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New York Herald

Thursday, October 21, 1858
John Morrissey vs John Heenan


The Combat of Morrissey and
Heenan for the Championship

Special Dispatch to the
New York Herald

BUFFALO, Oct. 21 - 2:40 A.M.

_ The fight between John Morrissey and John Heenan, the Benicia Boy, came off yesterday afternoon at Long Point, Canada, between seventy and eighty miles from Buffalo. Eleven terrific rounds were fought in twenty-two minutes, when Morrissey was declared the victor.
_ A more severe fight for the time it lasted never took place in this country. Morrissey was the favorite at one hundred to sixty.
_ About two thousand persons witnessed the fight, who behaved themselves in the most orderly manner, and everything passed off very quietly.
_ Morrissey was seconded by Kelly, of Australia, and an assistant.
_ The Benicia Boy was seconded by Aaron Jones, an English pugilist, and Johnny Mackey.
_ Persons from all parts of the United States and Canada were present to witness the fight. Heenan had the best of the fight at the commencement, but after the fifth round Morrissey took the lead and kept it. He has improved greatly in his style since his fight with Yankee Sullivan.


_ At twenty-four minutes past three o'clock the fight began. Morrissey looked more muscular than in any of his previous fights. He seemed very confident. Heenan's form was beautiful, but his condition did not appear up to the mark, his skin being very sallow. At the scratch both men put themselves in fine positions, and after sparring for a moment Morrissey struck out twice without reaching Heenan. They then got to work, Heenan putting in his left three or four times in succession, following Morrissey up to the ropes, where they clinched and fought desperately, both doing their best. They broke away, and hit for hit followed, Heenan's hitting being very strong and effective, Morrissey getting the worst of the fighting. They again clinched, and after fighting for some time, putting in a number of body blows, Morrissey got a lock on Heenan, which the latter broke, and getting his leg behind Morrissey threw him heavily. In this round Heenan, having outfought Morrissey, gained the event, that of drawing first blood, which was loudly claimed for him. Great cheering for the Benicia Boy. The round lasted six minutes, and was terrific from beginning to end.


_ Both men came up blowing from the fatigue of the last round, it being one of the severest ever fought in this country; but they were no sooner at the scratch than they went to work, Heenan getting in a left twice on Morrissey's nose, drawing the blood in profusion. They then went to work, giving and taking, Morrissey receiving the most punishment. Heenan fought in such a masterly manner that doubts were entertained about Morrissey's being able to stand such hitting long. It is true that he planted several good hits, but they were not so effective as those of the Benicia Boy. He took the punishment manfully, never flinching an inch, getting in occasionally on Heenan's neck and ribs. They clinched, and as they struggled for the fall Heenan placed his hand across the face of Morrissey, when "foul" was cried, but not noticed by the referees. During the struggle they went down together, Heenan on Morrissey.


_ As soon as the men reached the fighting began in earnest, Morrissey leading off, but falling short, while Heenan planted two terrible blows with his right hand on Morrissey's face, making indelible marks severe contusions. He also put in a few with his left on Morrissey's nose. Still Morrissey was not idle, getting in two or three effective left hands hits on the mouth and nose, and a severe one on Heenan's left kidney. They fought to a clinch with about equal success, when Morrissey threw Heenan heavily and fell on him. Morrissey's friends now began to cheer up, as their hopes began to brighten.


_ Heenan, when he came to the scratch, looked very fatigued, dropping his hands below the waist, which so elated Morrissey's friends that the odds were again at the old standard - one hundred to sixty. As the men came together Heenan hit Morrissey a tremendous blow on the nose which staggered him, but as Heenan followed Morrissey planted a still more terrific one on Heenan's nose, which spirited the blood from his nose all over the breast and neck. Both men were now covered with blood, which was flowing from several wounds on each of their faces. They soon fought to a clinch, when Morrissey, being the stronger man, threw Heenan and fell on top of him. It was now evident that the Benica Boy had been fighting too fast, and was showing conclusive signs of weakness.


_ They both appeared at the scratch badly beaten, Morissey's face showing the greatest punishment. Heenan's hands were down, and his legs were shaking from weakness. As soon as they met, Morrissey hit Heenan a heavy blow on the forehead, which staggered him, and twisted him half way round. He came back leading with his left, which was stopped, and Morrissey countered him terrifically on the nose again, drawing the claret in greater quantities. Heenan fought very wildly, getting his left hand around Morrissey's neck; but again Morrissey was with him, and gave him hit for hit, finishing the round by a clean knock-down blow. One hundred to twenty offered on Morrissey, and no taker.


_ Morrissey came up surprisingly strong, while Heenan was growing weaker and weaker, and showed evident signs of defeat. Morrissey led off with his left, reaching Heenan's nose, Heenan returning his left and right, which staggered Morrissey, and they then both stopped fighting and looked at each other for about half a minute, when Morrissey began to fight with renewed energy, planting his left hand on Heenan's neck heavily, then stopping two or three well meant ones of Heenan, which would have done mischief had they reached home. Heenan fought very wildly, and missed a number of blows, although he got in some on Morrissey's head. The round was closed by Morrissey clinching him and giving him a severe upper cut with his right hand, then throwing him and falling on him.


_ Morrissey again took the initiative, and gave Heenan a sharp hit on the mouth and another on the neck - Heenan getting in two staggling hits on Morrissey's face, which was by this time dreadfully disfigured. Heenan was also much injured about the nose and mouth, and was bleeding very much. His weakness, together with his despairing look - for it was evident that his strength had left him, and he was fast failing - was discouraging to his friends. Morrissey, on the other hand, seemed to be getting stronger, showing the hardest hitting. He delivered more effective hits in this round than Heenan, and put in two or three heavy hits on Heenan's kidneys, which hurt Heenan very badly. The round closed with a clinch, and by Morrissey throwing Heenan. Some cries of "foul" were heard as Morrissey's hand accidentally passed over Heenan's face in the struggle.


_ Heenan came up to the scratch staggering, his hands hanging by his side, waiting for the attack, but with no seeming disposition to hasten it, while Morrissey went up to his work with a great deal of courage. Heenan, after a pass from Morrissey, put in two blows with his right, and received in return six or eight hits from Morrissey in the face and body, some of which where very severe. Heenan's blows seemed to have lost their force now, and had little effect on Morrissey's adamantine head. The round closed with Heenan falling from exhaustion.


_ Heenan seemed all aboard. He waited for Morrissey to come to him, and seemed to fight from compulsion alone. He struck out several times without hitting his antagonist, turning completely round with his blows, giving Morrissey great chance of punishing him and finishing the fight; but the latter was not sharp enough to follow up his advantage. Morrissey, however, got in some clever hits, and finally knocked Heenan down with a right hander on the neck.


_ The hitting in this round was altogether in favor of Morrissey, although the number of blows was about even, an nearly all about the head. Heenan's blows had no force at all. After a clinch Heenan was thrown.


_ Heenan came up staggering, and looked pitiful, the fight being entirely out of him from Morrissey's severe hitting in the latter part of the fight. He was hardly able to stand up, and when Morrissey went up to him his guard went down, and Morrissey hit him a very severe blow on the jugular, which knocked him out of time, and he fell on his face, Morrissey stepping away from him.
_ And thus ended the fight for the championship of America.
_ Morrissey, at the end of the fight, jumped over the ropes and walked to the house, while Heenan did not recover his consciousness for half an hour after the fight was over.
_ Morrissey says this is his last fight, and it is to be hoped he will keep his word.


_ The fighting and gambling fraternity were all agog yesterday. From an early hour in the evening until past midnight the spirit of the prize ring was prevalent in every bar room, bowling alley and billiard saloon in the city. Morrissey and Heenan were immortalized; and, in the eyes of the "fancy," there were no such important personages now extant as the individuals already named. The crowds around the various newspaper offices labored under an intense state of excitement at every false alarm which was circulated concerning the all absorbing topic of the day. Newsboys took advantage of the fever and palmed off any number of ancient extras without the slightest difficulty. Pickpockets and counterfeiters also took advantage of this chance and reaped a bountiful harvest. We heard of one gentleman who lost a gold watch and chain, valued at $275, and another a breast pin valued at $125. How many others suffered at the hands of the thieves it is impossible to estimate. It was hoped that the news of the fight would reach this city about seven o'clock P.M., but the "fancy" were doomed to be disappointed. Nevertheless, they kept up under this and many other difficulties until the news did arrive, and then may be there wasn't a reaction. The friends and admirers of Morrissey and Heenan were equally sanguine and willing to double the bets, even up to the last hour. A great deal of money changed hands, and many of the most knowing ones lost heavily. As eleven o'clock drew nigh the newsboys got up a torch light (paper) procession, and paraded the streets, shrieking at the tops of their voices - "Three cheers for Morrissey!" or "three cheers for the Benicia Boy," just as they felt inclined. It would have been hard to decide which of the modern gladiators had the most friends. At one time the child of Benicia was on every man's tongue, then it changed, and Morrissey was the favorite against all odds. On several occasions the feeling between the Morrissey and Heenan men grew warm, and any number of "set-tos" were had upon the sidewalks. The newsboys (innocent creatures) joined in the factional spirit, fought mimic battles, and made so much noise that even the police were kept awake. If the thoughtless youths had kept up the clamor until daylight, we would like to know what would have become of the poor policemen. Deprived of their usual nap they would feel so chagrined that no doubt many of them would resign their situations in disgust.

New York Herald

OCTOBER 22, 1858


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