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Jess Willard and Fred Fulton
The Fort Wayne Journal
28 April 1918
Jess Willard and Fred Fulton will furnish the next heavyweight championship fight, whether it's held on July 4 or some other time. Fulton is Willard's natural rival for the title. He will be the first, man of his own height Willard ever met in the ring. He will be the cleverest boxer Willard ever met, with the single exception of Jack Johnson. And, unlike Johnson, Fulton is coming, not
Fulton has a longer reach than any other man Willard ever fought. He has bigger fists than any other man Willard ever fought, and a harder punch than any other man Willard ever fought.
It may be that when he fought Willard Gunboat Smith could hit as hard as Fulton does now, but he was a wild swinger, not a clean and scientific puncher. Smith beat Willard in twenty rounds, being the refereeís decision.
Fulton isn't the heaviest man Willard ever fought, but he is the fastest big man so far. Johnson and Morris were both, heavier, which was a handicap.
Fulton has a frame fit to carry 240 pounds. He might weigh 240 without carrying fat. But he is of the leanly muscular type, like Bob Fitzsimmons. Fulton is not inclined to take on fat He trains regularly and fights often. Willard trains little, being lazy and fights less, because he has
no ambition to fight.
Fulton has a habit of knocking out opponents. Willard has the ability to knock out opponents, but doesn't do it except on rare occasions. He lacks natural aggressiveness. He is satisfied to lead,to avoid punishment himself, and to show off his own skill without making too much effort. Again, he is lazy in the ring as well as in the training quarters. Also he has an overwhelming
sense of caution. In his early fights, when it was hard to win he had streaks of aggressiveness, usually a flash after being hurt.
Willard was as big and as fast before fighting Johnson as he was at Havana, although he, lacked the really great skill he showed in that fight. If he had been a Fulton in aggressiveness and fighting spirit, he would have knocked out Arthur Pelky, Luther McCarty, Carl Morris, Gunboat Smith. Charley Miller. George Rodel. Tom McMahon and Frank Moran. He had the power and the ability to beat all these men, but he didn't use it through sheer lack of aggressive spirit.
Of course when he fought McCarty ten rounds Willard was a novice and McCarty counted the best white heavyweight, in the country, so when Willard outfought McCarty and met his rushes with solid counters through ten rounds he did well enough, and much more than was expected of him.
Willard Can "Take It."
Willard. in shape to fight, has better assimilating powers than Fulton. I saw Fulton badly dazed twice by Al Reich's right handers, he recovered finely and stopped Reich in a few rounds more. But the fact remains that he was badly shaken by two hard blows on the jaw. And I don't believe
either of those blows would have troubled Willard in the least.
I have seen Willard take blows. I saw Soldier Kearns, who was a tremendous hitter then, land a crashing swing in Willard's body and step back to let him fall. And Willard lunged forward and knocked Kearns cleanly out with one blow.
I saw Jack Johnson, in Havana, work for two rounds for the opening he wanted, and finally sink his glove to the wrist in Willard's solar plexus ó and Willard countered and knocked Johnson about ten feet. I saw Johnson catch Willard with a fearful left hook on the chin, and as Willard was hammered over to one side by the blow, lift a swinging right-hander from his knee and catch Willard flush on the other side of the jaw with what looked like a sure knockout punch.
And Willard. With a quick shake of his head, ripped in a body blow that took all the aggressiveness out of Johnson for a couple of rounds. He told me afterward that the swing on the jaw dazed him for a second, but he showed no effect of it. In the Frisco fight Gunboat Smith caught Willard on the jaw with a smashing right swing. The giant didn't totter, but he was so careful afterward that he lost the decision.
Several men have given Fulton a severe shaking. When he was a beginner Al Palzer stopped him. Porky Flynn, never a very hard hitter, is said to have staggered him once at New Orleans. I saw Reich stagger him twice. Miske gave him a hard fight, and Cowler shook him up and dazed him badly in their first, round.
Fulton Come Back Fighting.
There's one thing in Fulton's favor in all this. He comes back very quickly when dazed by a blow, and uses good judgment when in trouble of any kind. He outfought Miske, and he outfought Flynn, and stopped Reich, and knocked out Cowler.
He took Moran's "Mary Ann" without flinching, and quickly stopped Moran. As a punishing hitter Fulton is far ahead of Willard. The champion strikes a terrible blow and is likely to land a one-blow knockout at any time. But Fulton wears his man down quickly and cither knocks him out or has him so helpless after a few rounds that, the fight is stopped. Fulton gave
Reich such a beating in seven rounds that Reieh gave up the game.
He beat Carl Morris until Morris fouled persistently, preferring to lose on a foul rather than take the knock out that was surely coming. He closed both of Sam Langford's eyes, so that Sam quit. He knocked Sam down early in the fight with a left hook, and Sam got up and swung one on Fultonís ear, dazing him. Fulton told me after the fight that he didnít know what had hit him for a moment, but was able to stall Samís next two or three rushes off and take up the lead again. He gave Moran the worst beating Moran ever had in his life, and did it in a couple of rounds.
Bulk Is Willard's Only Advantage.
Willard will have some advantage over Fulton in sheer bulk and strength, an inch or two in height, and if perfectly fit will be a tougher man to hurt. But Fulton is a better hitter, more aggressive, far more willing to take risks and will be driven by ambition instead of a desire to hold something already won.
Willard has a little better defensive build. His neck is thick and short, and his well rounded lower jaw is wide and not too prominent. Fulton's jaw is wide, but projects enough to make an easier mark to bit. A long jaw is more affected by a blow than a. short jaw , a matter of leverage.
Willard has been loafing, while Fulton has been busy fighting the best men he could find.
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