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Barbara Phillips, daughter of Jack Dempsey, and Pat Summerall pay visits to the Daily
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Barbara Phillips, daughter of Jack Dempsey, and Pat Summerall pay visits to the Daily News office
by Bill gallo
Besides no heavy lifting, what I'm liking about my job lately is that sports history comes to my office from time to time.
On Tuesday, Barbara Phillips, one of Jack Dempsey's daughters, came carrying a little bag so small that it looked like it could've held a bunch of grapes.
No grapes, but instead she pulls out two small - worn and aged - 4-ounce boxing gloves that smelled of ancient leather.
"Put them on," said Mrs. Phillips. I did. First the left and then the right. They felt like the mittens we used to wear as kids when we were packing snowballs.
"My dad, Jack Dempsey, wore those very same gloves while successfully defending his heavyweight title against Tommy Gibbons in a 15-rounder 87 years ago," she said.
I had them on now, tossing lefts and rights into the air. For a second, I felt like a part of the ring story. Wow, Dempsey wore these in a title fight, I thought. Inside the glove, written in ink was: Dempsey-Gibbons . . . July 4, 1923 Shelby, Montana.
I was surprised how little padding there was in each glove. A little less padding and you might say you could use them for playing handball with that small hard black ball.
This was surely a pair of gloves that with one shot you could knock a guy ****eyed. So, I tried to imagine what would happen to Gibbons had Dempsey, with those hands of ferocious power, landed one on his chin.
To find out more about that fight I went to the Daily News library. At the time, our growing paper was a 4-year-old baby.
There I found the paper I wanted: July 5, 1923. The headline reads: DEMPSEY WINS ON DECISION, by Harry Newman, staff correspondent of the DAILY NEWS.
The story as covered that afternoon:
". . . Dempsey was too strong for Gibbons but at long range Gibbons was easily Dempsey's master, although he couldn't evade the body assaults directed at him by the dynamic champ." It appeared that Dempsey never got in a solid punch to Gibbons' chin."
Here was a point of interest, the weights of the heavyweights in those days. Dempsey came into the ring at 188 pounds while Gibbons tipped the scale at 175.
On Friday, Pat Summerall, the man with the golden right foot and equally golden voice, came by for a talk about his life and new book, "GIANTS" - "What I learned about life from VINCE LOMBARDI and TOM LANDRY."
About life? I asked the silver-haired Summerall, who is looking very good, healthy and robust these days. The man who shared a broadcast booth with Tom Brookshier and later with John Madden sat in my office as we got into a relaxed and breezy talk. It didn't even seem like we were doing an interview but two guys looking back into the Giant years that were.
here's the pic, nd the glove used by dempsey.