May 23, 1922 - Referee Kid McPartland

- A round by round description of the first fight is at the bottom of the page

February 23, 1923 - Referee Patsy Haley

- A round by round description of the second fight is at the bottom of the page

December 10, 1923 - Referee Lou Magnolia

September 17, 1924 - Referee Matt Hinkle

March 27, 1925 - Referee George Barton



"He was never in one spot for more than half a second," said Tunney. "All my punches were aimed and timed properly but they always wound up hitting empty air. He'd jump in and out, slamming me with a left and whirling me around with his right or the other way around.

"My arms were plastered with leather and although I jabbed, hooked and crossed, it was like fighting an octopus."

----from Boxing and Wrestling Magazine Oct. 1954-written by Stanley Weston



FIGHT #1 - May 23, 1922

Referee - Kid McPartland


Greb and Tunney before their first fight, which Harry won.



Gene Tunney

Height: 6' 1/2"

Weight: 155-192 lbs.

Reach: 77.25"

Chest (nor.): 42"

Chest (exp.): 45"

Waist: 34.25"

Biceps: 15"

Neck: 17" Wrist: 8.5"---- Calf: 15.5"---- Ankle: 9.25"---- Thigh: 23"---- Fist: 11.25"----- Forearm: 13.5"



"The Tumult and The Shouting"

by Grantland Rice

supplied by the Lydon cousins

copyright 1954, by A. S. Barnes & Co., Inc.

Chapter Eleven, page 140


In January of 1922, Gene Tunney defeated Battling Levinsky for the light heavyweight crown but lost it the following May to Harry Greb in perhaps the bloodiest fight I ever covered. A great fighter -- or brawler -- Greb handled Tunney like a butcher hammering a Swiss steak. How the Greenwich Village Irishman with the crew haircut survived 15 rounds I'll never know -- except that Tunney always enjoyed more and better physical conditioning than anybody he ever fought. By the third round, Gene was literally wading in his own blood. I saw Gene a few days later. His face looked as though he'd taken the wrong end of a razor fight. "You know," he said, "I must have lost nearly two quarts of blood in there." "Doc Bagley, a superb 'cut' man, managed to stop the bleeding only to watch Greb bust my face apart in the following round. It was discouraging," stated Tunney.

To me, that fight was proof that Tunney meant to stick with prize fighting. I tried to tell Gene that Greb was too fast for him . . . to go after a softer touch. But less than a year later they fought again and Tunney won the decision in 15 rounds. I scored that fight for Greb, but then Tunney met Greb four times more without defeat.





The Long Count. 1969

Author of the book is Mel Heimer

Publisher: Atheneum, New York

supplied by the Lydon Cousins


Chapter 3, Page 47


At the end of the twelfth, dizzy and sick, and with adrenalin trickling into his stomach after Doc Bagley, his second and manager, had made him sniff it to stop nosebleeding, Tunney took a swallow of brandy and orange juice. He came close to being drunk in the ring, and he lasted the full fifteen rounds only by keeping trying.

Before the decision was announced, Gene made his way slowly to Greb's corner. "Harry, you're the winner tonight," he said. "Congratulations."

The "tonight" wasn't pure bravado. As early as the third round, with Greb tormenting him, Tunney saw small things here and there--the way Harry dropped his shoulder at times, the move he made when he threw a right hook--and he thought to himself, I can beat this man.






Sport Magazine. May,1950

Exerpt from "Gentleman Gene-Champion Nobody Understood"

written by Ed Fitzgerald

supplied by the Lydon Cousins



Gene was ready. He was finely trained and hungry for the big money.

He went to work on Levinsky coolly, scientifically, and gave him a clear-cut lacing in 12 fast rounds. Now he had a title, and he wasted no time cashing in on it. He was on his way. Three of his next four opponents hit the deck and were counted out. He had reached the stage where his undefeated record was causing talk, and he was rewarded by a match with the colorful "Pittsburgh Windmill," Harry Greb.

One of the great fighters of all time, Greb got his nickname from his swarming style of punching. He moved in on you at the bell and never stopped throwing fists. They exploded at you from all angles, every type of punch in the book plus--when he was desperate or aroused--a few that had never been catalogued. Constitutionally opposed to the rigors of training, the playboy Greb was one of those rare athletes who never know fatigue.

He was at his best against Tunney. The Fighting Marine, who had never been beaten, couldn't hold off this wild man who never stopped punching, who took everything you threw at him and kept coming on, who snarled in the clinches and swore magnificently as he beat a ceaseless tattoo on your face and body.

It was the one and only defeat of Gene Tunney's career, but it was a beauty. He was getting big-time experience now, but he was certainly getting it the hard way.

One thing is sure--no one who saw Tunney that night ever had any doubts about his courage. Greb hit him as though he were out for batting practice. After a few rounds, Tunney looked as though he had been sparring with a cement mixer. But he never gave ground. There was no point, he figured in getting on a bicycle. The only way Gene could pull this one out was to catch Greb with a good one and knock him silly, and he knew it. Doggedly, he stalked his man, in the face of a fierce bombardment that literally tore him to ribbons.

His nose fractured in two places, a vein severed by a gash over his right eye, the flesh over his left eye sliced to the bone. Tunney was a bloody mess, but he kept moving in. He lost the fight, and his brand-new title along with it, but when the massacre was at an end and he stood silently in his corner, Gene heard the harsh sympathy of the crowd beat down over his head in a swelling roar of approval.

The fans were giving him the word that they were accepting him. So what if you didn't know what the hell he was talking about unless you had a dictionary in your pocket? The kid could take it. He was okay. Gene's family, particularly his father and mother, had always been uncertain about his choice of a career. Now, they openly grieved. Not because he had lost, but because he had been so badly battered. "I was so busted up I couldn't go home for a couple of weeks after the fight," he said. "I didn't want them to see me looking like that."

The second day after the defeat, Gene visited the boxing commission's offices and posted a $2,500 bond for a return bout with Greb. Then he hurried off to the country and went to bed for a week.

After that, it was the long road back for Tunney, and it took him almost a year to get there. Back to the grind he went, applying himself to his trade with that amazing concentration, burning every minute with a passionate desire to make up for that beating, to prove that he was a better fighter than he had looked against Greb. Tunney never fought a bout without learning something, and he had learned plenty from the Pittsburgh Windmill. He pondered his dearly bought lessons while he successfully handled all the assignments Doc Bagley could line up for him. Then, in February, 1923, he got another shot at Greb and thoroughly out-boxed him in 15 rounds at Madison Square Garden. He had his title back and this time he was on his way up for keeps. Nothing was going to get in his way now,ÇÉ{PÉ7hing did.


New York Times. May 24, 1922

Harry Greb versus Gene Tunney Fight

supplied by the Lydon Cousins


No Question as to Victor

Loser is a Sorry Sight


Greb weighed 162 1/2 and Tunney weighed in at 174 1/2.


Big Crowd Receives Decision Without

Dissenting Voice After 15 Hard Rounds.


Greb, a human windmill if there ever was one,

received the decision of the judges.


Here is a round by round synopsis from the New York Times.


First round:

Greb leaped in with a right to the jaw and at close quarters mussed Tunney up. Greb landed a left hook on the nose which drew blood. In a clinch Greb pounded the stomach with hands. Tunney upper-cutted a right to the face as Greb came in. Tunney caught Greb coming in with a right and a left to the stomach. Greb tore in with rights and lefts to the face. The men were splattered with blood from Tunney's nose and were clinched on the ropes at the bell.


Second Round:

Greb landed two left jabs to the face. Greb jabbed a left to the face and in a clinch Tunney landed a left and a right to the body. Greb tore into Tunney and battered him with both hands to the face and body. Greb missed a right which landed on the neck and Tunney drove a right to the body. Tunney held Greb at close quarters. Greb was short with a right for the jaw but forced to the ropes with rights and lefts.


Third Round:

Tunney ducked Greb's lead and hooked a left to the stomach. Greb jabbed his left to the face and in a mix up on the ropes. Tunney was almost forced out of the ring. Greb tore in with rights and lefts to the face. Tunney ducked a right and hooked a right to the stomach. Tunney was short with a right and a left for the face. Tunney hooked a left to the jaw and forced Greb to the ropes.


Fourth Round:

Greb landed a left to the face and they clinched. Greb was cautioned for hitting on the break. Tunney sent Greb's head back with a left jab and dug a right to the stomach. Tunney ducked Greb's left jab and dug a right to the stomach. Greb landed a left and a right to the face. Tunney drove a right to the body. At close quarters Tunney pounded the stomach. They were in the midst of a hot mix up at the bell.


Fifth Round:

Tunney beat Greb to the punch and landed a right to the heart. Greb missed a left jab and was wild with a right swing for the face. Greb landed a left and a right to the face. Greb slipped to the floor but was up in an instant, no punch being struck. Tunney drove a hard right to the stomach. Tunney crossed a right to the face. Greb landed three lefts to the face in quick succession. Tunney forced Greb to the ropes and pounded the stomach with both hands.


Sixth Round:

Greb led a left to the face. They both almost fell out of the ring in a wild attack near Tunney's corner. Their heads came together and an old cut was opened near Tunney's left eye. Tunney bled freely from the wound. Greb tore in furiously, leading with lefts and rights to the stomach. Tunney drove Greb to the ropes with lefts and rights to the stomach.


Seventh Round:

Greb missed a left and right and landed a light left to the face. The cut over Tunney's eye was reopened. In a clinch Greb was almost wrestled down. The crowd booed Greb for hitting on the break. Tunney rushed Greb to the ropes and landed a left to the stomach. Greb held Tunney's arms in the clinches. Tunney lifted Greb off his feet with a left to the stomach.


Eighth Round:

Greb was wild with a right for the face. Greb grazed the face with a left jab. Greb landed a right to the face and Tunney's eye was bleeding again. Greb leaped in with a left and a right to the face. Tunney hooked a left to the face and forced Greb to the ropes. Greb leaped in his left and right to the face. Greb hooked a left to the stomach and uppercut right to the face.


Ninth Round:

Blood was coming from cuts over both of Tunney's eyes when he answered the bell. Greb hooked a left to the jaw and drove Tunney to the ropes. Greb hooked a left to the face. Tunney hooked a left to the stomach. Greb jabbed his left to the face. Tunney landed a left and right to the body. Greb landed a right to the face.


Tenth Round:

Greb jabbed his left to the face. They wrestled to the ropes in a clinch. Greb jabbed the face with a left. Tunney missed a right to the stomach and they clinched. Tunney dug his left to the stomach. Greb drove a right and a left to the face. In close Tunney peppered the stomach with both hands.


Eleventh Round:

Greb jabbed his left to the face. Greb was short with a left for the stomach. They clinched. Tunney hooked a right to the stomach. Tunney missed a left hook for the jaw and Greb missed a left hook for the jaw. Tunney dug a left to the stomach. They wrestled all over the ring in a clinch. Greb sent Tunney's head back with a left jab.


Twelfth Round:

Tunney missed a left hook to the face. Tunney hooked a left to the stomach. Greb hooked a left to the jaw and twice jabbed the left without return. Greb landed a left and a right to the face. Tunney landed a left to the face. In a spirited rally Greb outpunched Tunney. Tunney worked both hands to the stomach at close quarters.


Thirteenth Round:

Greb missed with a right to the face and they clinched. Tunney hooked a left to the stomach. As the men came together Tunney crossed with a left to the face and Greb with a left to the stomach. Tunney landed a left and a right to the face. Greb tore into Tunney leading with both hands to the face and stomach. A straw hat came sailing into the ring. Tunney hooked a left to the stomach. Greb drove a right to the face.


Fourteenth Round:

Greb landed a right to the face and they clinched. Greb drove a right and a left to the face. Greb rushed in with rights and lefts to the face and had Tunney missing. Greb slipped as he led with a left but no blow was struck. Greb ripped a right to the body. Greb was short with a left hook to the jaw. Greb landed a right to the stomach but took a left to the stomach in return.


Fifteenth Round:

They shook hands. Greb landed a left and a right to the face. Tunney landed a short right to the face. Tunney missed a right and a left for the face. Greb landed a left and a right to the face. Greb crossed a right to the head. Tunney hooked a right to the stomach. They exchanged blows at long range and both landing lefts and rights to the face. Greb drove Tunney to the ropes under a shower of lefts and rights. Greb landed a jab to the face at the bell.


- The End -

Nashville Tennessean. May 24, 1922

Nashville, Tennessee

Harry Greb Given Judges' Decision Over Tunney in Light Heavy Mill

supplied by the Lydon Cousins



Harry Greb Given Judges' Decision Over Tunney in Light Heavy Mill


New York, May 23 -- Harry Greb of Pittsburgh, who fought successfully in middle-weight, light-weight and heavy-weight ranks, tonight won the light heavy championship of America, defeating Gene Tunney of New York in a 15 round match in Madison Square Garden.  Greb received the judges' decision.

Greb, on the offensive throughout the greater part of the contest, fought in his customary windmill fashion, and prevented Tunney from using his most effective body attacks.  In the early rounds the Pittsburgher opened cuts over both of Tunney's eyes and on his nose.

Tunney's punches that did land, were hard and shook Greb, but failed to stop him in his wildcat rushes.  Greb bounced and danced around Tunney continually, catching him with long left and right swings to the head in the first part of the contest, but Greb's most effective work was done at close quarters.

Tunney, who won the light heavyweight championship of the A. E. F., took the american title from Battling Levinsky.


[missing information]


Round 2 ...body punches were worrying the Pittsburgher.  Tunney now took the aggressive, and landed a series of hard lefts to the stomach.


Round 3 -- Most of the mixing was at close quarters, and Tunney's punches seemed the harder.  Tunney was now having the better of the exchanges.  Greb was not so fast as when he started and Tunney's fighting was steady and effective.


Round 4 -- Tunney shook the Pittsburgher with two lefts hooked to the jaw.  Tunney hurt Greb with a hard left to the stomach.  They were fighting furiously at the bell and the referee had to separate them.


Round 5 -- They exchanged hard punches to the head and body.  Greb was holding a great deal and was cautioned by the referee.  He found Tunney a more than willing mixer.  Tunney sent Greb to the ropes with hard rights and lefts to the head and body.


Round 6 -- Tunney bleeding now from a cut over his left eye, kept up his aggressive tactics.  Tunney shook Harry with a left to the jaw. Greb continued swinging his arms and clinching, but landed few effective punches.


Round 7 -- The referee warned Greb against hitting in the breaks.  The fighting in this round was very slow. Greb swung his arms continuously, but did not land, was sent to the ropes by a left to the stomach as the round closed.


Round 8 -- Greb started a mix up in a neutral corner and Tunney responded with a salvo of body punches.


Round 9 -- Both of Tunney's eyes were bleeding now.  The blood bothered him considerably.  Greb kept on top of Tunney and sent light blows to the head.  Tunney returned with left to the stomach.  They were slugging in the center of the ring at the bell.


Round 10 -- They took turns in pushing each other to the ropes.  Greb always kept close to Tunney and seemed content to cuff Tunney sharply with rights and lefts to the eyes.


Round eleven: Greb kept Tunney's arm tied up, and he was unable to play for the body, while Greb jumped and danced and sent sharp left hooks to the jaw.  The round was slow.


Round twelve:Tunney sent a hard left to the stomach, and Greb returned three right swings to the jaw.  Tunney shook the Pittsburgher with a left to the stomach.


[missing information]

supplied by the Lydon Cousins


FIGHT #2 - February 23, 1923

Referee - Patsy Haley

Tunney strains to read Greb's weight on scale as Commisioner William Muldoon balances the bar. This weighing-in was for their second bout, on Feb. 23, 1923, in which Tunney regained his American light heavyweight title by capturing a 15-round decision.




Greb vs. Tunney----February 23, 1923

Picture was taken at Stillman's gym before the fight. Some say it was taken before the first fight, not the second. It's the same picture as below.

Photo supplied by Harry Shaffer-Antiquities of the Prize Ring




Photo supplied by the Lydon Cousins




February 23, 1923

Photo supplied by Harry Shaffer--Antiquities of the Prize Ring




February 23, 1923

Photo supplied by Harry Shaffer--Antiquities of the Prize Ring



The following is a round by round desciption of the second fight between Greb and Tunney fought on February 23, 1923. This desciption is taken from the February 24, 1923 issue of the Washington Post, page 14.


ROUND ONE- Greb tore right after Gene in a most excitable manner, and a series of clinches followed. Greb was very sore. Tunney uppercut Harry to the chin with a hard right and then lifted a short left to the stomach. The referee had a hard time parting the men in the clinches. Tunney rapped Greb with a right to the head. Greb missed with a left swing to the chin. Tunney kept trying with a right for the jaw, and had Greb somewhat bewildred.

ROUND TWO- Greb rapped Gene behind the cap with a hard right punch, and in the clinch that followed Greb slipped to the floor. He was up instantly, and a fierce scrimmage followed. Gene slipped over two lefts to the head. Greb sent right to the head, but it was high. Tunney uppercut with hard right to the chin, forcing Greb to the ropes. It was a wild sort of a fight. There was no display of science, each man trying for a knockout. Tunney played a tattoo with lefts and rights to the stomach. Tunney kept sinking rights into Greb's stomach, and Harry backed away. Gene plastered the Pittsburgher at will, while Harry was very wild with all his leads.

ROUND THREE ­ Greb rushed Gene to the ropes without any damage. Gene missed hard right for the head, and the clinched, each sending some good body punches in. In another clinch Greb placed some sharp punches to the chin through Tunny's guard, and the crowd hissed him, but it was fair. Greb sent a right to the ear, but missed another in the same spot.  Tunney placed a hard right ot Greb's stomach, and had him in bad shape. Greb was missing continually with right and left swings. Harry hooked a left to Gene's ear, but Gene was back with a hard right to th emouth. The ?? was improving in speed at the end of the frame.

ROUND FOUR ­ Greb slipped to the floor right at the start of the round. Tunney rushed him to the ropes with a volley of punches in the head and body. Greb was still missing with his right for the head while Tunney kept ripping right and left pokes to the body. Gene plastered Greb with a series of rights and left uppercuts to the face and body. Tunney appears much stronger during the scrimmages. Geen rushed Harry into a corner where he drove in some hard lefts and rights. Greb appeared to be fighting a losing battle at this early stage.

ROUND FIVE ­ They cinch. Tunney rushed Greb with a straight right to the chin and the latter danced around like a wild man. Gene rocked Greb with aright to the ear and then hooked left to stomach. Greb got in some good body blows in a clinch. Tunney was apparently much stronger than Greb and had the better of all the infighting. Greb was fighting a very clumsy fight, missing all his leads. Tunney raised ? with a haymaking right. Greb rapped Tunney with an overhand right to the ear and then sank two rights to ??  right at the belt.

ROUND SIX ­ Gene sent a hard right back of Greb's ear and Greb rushed him to the ropes landing two lefts to the wind. Harry sent a straight left to Gene's mouth but his punches lacked steam. Greb landed a hard right to the ribs. Tuney's body punching was weakening Greb. Harry landed a light left to the mouth and then hooked a hard left on Gene's midsection. 

ROUND SEVEN ­ Greb landed a right and a left on Tunney's face and repeated a second later with another right to face. Greb ripped a left to the stomach and followed with a hard right to Gene's left eye. It was the first time Greb took the lead and he showedto advantage. They stood in the middle fo the ring sizing eachother up and Harry missed with a terrific right just grazing Gene's chin. In the clinch that followed Harry had the better of the exchange. The referee was working like a Trojan separating them ni the many clinches. Tuney's right eye appeared to be slightly cut in an exchange in the center of the ring. Just at the bell Greb grazed Tunney's ear. 

ROUND EIGHT ­ Tunney sent two lefts to Greb's face. They clinched. Greb rapped a left hook to Gene's chin and forced him to the ropes. In a clinch Greb landed a left to the chin. Harry sent a short-right hand punch to Gene's ear and then hooked a left to the chin. Greb was now forcing the fighting. And Greb shot another left to the face. Greb sent Tunney back on his heels with a straight right punch to the chin. Greb forced Tunney to the ropes but Gene socked him plenty with terrible punches to the body. Greb sent a terrible left hook to Gene's wind just at the end of the round.

ROUND NINE ­ Greb drove a fierce right hand punch to Tunney's chin to start the ninth. The punch rocked the Irishman from head to heels. Then followed a series of hot scrimmages, clinches and more scrimmages. It was like a fight between two longshoremen. Science was abandoned by both fighters. Harry ripped left hook to the body and Tunney tore in striking Greb with hard lefts and rights to face and wind. Gene forced Harry into a neutral corner where he punched him with every punch on the calendar and Greb laughed.  Greb missed a terrible swing for the chin. Tunney staggered Greb with a hard right uppercut landing on Greb's nose.

ROUND TEN ­ They clinch. Gene ripped a short left hook to Greb's wind and followed it with a right under the heart. Then Gene landed a short right-hand chop on Harry's head, and a moment later a left to the stomach.  Greb was wild, and it looked as though several of his punches were low. The referee cautioned him several times. In a clinch Greb landed two rights to Gene's ear and made Gene miss a try with a right. Both men mixed it furiously. Greb was laying for the head, while Tunney contented himself with hard socks for the body.

ROUND ELEVEN ­ They clinch. Greb appeared to have his second wind, and pitched into Gene, swinging both hands for the head. He hooked a short left to the body. Greb sank two more lefts to the face, and acted like a young lion in the clinches. Greb chased Tunney around the ring, whaling away with both hands. He never stopped swinging his right for the jaw, while the Irishman seemed to have lost a lot of his steam. Greb was always the aggressor, but was getting many a sock in the stomach while plunging forward. Greb sent a hard right-hand punch to Tunney's head near the close of the round.

ROUND TWELVE ­ Greb immediately tried with a right for the head, which was short, while Gene hooked a light left to the ribs. Referee Haley cautioned Greb for an alleged attempt at butting in the clinches and for a while it looked as if the referee was going to disqualify him. Greb argued his case out and was permitted to continue. The rest of the round was a tigerish affair. Both men were fighting like a pair of novices, just swinging from eery position withouth any regard for where the punch would land. Greb landed a hard right to the chin. Again Haley had to caution Greb for his rough work in the clinches. Tunney sank a right and left to Greb's body at the end of the round. Referee Haley walked over to Greb's corner at end of round and cautioned him again.

ROUND THIRTEEN ­ The usual scrimmage started the round, followed by the usual clinch. Greb landed hard right on Tunney's chin and once more they clinched. Tunney hooked a left to the stomach and brought his right over to Harry's mouth. Greb was fighting desparately with the odds against him. He sank a hard right to the chin, rocking the Irishman. Greb sent a left to head. Tunney ripped a hard left to Greb's ribs, but Harry was back with a left to stomach and right to the jaw. 

ROUND FOURTEEN ­ Tunney sent the champion to the ropes with a right that landed flush on the jaw. He followed this shot with an aggressive attack that apparently weakened the champion. Greb was on the defensive for the first time in the bout but succeeded in blocking the most of Tunney's punches.

ROUND FIFTEEN ­ Greb came back strong as the final round opened and rocked Tunney with a succession of right uppercuts as they mixed at a speedy pace. Tunney punished the champion about the body but was jolted by several smashes to the head in return.





FIGHT #3 - December 10, 1923

Referee - Lou Magnolia

Lou Magnolia also refereed

Tommy loughran-Mike McTigue-10/7/27

Tommy Loughran-Jimmy Slattery-12/12/27

Maxie Rosenbloom-Abie Bain-10/22/30

If you have action photos of those fights showing the referee please tell me so we can further confirm the identity of Lou Magnolia.

December 10, 1923

Photo supplied by Harry Shaffer--Antiquities of the Prize Ring


FIGHT #4 - September 17, 1924

Referee - Matt Hinkle

Hinkle also refereed

Jack Britton-Ted Kid Lewis -3/17/19

Harry Greb-Martin Burke-6/12/24

If you have action photos of those fights showing the referee please tell me so we can further confirm the identity of Matt Hinkle.





photo supplied by the Lydon Cousins




Greb's back is to the camera.

photo supplied by Graham Pratt




FIGHT #5 - March 27, 1925

Referee - George Barton

Greb and Tunney prior to their 1925 bout in St. Paul, Minnesota. Referee George Barton is in the middle.





"But like all meteors that flash across the sky, Greb had to pass from the scene. Strangely enough, the incredible boxing career of this terror of the ring, ended with a dramatic suddeness because of a kind deed and thoughtful moment for the safety of his fellow men. For one rainy and dreary day, Harry Greb was driving over the Alleghenies. His car crossed the hill and descended to find two farmers parked across the road blocking the road with their farm wagons, as they were busy arguing about the right of way. To save the strangers from injury and possible death, Greb jammed on the brakes. His car overturned twice. He wound up in the hospital with a fractured nose. Later he had to have an operation on the bone near the base of the skull. As they wheeled him into the operating room, Harry Greb was talking of future boxing plans. That was how Harry Greb went into the operating room - talking, planning, boasting, still restless for more fights. But he never came out of the anaesthetic. He lapsed into a coma, and soon, the heart of a truly great fighting man was stilled forever. And the calendar on the wall said that the date was October 22nd, 1926."

taken from BOXING ILLUSTRATED January 1973.

Written by Bill Stern



Magazine article taken from.....


MARCH , 1977

The Only Fight Gene Tunney Ever Lost



Mention the name Gene Tunney and chances are most fans will think of a pompadored blond frantically back-pedaling and swerving from the rushes of the blue-jowled Jack dempsey after the long count in Chicago.

"Tunney?" they'll sneer. "He was no fighter. He was just a Fancey Dan who got to the top on a bicycle..."

Nothing could be further from the truth. There was, for example, that warm night of May 23, 1922, when his blood stained the canvas of the old Madison Square garden. The night he first met Harry Greb....

Greb and Tunney had only one thing in common: they were both professional prize fighters--very courageous prize fighters. Aside from that, they were direct opposites.

Harry Greb was a devil-may-care type who lived from day to day, never thinking about tommorrow. To him, the world was a big night club overflowing with champagne and gorgeous gals.

He was the sort of guy who would fight anybody anywhere--in the ring, on a dance floor, or in an alley. Who the foe was, or how much he weighed, meant nothing to greb. And though he himself rarely exceeded 160 pounds, he regularly feasted on light heaveyweights and heaveyweights.

At the time of his death in 1926, Harry's record looked like a roster of boxing's Hall of fame: Mike and Tommy Gibbons, Mickey walker, Tiger Flowers, Mike McTigue, Jack Dillon, Battling Levinsky, Billy Miske, Johnny Wilson, Bill Brennan, Gunboat Smith--and Gene Tunney. In all, the Pittsburgher racked up a staggering 111-9-3 win-lose-draw record and engaged in 169 No-Decision contests. The fact that he was half blind during most of this time makes Greb's feats even more amazing.

There was something else about Harry Greb: the fans loved him because the way he fought and the way he looked and the way he lived was everybody's idea of what a great fighter should be.

Gene Tunney ,on the other hand, was too reserved to be idolized. And yet Tunney became one of the most proficient boxers who ever lived. He won the heaveyweight championship of the world and, when he hung up his gloves in 1928, he was a millionaire. In the process of achieving his goal, Gene fought 60 times. Every fight was thoroughly planned and fought.

Every fight, that is, except one.....

Staring balefully across the ring at Tunney, Harry Greb looked like a street-corner Don Juan. His black hair was plastered down, his grey face was lightly powdered, and he wore green satin trunks under a vanilla-colored dressing gown. Only his nose, dented and shapeless, struck a jarring note.

In the other corner, Tunney, looking every inch the wholesome true-blue hero type--tall and slender, square-jawed and handsome beneath a blond crew cut--calmly returned Greb's icy stare. His calculating eyes noted Harry's compact body, and he remembered the vicious licking Greb had given Tommy Gibbons just two months and ten days earlier--the victory that had earned Greb the right to stand in that other corner tonight. But Tunney casually shrugged. There was nothing to worry about. When this was over, he'd still be the light heaveyweight champion of the america. And one step nearer to his ultimate goal--the world title.

Nor, to most of the 13,000 fans who filled the old garden, did there seem to be any reason for the 7-5 odds that favored Greb. Gene had all the physical advantages. He was four years younger in age and a thousand years fresher in wear-and-tear than his 28-year-old opponent. He also stood five inches taller and outweighed Harry by 12 1/4 pounds--174 1/2 to 162 1/4.

"Musta been a lotta Pittsburgh money that tilted the odds," one ringsider muttered to his neighbor. "I hear they brung Greb's backers down here by the train-load.

And there was this, too; Tunney had never lost a fight, either as an A.E.F. Marine or as a professional.

The bell rang. Tunney pranced out, right hand crossed over his chest, left in classical jabbing position. Greb tore in at him, gloves whirling like blurring red blades. Gene started a jab and... BAM! The first punch of the fight--a Greb left--exploded on Gene's nose, shaterring the cartilege in two places.

Gene gasped through the blood that bubbled down his lips and his eyes tried desperately to focus through a star-speckled haze. His knees buckled and he almost went down. Almost, but not quite. Somehow he kept his feet, tried to block the leather ingots that were burning his belly and searing his tortured face.

Greb stepped up the pace, burying Tunney under an avalanche of flying fists. Near the end of the round, slashing and racking Tunney with ripping combinations. But, drawing from a secret well known only to champions, Gene fought back, wading face first into that maelstrom of leather. He drove a hard left into greb's head, then rocked him with a withering salvo.

But in a flash, Harry was back in command, and Gene was spilling more blood from his shattered nose and eyes. He couldn't reach Harry's bobbing head, so he tried for the body. Nothing worked; nothing stopped those swirling fists.

And so it went. Except for brief moments in the fourth, seventh and tenth, when Tunney miraculously bounced back to out punch Greb, the pattern never varied. In the third, Greb sliced open another cut over Gene's right eye, and by the 8th, both fighters and referee Kid McPartland were bathed in Gene's blood.

Recalling the carnage in later years, Tunney said: "I had never bled so much before, nor have I since. For most of the fight, I saw Greb as a red-filmed phantom bouncing before me. My seconds were unable to stop the bleeding over my eyes, one of which--the left--involved a severed artery, or that consequent to the nose fractures. In a futile attempt to congeal the nose hemorrhage, my cheif second, Doc Bagley, poured adrenalin into the palm of his hand and made me sniff heavily. He did this round after round, but all it did was make me sick to my stomach.

"When the 12th round ended, I believed it was a good time to take swallow of orange juice and brandy. I had no sooner done so when the ring started swirling around. I had never taken anything during the fight up to that time. Nor did I ever again. When the thirteenth round started, I saw two bobbing red opponents rushing in at me. I don't know to this day how I ever survived that round, or the last two. The only consciousness I had was to stay on my feet and keep trying. I knew if I ever relaxed, I would either fall on my face or the referee would stop the fight."

Gene kept trying, and he stayed on his feet. At the final bell, both his eyes were swollen shut and his nose looked like a gigantic, over-ripe plum. He was weak and wobbly and totally spent. But he was still standing, and that took great courage.

The decision was a mere formality: "Winnah an' new light heaveyweight champeen of America--Harry Greb!"

The curlicued panels of the old Garden reverberated with cheers for the new champion. But as the battered, semi-conscious Tunney was half carried to his dressing room, the crowd nearly lifted the roof with its spontaneous tribute to a brave man.

Said the late famed sports writer, Bill Corum, "Strange, isn't it, that Gene Tunney's greatest night of glory came as a result of his only defeat. It was the only night the people ever took Tunney to their hearts as one of their own."




section taken from the book.....



written by Gene Tunney

supplied by the Lydon Cousins



(page 69)

I was given the decision and the title of light-heavy-weight

champion of America. I wanted all and sundry to know that the new

"champion" was ready to defend his important honours against any and all

contenders. Though not confident that I could beat either Harry Greb or

Tom Gibbons, I agreed to meet the winner of the match that had been

arranged between them. I felt, in all sincerity, that no man had the

right to call himself champion of his class unless he was the best man

in that class.

The night of the Greb-Gibbons fight in old Madison Square Garden I

was introduced by good old Joe Humphreys as ready to mee the winner. As

things later developed, it was fortunate for me that Greb won. Though

there is no telling now what would have happened if I had been asked to

meet Gibbons at that time rather than Greb, I believed then that I was

not seasoned or experienced enough for Gibbons. He probably would have

won from me by a knockout.

While training for the Greb match, which took place just four

months after the Levinsky match, I had the worst possible kind of luck.

My left eyebrow was opened, and both hands were sorely injured. I had a

partial reappearance of the old left-elbow trouble which prevented my

using a left jab. Dr. Robert J. Shea, a close friend, who took care of

me during my training, thought that a hypodermic injection of adrenalin

chloride over the left eye would prevent bleeding when the cut was

re-opened by Greb. At my request he injected a hypodermic solution of

novacaine into the knuckles of both hands as well. We locked the

dressing-room door during this performance.

George Engle, Greb's manager, wanting to watch the bandages being

put on, came over to my dressing-room and found the door bolted. He

shouted and banged. We could not allow him in until the doctor had

finished his work. Getting in finally, he insisted that I remove all

the bandages so that he could see whether I had any unlawful substance

under them. I refused. He made an awful squawk, ranting in and out of

the room. I became angry. Eventually I realized that Engle was only

trying to protect his fighter and, if I let it get my goat, that was my

hard luck. Moreover, his not being allowed into the dressing-room made

the situation look suspicious. I unwound the bandages from my hands and

satisfied George that all was well.

In the first exchange of the fight, I sustained a double fracture

of the nose which bled continually until the finish. Toward the end of

the first round, my left eyebrow was laid open four inches. I am

convinced that the adrenalin solution that had been injected so softened

the tissue that the first blow or butt I received cut the flesh right to

the bone.

In the third round another cut over the right eye left me looking

through a red film. For the better part of twelve rounds, I saw this

red phantom-like form dancing before me. I had provided myself with a

fifty-per-cent mixture of brandy and orange juice to take between rounds

in the event I became weak from loss of blood. I had never taken

anything during a fight up to that time. Nor did I ever again.

It is impossible to describe the bloodiness of this fight. My

seconds were unable to stop either the bleeding from the cut over my

left eye, which involved a severed artery, or the bleeding consequent to

the nose fractures. Doc Bagley, who was my chief second, made futile

attempts to congeal the nose-bleeding by pouring adrenalin into his hand

and having me snuff it up my nose. This I did round after round. The

adrenalin, instead of coming out through the nose again, ran down my

throat with the blood and into my stomach.

At the end of the twelfth round, I believed it was a good time to

take a swallow of the brandy and orange juice. It had hardly got to my

stomach when the ring started whirling around. The bell rang for the

thirteenth round; the seconds pushed me from my chair. I actually saw

two red opponents. How I ever survived the thirteenth, fourteenth and

fifteenth rounds is still a mystery to me. At any rate, the only

consciousness I had was to keep trying. I knew if I ever relaxed, I

should either collapse or the referee would stop the brutality.

After the gong sounded, ending the fifteenth round, I shook hands

with Greb and mumbled through my smashed and swollen lips, "Well, Harry,

you were the better man, to-night!" and I meant that literally.

Harry missed the subtlety of the remark, for he said, "Won the

championship," and was dragged from me by one of his seconds, who placed

a kiss on his unmarked countenance.

I discovered through the early part of that fight that I could lick

Harry Greb. As each round went by, battered and pummelled from post to

post as I was, this discovery gradually became a positive certainty in

my mind. I was conscious of the handicaps under which I had entered the

ring. They were not the things that led me to this conviction,

however. Many boxers upon entering important matches suffer from sore

hands, cut eyes, or something of that sort. There is nothing unusual

about that. But I realized that a broken nose and a four-inch cut

through arteries over the eye in the first round of a fifteen-round

match are at least uncommon and of sufficient seriousness to change

completely the current of events.

I left the ring and walked up the aisle toward my dressing-room.

This was negotiated only through nervous excitement. I climbed the

flight of stairs, each step getting higher and more difficult, and, as I

got near the top, the reaction set in. I collapsed; the top step was

impossible. I could not make it. The boys carried me into my

dressing-room and set me up on the rubbing-table. Immediately the hands

of support left me, I fell back with a thud, the back of my head

striking the table. I lay perfectly conscious of everything that was

taking place, but unable to move a muscle. Nature surrendered.

Everything but the right thing was done to stimulate me. All I

needed was a stomach pump to remove the mixture of blood, adrenalin

chloride, brandy, and orange juice. It was two hours before I had

sufficiently revived to be led out of the old Garden.

The day following the Greb match, I went down to the office of the

Boxing Commission to receive my cheque for 22,500 dollars, and placed on

a file a challenge to Greb for a return fight, backed with a cheque for

2,500 dollars.

My next consideration was to get my body and face restored to

normal after the pummelling and battering that I had received from Greb

during those fifteen bloody rounds. I did not recover as quickly as I

expected. The strain of the fight and the loss of blood left me weak

and exhausted. I was compelled to remain in bed for a week when I

returned to Red Bank. A blood tonic prescribed by Dr. Shea soon fixed

me up. In a few weeks' time I was again hale and hearty and ready for

renewed action.


Chapter VI


I boxed Chuck Wiggins again at the Commonwealth Sporting Club in

Harlem in a twelve-round warm-up match for the second Greb fight. Chuck

sustained a few broken ribs on this occasion, but finished the twelfth

round fighting furiously. It was nine months since I had filed my

challenge for a return match with Greb. The Commission allowed but six

months to answer a legitimate challenge before declaring the title

vacant. Greb postponed the return match as long as he could.

I did not learn the circumstances surrounding the signing of the

contracts for the second Greb match until after the fight. George

Engle, who had been Greb's manager and who signed for the match,

disclosed to me the way in which it was done. George had learned from a

friend in Pittsburg, an intimate of Greb's, that Harry was going to

sever all relations with him. Greb and Engle were working on a verbal

contract. Learning of Greb's plan Engle telephoned Doc Bagley, who was

still my manager, to meet him at Madison Square Garden, where he had a

date with the Garden matchmaker. It was Sunday afternoon. The

contracts for the return Greb-Tunney fight were drawn and dated several

days ahead. They were put on file with the Boxing Commission the next

day. Harry had to give the manager's share of the purse to Engle,

though the match took place several months after they had parted.

Likewise, Bagley cut in on my purse, though Billy Gibson was actually my

manager when the fight took place. This was settled between Gibson and


Harry Greb feared no man. Sometimes business acumen dictated that

a certain match, from a professional point of view, might not result

advantageously. This was never an acknowledgment, however, that Harry

feared the physical results. So it is with many boxers, I met Harry

five times in all; three times in fifteen-round matches in old Madison

Square Garden, and two in ten -- one in Cleveland and the last in St.

Paul. I never knew Harry to funk it. Stalling was something he never

had learned about. The harder he was hit, though the blow smashed his

ribs, the more furious was his attack.

He could take an extraordinary amount of punishment and be fighting

hard at the last bell. The bigger they were, the less respect Harry had

for them. I have seen him virtually climb the bodies of opponents a

foot taller and bring them down to his size. He was tireless in battle,

though his method of training was peculiar. He worked enthusiastically

in the gymnasium and on the road and pursued his pleasures with equal

gusto. On his way to a boxing club to engage in a fight he never failed

to take along with his fighting costume a mirror, comb, brush, and a

powder puff. He always entered the ring with his hair brushed down with

slickum and his face powdered.

This was a curious pride in looks for a fighter to possess. Of all

the professions open to him, why should one of such peculiar quirk have

followed professional boxing, one might ask. The answer is Harry Greb.

Unfortunately, it was this vanity that, a year after retiring with

sufficient money to live in comfort for years, caused his death. He

died on the operating table of a plastic surgeon while having his nose


To advance a step in my plan, I realized that I had to win the

return match with Greb. I knew that unless I could defeat Harry, no

serious consideration would be given me as a championship aspirant

period. Though this may seem to have been misguided determination -- a

futile waste of spiritual dedication that might have been put to better

advantage -- I entered the ring with Greb determined either to win or to

die in the attempt. I reasoned with myself that it would be much better

to die than to lose.

While training for this match I contracted influenza. It increased

as my training progressed. I could not call off the contest or ask for

a postponement. The Garden dates were filled. There could be no chance

of getting another match with Greb until the following autumn, so I had

no choice but to go through with it.

After doing well for the first six rounds, I suddenly became

physically exhausted. Greb relentlessly battered me about the ring from

the sixth to the eleventh round. They told me in my corner I was

losing, that if I wanted to win I would have to capture the remaining

rounds or knock him out.

In sheer desperation I came out at the start of the twelfth and

luckily hit Greb with a long right on the cheekbone that had everything

I had in it. It knocked him to the ropes. He slowed up considerably.

Fight, fight; hit, hit. I kept on repeating to myself -- and did. I

was given the decision at the end of fifteen rounds. It is only fair to

Harry to say that there was a great deal of disagreement as to the

accuracy of the decision. The judges, newspaper men, and spectators

were divided.

This re-won for me the light-heavy-weight championship of America.

Realizing there was some justice in Greb's claim of a bad decision, I

offered him a return engagement. We got together again in December of

that year -- 1923.

I vacated the American light-heavy-weight championship and declared

myself a heavy-weight. I never willingly made the light-heavy-weight

limit again but once -- that third engagement with Harry Greb in Madison

Square Garden.

In this Greb contest I decisively defeated him and was hailed by

many as "A New Tunney." Again Greb put up a marvellous exhibition of

courage and tirelessness, but I was coming and he was beginning to slip.

After the Carpentier match I boxed several matches in the South and

four or five in the West, the last of which was against my old sparring

partner, the indomitable Harry Greb. My showing against Greb that night

in St. Paul so convinced him that I had grown out of his class that he

came into my dressing-room after the fight and said, "Gene, you and I

have fought five times. I am through! I will never fight you again.

Let the other guys have a dose of you, from now on!"

The frankness of this statement touched me. It was an

acknowledgment of started decline, the dread of all boxers. My heart

went out to Harry. He was slipping, and what is more pathetic, he knew

it. The Greb of 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 would never have admitted the

superiority of any one. He was getting old. There is something

heart-rending about noticeable disintegration in a gallant warrior. As

Greb left the auditorium that night, Tommy Gibbons, who attended the

contest, was in the lobby. Harry had fought Tommy three or four times.

He knew Gibbons and, walking over to him, said "Watch that guy down

there; he's going to lick you," then continued on his way.

From then on Harry Greb became my greatest booster. He won bets on

me when I boxed both Gibbons and Dempsey. Advising newspaper men why he

was going to bet on me against Dempsey, he would say, "I have boxed

Dempsey and Tunney. You never know how good Tunney is until you do box