Nonpareil Jack Dempsey

Boxing’s First World Middleweight Champion


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About the Book

Hall of Fame middleweight prizefighter John Edward Kelly, better known as Nonpareil Jack Dempsey, was one of the most popular athletes in the United States during the late 19th century. To many observers, Dempsey is one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in ring history. Inside the ropes, he was fearless, poised, quick, agile, and had terrific punching power with both hands.
His story is rich—full of amazing highs and terrible lows. He was a poor immigrant Irish boy who scaled great heights to become one of this nation’s first sports celebrities. He became a household name, wealthy and popular. But much too soon, it all came crashing down. His violent profession, alcoholism, mental illness, and tuberculosis left little to recognize of the valiant hero of so many battles.

About the Author(s)

Joseph S. Page is an organizational development consultant in Nashville, Tennessee. His previous works include a biography of former heavyweight boxing champion Primo Carnera and a history of professional football championships prior to the first Super Bowl.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph S. Page
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 391
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7764-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3669-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Tracy Callis 1
Introduction 3
The Evolution of Rules and Equipment 13
1862 to 1882—From Athgarvan to Brooklyn 27
1883—The Cooper Enters the Ring 32
1884—On the Rise 51
1885—A Full Dance Card 81
1886—The Nonpareil Emerges 108
1887—Breaks and Gashes, but Still on Top 146
1888—Professor Mike Donovan and a Chink in the Armor 176
1889—The Nonpareil Is Brought to Earth 210
1890—In Search of the Marine 238
1891—At the Hands of Ruby Robert 264
1892—Convalescence 287
1893—The Road Back 294
1894—The Slowing Champion 312
1895—Tommy Ryan and the End 324
Immortal Nonpareil 342
“Jack Dempsey’s Grave” 349
Appendix: Dempsey’s Professional Bouts, 1883–1895 350
Notes 361
Bibliography 376
Index 379