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Old 12-01-2011, 07:25 AM
rob snell
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Default Christner At 36 brings Back Memories Of Fitzsimmons

The Montana Standard
30 December 1928

Christner At 36 brings Back Memories Of Fitzsimmons


By ROBERT EDGREN


Just when everything is "going along lovely" with Tex Rickard somebody throws a brick through his window. Mr. Rickard had Knute Hansen, the elongated Scandinavian, all ribbed up to go through a tournament and be proclaimed world's heavyweight champion, when Mr. Hansen made the mistake of boxing an easy mark in the person of K. O. Christner.

Mr. Hansen's coterie of managers were told that Mr. Christner was 36 years old and of course believed that in spite of the K. O. name that was too much age for any fighter to carry into a ring with Hansen.

The result proves that 38 years, or whatever the real age of K. O. Christner is, may be no handicap at all when backed by the kind of a right hand punch Mr. Christner revels in delivering.

But Rickard knows how to turn disaster into a box office attraction. He matched Christner with Jack Sharkey. That ought to be a pretty good fight, unless it turns out that Sharkey has too much boxing skill and experience for the K. O. person.

Get Sharkey Early.

If Mr. Christner pats Mr. Sharkey just once, early in the bout, with that right hand, it may be enough. Enough, at least, to win the fight. Other heavyweights who weren't supposed to belong in the same building with Jack Sharkey have cuffed him hard in the first round or so, and then have found him anything but a man-eater through the rest of the fight.

Looking Christner over, I'm reminded of the fact that Bob Fitzsimmons was a young and lusty fighting man several years beyond the age that is supposed to handicap Mr. Christner so severely. Bob was 34 years and nine months old when he knocked out Jim Corbett at Carson, Nevada, in the fourteenth round of a fight that was one-sided in Corbett's favor up to the seventh and one sided in Bob's favor from the seventh on.

Also in that fight Bob Fitzsimmons was a lean middleweight, while Christner is a chunky, very well built heavyweight. Christner doesn't show any signs of aging, even at 38 or whatever it is. He is roundly built, carries no fat, has great arms and shoulders and a broad back and deep chest, and is small waisted and round limbed. He also has plenty of hair. Bob Fitzsimmons, in his prime, would look like an old gentleman beside this bird Christner. Not that Bob ever fought like an old gentleman, until he was over 50.

Heavies Develop Slow.

Heavyweights don't develop young like smaller boxers, unless they are started too young. Then they never develop at all, but are burned out before they get to their best fighting form. Christner has a record of over 30 knockouts in a few months. Any fellow who can point to a list like that must have something. Jack Dempsey, who never was foolish, had that idea about Firpo. One afternoon while resting at his cottage at Sara toga Springs during the training for Firpo, Dempsey was visited by a stranger who insisted upon seeing him at once.

'Iíve just came from Atlantic City." he said, "I've been watching that Firpo train for a week. The Big bub hasnít a thing in the world. He is slow on his feet. He waddles around like a fat washerwoman. He hasnít any left hand at all. His left hand might as well be tied to his side. That right hand they talk about is a lot of baloney. He couldnít knock your hat off with it. He telegraphs his right and starts it half a minute later. All you have to do is watch his right hand and when he pulls it back step in and knock him for a loop. He hasnít a thing on earth. I thought, being a friend of yours, Iíd drop in and tell youĒ.

Dempsey gave the visitor a cold eye, and asked to be excused from further conversation, as he had to get his lunch. When the visitor left, Dempsey turned to me and asked: "Ever see that guy before?" "No," I said. "I never did either," said Dempsey. "He's no friend of mine. My friends don't come and tell me Firpo can't fight. They come and tell me to look out for that right band, because he'll knock my lid off with it if it lands. When a man knocks out a lot of fellows the way Firpo has, be must have something. It's ridiculous to say he can't fight. I'm going to watch his right hand, and his left hand too, and be mighty careful. Say, he knocked out Bill Brennan, didn't he. And I know Bill's no set-up."

Sharkey, or whoever fights this Christner K. O. person next, would do well to be just as wise as Dempsey. Christner may be a flop in later fights, or he may be a socking king. Chances rather run in his favor.
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