IT’s fair to say the ‘Pittsburgh Windmill’ Harry Greb and the ‘Philly Phantom’ Tommy Loughran, were not unknown to one another. Their paths crossed six times, initially in the summer 1922 until their last fight in the autumn of 1924.
Greg was Loughran’s master four times, they drew once and Tommy got the nod in their fourth battle in October 1923.
But it was in their fifth fight, just two months later, that they squared off on Christmas Day.
Sandwiched in between these two fights, Loughran outpointed two of Britain’s most notable middleweights of the day in Ted Moore and Roland Todd respectively.
While the prolific Greb – now middleweight champion of the world – had beaten, in non-title fights, Lou Bogash, Soldier Jones, Chuck Wiggins and defended his crown against Bryan Downey, before losing – what Boxing News called a fortunate decision – to his fiercest and biggest rival in future heavyweight champion Gene Tunney.
So, at just 21 years old, Tommy Loughran had size and youth on his size, but heading to Pittsburgh’s Motor Square Garden to face the middleweight king was like fighting the devil in hell.
As was the case in those days, the report from the fight didn’t filter through to print for a few weeks and eventually appeared in our January 23 issue of 1924.
Swirling from his corner like a Kansas twister, at the start of every round, Harry Greb, the Pittsburgher who holds the middleweight championship of the world, gave Tommy Loughran a bad beating on Christmas Day, in a ten-round decision fight in the light-heavyweight class.
Greb got the decision and there was no question that it belonged to him. It was Greb’s second appearance in his home town since the new Pennsylvania boxing law became effective permitting decisions.
In the later rounds of the fight Loughran became weary, discouraged and bewildered. He refused to fight back and busied himself trying to brush away the clawing rushes of Greb.
Greg and Loughran have fought several times. In the previous bouts Loughran usually made some effort to outfight Greb, but this time he was boxing defensively and making a poor defence at that.