Heavyweights, Mainstream, This Day in Boxing

Tunney Beats Dempsey This Day in Boxing September 22, 1927

This Day in Boxing September 22, 1927 Tunney Beats Dempsey

The legendary battle of “the Long Count”



Jack Dempsey 192½

Gene Tunney 189½

Soldiers Field, Chicago, Illinois, USA L UD 10/10

referee: Dave Barry   judges: George Lytton, Sheldon Clark

National Boxing Association World heavyweight title


The Long Count:

Round 7 Dempsey pummels Tunney to the canvas.

Dempsey, who used to stand over opponents after knockdowns and rush right back at them after they got up, looked down on Tunney.

Referee Dave Barry trying to enforce the new rule where the knockdown count won’t begin until the standing boxer is in a neutral corner ordered Dempsey into a neutral corner to no avail; Dempsey just stood there, observing his opponent. This gave Tunney 5 extra precious seconds to recuperate. By the time Dempsey finally walked to a neutral corner, Tunney had been down for around 5 seconds. Again Ref Barry could not start to count on Tunney until Dempsey reached the neutral corner, but he was still able to count to nine before Tunney got up.

Some believe that if Dempsey had responded to the referee’s orders in time, he would have likely regained the world Heavyweight crown with a seventh round knockout of Tunney. The validity of this argument has been debated even to this day. In the fight film, a clock was superimposed that recorded Tunney’s time on the floor as 14 seconds, from the moment he fell until he got up. Because of this delay, it became known as The Long Count Fight.

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