Question: Opinion on Gene Tunney - Bruce Lee eventually appreciated the style and skill of Gene Tunney. Was wondering what your thoughts were on this?
GENE TUNNEY vs JACK DEMPSEY: Simple comparison---as sharpshooter/counter-puncher vs a pressure fighter/slugger---the best fighter “that day” won.
Unknown facts: Georges Carpentier was the first martial artist to win a world title in two separate sports: A world champion in savate and also was the Light-heavyweight World Boxing Champion. (P.S. Joe Lewis was the second and Troy Dorsey was the third.)
1ST $million dollar gate in boxing’s history: (1921) Carpentier vs Dempsey (KO in round 4) Dempsey knocks out 1st two-sport champion.
After Jack Dempsey knocked out Luis Firpo in the 2nd round in 1923, he took off from boxing for three years (traveling, making movies and partying), until 1926 when he fought Tunney the first time. Dempsey was not focused and nor was he the same fighter from years earlier. Tunney, a U.S. Marine like me, studied Dempsey’s style and trained to deny him access to the pocket by jabbing and moving backwards exercising defensive timing with a counter-punching style game plan. Defensive timing means you come in the “back door.” This means that after an opponent completes his punch or if he leaves his punches hanging---the door is left open too long. Sluggers have this tendency.
Dempsey could not work the “squeeze” (closing off the ring or “walking” opponent to the ropes.) Tunney was the first heavyweight champion to successfully employ this unpopular counter punching strategy. He won a second fight 364 days later during the alleged “long count.”
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