Tale Of The Tape
Place: St. Paul, Minn.
Height: 5' 9.5"
Weight: 172 lbs.
Manager: Eddie Kane
Like his older brother Mike, Tommy Gibbons is best remembered
for a fight in which he kept a champion at bay. Widely acknowledged as a
stellar fighter in several weight classes, Gibbons held his own with heaveyweight
king Jack Dempsey and was knocked out only once in his career.
Gibbons learned to box at the YMCA in his hometown of
St. Paul. He turned professional at the age of twenty and recorded knockouts
in his first three fights. At the start of his career, gibbons fought as
a welterweight. As he added weight, he moved up in class until he eventually
contended for the heavyweight title. Gibbons battled Hall of Famer Harry
Greb four times from 1915 to 1922, losing the only one of the four bouts
in which a decision was rendered. He also fought multiple bouts with George
("K.O.") Brown, Joe Herrick, George Chip, Gus Christie, Silent
Martin, Billy Miske, Clay Turner, Burt Kenny, and Chuck Wiggins. Only Miske
beat Gibbons, and he won on a foul.
Initially, Gibbons was famed for his speed and boxing
ability. However, as he gained weight, he developed a more powerful punch.
In 1921, Gibbons won 21 fights by knockouts, with ten of them coming in
the first round. Although not all of the victories were against top competition,
Gibbons succeeded in making enough of a name for himself to earn a shot
at Dempsey's heavyweight title.
The title fight took place in Shelby, Montana. The city
fathers wanted to put the town on the map by hosting a heavyweight championship
bout. Jack Kearns, Dempsey's manager, agreed to have his fighter perform
there if Dempsey were paid $310,000. Kearns also insisted on using his own
referee, James Dougherty. Gibbons, hungry for the championship, agreed to
be paid beyond expenses only if there were money left over after Dempsey's
cut. Dempsey got paid, but because the fight drew only about 7,000 spectators,
Gibbons received nothing. In fact, the fight was a financial disaster for
Shelby and three banks failed as a result of backing the fiasco.
It took Dempsey's nemesis, Gene Tunney, to finally stop
Gibbons. In a fight in 1925, Tunney dropped Gibbons in the twelfth round.
It was the first and only time he was knocked out. Gibbons then retired,
never having won a championship. In retirement, he sold insurance and served
four terms as sheriff of St. Paul.
CLICK HERE FOR PICS
ON GREB VS. TOMMY GIBBONS
The picture below can be purchased at www.heavyweightcollectibles.com
Here is a round by round description of the 1922 Gibbons-Greb
March 14, 1922
Bout Is Stirring From End To End
Newspaper Article Info
Newspaper Name: The New York Times
Date Printed: March 14, 1922
Greb and Gibbons entered the ring at Madison Square
Garden for their fifteen round battle at 9:50 o'clock last night, and were
greeted with a salvo of applause. The weights were announced as 163 1/2
pounds for Greb and 171 for Gibbons.
After the usual announcements from the ring, during
which Gene Tunney was introduced, the pair posed in the corner while a battery
of camera men got them in fighting posture. Then they were called to the
center for instructions, after which the fight began.
The men rushed out of their corners at the gong and
into a clinch, in the course of which Greb popped away several lefts that
landed lightly on Gibbon's chin. Gibbons feinted with his left and ducked
under a stiff right. In a clinch in the centre of the ring Greb drove several
lefts into Gibbons stomach. Greb landed twice on Gibbons face. Both missed
vicous uppercuts. Greb caught Gibbons with several hard punches toward the
end of the round, and both were fighting furiously at the gong.
The men rushed into close quarters and Gibbons got in
several stiff rights to the body. Greb landed a left on Gibbons body, and
the latter swung a right to Greb's jaw. The Pittsburgh fighter drove in
several lefts to the body and they clinched. Both missed heavy uppercuts.
Gibbons drove home the first hard blow of the fight, catching Greb in the
stomach, and causing the latter to slow up considerably. Gibbons tried hard
to get home a finishing punch, but failed, and they were mixing matters
in the centre of the ring at the bell.
They rushed into a clinch. Gibbons planted two lefts
to the jaw. Greb stepped out of the way of two hard left uppercuts. Gibbons
landed a left smash to the jaw. Greb stepped away and they clinched. Gibbons
continued his attack on Greb's body. Greb landed a hard left to the body.
Greb drove home another to the same place. In close quarters they exchanged
several heavy blows to the body.
They rushed into a clinch and Gibbons landed a left
lightly to the jaw. Greb danced away from Gibbons and missed a vicous uppercut.
Gibbons swung completely around when he missed Greb's head. Greb landed
lefts to head and body, but Gibbons blocked and they exchanged a pair of
rights to the face. Greb again landed on Gibbon's stomach. Gibbons got out
of the way of a heavy uppercut. Gibbons landed on Greb's jaw and they went
into a clinch at the gong.
Both men sparred cautiously and then went to work at
close range. Greb danced in and landed a left on Gibbon's jaw. The latter
jabbed in a left which just grazed Greb's chin. Gibbons missed a left uppercut
and Greb went astray with a hard right and left. Gibbons jabbed Greb in
the face. Greb stepped into a hard left. Gibbons drove three solid lefts
into Greb's stomach. The latter retaliated with a left to his rival's body
as the bell ended the round.
Greb drove a right to the head. Gibbons feinted and
then drove a right to Greb's stomach. They clinched and Greb landed a hard
right to the kidneys. Gibbons crossed a right to the jaw. He made Greb miss
several punches and then landed a light left to the body. They rushed into
close quarters and Gibbons placed a heavy right in Greb's mid-section. Greb
continued his dancing tactics, with Gibbons following him around the ring.
They exchanged a pair of rights as the bell sounded.
They went into a clinch. Greb landed a hard right to
the head and Gibbons slashed a left sharply to the body. Greb tried for
a short uppercut but Gibbons danced away. Greb lunged in with another uppercut.
Gibbons drove Greb back with a hard right to the jaw. At close quarters
Greb landed several blows to the head and body and Gibbons drove home a
solid right. Greb landed a cracking right to the jaw. In a curious mix-up
in Greb's corner they exchanged several solid wollaps. They were still at
it when the round ended.
Greb thrust a left jab to the jaw. They clinched and
Gibbons landed a left and right to the body. He missed a left swing, but
got inside of Greb's guard with his right. They clinched and Greb brought
over his right to the back of Gibbon's head and then landed a sucession
of lefts and rights to the jaw. Greb jabbed Gibbons several times to the
jaw and there were some heavy punches exchanged at close range in the centre
of the ring. Greb got over a heavy right which landed flush on Gibbon's
jaw and he followed with a furious assault on Gibbons stomach and head.
The St. Paul fighter was plainly tiring, while Greb seemed to get faster
as the battle progressed.
Greb landed several blows to start the round and caught
Gibbons twice on the side of the head. The Smokey City man drove in a left
to the body and then Gibbons rocked Greb's head with two hard rights. Greb
missed an uppercut and they exchanged right swings. They clinched, and,
coming out, Gibbons landed on Greb's head. Greb landed several blows to
the body and head without a return. Gibbons got over a hard left swing and
he followed with left and right to head as the bell ended the session.
Gibbons opened the round with a left to the body. He
ripped home another hard one to the same place and they rushed into a clinch.
Greb landed a light left on Gibbons head and they clinched. Gibbons landed
a hard left to Greb's jaw and followed it with another to the body. Greb
brought over a hard right on Gibbons chin and they clinched. Gibbons rocked
Greb's head with a short right clip. Greb missed a left. Gibbons drove home
another right. Gibbons caused Greb to wince when he sank a hard right to
the stomach at the bell.
Gibbons rushed right at Greb and they exchanged hard
lefts to the head. In a clinch Gibbons got home a pair of rights to the
jaw. Greb followed with a left to the body and a right to the jaw. Gibbons
again drove a hard left into Greb's ribs. He chased Greb around the ring
and landed a hard right to the head. Greb landed lefts and rights to the
body. As Greb was coming in Gibbons swung in his right to the body and landed
a heavy right on Greb's kidneys at the bell.
Greb rushed out of his corner and landed a left and
right to the body. Gibbons landed a hard left on Greb's chin and the latter
uncorked several heavy blows to the body. Greb landed a right to the side
of the head and they clinched. In the clinch both fighters got in some stiff
jabs. Greb landed a left to the body and Gibbons countered with a right
to the jaw. Greb landed a right to the head. Greb landed two solid punches
on Gibbons's jaw without a return as the bell ended the round.
Gibbons landed twice with right taps to the body and
Greb danced away and then shot home two-rights and followed with a left
to the head. Gibbons landed a left on Greb's jaw and they clinched. Greb
got home a right and as Gibbons missed a swing Greb struck in two lefts
to the jaw. Gibbons landed a left to the body. Greb got away from the ropes,
where Gibbons had pinned him, and landed two solid blows. Then he reached
Gibbons with a left to the stomach. The Pittsburgh fighter landed several
lefts and rights to the body and as the round ended he slammed home a right
to the kidneys.
They rushed into a clinch. Greb landed a right to the
body and followed with a left to the head. He wrestled Gibbons to the ropes
and then brought over a heavy right to the stomach. Greb landed two solid
smashes on Gibbon's jaw and they clinched. Gibbons drove home a left to
the stomach. Greb landed a left to the jaw. They rushed into a clinch in
a corner and Greb was short with a right swing for Gibbons's jaw. Just before
the end of the round Greb landed lefts and rights lightly on Gibbon's body
and jaw. The Pittsburgh boy appeared to get stronger, while Gibbons slowed
up considerably as the battle neared the close.
Greb opened the final round with two rights that caused
red blotches on Gibbons's body. They rushed into a clinch, and Greb got
awayfrom two hard uppercuts. They stood toe to toe and exchanged several
hard blows and then hammered away at each other in a clinch. Gibbons drew
back from an uppercut. Greb landed left to the body. Gibbons ripped home
two lefts to the stomach and rocked Greb's head with a right. They were
going at it hard in Greb's corner when the bout ended.
Get more information and pics about Tommy and Mike Gibbons from their
website at http://www.tmgps.com/
"Photos on this page supplied by the Gibbons Family"
CLICK HERE TO SEE
TOMMY GIBBONS IN QUICKTIME VIDEO
There is a video of Tommy Gibbons that you can see right now for free.
It's of him sparring with his brother Mike in 1919.
RING RECORD: 57 wins - 4 losses - 1 draw - (106 total bouts)
Sep 5 1911 Oscar Kelly Minnea. KO 5
Jul 12 1912 Tommy Nelson NewYork KO 1
unknown 1913 Joe Borrell unknown ND 10
unknown 1913 KO Brennan unknown ND 10
Feb 9 1914 George("K.O.")Brown Hudson ND 10
Mar 24 1914 Billy Miske Hudson ND 3
Apr 20 1914 George("K.O.")Brown Superio ND 10
unknown 1914 Albert Buck Crouse unknown KO 4
Jul 12 1915 Billy Miske St.Paul ND 10
Nov 16 1915 Harry Greb St.Paul ND 10
unknown 1916 Gus Christie unknown ND 12
unknown 1917 Bob Moha unknown ND 10
unknown 1917 Jackie Clark unknown ND 10
Mar 23 1917 Battling Levinsky St.Paul ND 10
Aug 22 1917 George Chip St.Paul ND 10
Sep 3 1917 Gus Christie Dayton W 15
unknown 1918 Silent Martin unknown KO 10
unknown 1918 George Chip unknown ND 10
unknown 1918 Silent Martin unknown W 15
unknown 1918 Clay Turner unknown ND 10
unknown 1918 George Chip unknown ND 10
unknown 1918 Gus Christie unknown ND 10
unknown 1918 Clay Turner unknown ND 10
Apr 26 1918 Gus Christie TerreHa W 10
May 3 1918 George Chip DesMoin W 12
unknown 1919 Len Rowlands unknown ND 10
unknown 1919 Bartley Madden unknown NC 4 (no contest)
unknown 1919 Larry Williams unknown ND 10
unknown 1919 Capt. Bob Roper unknown ND 10
Apr 11 1919 George Chip Denver W 10
Jun 19 1919 Billy Miske Minnea. ND 10
Jul 4 1919 George("K.O.")Brown Denver ND 12
Feb 3 1920 George("K.O.")Brown Peoria ND 10
unknown 1920 Capt. Bob Roper unknown ND 10
May 15 1920 Harry Greb Pitts. ND 10
unknown 1920 Clay Turner unknown ND 10
Jul 31 1920 Harry Greb Pitts. ND 10
unknown 1920 Chuck Wiggins unknown ND 12
Apr 12 1921 Larry Williams newyork KO 4
Jun 21 1921 Willie Meehan ohio KO 1
sep 6 1921 Dan O'Dowd ind. KO 3
Dec 19 1921 Bartley Madden Mich. ND 10
Mar 13 1922 Harry Greb NewYork L 15
Oct 13 1922 Billy Miske NewYork LF 10
Nov 13 1922 George Ashe Detroit KO 1
Dec 15 1922 Billy Miske St.Paul W 10
Apr 30 1923 Chuck Wiggins NewOrl. KO 10
Jul 4 1923 Jack Dempsey Shelby L 15
May 31 1924 Georges Carpentier Ind. ND 10
Oct 24 1924 Ted Jamieson NewOrl. KO 1
Dec 9 1924 Kid Norfolk N.Y.C. KO 6
Jan 8 1925 Jack Burke Mich. TKO 6
Jan 30 1925 Tiny Jim Herman Mich. KO 3
Jun 5 1925 Gene Tunney NewYork KO'd 12
Bio courtesy of The Boxing Register.
By James B. Roberts and Alexander G. Skutt