This Day in Boxing

Jack Dempsey KOs Georges Carpentier This Day July 2, 1921 Retains Crown


Jack Dempsey KOs Georges Carpentier This Day July 2, 1921 Retains Crown


  • Jack Dempsey 188 lbs
  • Georges Carpentier 172 lbs
  • KO round 4
  • Boyle’s Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
  • Referee: Harry Ertle
  • World Heavyweight Championship



On November 4, 1919, Dempsey signed a contract with promoter Dominick Tortorich to fight British heavyweight champion Joe Beckett in a 20-round fight in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 17, 1920. However, it was contingent on Beckett defeating Carpentier on December 4, 1919. The Dempsey-Beckett fight went up in smoke when Carpentier knocked out Beckett in the first round.

After signing Dempsey and Carpentier, promoter Tex Rickard borrowed $250,000 to build a 91,613-seat stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey. The stadium was built in nine weeks on a piece of land known as Boyle’s Thirty Acres. Octagonal, it covered seven acres. The final row of bleachers rose 34 feet from the ground and was 312 feet from the center of the ring.

Tickets were priced from $5.50 to $50. After the fight sold out, Rickard said he should have doubled the prices.

This was boxing’s first million dollar gate, generating $1,789,238.

Dempsey was guaranteed $300,000 and Carpentier $200,000. Each man received 25% of the motion picture rights.

Rickard promoted the bout as “The Fight of the Century” (the third time he used that label: [1]). He also promoted the fight as “hero” vs. “villain.” The hero in this case was not the American, Jack Dempsey, but the Frenchman, Georges Carpentier, who had distinguished himself as a pilot in World War I. Dempsey, on the other hand, was cast as the villain, as he had been labeled a “slacker” for avoiding the military draft-—even though he had been found not guilty of the offense in 1920.

Dempsey trained in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Jack Renault and Larry Williams were his sparring partners.

Carpentier’s training camp was in Manhasset, Long Island. Joe Jeannette and Paul Journee were his sparring partners.

This was the first fight to be broadcast to a mass audience over the radio. The ringside commentators were Major Andrew White and J.O. Smith.

The ring was 20 feet square.

The fighters wore eight-ounce gloves.

Carpentier, the reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion, was outweighed by 16 pounds.

Dempsey was a 2 to 1 favorite.

The fight started at 3:16 in the afternoon.

This was the first fight sanctioned by the new National Boxing Association. The NBA would change its name to the World Boxing Association in 1962.

Three months before the fight, Carpentier predicted that the fight would last more than four rounds.

In the second round, Carpentier broke his right thumb in two places and suffered a slight wrist strain.

Dempsey floored Carpentier twice in the fourth round.

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