Tales Told On Popular Pugs. Incidents from Corbett’s Trip Abroad. Lanky Bob Could Make Horseshoes but Not Dog Collar. Jack Downey Would Fight for $1OOO, But Refused an Offer of $1200. The life of the well known pugilist is full of variety.
In the course of his travel around the country he comes into contact with all sorts of persons, and some of the incidents that befall him are interesting. Once in a while these incidents find their way into print.
The other night “Young Corbett” told a few good stories about his recent trip abroad, states a writer in the New York Evening Sun. The Denver boxer stopped at the Hotel Cecil in London. A couple of days after his arrival “Young Corbett,” entering the café invited all those in the room to join him in a drink, as is the custom in this country. In the place at the time were six men, and five of them accepted the pugilist’s invitation. The other refused and much to Corbett’s chagrin bought a drink for himself after the fighter’s order had been served. Corbett could not understand the man’s action and wondered why he had refused to drink with him.
Without showing any signs of being disturbed, although he said he felt the slight keenly enough, Corbett approached the individual, who proved to be a much prejudiced Englishman and asked: “My dear fellow, how is it that you Would not drink with me after I invited you? yet you were apparently thirsty for I see you bought one for yourself and drank it. “Do you know that in my country, America, such a proceeding is considered a gross insult?” The Englishman looked at Corbett in a contemptuous way and after hesitating for a moment replied “I do not know what it is in America nor do I care: but I do know that in England it is an insult to invite strangers to join in a drink in a public barroom. “I did not wish to offend you. but if their is any apology coming you are the person to offer it.” And saying this the Englishman walked away.
On another occasion Corbett, after buying a drink on London, tipped his hat to the barmaid who served him. This was observed by an Englishman, who quickly called him to task. “What do you mean by tipping your hat to that woman in my presence?” he demanded rather sharply. Corbett, taken aback by the question, inquired whether the woman was his wife and whether he had offended her. The Englishman grew red in the face and his manner betokened anger. “No! No!” he shouted, “she isn’t my wife, thank God! She’s simply a hireling, and when you tip your hat to her in my presence you insult me. We don’t tip our hats to help in this country. “It may be etiquette in America, where you come from, judging from your talk, but in England it does not go. Good day, sir, good day.”
During the days when boxing flourished in New York State matchmakers of the different clubs in Greater New York outbid each other in trying to secure attractions in which local pugilists were the contestants. If the local man had any kind of reputation the rivalry was especially keen.
A few years before the law legalizing the sport was repealed by the Legislature, Jack Downey of Brooklyn was considered a great drawing card. Downey had a large following and there was much hustling to secure his services. Downey who, by the way, is not as intelligent as the average fighter never did much kicking in regard to compensation. All he had was to get an engagement and when he had this he seemed to be satisfied. But he was a bad business man and left the financial end of his affairs to his brother, who acted as his manager.
One day Jack was summoned to the Broadway A. C. by George Considine, who was the club’s matchmaker. Considine wanted to know if he would fight George Dixon twenty rounds. Downey was delighted at the chance and promptly answered: “Why, cert’nly.” “When will you be able to fight?” was asked. “Tonight, tomorrow, next day, next week or enny time. I’m aways in fine condition, an’ I don’t care when.” “Good,” said Considine. “Here’s a set of articles of agreement. Sign them, and I’ll give you a purse of $1200.” Downey took the papers, read them, and. with a dubious look, returned them to Considine. He shook his head once or twice, gazed at Considine and then around the room. Abruptly he declared: “I’m satisfied to fight Dlxon. but I wants more money, see. I won’t fight for less dan a tousand dollars, and dat goes, see.” Considine laughed heartily, much to Downey’s surprise. “A thousand dollars,” he repeated. “Why, Jack. I have offered you $200 more than that. Why $1200 is more than a thousand, you know.” It soon dawned on Downey that Considine was correct, and, after apologizing profusely for the error. Downey signed the agreement and left the clubhouse in a happy frame of mind.
“Bob” Fitzsimmons’s greatest hobby when training is to make horseshoes. Being a blacksmith by trade he finds no greater pleasure than to spend some of his time at the bellows and forge. Usually his quarters are equipped with an impromptu blacksmith shop, and many horsemen come to him to have their animals shod, a task which Fitz invariably delights in doing.
When the Cornishman was getting into trim for his mill with Gus Ruhlin which was decided at Madison Square Garden, a prudish, elderly woman, accompanied by a big Newfoundland dog, came to Fitzsimmons’s quarters. Usually Fitzsimmons’s shop is pitched back of his cottage, in full view of the public. The woman watched Fitz shoe a horse, and when the fighter was through she inquired: “Would you mind making a collar for my dog, I don’t care if it’s a trifle heavy”.
The request struck Fitz as being strange, but couldn’t oblige. He declared that, although he was always willing to oblige a woman dog collars were entirely out of his line. But, he continued, if she owned a horse and would fetch the animal to him he would cheerfully shoe the animal.
But I don’t own a horse,” the woman shouted, indignantly. “I Just want a dog collar, that’s all, and if you don’t care to make it you can leave it alone, you fighters are a mean set anyway and if I were the law I would send you all to jail. You know how to make a collar but you are mean and contemptible, that’s all.” She kept abusing Fitzsimmons until he finally sought refuge from her attack by going into the house. The last the ex-champion saw of her was when she led the dog down the road, still vaporing about human nature in general and bruisers.