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    1926 Jack Dempsey Heavyweight World Championship Belt. William Harrison Dempsey was born in the small mining town of Manassa, Colorado on June 24, 1895. The town itself had only been founded seventeen years earlier, by Mormon settlers who arrived from the south through Pueblo fleeing persecution because of their faith. It certainly seemed like an unlikely setting for the birth of one of the most important sporting figures in American history. Dempsey lived the barnstorming life of a hobo in his late teens and took up fighting in various Colorado mining towns, mostly under the name of "Kid Blackie." His first fight was in 1912, a knockout of Fred Wood. It is possible Dempsey fought as many as 100 fights in this early period, all unrecorded.

    By 1914, boxing became a more serious business for Dempsey. He took on many fighters in places like Salt Lake City, Provo, Cripple Creek and Ogden. In 1916 he fought Australia Joe Bonds in Ely, Nevada and was spotted by Bonds manager, Jack Kearns who saw talent. Under the leadership of Kearns, Dempsey would begin to emerge as a real threat to serious contenders and the Champion, Jess Willard. He posted victories over Gunboat Smith, Bill Brennan, Billy Miske. Fred Fulton, Carl Morris and Battling Levinsky.

    On July 4, 1919 Dempsey got his shot at the title when he met Willard under a blistering sun in Toledo, Ohio. At 6' 6" and 265 pounds, Willard was by far the bigger man. Dempsey however, was by far the better fighter. In a completely one-sided match, Willard was repeatedly knocked down before finally succumbing in the fourth round. Following two defenses against Miske and Brennan, Dempsey took on the famous Frenchman, Georges Carpentier on July 2, 1921 in Jersey City. In the first million dollar gate in boxing history, Dempsey stopped the smaller, but game Carpentier in the fourth. On July 4, 1923 Dempsey again retained his crown, winning a fifteen-round decision over Tommy Gibbons in a small Montana town, a fight forever immortalized as "The Rape Of Shelby," as the town was virtually bankrupted by the affair. Later that year Dempsey stopped Luis Firpo in one of the wildest prizefights in ring history. Dempsey survived being knocked from the ring to stop Firpo in the second round.

    On September 23, 1926 Dempsey fought the gifted boxer, Gene Tunney, in Philadelphia. In what could have only been termed a day of disbelief for Dempsey, he lost his title by ten round decision. The two met again on September 22, 1927 in Chicago in a fight long since known as "The Long Count." It got the name when Tunney was knocked down in the 7th round, but Dempsey did not go to a neutral corner, delaying the referee's count. Tunney survived and won the decision three rounds later. Dempsey retired in 1928 and made over 100 exhibition appearances in the early 1930's, but never officially returned to the ring.

    Jack Dempsey was an icon of the Roaring Twenties. As big, if not bigger than Babe Ruth, Dempsey was a crowd favorite and sold out arenas wherever he went. Under the management of Kearns and the promotion of Tex Rickard, he became a legend in his time and his name to this day is still recognized by people as one of our country's most celebrated figures. Offered here is the World Championship belt presented to Jack Dempsey by the Boxing Writers in 1926. This magnificent commemorative belt is 33.5" long and 4.25" high. It consists of three plates attached to the original red, white and blue cloth sash. Everlast made the belt, and their label is at one end of the sash. There is a flower at the opposite end of the sash. The center plate pictures two fighters and is inscribed, "Jack Dempsey." The plate has an eagle atop with a wreath design on the sides. The right plate has two boxing gloves atop with pillars on each side and is inscribed, "1919 To 1926." An identical left plate is inscribed, "World's Heavyweight Champion." The sash is faded and has some fraying, but is perfectly intact. The original chains that connect the plates are present although one is detached. There is some slight pitting to the medal plates, which does not detract from the overall beauty of this belt. Dempsey gave this belt many years ago to a friend who has offered a letter of authenticity.

    Further, the belt will be sold with a photograph of Dempsey receiving it on October 22, 1927 in New York. Dempsey is displaying the belt given to him by sportswriter Wilbur Wood in the presence of Gene Tunney and announcer Joe Humphries, who are also pictured. This belt, given to Dempsey to commemorate his illustrious career, is one of the most important pieces of sports memorabilia to ever be offered at public sale. Heritage is proud to present this Championship belt of Jack Dempsey in its inaugural offering to the public. LOA from Craig Hamilton/ JO Sports.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2005
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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