Great Men From History Series – JACK DEMPSEY

I’m going to start highlighting great men throughout history, and how they trained.

Let’s start with JACK DEMPSEY

Heavyweight champion from 1919-1926. He was 6’1, 187lbs. Record of 54-6-9, with 44 KOs. Was an exceptional boxer and known for his brutal power in both hands

Dempsey grew up in a poor Irish family, and left home at the 16. He traveled around the country on trains as a stowaway, got his start fighting hobos in Hobo camps. He was desperate for money, so he’d go into local bars and challenge anyone to a fight (he was a TEENAGER)

“I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but I can lick any SOB in the house.” Dempsey eventually fell into professional boxing, his first breakthrough fight was when he was 19. His older brother Bernie had a fight scheduled, but backed out when he learned his opponent, George Copelin, who had sparred with Jack Johnson and was a way better fighter than he realized. So he had his little brother fight Copelin. Copelin initially didn’t want to fight Dempsey, as he thought he’d kill him. 

He outweighed Dempsey by 20lbs and initially refused to fight him (165 to 145, that’s right Dempsey started as a damned lightweight) -The fight went on anyways. Dempsey ended up destroying him, knocking him down 7 times. The referee finally stopped the fight out of PITY.

Per Dempseys own words “In those days they didn’t stop mining-town fights as long as one guy could move.” Dempsey looked like THIS by the peak of his career. This man brooked no shit from any living thing on this earth

His next big fight was in 1919, when he fought Jess Willard. Jess Willard was the world HW Champion who had beaten Jack Johnson, He was 6’6, 245 lbs. The size difference was massive Dempsey knocked him down 7 times in the FIRST ROUND

Here you can see Dempsey absolutely giving zero fucks that his opponent is bigger than him. Notice the blood coming from Willards face, and the fact that Dempsey is smiling as he proceeds to beat Willards soul from his body

Following this fight, Dempsey would go on to defend his title 5 times, and was the HW champion of the first half of the 1920s, becoming world famous. He was known for his extremely aggressive style, as he would beat opponents senseless even after knocking them down

The “Neutral corner” rule was implemented BECAUSE of him. Now if a fighter is knocked down, the standing fighter must back away and go to a corner, not keep hitting their opponent as they try to get back up. He knocked people out of the ring more than once

Dempsey embodied the masculine principles of Protecting and Providing. If he had self-doubt, anxiety, or fear, he clearly didnt give a fuck about entertaining any of those emotions.

He was also a great believer in prayer “I never went to bed in my life and I never ate a meal in my life without saying a prayer. I know my prayers have been answered thousands of times, and I know that I never said a prayer in my life without something good coming out of it.”

Dempsey was a simple man in how he lived, and was known for being very good natured outside the ring, though pugnacious “By forgetting the past and by throwing myself into other interests, I forget to worry.” Once he lost the HW title to Gene Tunney in 1926, he retired.

He later wrote one of the best books on boxing ever written “Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense”. His punching power came from a natural understanding of coiling, hip power, and putting all your weight into your striking
If you’re intrigued by the man, I’d highly recommend the autobiography “A Flame of Pure Life” It gives context to his life and the world he lived in of the 1920s