Bill Brennan,although born in Ireland, hailed from Chicago,
Illinois. Bill Brennan is best known for his second fight with Jack Dempsey.
He was expected to be knocked out in the first 5 rounds. He actually outpointed
Dempsey for 10 rounds, but Jack rallied to knock durable Bill out in the
12th. Previous to that fight Jack had never gone further than 10 rounds.
Bill brought the fight all the way into the 12th.
-the following is taken fromthe Oct. 1954 issue of Boxing
and Wrestling Magazine. It was written by Stanley Weston.-
GREATEST FIGHTS OF THE CENTURY
Of all the men he ever fought there was no one Jack
Dempsey admired and respected more than Bill Brennan. Ever since there first
bout in Milwaukee, one year before Jack won his title, a strong and lasting
mutual bond had been cemented between them.
Brennan was a big powerful fellow out of County Mayo,
Ireland,and although he had all the equipment a great fighter must have,
one quality about him stood out above all the rest-his tremendous courage.
And it was that courage which caused Dempsey to remark, "Bill Brennan
deserves every break the boxing business can give him."
Dempsey practiced what he preached and Brennan was one
of the first men to get a chance at his new heavyweight championship. As
we mentioned before, they first met in Milwaukee when Jack was bowling over
all his opposition and heading for a title match with Jess Willard.
On his way into the ring, Brennan stopped in at Dempsey's
dressing room. "I hate to have to stop you, Jack,"he said. "You've
been coming along very well, but I'm going to get that Willard fight. You
know how it is."
"That's all right Bill," grinned Dempsey.
"But I'm after Jess myself."
Brennan wasn't trying to upset Dempsey and he wasn't
boasting. He meant what he said and sincerely believed he could and would
stop Jack kearns' tiger.
But Big Bill had underestimated the Mauler and it was
Jack's fight all the way. He smacked brennan so hard in the sixth round
that Bill dropped to the floor with his legs locked together. Brennan rolled
over and over, his face twisted in agony. The referee looked at his feet
and noticed a bone around his ankle jutting through his shoe. The punch
to the jaw had actually resulted in a broken ankle. Of course Brennan was
unable to continue.
Dempsey hurried to Brennan's dressing room to see how
bad the injury was. "I'm sorry,' he said, "But it had to be one
"Don't worry about it Jack,"Bill replied "It's
all in the game."
That was the first time Brennan had been stopped. In fact it was only his second loss in over sixty
bouts. Previously he lost a twelve round decision to Battling Levinsky.
Dempsey went on to knockout Willard and become champion
while Brennan fought fellows like Harry Greb, Billy Miske, Bartley Madden,
and Willie Meehan.
On December 13, 1920, at 9:53 PM Bill Brennan crawled
into the ring at old Madison Square Garden. He wore green trunks and a bright
red sweater. Accompanied by his manager Leo P. Flynn and trainer Dia Dollings,
he took his place in the southeast corner.
About two minutes later Dempsey came in. Wearing his
famous white drawers which almost reached his knees and with only a towel
tossed over his head, he was followed closely by Jack Kearns and Harry Neary.
A battery of news photographers snapped
pictures like crazy and after Joe Humphries introduced the fighters, the
movie cameras started to gring away. Dempsey and Brennan smiled and struck
the many different poses requested of them. Then Humphries held up the diamond-studded
belt Rickard was donating to the winner.
Referee Haukup called them to mid-ring and gave them
their instructions. Brennan looked bigger and stronger and had a big edge
in the weights--197 to 188.25
Kearns took the towel from Dempsey's broad shoulders
as the champion walked back to his corner.
At the bell they met in mid-ring and Bill stuck his
left into jacks skee-nose. Dempsey bobbed and weaved in typical fashion
trying to find the one opening that would end it then and there. But that
opening wasn't there. Brennan boxed beautifully and won the round with plenty
Midway through the second round, Bill exploded a right
to the champions chin which hurt and followed quickly with a terrific right
uppercut to the same spot. Dempsey was shaken as he had never been shaken
before, He reeled around like a drunk and in talking about the incident
in later years said, "Had Brennan followed up he'd have been the heavyweight
champion of the world. I was completely helpless and that uppercut hurt
much more than Firpo's shot which sent me out of the ring at the Polo Grounds
two years later."
But Brennan stepped back waiting for Jack to fall and
when he didn't fall he started to box with his left jab and Dempsey shook
out the cobwebs in time to survive.
For the next six rounds Brennan held command. He punched
more often and much harder and the crowd buzzed with excitemnt. It looked
as though Dempsey had left all his 'Tiger' at Toledo and that he was no
'superman' after all.
Jack won the ninth and the tenth and in the eleventh
he had Brennan ready for the cleaners but the bell saved him. The fight
was three quarters over and Dempsey couldn't possibly save his title unless
he scored a knockout. Thus far he hadn't been able to even put Brennan on
By the strat of the twelfth, Bill had completely recuperated
from the three minute beating and Dempsey's sudden advantage had gone for
nothing. They traded on even terms for about a minute and a half and then
Jack was nailed with a left hook to his bloody ear. The punch hurt so much
that he closed his eyes and ground his teeth. Dempsey fell into a clinch
and the referee pulled them apart. But just as the official pulled away,
and before Brennan could get his hands up, Jack hit him under the heart
with the hardest punch of the fight, a sizzling right cross. Brennan staggered
and was about to clinch when Dempsey slammed his famous left hook to jaw.
Bill's knees gave out from under him and he slid to the floor.
Dempsey stood watching and at the same time trying to
keep his own legs from giving out. His head buzzed and the roar of the crowd
blended with the bells inside his head. "I felt like I was going to
heaven," said Dempsey.
Brennan struggled to get up and at the count of nine
he managed to get to one knee off the ground, but it wasn't good enough
and when Referee Haukup yelled "TEN", Bill fell on his face and
Dempsey rushed over to pick him up. The Manassa Mauler was still champion
of the world.
In his dressing room after the fight, Brennan told a
boxing writer, "It took him six rounds to stop me in 1918, and twelve
rounds tonight-but I'll get him yet."
Tale Of The Tape
Born: June 23, 1893
Birth Place: Mayo, Ireland
Height: 6 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 195-200 lbs.
manager: Leo P. Flynn
RING RECORDas of 1923: 71 wins - 8 losses - 5 draw -
37 ND's (121 total bouts)
Jun 27 1916 Joe Cox Brookl. LF 7
unknown 1916 Homer Smith unknown ND 6
unknown 1916 Larry Williams unknown ND 10
Jul 15 1916 Joe Cox Brookl. ND 10
unknown 1917 Jack Hubbard unknown KO 2
unknown 1917 Homer Smith unknown ND 10
Jan 29 1917 Joe Cox Roches. ND 10
unknown 1917 Bartley Madden unknown ND 10
Aug 3 1917 Joe Cox Quebec WK 3
unknown 1917 Bartley Madden unknown ND 10
Oct 2 1917 Battling Levinsky Boston Draw 12
Oct 23 1917 Battling Levinsky Boston W 12
Nov 9 1917 Jim Coffey NewYork ND 10
Nov 27 1917 Battling Levinsky Boston L 12
Jan 15 1918 Battling Levinsky Boston Draw 12
unknown 1918 Bartley Madden unknown ND 8
Feb 25 1918 Jack Dempsey unknown KO'd 6
Feb 10 1919 Harry Greb Syracu. ND 10-Loss
Mar 17 1919 Harry Greb Pitts. ND 10-Loss
unknown 1919 Billy Miske unknown ND 8
Jul 4 1919 Harry Greb Oklaho. L 15
unknown 1919 Billy Miske unknown L 15
Aug 23 1919 Harry Greb Pitts. ND 10-Loss
Jan 7 1920 Bartley Madden Wisco. ND 10
Mar 5 1920 Capt. Bob Roper Michi. ND 10
May 19 1920 Willie Meehan Philad. ND 6
Dec 14 1920 Jack Dempsey NewYork KO'd 12
unknown 1921 Fighting Bob Martin unknown L 15
unknown 1921 Billy Miske unknown ND 10
unknown 1922 Fighting Bob Martin unknown W 15
unknown 1923 Floyd Johnson unknown L 15
Nov 6 1923 Billy Miske Omaha KO by 4
unknown 1923 Luis Angel Firpo unknown KO by 12
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