Tonopah Celebration Recalls Dempseys Greatest Decision: Jack Claims Mining Camp Fight Was Make-or-Break, Daily Racing Form, 1950-05-05


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► ! *- T* •*"""•**» " ,» * si""--"* - • ! litos M~ «t- -C.1 - . . Tonopah Celebration Recalls Dempsey s Greatest Decision Jack Claims Mining Camp Fight Was Make-or-Break Point in His Ring Career By JACK CUDDY United Press Sports Writer NEW YORK, N. Y., May 4.— Jack Demp-sey has been invited to be guest of honor from May 19 to 21 at the 50th anniversary celebration of Tonopah, Nev., the silver camp where he made the most fateful decision of his fighting career. Business manager Max Waxman was checking Jacks schedule today to see if a flying trip to Tonopah could be sandwiched in. Dempsey, the worlds outstanding fighter during Tonopahs half-century existence, almost quit in the Nevada camp in 1915 and nearly hung up his gloves there. In later years, Jack often said, "I got the make-or-break test of my career in that fight with Johnny." Sudenberg at Tonopah. It was the only time I ever wanted to dog it in a scrap. If I had quit to Sudenberg that night, Id have been through with the ring" for good." In the summer of 1915, Dempsey was an obscure light heavyweight who had been fighting in Colorado and Utah. Nearly 20 years old, the larruper from Manassa, Colo., was obscure but well-versed in the manly art, for he had been studying boxing under two older fighting brothers since he was seven. An itinerant worker-fighter, he traveled from town to town in hobo fashion as a self-appointed guest of the railroads. His wanderings took him to Reno, Nev., in early May, 1915. While there he received an offer from Goldfield, Nev., to fight as a substitute against Sudenberg in the gold camp — about 33 miles from Tonopah, the silver camp. Dempsey surprised the skeptical Gold-field promoter by holding Sudenberg of Salt Lake City to a 10-round draw. It was such a terrific fight they were rematched for nearby Tonopah in June. The Manassa Mauler, who hadnt been eating regularly before taking the Goldfield fight, figured he would have beaten Sudenberg had he been in good condition. He was confident he could lick him at Tonopah. Floors the Dutchman Six Times Under the stars in the Tonopah airdrome, Dempsey sought quick victory over the tough little Dutchman from Salt Lake. Jack floored him six times in the first two rounds, but Sudenberg kept getting up and piling into Jacks midsection. Jack had gone all out in the early rounds. His. efforts and the mile-high altitude began to slow him down before the bout was half over. As he weakened, he became discouraged because he had nailed Johnny again and again with his most explosive punches, but couldnt put himway. Meanwhile, Sudenberg continued to march into Dempsey and wham him in the stomach. As Dempsey recalls the bout, "I began to ask myself in the sixth round why Id ever thought I was a fighter. Id knocked him down six times, but now he seemed to be stronger than me. In the seventh, I began to feel sick in the stomach, but I had to keep fighting hard because Johnny was after me all the time. "When I went to my corner I figured I •wouldnt come out for the eighth, but then I decided to try it for another round. I felt so sick in the eighth, I decided, definitely to quit. But then I remembered that if I quit to Sudenberg and quit the ring, Id have to go work in the mines at hard, dangerous labor that ultimately might give me miners consumption. I just had to make my living with my fists, as Id always planned. So I couldnt quit. The ninth and tenth rounds were nightmares. At the end I was so sick I fed the fishes in my corner. I was the most surprised man in the airdrome when the announcer said I had won the decision." Whether or not Dempsey attends the Tonopah celebration, this month, the camp will cut loose with nearly a week of wild-west whpopee. Its program of sports events will include a pony express race from Gold-field to Tonopah. Each entrant will use five horses during the wild ride. Other events will be world championship hard-rock drilling contests with both single jack and double jack, "Mucking" contests, boxing bouts, wrestling matches, foot races, etc. BOB CAIN— Shut out Hie New York Yankees on five hits as the White Sox slaughtered the world champions, 15-0J with a barrage of 23 hits.

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