History

On This Day: Gene Tunney is on the canvas for 14 seconds but rises to win the rematch against Jack Dempsey

Gene Tunney
Gene Tunney wins the ‘Long Count Fight’ against Jack Dempsey

GENE TUNNEY w pts 10 JACK DEMPSEY
September 22, 1927; Soldier’s Field, Chicago, IL
THOUGH not a thriller, the rematch between Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey remains one of the most talked-about heavyweight bouts in history. It all stemmed from the controversy in round seven when Dempsey, after being soundly out-boxed over the first six, exploded and decked Tunney. Both fighters had been told by referee Dave Berry what to do in the event of scoring a knockdown: Go straight to a neutral corner. But such gentlemanly custom didn’t come naturally to Dempsey when he was in a boxing ring. Instinctively he stood over Tunney – who had taken Jack’s world title one year before – and waited to pounce. Berry had to shove Dempsey away and shepherd him to the corner before beginning the count. By the time Tunney found his feet at the count of nine, he had been down for 14 seconds.  

Gene Tunney long counts

DID YOU KNOW? This was the first two-million-dollar gate. Tunney’s purse was $990,000 so before the fight he sent promoter Tex Rickard $10,000 so he could be paid a flat $1m. Dempsey earned $450,000.

WATCH OUT FOR: You can find commentary from radio announcer, Graham McNamee (the very same broadcast that fans would have listened to live) that was salvaged by Paramount on the night of the fight and later sold on vinyl.

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