GEORGES CARPENTIER was, without any doubt, the best boxer that France ever produced. He used to routinely beat English fighters for fun, often very quickly. Joe Beckett was twice knocked out by him in the first round, and he did the same to both Ted Kid Lewis and Bombardier Billy Wells. Early in his illustrious career, he came a cropper against two British fighters, Buck Shine of Somers Town, who outpointed him in March 1910, and then exactly four weeks later against Young Snowball of Walworth.
Snowball was better known as Ted Broadribb. He was the manager of, amongst others, Freddie Mills and Tommy Farr, and a boxing man to his core. When he met Carpentier, the Frenchman was a boy of 16 and a featherweight who had only been beaten four times in his 33 contests. Even at that stage of his career he was being lauded as a certain future champion. Ted, at 21, was five years older but had less experience, having only lost once in his 18 contests. On the face of it, matching a 16-year old against someone five years older might be seen by modern fans as the primary reason why Georges got beaten, but this is a facile view. In 1910 the game was full of talented young lads, many younger than Carpentier. Ted Kid Lewis, for instance, won the British featherweight title at 17. Georges was used to meeting, and beating, older fighters.
Many years later Carpentier, in remembering his bout against Broadribb, recollected that: “In less than a round Snowball had taken full stock of me, and in the second round he cut me to ribbons. He was a monster, he gave me neither time to think nor wonder, he battered my face, he crashed my ribs, and I saw many stars. In the third he used me very much as a punching bag. He outboxed me, he outfought me, and in every possible way he was my superior.”
Francois Deschamps threw in the towel in the fourth to save Carpentier, thus providing Ted with a meal ticket that he could dine out on for the rest of his life. Not many did that to the great Frenchman, and it was probably the worst beating that Georges took until he stepped into the ring with Jack Dempsey 11 years later in boxing’s first million-dollar gate.
Broadribb had 33 contests, as far as I can trace, and he lost only seven of them. He twice toured that States boxing under the name of Tommy Broad and it was there that he attained the business acumen that would stand him in good stead later as a manager.
He was also a gifted trainer who quickly established a good stable in 1912 within a year of having to hang up his gloves due to a hand injury. Amongst his first fighters were the 1910 ABA lightweight champion, Tom Tees, the British flyweight title-holder, Sid Smith, and Johnny Summers, his counterpart at welterweight. For men of this calibre to so quickly align themselves with a novice manager says a lot for the reputation that Broadribb had within the game, and he further cemented this by guiding Jim Sullivan, Bob Marriott, Curley Walker, Tommy Noble and brothers Harry and Dick Corbett to British title success. In the 1930s he did the same with Nel Tarleton and Jack Hood, but it was with Farr and Mills that he had his greatest success.
When he retired, after guiding Johnny Williams to the British heavyweight title, he was probably the most respected man in the game and when he died in 1968, five days short of his 80th birthday, BN stated that, as a manager, Broadribb was “The Master of the Art”.