This is the third book in Adam Pollack’s series on the heavyweight champions of the gloved era. Bob Fitzsimmons was boxing’s first pound for pound great, winning the world middleweight title before becoming the world heavyweight champion (and later lightheavyweight champ). Combining both crafty skill and crushing power, Fitzsimmons was able to knock out heavyweights when he only weighed 158 pounds!
This meticulous and tremendously researched book uses multiple local primary sources from New Zealand, Australia, and America to chronicle Fitzsimmons’ boxing career. It contains detailed fight descriptions never before revealed, round by round reports, pre- and post-fight analysis, daily training regimens, critical analysis of opponents’ careers, discussion of skills, techniques, strategies, strengths, and weaknesses, and explains how legal, political, social, and economic issues affected and impeded fights.
The book also includes stories of fixed fights, conspiracies, legal battles, trials, threats of violence and imprisonment made by governors, judges, and militiamen, and verbal jousting, taunting, boasting, and even physical confrontations between Bob Fitzsimmons and James J. Corbett.
464 pages, 63 photos and illustrations, 968 footnotes, bibliography, index, and appendix (containing a complete Fitzsimmons career record).
Adam J. Pollack is the author of John L. Sullivan: The Career of the First Gloved Heavyweight Champion, and In the Ring With James J. Corbett.
To purchase In the Ring With Bob Fitzsimmons, e-mail
Hardback, $34.95 plus shipping. Will sign if desired.
Preface: The Series Continues 4
1. Australian Boxing 6
2. The Underappreciated Middleweight 9
3. Fixing a Loss or Losing in a Fix? 32
4. American Appreciation 53
5. World Middleweight Champion 70
6. Testing the Heavyweight Waters 94
7. Exhibition Tour 112
8. Revenge 125
9. All Comers Exhibitions Resumed 148
10. Making the Challenge 156
11. Still the Middleweight Champion 172
12. Death and Delay 189
13. Boxing Versus the Law 213
14. The New “Champion” 230
15. The Championship Cloud 252
16. The Fix 266
17. The Fight After the Fight 309
18. Paving the Way, Predictions and Preparation 328
19. The Real Championship 374
20. The Films and the Controversy 401
21. Another Semi-Retired Champion 421
Appendix: Bob Fitzsimmons’ Record 434
Preface: The Series Continues
Welcome to the world of the fight to the finish, where championship bouts continued until someone was knocked out, where there were no mouthpieces, no handwraps, no protective foul cups, no training headgear, where floors and ring posts were often hard, when gloves were only five ounces and the eight-ounce glove was considered a big pillow to only be used in friendly exhibitions, when fights were never stopped on cuts, when a fight was rarely stopped just because a guy was a little wobbly or because he went down a number of times, where even decisions were based on who did the most damage and was the more aggressive, not just based on who knew how to tap, run, grab and survive. This was a time when your pay depended on success, when the phrase ‘winner take all’ was not just a bluff. These were some tough guys.
This is the third book in my heavyweight champion series, Reigns of Fame and Shame. The first two were John L. Sullivan: The Career of the First Gloved Heavyweight Champion, and In the Ring With James J. Corbett. My goal has been to answer the questions that no other book answered. I wanted history based not on speculation, hearsay, and legend, but based on what local reports said at the time.
I have found that achieving the richest and most complete understanding of these fighters’ careers is accomplished by reference to multiple local primary source accountings. These accounts enliven the opponents and the fights, offer new facts, discuss issues that secondary sources failed to consider, and give fresh perspective on matters previously only discussed in a limited or incomplete way. Greater than ever before, this book offers a much stronger understanding of Bob Fitzsimmons’ career, skills, and ability, and the era’s fight scene, including top contenders and the legal, political, and social issues which affected the fight game.
Using mostly local contemporary newspaper reports, this book provides a more thorough analysis and detailed discussion of:
Bob Fitzsimmons’ many Australian bouts. Local Australian primary sources shed new light on Fitz’s early career, and show the long road he took to stardom. Because so many of the era’s great fighters were produced in Australia, to understand the world’s fight scene one must be familiar with Australian boxing.
Fitz’s alleged fixed fight with Jim Hall. Find out whether Bob took a dive.
The legal and political fallout from the deaths of Con Riordan and Andy Bowen.
The alleged fixed fight with Tom Sharkey. The behind the scenes story is itself worth the price of admission. The court battle and all the sensational testimony are fully covered. Was it a grand conspiracy?
The complete back and forth verbal jousting, taunting, and confident exclamations between Fitzsimmons and Jim Corbett. No other fight ever had as much free advertising and hot discussion as a result of its mouthy combatants. They were the kings of smack talk, the inventors of building up fights with verbal and even physical confrontation.
The unbelievable legal and political battles the boxers and promoter Dan Stuart had to go through in order to bring fights off. This story has governors, armed militiamen, and judges threatening violence and lengthy prison sentences, following, chasing, and arresting these men, and generally impeding the sport’s progress in any way that they could.
All of Fitzsimmons’ American fights and most of his exhibitions (up to the heavyweight championship), including lesser known and previously unknown bouts, and massive pre- and post-fight coverage of his most significant bouts. This also includes Fitz and Corbett’s daily training regimen leading up to their big fight. Even new controversial facts about the Corbett fight are revealed.
I hope you enjoy learning about Bob Fitzsimmons as much as I did!