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Old Gladiator of Prize Ring Dies
Suddenly of Heart Trouble at
Massachusetts Home
Had Made and Spent a Fortune
Spent Later Part of Life as
Temperance Orator

_ Abington, Mass., Feb. 2 - John L.
Sullivan, one of the most interesting
figures of prize ring renown, died sud-
denly of heart disease at his farm in
West Abington today. As was his wish,
he died with his shoes on. Although
stricken with heart trouble three
weeks ago, he quickly improved
and was in no sense an invalid. He
was about to leave his house today to
pay a visit to Boston to see his old
friend, Captain James P. Sullivan, of
the Boston police department, when he
received his final knockout.
_ His friend and companion, George
M. Bush, rushed to his side as the old
gladiator sank to the floor uncon-
scious, and revived him with cold wa-
ter applications to the head.
_ John L.," responding quickly to this
treatment, as in his palmy days in the
prize ring, struggled to his feet and
refused to take the decilson of time.
He reluctantly consented to have a
physician called, but after receiving
medical treatment, announced that he
would have a bath and keep his ap-
pointment. Even as he expressed his
determination he became unconscious
and died apparently without further
_ The body will be taken to the home
of his sister in Boston, where funeral
services will be held Wednesday

_ Many Messages of Sympathy

_ Hardly had the news of the passing
of one of America's greatest fistic
champions been flashed broadcast,
than messages of sympathy began
pouring into town from men in
all walks of life. Sullivan, in his
prime, was a popular idol and he
never entirely lost his hold on the
public. This was due not only to the
success of his old prize fighting days,
but to his rugged battle later against
his old easy-going habits.
_ John Laurence Sullivan was one of
the most picturesque characters in
the history of prizefighting. For more
than 10 years, from the time he de-
feated Paddy Ryan in 1882, in a bare-
knuckle fight under the London
Prize Ring Rules, until he was de-
feated by James J. Corbett, in 1892,
his personality and methods of fight-
ing completely dominated sporting
circles in the United States.
_ In the annals of pugilism in this
country two notable distinctions were
his: He was the last champion under
the London prize ring rules, and he
was the first native-born American
to succeed to the world's championship.
It was largely through his achieve-
ments that the championship title was
made a prize of great monetary value.
In the early days of his career $1,000
a side was looked on as a great sum.
He received only $53 for the foght that
made him a national character in fisti-
cuffs and won him the right to chal-
lenge Paddy Ryan for the champion-
_ His friends ranged all the way from
the ordinary 'fight fan' to many men of
social and financial distiction in the
United States, and it is said he was
on chumming terms with the late
King Edward VII of England.
_ He began his fighting career soon
after he was seventeen, when as the
"Boston Strong Boy" he took part in
amateur boxing contests in several
cities in Massachusetts, if Sullivan's
customary procedure in his early
youth could be called boxing. Tactics,
strategy, plans of campaigns were all
swept away when John L. hammered
his ruthless, undeviating way to the
front. His style was atavistic, a re-
turn to the simple, primitive principle
of battering an opponent into insensi-
bility. His success, coupled with his
free manners, a certain social triumph
and his subsequent position as a semi-
public character proclaimed him a sort
of dignitary in the sporting world.

_ Beat Paddy Ryan in Nine Rounds

_ After his nine-round fight with Paddy
Ryan, on the strip of greensward on
the Gulf of Mexico, the word "knock-
out" was manufactured by Billy Mad-
den, Sullivan's trainer, to describe the
effect of his blows when properly de-
_ His hardest fight was with Jake Kil-
rain. It was fought near New Orleans
and lasted for seventy-five rounds.
That was the last championship contest
in the United States to be fought with
bare knuckles, under the old rules.
_ That fight practically decided the
uselessness of trying to beat Sullivan
by combatting him in his own sledge
hammer style. A thirty-nine round
fight with Charley Mitchell, a wary and
skillful boxer, seemed to show fighting
managers that the great John L. might
be vulnerable to a man who could box
well and stay with him long enough
to wear him down. The opportunity to
try this method on the champion fell to
James J. Corbett. The purse was the
largest ever put up in a ring battle up
to that time. The purse was $25,000
and the stakes $20,000. The fight that
was to end John L's championship was
fought before the Olympic club, of
New Orleans. When the fight was over
there was a new champion of the
world. Sullivan was thirty-four at the
time of his defeat.
_ Sullivan said himself that he made
two millions in the fighting business
and spent one million of it in buying
drinks for himself and his host of

_ Blamed Liquor for His Downfall

_ "John L." always attributed his loss
of the championship to Corbett by a
knockout in New Orleans September
7, 1892, to liquor. He had made a
fortune in the prize ring and had
spent it, when friends tendered
him a benefit concert in Boston to put
him on his feet again. The money ob-
tained from this venture went also
according to his ruling habit and then
Sullivan's old fighting spirit reassert-
ed itself, and he announced that he
had entered the list against John
Barleycorn for a fight to the finish.
_ The public regarded this challenge
with interest, but John L. battled
with John Barleycorn as he had with
all his opponents. He forced the fight-
ing, as it were. He proclaimed his
defiance of drink from platforms
throughout the country and held him-
self up to the youth as a horrible ex-
ample of what drink would do. He
never let up in his aggressive fight
against liquor, and frequently left his
farm here for long temperance speak-
ing tours.
_ He was 59 years old when he was
counted out. He had often expressed
regret that he was too old to go with
the boys over seas, but he was not too
old to do his bit. He never declined an
invitation to speak at a flag raising or
recruiting rally or in behalf of the
Liberty loan.

Ohio State Journal 1918
FEBRUARY 3. 1918

Ohio State Journal 1918
FEBRUARY 3. 1918

FEBRUARY 2, 1918

FEBRUARY 3, 1918

FEBRUARY 3, 1918

Historic boxing newspapers and articles.