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WBA Title Bouts
George Gardner CH (41-9-2) vs Jack Root #5 (34-14)
Gardner elects to make a relatively "safe" title defense versus the aging veteran, Jack Root, whom he was defeated twice before. Initial rounds see the normal feeling-out process. Round 3, Gardner steps inside to force the action while Root was ineffective from long-range. Another big round for the Champ in Round 4, as Root is just not quick enough to avoid Gardner's attack. Trailing badly, Root moved inside in round 6, and he has some good moments when he lands a straight right that stuns the Irishman, who covers up to last the round. A pumped-up Root becomes even more aggressive in round 7, and Gardner more defensive. Root's exertions lead to early fatigue, and Gardner uses slick defense and ring movement to pile up a huge lead in the middle rounds. Boring, but effective! Root's right eye starts to swell in round 11, hindering him even more. Gardner builds up even more points in the late rounds en route to an easy win. Gardner by UD 15.
George Gardner CH (42-10-2) vs Jack "Twin" Sullivan #2 (32-14)
Gardner, after an unsuccessful foray into the HW ranks (where he was hammered in two rounds by Sam Langford), defends his LH against a former champ and top-notch opponent, Jack "Twin" Sullivan. Gardner is confident, however, given his 3-0 lifetime record versus Sullivan (most recent win a KO 9 to wrest the crown late in 1908). Sullivan starts well, scoring in the initial round and following up with a move inside to inflict more damage in round 2. More of the same in Round 3 as Gardner retreats into a defensive shell to ward off the challenger's attack. Gardner a bit more aggressive in rounds 4 and 5, but strong counterpunching by Sullivan kept both rounds close. Both work outside in round 6, and Gardner finds it more to his liking. Sullivan back inside in rounds 7 and 8, but Gardner holds his own. Gardner suddenly leaps at the challenger in round 9, and Sullivan sustains a cut and some swelling over his right eye. The Champ pressed the attack in the next round, re-opening the cut. Punch-count stats favored the challenger in rounds 11 and 12, but Gardner remained optimistic as Sullivan's corner was worried about the cut re-opening. When Gardner came out more aggressively in the 13th, it paid off as the cut was re-opened once again and this time the bout was stopped. Gardner by TKO 13 (cut).
NABF: Leo Houck regained the crown he held briefly back in 1904 as a 15-year old, defeating John Wille (UD 12) and defending four times in 1909, versus Jack Sullivan (TKO 9), Wille (draw 12), Wille again (UD 12) and Root (UD 12).
USBA: Title vacated by Houck after he won NABF crown. Charlie Haghey downed Fred Cooley (UD 12) to take the vacant title, but then Twin Sullivan defeated Cooley via SD 12 in his first defense.
CBU: TC Chuck Carrick won the title vacated by Jeremy McWatt (who retired from the ring), downing TC Paul Healey of Canada (SD 12) and fellow British TC Calvin Simpson (UD 12).
GBU: Carrick defended only once, winning a MD 12 over long-time rival, fellow TC Clifford Marvine.
EBU: No real action as Gardner, the EBU champ, was busy defending his WBA belt.
Jan 1910 Rankings (perf pts and changes from prior year in parens)
Champ: George Gardner 43-10-2 (29) (848) (NC)
1. Leo Houck 24-5-8 (10) (925) (up 2)
2. John Wille 30-7-3 (18) (799) (down 1)
3. Jack Sullivan 32-15 (16) (741) (down 1)
4. Charlie Haghey 27-16-2 (22) (551) (NC)
5. *Chuck Carrick 22-18-1 (6) (450) (up 2)
6. Jack Root 34-16-1 (25) (370) (down 1)
7. Fred Cooley 21-8-1 (15) (256) (up 2)
8. *Lee Harmon 21-21 (6) (182) (up 2)
9. *Hank Newhart 9-6 (2) (148) (new)
10. *Clifford Marvine 21-23-4 (3) (115) (up 2)
*=denotes a fictional TC or Trial Horse type boxer.
The already thin ranks of the LH division got thinner in 1909 as Charles (Kid) McCoy dropped down to the MW division and top TC Jeremy McWatt hung up the gloves (actually I overwrote him accidentally but heck, it was time for him to go!). Rumor has it that former champ and all-time great Phila Jack O'Brien will return to the division in 1910, and there are some fine prospects coming up the ranks (see paragraph below). The top guys are already starting to show some age, Gardner is at Post-Prime, Root is at End as is TC Marvine. Houck, who is the top-rated LH as far as perf pts goes, has five wins and two draws in his last 7 bouts, and appears as the prime contender for a WBA Title shot. John Wille rebounded to win three in a row after his loss to Houck. Carrick was won four in a row, albeit all versus weak TC competition. Haghey is on a downslide, losing his last two. Root, who may retire soon, was winless in 1909, losing three and drawing one. Cooley is an erratic performer who is unlikely to pose a serious title threat. No fighters retired in 1909 unless you count TCs like McWatt, which I don't.
Top prospect Jack "The Giant Killer" Dillon was cruising along in his initial bouts until he suffered a hand injury, forcing his retirement and a TKO loss to TC Hank Newhart. His record now stands at 9-1 (7). French ace Georges Carpentier is 7-0, all 7 by KO. Bob McAllister and Howard Morrow have identical 6-0 (4) marks and Aussie Dave Smith has 5 KO wins to go 5-0. Battling Levinsky is the most recent newcomer, scoring two wins in late 1909 to go 2-0 (1). No new blood will be added again until 1911.
Total boxers: 43 (13 real-life, 30 TCs)
RL boxers by career stage: 1 beginner, 5 Pre, 5 Prime, 1 Post, 1 End
800 or higher: 2
500 or higher: 5
200 or higher: 8