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#5 Jack Dempsey - Top 10 of Boxing’s Most Terrifying Fighters


We’ve reached the top five scariest boxers of all time and this calls for traveling back in time to the early 1900s and visiting “The Manassa Mauler.” Jack Dempsey earned the nickname as he hailed from the city of Manassa, Colorado where he was born on June 24, 1885. Dempsey as heavyweight champion of the world would have a long life, passing away at the age of 87 in New York City on May 31, 1983.

It took Jack Dempsey a long time to win the championship and when he did he defeated Jess Willard in a historic fight on Independence Day 1919. After 60 pro fights, Dempsey finally got his shot with a record of 47-4-9 and Dempsey took away Willard’s title in just three rounds. He would defend his belt five more times until he met a fighter that was the “Muhammad Ali” of that era.

Gene Tunney was a slick boxer with speed just like Ali had become and on September 23, 1926, Tunny outpointed Dempsey for the title and in a rematch a year later, it was Tunney again. Dempsey’s reputation of being a terrorizing brawler did not work against Tunney but it did against 44 other fighters as he scored those 44 knockouts in 54 wins. Dempsey himself would be knocked out just once, that to “Fireman” Jim Flynn in the first round of a fight held in 1917.

Dempsey would return the favor years later knocking Flynn out in the opening salvo. In one of his most famous knockouts, Jack Dempsey stopped Luis Firpo in the second round of their fight in 1923 but not before the challenger had hit Dempsey with a punch that sent him reeling backward and through the ropes into the grandstands. A photo was taken of Dempsey tumbling out that would become a world-famous painting by George Bellows.

Throughout his career, Jack Dempsey had several streaks of consecutive knockouts including two strings of six, and also 21 straight fights without a loss that also resulted in three draws in that run. Putting him on this list was a no-brainer as Dempsey fought in an era of men who were fearless but knew when they stepped into the ring with The Manassa Mauler they were in for a bout of violent exchanges.

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About the author

Harv Aronson

Harv Aronson was born and raised in Pittsburgh but now lives in Florida with his beautiful wife Melissa.

Harv currently writes for Abstract Sports, the Sports History Network, and the magazine Gridiron Greats. Harv wrote the published book "Pro Football's Most Passionate Fans" and as a professional writer has had articles published in an array of sports publications.

Harv loves all sports but football and baseball are at the top of his interest. His passion is for sports history. You can also watch Harv’s videos on his YouTube channel “Total Sports Recall.”

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