Continued from part I.
Milwaukee fight promoter Frank Mulhern put up a good offer to stage a third match up between Mickey Walker and Jock Malone in “The Brew City,” and Mickey was also in talks to meet light heavyweight champion Mike McTigue, who had also fallen from the good graces of the New York State Athletic Commission for failing to face Gene Tunney, in early 1925.
By the time early December rolled around, the McTigue fight was all but finalized and both Walker and Malone were finishing up preparations to meet once more. The Times-Picayune reporter on hand during their training relayed that Malone had shown an excellent jab in sparring, while Mickey continued on with his smashing style, embodying the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage.
The Oregonian said that Walker won “nine out of ten rounds, according to the majority of newspaper men at the ringside.” Malone boxed too cautiously early on as Mickey piled up points, and a brief slugfest broke out in the 4th that saw Walker briefly stunned, then answer back in kind, and then some. Mickey almost dropped Malone in the 8th and pummeled his body throughout the contest, taking a newspaper decision over 10 rounds and opening the door to taking on McTigue.
Newark was chosen to host the Walker-McTigue bout, and though Mickey saw it as an opportunity to convince Greb that their meeting should happen soon, it was also a rare occasion where a champion would skip a weight class to meet a champion two divisions north. However, since New Jersey still had not yet legalized decision bouts, only McTigue’s title was on the line, and it could only be won if he were stopped.
In the build-up, it was rumored that semi-retired heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey’s manager, Jack “Doc” Kearns, would be taking over Mickey’s career soon, so as to lend a boost to the welterweight champion’s already-skyrocketing status.
Over 10,000 folks watched as Walker consistently took the fight to the defensive-minded McTigue over 12 rounds. The Trenton Evening Times said of the bout, “McTigue enjoyed every physical advantage over Walker, weight, height, reach and experience balancing in his favor, yet it was Walker who made the fight by his aggressiveness and his willingness to carry the fight to McTigue.” The light heavyweight champion “fought a safe and sane fight,” said the Times.
According to the Times-Picayune, Walker predictably battered McTigue’s body and transitioned from upstairs to down nicely, despite McTigue’s efforts to use his forearms, elbows and footwork to stay out of trouble. At the end of round 2, the crowd began throwing objects into the ring to protest what they felt was illegal use of the elbows by the light heavyweight champ. Mickey managed to stun McTigue a number of times early in the bout before action slowed in the middle rounds, and the last couple of stanzas again produced fireworks as the two traded in the middle of the ring, McTigue generally getting the worst of it.
Most press ringside felt Walker won going away, and a few noted post-fight that had the bout taken place in New York, Mickey would have crowned the light heavyweight champion.
Within a week, Mickey was slated to face Bert “The Whittier Bearcat” Colima in Vernon, Calif., just south of downtown Los Angeles in late February, 1925. Even as a number of reporters predicted that business with Kearns would be finalized during the trip, Colima was a tough out from nearby Whittier and had been stopped only twice in 100-plus fights by the time Mickey got hold of him, and promised a battle.
Colima was dropped hard with a hook in the 1st round of the 150 lb., non-title clash, and despite roaring back in the 4th, Walker’s patented body work took its toll over the course of almost 7 rounds, and an uppercut and gut shot flattened Colima. His manager Dutch Meyers entered the ring and tried to splash water on him and apply smelling salts, thus Colima was disqualified. Mickey remarked after the bout that a DQ was unnecessary and that the end was near regardless. For his time, Mickey earned $25,000.
In early May it was officially announced that Kearns would indeed be handling Mickey’s career from then on out, and press realized that Mickey had gone to California with the intention of hooking up with Kearns — even staying at the Hotel Barbara, which Kearns and Dempsey owned.
According to Kearns, on the night they agreed to split everything 50-50 on a handshake, Walker revealed that he had already agreed to fight Greb for the middleweight title in July for a paltry $20,000, much to Kearns’ astonishment. Doc begged Walker to pull out, but Mickey insisted he’d already struck the deal and couldn’t in good conscience go back.
In keeping with their deal, they even went halfsies on the two women Mickey had with him when they met up to do business, and Kearns took one to a room in the hotel.
Mickey was quickly matched with local up-and-comer Lefty Cooper in San Francisco, and upon his arrival with Kearns, they were greeted by a crowd and escorted by city officials to the upscale St. Francis Hotel. In addition to a hero’s welcome, Dreamland ice skating rink, which regularly hosted fights on Fridays, was turned into a gymnasium for Walker’s stay, and fights there were temporarily postponed.
The bout was initially promoted as a title affair (the first in California since 10 round fights were legalized, in fact), but the week prior, Kearns announced via press that Walker’s welterweight title wouldn’t be on the line. Walker’s camp felt the $15,000 guarantee (plus a percentage of the gate) wasn’t enough to risk his belt, and a clause in the fight contract set the limit at 150 lbs.
Said San Diego’s Evening Tribune, “[Walker] did not care to risk his title against such comparative unknowns as Colima and Cooper. A title holder’s prestige, however, requires him to take any bout seriously, and Walker has trained here with the avowed intention of stopping Cooper more quickly, if possible, than Colima.”
Mickey turned intention into reality when he rolled over Cooper, who had sunk to a 7-1 underdog by fight time, in front of 15,000 people in less than a round.
Cooper was badly hurt almost two minutes into the fight by a nasty left hook, and a right hand that followed moments later scrambled his senses and sent him floundering to the canvas. Lefty was counted out by referee Larry McGrath while struggling to get to his feet.
News of Greb vs. Walker went under the radar in comparison to other match ups like Gene Tunney vs. Tommy Gibbons, but promotion was scheduled to kick off in mid-June — the week after Tunney and Gibbons met.
Harry Wills and Dave Shade were added to the NYC Polo Grounds card and the press coverage seemed to increase. The United News reported that George Engle, former manager to Greb, had picked Walker in the bout, saying that Harry was most comfortable against bigger men that he could out-speed and out-maneuver with his awkward and non-stop attack. Additionally, while Mickey was known to have a drink or two, he also trained steadily. Harry Greb, on the other hand, was known for his drunken debauchery and occasional half-assed training, and had actually been involved in some unspecified “nocturnal episode” with police in Pittsburgh following his knockout of Jimmy Nuss a month before the Walker bout.
When Walker and Kearns arrived in New York, neither man was greeted with the same welcome as in San Francisco. The N.Y. commission was especially unhappy with Kearns, who had failed to produce a Jack Dempsey vs. Harry Wills fight. Kearns’ excuse was that politicians continued to block the bout from happening at every attempt, but commissioner Bill Muldoon informed Doc that not only would he not be allowed to work in Walker’s corner for the fight, but also barred from entering the Polo Grounds.
On July 2, the day of the fight, Greb was pegged an odds-on favorite despite news of a tumultuous training camp.
Due to the commission-related tension, Kearns headed over to Lahiff’s Tavern on West 48th St. and listened to the fight on their radio. The three bouts of the card, whose proceeds would go to charity, were fitting appetizers for the main event of Greb and Walker. The crowd of 60,000-plus eagerly anticipated what was sure to be a terrific collision.
Coming off a stint at light heavyweight, Greb was by this time well known for beating Gene Tunney once, and light heavyweight great Tommy Loughran a few times, and he weighed in a good seven pounds heavier than Walker. The size and weight disparity showed early, even if only in spots. Walker drove Greb to the ropes and whipped body shots at the middleweight champion with consistency, but was pushed back by Greb and chopped with right hands in kind. The fight was fought at what the Associated Press called “a maddening pace,” and Walker was briefly brought to a knee by a big right from Greb in round 2.
As rounds wore on, a pattern began to emerge: Walker relentlessly going to Greb’s body, and Greb returning fire to stun Mickey, who would generally answer back with violence.
The Dallas Morning News described the scene in the 5th. “Greb landed his right to Walker’s uncovered jaw, but Walker countered with a harder blow to Greb’s jaw. Blood began to show from Walker’s mouth. They mixed it furiously. They traded body blows at close quarters. Walker landed his left to Greb’s body, but took a stiff right to the body and head in return. They were sparring for an opening as the bell halted the round.”
The consensus seemed to be that Greb was the stronger, harder-punching guy who was able to lead Walker around the ring, with Mickey lashing out like a cornered animal and managing to stun the larger champ. Otherwise, they took turns crashing hard shots at each other and were both wobbled on numerous occasions. Unfortunately for Mickey, his skin told a different tale, and by the last third of the fight, he was bleeding from his mouth, nose and ears.
In the 7th, referee Eddie Purdy fell to the canvas, dislocating his knee while attempting to break one of the many clinches that resulted from the two brutes colliding. The injury actually may have affected the action itself, as Purdy wound up using the ropes, and at times even the fighters, to hold himself up.
Going into the last few rounds, Walker appeared the worse for wear and was reportedly visibly shaken by many of Greb’s right hands, despite generally being able to storm right back into the fight and fend “The Pittsburgh Windmill” off.
Mickey threatened to seize momentum in the 11th, sending Greb across the ring with a right-left combination, bringing the crowd to its feet and closing the round battling him fiercely. Again in the 12th Mickey did well, rocking Greb early in the round and finishing the round in the clinch, doing his patented body work.
Greb came back in 13 and Walker’s eye began to swell terribly. In the 14th, “a stinging right to the jaw rocked Walker to his own corner and he reeled about the ring helpless against Greb’s furious attack. He was almost out, but he pulled himself together and staggered Greb with a short left to the face.” The rest of the round saw Mickey simply proving toughness, though, with the bell saving him from further punishment.
Cut over his left eye and his face covered in blood, Walker was again hurt early in the 15th and final round, but immediately went berserk and forced Greb to cover up in a corner for a spell. The two went toe-to-toe for the remainder of the round, all but spent by the final bell.
The decision went to Greb, who many ringside observers actually had behind going into the 11th round. But the crowd offered nothing but cheers for the men who harnessed chaos in the ring.
This defeat marked the first loss for Mickey after almost three years, following a 27 fight win streak.
Walker and Greb’s business wasn’t through, however, and the two ran into each other a few times again that night, the final meeting supposedly producing a brawl that would become something of a boxing legend.
According to Doc Kearns’ account in Sports Illustrated a few decades later, Mickey met up with him at Lahiff’s after the fight. Downtrodden and both of his eyes almost swollen closed, Mickey barely saw Greb walk into the tavern and over to their table, where a brief back-and-forth verbal exchange took place — mostly in jest. Greb walked away, and Walker and Kearns left and hit a few bars on the way to the glitzy Manhattan nightclub, The Silver Slipper.
What happened next has been the subject of much speculation and numerous tall tales, but both Walker and Kearns claimed that Mickey saw Greb across the club with a lady, sat down at their table and attempted to hit on Harry’s date. The two then squared up and headed outside, and when Greb began to remove his coat, Mickey belted him with a right hand that sent him fumbling into the street. They began tussling but were broken up when a police officer approached.
But according to number of Greb’s acquaintances like Happy Albacker, the “fight” either never took place, or wasn’t more than some shoving.
The rumor was free publicity though, and a rematch was a natural. But by the end of the week, Kearns and Walker were ordered to appear in front of the N.Y. commission to iron out when and where a welterweight title defense against David Shade could be made. Kearns had additional business in New York, though, as he would attempt to reconcile with Jack Dempsey, with whom he had recently split, and finalize a bout with Harry Wills with the commission.
With neither in any hurry to appease New York officials, a fight against Bermondsey Billy Wells was booked for Aug. 7 in Chicago. Wells was billed as the British welterweight champion, though there’s no record of him ever holding the title.
Rain postponed the bout the day of, and the rescheduled meeting on the 10th was canceled when it was discovered Wells had left Chicago and gone to New York. Promoter James Mullen was forced to return over $20,000 in advance receipts and Wells’ manager Charles Harvey made no excuses for his man, claiming he’d simply skipped town without notice.
About a week later a replacement bout against Sailor Friedman was finalized for Chicago. Over 8,000 appeared to see Walker take a newspaper decision over 10 tougher-than-anticipated rounds. Mickey sent Friedman through the ropes with a short right hand in the 1st and cruised until the 8th, where Friedman seemed to recover and exhibit a sense of urgency. Sailor pounded Mickey into a corner, then stunned him once each in the last two rounds.
Said the Evening Tribune, “So thrilling were the last three rounds of milling that one spectator of the 8500 present, collapsed and died, presumably of heart disease.”
In late August, it was reported that Mickey had signed a promotional contract with Tex Rickard and would defend the welterweight title, for the first time in almost a year, against David Shade at Yankee Stadium for $100,000 in late September. Former Dempsey trainer Teddy Hayes was shipped up to New York for the sole purpose of readying Walker for Shade.
Shade discussed his strategy before the bout with Chicago sports writer Sam Hall. “Walker, you know, tries to whip his men with stomach punches. If he aims to do that to me he certainly will have to crouch with me and fight very low or there will be nobody for him to shoot at. If he stands up straight, which is his style, then he will have to hit down at me in the crouch and that won’t be so good for him. If he crouches he will be meeting me at my own game.”
The “crouch” Shade kept referring to was the style he used to befuddle Jimmy Slattery en route to a KO3 on the undercard of Greb vs. Walker.
Walker was a consensus 6-5 favorite going in, and despite Shade’s proposed plan, he stood toe-to-toe with Walker for much of the encounter. Needless to say, Mickey likely had a say in how the bout unfolded and forced the action more often than not. After losing a number of early rounds, Walker kicked it into high gear and began to clearly win exchanges, according to most ringside observers. Though Walker finished much stronger in a dynamite 15th round, he settled for a split verdict among the three judges.
The show traveled back to the Newark Armory for the first time in a few years, where Mickey rematched Sailor Friedman on Thanksgiving Eve of ’25, and this time with his title on the line, but only by DQ or KO as New Jersey still didn’t allow bouts to go to decision.
Walker killed the body early on as usual, and Friedman was staggered and swarmed viciously in the 7th, but weathered the storm and fought well in the final two rounds. Mickey was the consensus winner among ringside scorers, with 10 rounds on his side and two even.
If Kearns is to be believed, he and Mickey “painted the whole town” and were “kindred spirits,” always willing to share a dozen or two drinks with each other — sometimes in the company of such known ne’er-do-wells as Jack “Legs” Diamond.
In February of 1926, local Scranton promoters Nat Strauss and Jim Frawley offered Walker $30,000 to fight Pete Latzo again, which was accepted by Walker’s camp a few days later. Although Walker was almost ordered by the New York commission to face Tommy Milligan, British welterweight champion, another Walker vs. Latzo fight was scheduled for mid-May.
Latzo was considered the local kid, and the Canton Repository reported, “Prayers are being offered at Greek Catholic and Slavish churches in the anthracite region that Latzo may wrest the title from Walker.”
Once again training at home in Rumson, rumors surfaced that Mickey was having difficulty making the welterweight limit, but his camp quickly denied them.
After holding the welterweight title for almost three and a half years, over 12,000 folks at the Col. Watres Armory in Scranton, PA witnessed Mickey Walker become an ex-champion at the hands of Latzo on May 20, 1926.
Walker appeared to win the first three rounds on aggression and body work, but was hurt in the 4th and being pounded on in the corner when the bell sounded. Mickey opened up a cut under Latzo’s right eye in the 5th, reportedly winning the remainder of the round with ruthless stomach shots. From then on though, Mickey’s punches seemed to lose their steam, and Latzo was willing to pick up the slack. The 10th and last round was a terrific finish, both men trading at will, with Latzo getting the better.
The Associated Press reported that the average tally at ringside was a 5-3-2 score in rounds for Latzo on the strength of his stinging overhand rights and unreal will to win.
A rematch was offered by Latzo and his team after the fight essentially as proper protocol, but Mickey would say that with the weight of the title off his shoulders, he wouldn’t be particular about his opponents nor purses on his way back to again seizing the title.
Instead, in early June Mickey agreed to face Joe Dundee, who was fresh off a points win over contender Willie Harmon, at Madison Square Garden on the 17th. An injury to one of Walker’s thumbs in training postponed the bout for a week, though.
12,000 fans witnessed what many believed was the demise of Walker, as despite winning the 1st round in expected fashion, Mickey faded round by round and was gashed over his left eye badly in the 4th. Blood streaming from his face and pawing at his eye in clinches, Walker’s defense crumbled and referee Eddie Forbes stopped the fight after Mickey took a huge right hand to the cut towards the end of the 8th round. “The Toy Bulldog” protested the stoppage with head held high, but was halted inside the distance for the first time since his 1919 bout against Phil Delmont.
Kearns later said Walker told him he was “finished” with boxing, though to press Mickey would only say he was taking a five-month vacation from the sport to work in a Maine lumber camp.
And again according to Kearns, Doc sat Mickey down a few days after Tunney vs. Dempsey I in late September and convinced him that his recent struggles were due to having to make weight, and that he’d be more successful at middleweight. Doc quoted Mickey as replying, “O.K., Doc. We’ll give it a try the way you say. But I’ve got to name one condition. You’ve got to get me the toughest you can find in the middleweight division. I’ll tell you why. If I can’t beat a good fighter, I got no business fighting.”
Additionally, Mickey would later say he didn’t think Paddy Mullins, Pete Latzo’s manager, would give them a rematch and a shot at regaining the title, and largely due to the failings of the Kearns and Mullins’ attempts to match their fighters Dempsey and Harry Wills, respectively.
Kearns matched Mickey against Shuffle Callahan in Chicago for his “comeback,” and the former champ battered Callahan about the ring until the end of the 5th, when Shuffle’s manager Eddie Kane threw in the towel for his man.
A return to staying busy saw Walker fight Joe Simonich in Philadelphia about a month later, and despite decking Mickey in the 1st round, Simonich was mugged en route to a rough decision loss over 10 rounds.
Jock Malone got a shot at evening a series with Mickey at two wins apiece in late November, but Mickey out-pointed him in 10 on a relatively small card in Boston that basically went under the radar.
On the same day in Chicago, recently-deceased Harry Greb’s middleweight successor, Tiger Flowers, scored a points win over Eddie Huffman. Kearns scheduled a meeting with Tiger’s manager Walker Miller at the champion’s house one the South Side of Chicago. Kearns claimed that he was able to talk them into granting Mickey a shot at the middleweight title in early December for a $50,000 guarantee, but not without basically tricking them into believing Walker was washed up and ready to retire.
The 11,000 people who showed up made for a record Chicago gate at somewhere around $90,000.
Walker sent Flowers, the first black champion since Jack Johnson, to the canvas in the 1st, but was cut over his left eye again in the 4th and had difficulty seeing in the middle rounds. Mickey seemed to make up for it a bit with a knockdown in the 9th and by hurting the champion in the 10th and final round, but when Mickey was declared the new champion by referee and sole judge Benny Yanger, most ringside observers seemed to disagree. Copeland C. Burg of the International News Service even suggested that other scribes had overheard officials saying the fight was “in the bag” the week prior.
Though the Illinois Commission declared a “probe” of the verdict the next day, Flowers’ camp kept protests to a minimum and simply looked forward to a rematch in the very near future. However, the next morning at breakfast, Mickey was quote as saying, “I do not want the title unless I won it fairly. I think I did do that. But, anyway, I will give Flowers a return bout just as soon as he wants it and I don’t care where we fight. How about Timbuctoo — ain’t that a place in Africa? Anyway, I think I beat Flowers last night, and I can do it again.”
Within a week the referee’s decision was upheld, though the controversy seemed to push Illinois to changing its system to two separate judges and a referee tie-breaker if necessary.
In early February, Mickey went to Fresno to face hapless pug Mickey Wallace in a non-title affair. Last minute issues forced the state commissioner to iron out details of whether or not the fight was fair enough to take place and weight stipulations, but ultimately business moved forward and Walker stopped Wallace in 3.
Kearns received an offer from now British middleweight champion Tommy Milligan’s representatives for a June 30, 1927 title defense in London for a $110,000 guarantee. He accepted, and he and Mickey took off for a boat to England, on which they essentially partied and gambled the whole time.
In London, Mickey was treated to a high-class training facility and visits from local celebrities. And in another yarn of Kearns’, the fight’s promoter Charles B. Cochran challenged him to a wager of 3-1 odds against Mickey’s entire purse after they’d been tricked into believing Walker was drinking heavily and not training.
Come fight night on June 30, Milligan proved to be a tough and game foe. The Associated Press summed the fight up as follows: “It was a battle of speed against punch and the wallop won.” Milligan began by out-speeding Walker in early rounds, but Mickey’s pace quickened in the 5th and he was able to drop the Scot twice in the 7th, twice in the 9th, and for the final time in the 10th, all from right hands.
After returning from a post-fight Europe excursion, Cleveland promoter Walter Taylor set up a bout against hard-hitting prospect Wilson Yarbo. In front of over 10,000 people at the Taylor Bowl in Cleveland, Yarbo stunned Mickey early in the 1st round, then ate leather for the remaining 11 and left the ring a mess after losing a decision.
Walker and Kearns then traveled to Chicago to catch the Tunney vs. Dempsey “Long Count” rematch in late September and wound up staying to book a few fights. The first was another go-round with former light heavyweight champion Mike McTigue, who had lost his belt to Paul Berlenbach immediately after fighting Mickey the first time. But McTigue didn’t last a round with Mickey in Chicago. After swarming the bigger man and decking him four times, McTigue’s corner tossed their sponge into the ring, ending the fight at just over two minutes in. Notably, the referee for their bout was Dave Barry, who actually administered the famed “Long Count.”
Days later it was announced Mickey would fight again at the end of November against Berlenbach, who had of course since lost his belt. Initially set for somewhere in California, the bout settled in Chicago, much to the delight of Kearns, who was chums with Al Capone.
Nine thousand fans jammed the Coliseum in the “Windy City” and by round 4 of the bout, Mickey had dropped Berlenbach twice with hooks, but slowed considerably towards the end of the 10 round fight. Regardless, most observers said Walker had done enough to win every round on the cards, and he was awarded a points decision.
The following day, press reported that both Walker and Kearns had been placed on the New York Commission’s “ineligible list” for failing to respond to a title challenge from Oklahoma guy George Courtney.
Between fights the National Boxing Association suspended Mickey indefinitely, but a non-tile match against Texan journeyman Cowboy Jack Willis was scheduled for late February, 1928 back in San Francisco.
A sell-out crowd of about 12,000 people watched as Mickey struggled through the first few rounds, getting staggered by a hook-right hand combo in the 3rd. Walker turned the tide in the 4th with the help of some well-placed low blows that drew warnings from referee Toby Irwin, and also won round 5 handily. In the 6th Cowboy’s sniffer began gushing blood, but he clawed his way back into the round by viciously going after the champion, hurting him again and opening a cut over his right eye. “In the seventh they mauled each other unmercifully and the fans howled with delight,” reported the Dallas Morning News, but Walker began beating Willis up in 8 and 9. However, in Mickey Walker fashion, the 10th round closed with furious exchanges.
Though Walker took the points decision, Willis’ effort was lauded by most Associated Press reports, and many felt the bout was at least very close.
In early April a deal was struck between Jim Mullen and Kearns for Mickey to fight Ace Hudkins in a Chicago title defense in June. But business for Mickey was suspended briefly so Kearns could attend to his lawsuit against Jack Dempsey that would be taking place a few weeks after the fight was signed.
Mickey fought a few times beforehand though, beating George Smith and Tony Marullo in May, then a title defense against familiar foe Jock Malone in St. Paul in early June. According to the A.P., Malone took one round of 10, wobbling Mickey in the 5th, but the rest went to Walker, who swarmed Malone and wouldn’t let up.
The Hudkins fight at Comiskey Park in Chicago was a grimy tussle in front of about 30,000 fans, most cheering for “The Nebraska Wildcat” Ace. Seattle Daily Times reported Robert Edgren reported from Chicago that Hudkins did as much striking with his head as he did with the leather, ramming Walker all over the ring and mauling him in a forced clinch in the early rounds, though Mickey wasn’t without his moments despite being cut on the nose in the 1st and over the right eye in the 2nd . Finally in the 4th and 5th Walker broke through with a few stinging shots to the chin, but Hudkins never relented, pinning the top of his head to Mickey’s throat and swinging wildly at him with his forearms, elbows, palms, wrists…and the occasional punch.
By the end of a frenetic 10th round, Hudkins was cut over both eyes in a few spots and his nose bled freely. The crowd booed the judges, who both scored the bout for the champion, and cheered referee Eddie Purdy, who scored it for Hudkins.
Mickey had officially defended his middleweight title three times, but away from the ring, he and Kearns tore through piles of money and stacks of women, even with Mickey’s second child still cooking.
He fought twice in the next eight months, the first tilt being a KO7 over light-hitting Armand Emanuel in San Francisco, followed by another meeting with Cowboy Willis in the same city for a 10 round points win in February, 1929.
Scant rumors floated about that a 45 round fight between Mickey and light heavyweight champion Tommy Loughran would be held in Mexico, but that idea never came to fruition. Instead, the two met for Loughran’s title, christening Chicago Stadium on March 28th. With a win, Walker would become the first fighter to hold legitimate titles in three different divisions.
20,000 fans got to see Mickey in more of a stylist match-up than they were used to, the mood even being carried through by a jazz band playing between rounds. Overall, Loughran used his poleaxe jab and clever footwork to out-maneuver and evade Walker for the majority of the 10 round fight. Only once in the 5th round did Mickey catch Loughran big, and the shot had Tommy glassy-eyed for the remainder of the round. After that point, however, Loughran went back to work, occasionally trading with the smaller man towards the end of the fight.
The two judges scored it for Loughran, the referee for Walker, who made $50,000 for having his three-divisional dream shattered.
Though the fight set records for indoor attendance and gate receipts in Chicago to that point, after having agreed to pay undercard scrappers from his own purse, Loughran only wound up with $4,000 for the defense of his title. Kearns later alleged a deal had been offered for Mickey to make more money in losing than in winning, but according to Doc, they never took it, and Mickey lost honestly.
Mickey took time off to try and repair his broken home life, but was instead greeted with divorce papers after arriving home.