the account of the affair, from my own pen. published m the "Sportsman" on the Wednesday thereafter: The Gaiety Athletic Hall, spite of plague talk and other chin music calculated to prevent a big: attendance, was packed from floor to celling on Monday night, and as the prices wero 2s, Ss\ and ss, the net result must have been something pleasing to those who divided the spoil. For "spoil" It was. as, from the very start it was apparent that Tweedie was not there to take a hiding. His opponent. Jack. McGowan, Is now, as he was away back In the early eightcennineties, a gentleman and a true boxer, and he fought with infinite skill and good intention to win. Not so Tweedie. He was as nervous as a debutante soprano m his corner, and during the four rounds of tho contest he never once threw a loose hand. He jseemed absolutely afraid, like any timorous school-boy, and when his sturdy little opponent. Gib lighter, ripped him nnd straight-righted him m the body a score of times, he got less and loss Inclined to drive a punch, and finally, when Jack crossed his feeblo lead with a chop on the chin, he went down and stayed the count, amid a pandemonium of hoots and howls. MeGowan was bitterly grieved and actually wept as he tried to explain to the immense concbursn thru he had really hit Twoedie hard, but that, anyhow, ho had never fought a schlolnter m his life, and wont into this affair to win, and came out cloan-handod. He told the absolute truth; no man who knows the. symmetrical Hales South Melbournoltc and has watched his career, would ever accuse him of dishonesty, whilo ho In perhaps thoKumeat and prottlost ami certainly tho most gentlemunly professional boxer who ove.r put un n mlt. It wa.s hin misfortune to make his debut with hucli an unreliable "aide- kicker" u 8 Twoedie and Twoedie at his worst. Tweoilio wms first In tho rlnjc. dolled up In n/bIK- sweater, nlUuMißh the night and tht« thoatn. wore sweltering hot. Ho hud Blnkosby (hi.s trainor). Denny Mahoney, Jack Rejjnn. and about half-a-dozen others In hi» train. McGowan followed amldHt tremendous cheering- a fo\v inmuttw later, with his trainer Stokosby, O'NoiU. and Bert Howard as Hocondfj. There was a long debate over a rcforoe. The first call was for Hurry Ik'ckott. both men having- agreed that they wanted nothing bettor than tho ex-amuteur heavyweight. But Hurry was not present, and the whole house beicun to yell for Jim Scanlan. But Jim is onto hlnwir and smilingly refused to act. and ho was dead wlao. Tim Nolan's immo. was then howled, but finally, on n few sound Judges calling for Harry Dawson. the middleweight was agreed to. amidst cheers. Then there was a lot of time wasted In gloving the men. and tho crowd «ot very Impatient before tho bell ransr for— Round 1. — They walked calmly to centre, rind begun to spar round ouch other. Their styles were widely different. Tweedio was fidgety, and kept his chin burial under hl» collarbone, wavlns his arms like n hurried whirlmill. MoGowan, iv modol of IlKhtwelffht manhood, with an expression of Intelli. tfenoo on his face, n purred with v low rlKht guard anil a ready loft. ntntl«ht too, und pfrfvci command of hi* mowith'titM. He lo«l at th*> body will, tno l"ft. Tweodlo liidruwiriK nnd huck> t topping to nvoid. Presently TwoedU* .stole a left I ftp to the face, and Jnck

welted his right to the body. Then he rushed the flying Cocker across the ring and had him on the ropes when the bell rang. Already it was remarked that Tweedie seemed to be afraid to hazard a punch. Round 2.V-McGowan, after a short spar, banged that famous right o£ his to the short ribs and rushed Tweedie to the ropes. "Whirl"! McGowan ripped his left on to the ribs with a sharp click, and as Cocker ducked to avoid a feint, he brought the left up hard m the face. Swish came the left again to the ribs, and another, hard and true, landed m the same way and on the same spot. Tweedie was nervous and dodgy, while McGowan was as cool as the ice-man m winter? Round 3. — As they came together McGowan sent a love of a right to the short ribs and rushed the flying Cocker to the ropes. Letting him out, under Dawson's persuasion, he soaked a pearl of a left on the body and Tweed!*? countered well on the chin. This roused Jack, who got angry, -and sent a fusllade of lefts to the face, most of which Tweedie parried, with not the slightest offer of a cross-counter. . Mac rushed his man to the ropes and bent him over them, with his arm under Cocker's chin, and the dingoes howled. Dawson separated them, and as they sparred up again Jack let go that left rip. a blow he has learnt since J saw him last' m the ring. It welted good and hard on Tweedle's right ribs. Tweedie summed up courage and dropped a chopplrig left twice on Jack's face, and he replied with a right on the body, and another terrific left rip on the ribs. Another hard left In the pantry and Cocker stiff left-hooked him on the neck. In, came Jack with a right on the ribs that cracked like a stockwhip, and another left tip, just as the bell rang. Round 4. — People who hud been pessimistically prophesying-; a twentyround draw changed their tune now, and gleefully prognosticated that Tweedlo could never stand the body punishment he had been getting, and would continue to get from McOowan, and . that it would not go ten rounds. One proof of the wonderful comrrfand he had over himself and the knowledge of the game possessed by, McQowan was the way he repeatedly stopped his own flying right when he saw TweodJe's elbow drop to the guard over his short ribs. Jack didn't propose to break his best hand by punching full force against Tweedie's elbow. Hut few recognised the skill of this "lightning change"; the bulk probably thought ho was letting Tweedie off! McGowan opened the round with a left and right to the body, and Tweedie cleverly fended six or seven straight left stabs at the faco, though he made absolutely no effort to retnliate or cross, which ho could have done easily when Mac was all out on a reaching left. "Swish!" came Jack's right flush on the ear. But Twoedie would not fight and Jack landed rip after rip and straight right after right on the body. Tweedie seemed to bo courting a punch, and as he threw a futile left and came m with It, Jack chopped across, landing full on tho chin, not a foot from his own face. It waa a nice stiff punch and 1 noted it with a remark, but never thought Tweedie was going out with it. • To my surprise, however, he gradually slid down Jack's body and Ilmba, and sank Inert on tho floor. Timekeeper Hanley begun to count. At seven roars of "Got up, Cocker" roustxl the prostrate man, and he started to crawl on his knees to the ropes, and was laboriously hauling himself up by them aa "Nine, out" were spoken. Then the audience woke, and made the gas flicker with their kick! McGowan spoke them fair, but they fairly howled at Tweedie. Nobody doubted the Melbourne lad's bona fides, but they could not help knowing that the Rocks paragon had quit shamelessly— and they let him know they knew. Tweedie called me over and claimed ho waa on his feet at "nine," and one of his multitudinous seconds Raid. "They never wild 'ten, out.' they called nine, out 1 ." ] got angry and told Tweedlo the cold truth, that ho was hanging on the middle; rope with one hand, with both kneos on the boards, and reaching for tho top rope, when "nine, out" 1 foil from Jack Hanley'a lips. Ho wan tod it that way and ha got U. What wrcre ht> and his "noconrt" kicking about? HesUles, If ho wan ko vyy much "out." how <U<l he know what tin- comliUt»u uf ulYaira wuu during the count ? The worst Miifferor wn* McC.ownn ' Ah he wild, ho pum-lti'cl Tweodlu uoml and hart!, and absolutely, despite the "dln£u<-s' " howls, ho did. Hut Tweedie wan not In the ring to right, and hcoivs «if pounds, tho money of local admirers of fucker, could not be placed oven then. Three to 1 on McC'mviin wan t.f. forou hy t;ooker*« friends. Twwille would never have boon hit "ho eiislly as lio wan all through hud he boon a "trier," and ho certainly could have como up asaln if ho htui wanted to. A cry agulim Melbourne boxer* and fakora wns raised, but thin fell rial In MeGowun'H cuh<\ Ho I* no "him been" uh were .some recent visitors from thono parts, and ho fought for n win, m superb condition, from the? word "Go." (To ba continued.)

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19160708.2.59

Bibliographic details

THE AUSTRALIAN RING., NZ Truth, Issue 577, 8 July 1916

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1,889

THE AUSTRALIAN RING. NZ Truth, Issue 577, 8 July 1916

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