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Gene Tunney

The "battle Of The Long Count"

A year later, almost to the day, on September 22, 1927, Tunney and Dempsey met in a rematch. This time the venue was Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Once again, more than 100,000 fans mobbed the grounds, paying a record $2.6 million to see the match (some sources say the box office take was more than $4.6 million). This fight was also the first to be covered by a professional radio announcer. Tunney and Dempsey slugged it out for the first six rounds, with neither boxer gaining a serious advantage, although Tunney managed to stay ahead in points.

Then, in the seventh round, Dempsey dealt Tunney a staggering right to the temple and quickly pressed the attack with a fury of blows. Tunney went down. Dempsey, caught up in the heat of the moment, failed to promptly retire to his corner of the ring so that the count could start. The referee pleaded with Dempsey to stop hovering over Tunney so that he could start the count, and finally Dempsey yielded.

Getting Dempsey to move took all of four or five seconds, but those extra few moments were all Tunney needed to recover. As one of the spectators, sports writer Shirley Povich wrote fifty-one years later in the Washington Post, "I was positive then, as now, that Tunney would not have been up at a proper count of ten, but those precious seconds were heaven-sent for him, and at nine he made a gutsy rise to his feet." The fight was allowed to continue. Tunney managed to avoid Dempsey for the remainder of the round, buying himself even more time to recover. Maintaining his point lead for the remainder of the bout, Tunney won the match by decision in the 10th round.

Many fans felt that an injustice had been done, that Dempsey should have won the fight in that fateful seventh round. Povich recalled that there were "more cheers for Dempsey in that one round than for Tunney in the eight he won in the 10-round fight." The fight came to be known in boxing lore as the "battle of the long count."

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Famous Sports StarsBoxingGene Tunney Biography - A Boxing New Yorker, First North America, Then The World, Chronology, The "battle Of The Long Count" - SELECTED WRITINGS BY TUNNEY: