Irish Heavyweight Champion (OR NOT), Peter Maher (1895)
Was Peter Maher the Heavyweight Champion?
Publish Date: 07/19/2018
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
(Phoenix, Arizona – June 2018) Last night — or this morning depending on how you view these things — at 2:00a.m I sat outside my door and watched a Black prostitute for an hour or so in skimpy dress unsuccessfully hoping a car would stop…. There was a guy at bus stop and following that hour turned in my direction yelled, “Chris.” It was my longtime Latino friend, Jesus, who has schizophrenia and is now homeless…. We talked about David Ybarra — amazing Latino pool player — murdered recent. We talked about Eugene — amazing White pool player — simply found dead… We talked about Rick — good White pool player — who returned to crystal meth after 4 years in prison and wrecked his life again… We talked about Kevin — he looks at photos of “Full House” Olsen twins and Linda Blair all the time — great White pool player with bank shots… We talked about Mark Deleo — competitive pool player — living in Rochester, New York whose sister recently died… We talked about Jade – Latina or Latino — or she is Leticia or Tommy — murdered or suicide it doesn’t really matter to police…. I rushed upstairs to give him oatmeal cookies, peanut-butter sandwich and bottles water.
I left Jesus and saw Susan — 69 years old — diagnosed this week with cancer. It is still dark in Phoenix, Arizona at 4:00am and she has all these cats staring at us between shades…. As I write this story, I had to literally assist White-Irish 83 years-old, Patrick, get back into the gates…. He purchased something like 30 beers so I made sure he was inside the gate with his beers — his shoes — and his cane. I did tell him, “Hey, I really need to write Peter Maher’s heavyweight boxing story,” while he said, “Just help me get inside.” He wants to hand me money – nooo – I don’t want his money.
There is Jasmine — a pretty White prostitute who only likes Black guys — or Latinos if they look different and talk different than me. She has anxiety problems – and I can SEE she uses Crystal meth – but she can talk to me without us being friends.Everything in Phoenix is dead – including our dreams – I can see that – but you have to be strong anyway.There is Delilah – White girl with blue hair — also arrested for prostitution in jail because she didn’t show for court appearance who tells me she is a boxer. I have told her that she can probably be Arizona Golden Gloves champion and I’d only do this for her self-esteem and meet girls tougher than her — supportive of her — related to the Gibbons’ brothers who were terrific boxers a little less than 100 years ago… I don’t care if Delilah is a prostitute – very pretty but I wouldn’t be interested in sex – I want to see hope in a place which has no hope.
I visit a terrific Carniceria where I purchase most of my food. The Latino guys hassle me and say things they think in Spanish that I cannot understand. Myra, from Sonora, Mexico is there. The guys are needling in Spanish, “Myra is number one. We love Myra.” I tell her, “What happened to those guys’ penis? They are so brave when you are not here. ‘Myra is lazy. Myra is only interested in eating’.” Myra knows they do this and actually egging her wrath – which she gives them, “Christopher tells me everything you say when I am not around,” for which I add (with crazy Spanish), “Damned right guys! I am a human tape-recorder so Myra hears everything.” Then I visit Reddy’s liquor store for beer and tequila. Because I have current illness I am the only person who can drink beer and lose weight. The son-in-law, Sammy is there with two separate guys who are distributers. Sammy is cheerful for once but still says, “Motherfucker.” He is Iraqi with tough father-in-law who runs the place who is from Syria. The father-in-law often rips me apart for having Turkish friends, “They are terrorists.” I can nicely respond, “I hardly think Ceren or Selver – one who went to medical school for 8 years and graduated and is currently a pediatrician or someone who graduated college to become an English teacher did all this to become terrorists.” When he continues with another mean comment I just say – since the family relocated from Chicago, “The Bears were really lucky with Jay Cutler as quarterback. He did a great job for them.” The father-in-law responds, “Fuck him. Tell him to go back to Arizona.” (Actually, Cutler has nothing to do with Arizona.)Anyway, the son-in-law says some slur towards me and the White distributer looks up from his inventory surprised. The son-in-law says to him, “I’m talking to (me).” I approach the White distributer and say, “Fuck off, motherfucker. Fuck you.” He looks shocked until I smile, “I’m just kidding. You know that’s the way we talk around here. Have a nice day, guys.” The son-in-law says, “Go back to Tijuana.” I get in the final word, “I’m trying. I’m trying.”
World Cup, 2018, is occurring and the final score: Mexico – 1 – Germany – 0.Media is calling it an “earthquake” in Mexico as people are gathering in mass numbers to shout, “Viva Mexico,” over and over.Host Russia has seen nothing like it as people wear make-up, wigs and dress like Mexican flags.I visit the Carneceria to “high-five” my Mexican-born Latina friends.Myra says, “We won,” and I smile, “I know. I saw.”
I am accompanying 69-years old Susan on her cat duties at 3:00a.m.She calls me her “bodyguard” which has truth to it – except I am gentle person who does anything Mexican women tell me but listen to nobody else – and these Phoenix people are very sad, lost souls who are homeless and defeated but there’s nothing that I can do about that.Sam, a White guy with mental illness is threatening 83-years old Patrick for money.I am REALLY pissed-off about it and plan on confronting him about it as I write.Mexican-born Latinas would say, “Don’t do it,” but I am. I am completing this story and then finding Sam, “How tough are you when the guys are a little younger?”
I DO THINK it is all related to Peter Maher — the great Irish heavyweight – because he arrived to USA’s East Coast during the 1890’s to attempt a better life which he was going to attempt via professional fisticuffs. He was anointed “Ireland’s Heavyweight Champion” without anyone who could fact-check-this stuff.Maher would have to survive a strange land – people aren’t going to like him because he is Irish – and he is not going to like people because they are NOT Irish — throwing punches in hopes of ruining some guy’s ambition while facing guys who were going to punch him for money in order to ruin his dream…. This is what happened.
George Godfrey versus Peter Maher
Location: Boston, Massachusetts – The Casino – crowd: 3000 – ticket prices: $1-$5. John L. Sullivan is in attendance and openly roots for Ireland’s heavyweight Champion.
ROUND 6: Both briefly spar – Maher aggressively throws left to jaw – misses as Godfrey backs – Maher follows as he steps forward and lands left to face – follows with right that lands to jaw – Godfrey falls to ground – crowd cheers.
Referee counts: ‘1, 2, 3’ – Godfrey lay motionless – ‘4, 5, 6’ – Sullivan leaps into ring to congratulate Maher – others rush into ring to congratulate Irishman – Godfrey lay still – referee had paused with illegal commotion and concludes count – ‘7, 8, 9, 10’ – waves hands, bout over – KNOCKOUT!
Post bout review: “Even John L. Sullivan joined in the cheers which greeted Maher as he walked to his corner, while the Darky lay motionless in the center of the ring, his eye and nose cut and blood pouring from his mouth.”…. Some of the audience unhappy Godfrey did not receive proper ‘10’ count. Sullivan and others counter complain that the referee was counting too slow.
NOW – you cannot argue that Floyd Patterson was the first boxer to successfully regain the heavyweight championship AND Peter Maher was ever heavyweight champion. You cannot support both positions. Boxing historians argue both because boxing has the worst historians – the “C” or “D” grade kids who aren’t serious about truth. George Godfrey was the great Coulored Heavyweight Champion of the 1880’s (and yes, with the English spelling) and NOOOO – I am not thrilled about George Godfrey referred to as a “Darky,” but that’s the reality of these historical things. When George Godfrey lost his title to Peter Jackson in 1888 he said that he lost to the best heavyweight – not the undefeated White heavyweight champion, John L. Sullivan. Defeating Godfrey was a high-profile victory for Maher so Americans don’t just receive alleged news of his feats in Ireland.
Heavyweight Championship Bout (??)
Peter Maher versus Steve O’ Donnell
Location: New York – crowd: 4,000 – Maher is the 1888 Irish middleweight Champion – 1890 Irish heavyweight champion – a 2-1 favorite against larger opponent.
Round 1: Two stand toe to toe – sort of push – briefly clinch – aggressive Maher pushes foe back to ropes – O’ Donnell sort of pinned and trapped – Maher lands left to jaw – O’ Donnell drops to ground.
‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5’ – fallen fighter is alert and settled on one knee – ‘6, 7, 8, 9’ – O’ Donnell rises and steps forward – Maher lands right to jaw – O’ Donnell falls flat to ground.
‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7’ – O’ Donnell alert and just allowing himself extra time to clear head – ‘8, 9’ – O’ Donnell rises and charges Maher – does not throw a punch – Maher feints right and lands left to jaw – O’ Donnell is down for third time.
Crowd erupts in frenzied joy – many of Irish descent present – loudly erupt as James Corbett enters ring to congratulate new Irish heavyweight Champion.. Corbett and Maher hug – mouth to mouth as Corbett expresses joy: “So close it seemed as if they were kissing each other.”
Former champion complies with demand for speech – after insulting Fitzsimmons: “On this spot, I give you the championship, because I know you can protect it. I shall never fight again.”
There is no reasonable explanation why Peter Maher is not heavyweight champion at this moment. Undefeated James Corbett publicly retired and selected two people he liked to claim his title. Corbett was more interested in acting while boxing sort of got in the way of his true love – plus, Corbett was the most successful and well-paid movie actor in history at this moment.
Champion Peter Maher versus Bob Fitzsimmons
Location: Mexico, near Texas border – crowd: 200 wealthy patrons who pay $20 apiece – it will cost them more money to deal with transportation and lodging in this obscure location – boxers protected by 30 man Texas military unit – 200 Mexican troops guard their border – Champion weighs 180 pounds – challenger at 165 pounds.
ROUND 1: Pugilists step out – challenger throws hard right to head – misses bad – slightly stumbles.. Two bob and stalk – challenger aggressive and steps forward with right to head – misses – loses and regains balance – Englishman turns around and throws right to head – misses bad – aim off with slight stumble – Irish Champion charges and clinches – two wrestle hard – ref steps in and tells them to separate.. Fitz lets go of opponent – Maher lands hard right to face – Fitz charges and ref jumps in to intervene and pushes challenger back – Champion tries to ignore referee and attack – ref intercepts and grabs Maher and pulls him back – warns Champion of disqualification if he hits after clinch again.. Maher nods that he understands – referee steps out of way – two boxers approach each other – brief furious exchange – both land blows and stand toe to toe – Fitz lands close short right to jaw – Champion drops to ground.‘1, 2, 3, 4’ – Maher groggy and disoriented – ‘5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10’ – referee waves bout over – KNOCKOUT!
Post bout: Supposedly, Bob Fitzsimmons is the new Champion. James Corbett – furious that his hated rival possesses title – telegrams that he is ready to battle – while slyly hinting that maybe he didn’t retire earlier and Fitz better fight him. A furious Champion (?) Fitzsimmons immediately responds: “I shall use about the same argument once employed by Charlie Mitchell – tell Corbett to get a reputation. Let him go and whip Peter Maher and Joe Choynski before he gets his head to me. This much I shall insist upon. He must first win from Maher and Choynski before he gets into a ring with me.”…. So is Fitzsimmons truly the heavyweight Champion?? No one – except maybe Corbett – questions this at the moment. But due to the craziest of future circumstances – a boxing ‘scandal’ of epic proportions – which is really saying something when one considers boxing history – the ultimate casualty or victim might be Peter Maher’s legacy.
(11/16/1896) Peter Maher vs. Joe Choynski
Location: New York City – Broadway Athletic Club – crowd: 5000 – diverse crowd – former Champion Maher hopeful of rematch with Champion Fitzsimmons – Choynski has excellent chance of Championship bout with victory – manager of club is excited with prospect to host Fitzsimmons/-Choynski heavyweight Championship bout – which would clearly draw huge crowd at top ticket prices.
ROUND 2: Maher shoots out left to head – misses – Choynski backs – Maher steps forward – Choynski quickly backs – Maher chases forward – Choynski stops to lands hard left curve jab to jaw – lands left to stomach – lands left to stomach and backs – Maher steps forward – Choynski stops to land left to stomach – follows with hard right that lands to jaw.
ROUND 3: Choynski repeats strategy of round one – pounds left jab to body – lands left jab to stomach – lands left jab to stomach and backs – Maher chases forward as he madly wishes to land right to head – Choynski sidesteps and backs and evade – Maher chases and occasionally throws right that misses – Choynski backs – Maher sprints forward and lands partial right to jaw – Choynski stays in place as two trade punches – Choynski falls to ground.
Choynski quickly rises and backs – Maher steps forward – bell sounds.
ROUND 4: Choynski lands lefts to stomach and backs – Maher chases – Maher fans shout and taunt Choynski to fight and quit running.
ROUND 5: Choynski backs – Maher chases – Choynski pauses and lands straight right to mouth – Maher’s head snapped back – Irishman dazed but chases – Choynski pauses to exchange punches – two close and spar – ref stops boxers to intervene – warns Maher to quit landing elbows with infighting.. Boxers continue – Choynski lands left jab to stomach – lands left jab to stomach – Maher appears winded, but tries to step forward – Choynski lands hard right to head – Maher wobbled and in trouble – bell sounds.
ROUND 6: Choynski confident as he easily lands curved left jab to jaw – lands hard left to stomach – Maher gasps and bends over – Choynski lands left jab to chest – lands left jab to ribs – lands left jab to body – lands hard left jab to jaw – Maher staggers, but will not fall – Choynski anxious and unusually unguarded – steps forward to throw right – Maher flicks right that lands to jaw – surprised Choynski knocked off balance and falls to ground.
Choynski quickly jumps up without count – still confident and unguarded as he steps forward to knock out foe – Maher dazed and winded – flicks desperate right to head – misses – Choynski slips to ground to avoid unexpected punch.
Choynski immediately springs to feet – confident of dominance – botth boxers stand toe to toe and exchange punches – both tired – Maher wounded and feints left – Choynski anxiously attempts to block and counter – Maher follows with right that lands clean to exposed jaw – Choynski drops dead to ground – lands face first to floor.
So Bob Fitzsimmons is HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION – and the big fight everyone had wanted was Fitzsimmons versus Joe Choynski. Peter Maher completely screwed it up in completely Choynski style. Both James Jeffries (20-round Draw) and Jack Johnson (3rd round knockout) insisted Choynski ambushed them persistent left jabs and then a right punch which they weren’t prepared. Choynski was a 5’10 lanky, rail-thin 175 pounder who was genius – boxing genius – against huge heavyweights – but sometimes a dummy when he became too confident against smaller guys or people he underestimated like Maher. Plus, the crowd goaded Choynski to fight when he was winning easily via boxing. Maher succeeded in ruining an anticipated heavyweight championship bout – Fitzsimmons versus Choynski – and in the process accidentally wrecked his own legacy.
What happens next is the worst fraud in heavyweight history. My great friend and publisher of Ringside Boxing Show LOVES that it revolves around Wyatt Earp – yes, the guy from the Tombstone, Arizona O.K. Corral who as referee accepted a payment which rigged a heavyweight championship bout. Champion Bob Fitzsimmons knew it was rigged – and publicly admitted he has taken a dive in a middleweight title fight (versus Hall) for his family. The biggest problem is that Bob Fitzsimmons – wanting everyone to KNOW it was rigged (which had been rumored hours preceding) kept dominating Tom Sharkey and knocking him down – even gentlemanly assisting Sharkey to his feet after knocking him down.
ROUND 8: Fitz lands straight left to head – Sharkey wobbles backward – Fitz follows and lands right to top of crouching foe’s head – both near ropes – Fitz throws left hook to head – misses as Sharkey bobs and evades – Irishman desperate and clinches around waist – Fitz tries to shake loose – Sharkey will not let go of hold – ref Earp intervenes – unsuccessful as he tries to separate boxers – Earp finally pushes pugilists apart.. Sharkey staggers toward center ring – attempts to be defensive and protect face – Fitz lands left jab to stomach – lands left jab to stomach and backs – Sharkey sways and is unable to defend himself but tries to keep gloves upward – Fitz steps forward and lands hard left to exposed stomach – Sharkey’s gloves drop – Fitz follows with right uppercut that lands to chin – Sharkey collapses to ground…. The crowd is in pandemonium – ref Earp is not offering a count – Sharkey writhes on floor as if fouled – 10 to 20 seconds elapse with no count or signal – crowd roars its approval at the apparent knockout…. Sharkey stops moving and lay still – Champion Fitz raises gloves in triumph – acknowledges appreciative crowd – Sharkey’s corner man, Lynch, has entered ring and shouts conversation with ref Earp.. Several seconds pass – Lynch shakes fist in triumph but no one notices.. Another 25-30 seconds elapse when it is announced to crowd that Fitz has been disqualified – Sharkey declared victor.. All heck breaks loose – boos and hisses shower from all directions.. Fitz entered the ring favored to win – but not the crowd favorite.. Ref Earp sort of tries to wave his hands toward crowd – receives hate and invective – threats and curses – “fraud” and “fix” and “cheat” are shouted at him as he promptly gets the heck out of there. Sharkey still lay on ground – this is usually when a boxing mob tries to show it is ‘human’ by quieting and showing concern to a fallen or injured pugilist. But with ref Earp gone – shouts and curses – boos and hisses are aimed at Sharkey and his corner men.
Woman Sportswriter: “It was a lame conclusion.. Sharkey fell over like a collapsed balloon.. He writhed in pain, where a moment before he had been fresh and strong.. They carried him out – the man who had been like a lion, while Fitzsimmons friends shouted that he was shamming, and the sailors supporters swore he was not, until for a moment it looked like a hundred fights all over the house.. Fitzsimmons paced about the ring shaking his fist, spitting his rage, and the crowd stood up in its chairs, everybody talking at the top of his voice, with the decision in doubt because no one would listen.. The referee had vanished like the Arabian Genie.”
Tom Sharkey post bout comment: “I am certain that Fitzsimmons fouled me deliberately to save himself from defeat. It was getting too plain to him that I was gaining in strength, while he was going down-hill, so to speak, so he thought he would lose on a foul.”
Bob Fitzsimmons post bout comment: “He fouled me at every clinch.. I appealed eight times, and then, seeing that it was no use protesting, I quit and went in hitting my man just where I wanted to.. In the fifth round Sharkey clinched and caught me round the hips. The referee deliberately stuck his fingers in my face, cutting my eyelid with his nails.”
Referee Wyatt Earp: “Julian came to me before the fight and said he had been told I was fixed. I am a friend of Lynch to be sure, but I know Sharkey only slightly. I first met him the night before he fought Corbett. Fitzsimmons I met four years ago, and was introduced to him by Bat Masterson, the best friend I have on earth. If I had any leanings they would be toward Fitzsimmons, for I know that Bat Masterson, who is in Denver tonight, had every dollar he had on Fitzsimmons.”..
W.H. Naughton (boxing writer): “If Fitzsimmons struck Sharkey a foul blow last night I did not see it. But even at that I would scarcely like to go on record as saying that the punch on which the fight was given the sailor was not foul.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “It was Bob Fitzsimmons hand that struck the $10,000 blow last night, but the referee – none other than Wyatt Earp, who is better known in gun fighting circles than to pugilism – called it a foul and gave the trophy of battle, a certified check for a little fortune, to the sailor fighter who lay hopelessly knocked out in his corner of the ring.”
Brooklyn Daily Eagle: “Then Fitz got up to finish the job in a workmanlike manner. A right half arm jolt under the chin sent the sailor’s head to one side. A left hook similarly applied sent him over backward.. Then came the much disputed foul. Very few of the immense crowd could be convinced that Fitz had been unfair and it is almost certain that if a foul were committed, it was unintentional.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “There was pandemonium of shouting from the short enders who hadn’t looked for anything beyond winnings on the rounds and a fierce, long sustained deep-throated yell of ‘fraud’ ‘job’ ‘robbery’.”
Martin Julian: “This man Sharkey, who they claim was so badly knocked out, actually took the check-out of the referee’s hand and stuck it in his belt directly after he fell down.”
Post bout legal issues: A ‘stop payment’ is placed the night of the bout on Sharkey’s certified $10,000 check.That is supposed to be impossible and Sharkey/Lynch were waiting to cash it the moment the bank opened.But they underestimated Martin Julian, who called the President of the bank – informed him an injunction would be placed on the check that morning in court – that a scandal had ensued that would likely place people in jail.The president personally placed a hold on the cashier’s check before the bank opened.
NOW YOU HAVE A REAL PROBLEM – who is heavyweight champion??? Not even 24 hours did Tom Sharkey possess the title because it was so obviously corrupt. How can two guys fight for the heavyweight title – the Champion is disqualified – and NO ONE is champion afterwards?? This is where boxing historians – not really caring about history – screw-up everything. They want a linear history when there isn’t one. There is this horrible, obvious fraud. Meanwhile, undefeated James Corbett has rethought relinquishing his heavyweight title. A decision is sort of arbitrarily made that Tom Sharkey and Wyatt Earp are corrupt jerks – who deserved to be hanged over being rewarded – and since Corbett wants to be Champion again – it’s okay if he defends the title against the robbed Fitzsimmons. But this means Fitzsimmons, once the heavyweight champion, would attempt to reclaim his title. But then historians, both at the time and current, don’t want to acknowledge he is reclaiming his title because this means he lost his title to Tom Sharkey – and no one wants to acknowledge as rigged title bout as legitimate. But then if Corbett never relinquished his title then Peter Maher was never heavyweight champion – even though Corbett publicly retired and openly acknowledged Maher as champion. I love being an historian of boxing because the truth and reality is its completely bizarre and the best reality is the truth. Boxing historians must learn they cannot alter reality and truth because they don’t like it and were bored to death in history class via high school.
Champion James Corbett versus Bob Fitzsimmons
Location: Carson, Nevada – crowd: 5000…. Fitzsimmons wears Japanese silk gown – Corbett wears more traditional robe. Following ref instructions – Corbett attempts to shake hands – Fitzsimmons refuses.
ROUND 14: Corbett dominates – Fitz stalks forward – Champion backs. Challenger throws left to head – Champion blocks and clinches. Corbett pushes Fitz back – challenger charges ahead with body shot – Corbett grabs Englishman’s head and pulls it in for clinch. Champion pushes challenger back – sticks extended left jab to face – challenger charges in with attempted body shot – Champion wraps arm around head and pulls foe in – clinch – annoyed Fitz presses arm into Corbett’s neck – two separate.. Champion throws left to head – misses – wraps arm around challenger’s neck. Pugilists separate – challenger lands short left that pop Corbett’s jaw square – Champion’s head is snapped back and he is rocked backward several steps. Challenger steps forward – pushes Champion backward. Both stalk – Corbett unable to breathe – wind completely knocked from him.
Referee pushes an anxious Fitz back – begins count: ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ – Champion is desperate and unable to rise – Corbett begins crawling across ring – ‘5, 6, 7’ – challenger bounces on feet, hovers over Champion, ready to pounce and sock him to head – Corbett attempts to crawl to ropes and pull himself to feet – ‘8, 9’ – Fitz settles down and lowers gloves – Champion too far away from ropes and will not make it – Corbett gives up and collapses – ‘10’ – referee waves hands, bout over – KNOCKOUT!
Corbett lay helpless on ground – referee raises hand of new English champion.
Post bout: Los Angeles Times: “The defeated Corbett went almost tearfully to his dressing room, which was guarded by the faithful Jeffries.” John L. Sullivan was in attendance and immediately challenges Fitzsimmons for the title: “I mean what I say – I am going one more battle.. I think there’s one more fight in me.”
I have written horrible things about Tom Sharkey – 100% deserved – with little success damaging his reputation. Sharkey was DESPISED by the boxing public at this moment – the most hated man in boxing. He was extremely popular before his fraud title bout versus Fitzsimmons and would become popular again when he lasted two bouts and 45 rounds against the feared undefeated heavyweight champion, James Jeffries, without being knocked out. Sharkey was a tough bastard – no doubt about it – but also one of the most dishonest people to fight in the heavyweight division. Sharkey would eventually purchase a tavern – lose it because he was hiring 14 years old hookers as waitresses – go bankrupt – then appear at all high-profile heavyweight bouts claiming he defeated Fitzsimmons and was heavyweight champion. Boxing fans grew to like him.
Sailor Tom Sharkey vs. Peter Maher
Location: New York City, New York – non title bout.
ROUNDS 1-6: Maher dominates and is winning easily – Sharkey is getting increasingly desperate and angry – bobs gloves and charges the better Irishman – lands illegal punches in clinch.
ROUND 7: Maher continues to dominate in spite of illegal tactics – round nears end – Maher lands hard right to head of wobbled Sharkey – bell sounds. Maher turns to step back to corner – Sharkey charges forward and lands hard right to back of head – Maher turns half way around – Sharkey lands hard right to side of head – Maher shocked and confused – Sharkey lands right to head – Maher counters with some sort of punch that lands – all heck breaking loosed – police officers storm the ring and separate boxers. Referee declares bout officially over – does not disqualify Sharkey – rules contest a draw. Both pugilists are arrested for disorderly conduct.
(Post bout): Crowd of 500 fans at the train depot enthusiastically cheer the two arrested Irish born combatants upon their arrival.. Both were briefly – Sharkey for a couple minutes – Maher for a couple months – heavyweight Champion.. Both have been – not just stripped of title – but have lost any official recognition of ever having won a championship bout…. I feel sorry for Maher a little – I don’t feel sorrow for Sharkey at all.
(Court Proceedings): Inspector McLaughlin – arresting officer: “There was slugging – there was brutal pounding and knocking down. If that does not constitute a prize fight – I do not know what does.”
Magistrate’s decision: “But you must understand that they received much encouragement. The public had apparently expressed great interest in what they were about to do. They are big, powerful men, and one presumes, high tempered men. It is not to be wondered at if they lost their heads…. I will not entertain a complaint of prize fighting against them. I think they were within the law. (He decides a night in jail for any sort of disorderly conduct was just and sufficient). Maher and Sharkey, you are discharged.”
Post legal verdict: Reporters ask both boxers for comment. Maher: “I think if I had another round I would have knocked Sharkey out.” Sharkey: “I may have lost my head for the moment and struck out. I did not hear the gong sound.”
Peter Maher’s fame continued but had peaked with regard to boxing. Sometimes we ALL dream how we would fare against Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson’s fastball (that’s a pretty safe strike-out in my situation) – standing 1-round versus Sugar Ray Robinson – catching a pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. But let’s not kid ourselves – these are fantasies. An alleged Irish boxer named Mike Morrissey – promoted by P.J. Dwyer – decided to be idiots and think they were going to breeze by Peter Maher and then fight undefeated James Jeffries for the heavyweight title.
Challenge To Undefeated Champion James Jeffries I (6/17/1899)
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