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WBA Title Fights
Dixie Kid CH (31-7-1) vs Mysterious Billy Smith #15 (52-19)
On paper, this looks like an easy win versus the CBU champ, now in the twilight of his career. But Smith has the Montreal crowd behind him and a 2-1 lifetime record versus the Kid, but the last win was almost three years ago, when Smith was still in Prime shape. Kid lands the early blows, putting some puffiness around the right eye of the challenger in round one. Kid followed up a strong round 3 by moving inside in round 4 but Smith caught him with a big hook to score the first KD of the bout at the end of the round. Kid bought time fighting outside in round five, picking his shots and increasing the swelling around Smith's eye. Kid won round 8 but got careless again in round 9, and Smith decked him for a 9-count. Kid covered up, but not before Smith scored another KD. Kid came back strongly in the 10th and unofficial cards had it 95-93 for the champ despite the three trips to the canvas. Kid's superior stamina and conditioning showed in the later rounds and he posted a points win--only one judge had it close. Kid by UD 15 (144-138, 142-141, 143-139).
Dixie Kid CH (32-7-1) vs Jack Britton #2 (19-3)
Kid reluctantly agrees to take on Britton, the recently crowned NABF champ who is one of the bright new stars in the division. Britton is cut below the right eye in round one, but recovers to score well, cutting Kid under the left eye in round four. Britton then moved inside in round 5, seeking to establish control of the bout. It seemed to be working until Kid nailed him with a strong combo, putting the challenger down for a 9-count in round 6. Kid tried hard but could not finish the game challenger. Britton continued to press the inside attack, taking round 9, but in round 10 Kid reopened the cut under his eye. Kid began to tire in the later rounds, but Britton lost a point for holding and hitting in round 11. Kid tried to get more aggressive, but instead Britton dished out more punishment, and Kid's left eye ballooned up by the end of the 13th. Most observers felt Britton had done enough to take the belt in a close bout, which was what the scorecards showed. Britton by SD 15 (142-139, 139-141, 141-140).
Jack Britton CH (20-3) vs Jimmy Gardner #3 (24-5-3)
Britton's first title defense sees him travel to England to take on ex-Champ Jimmy Gardner of Ireland. Round one saw the champ off balance after missing a roundhouse punch, being forced into survival mode as Gardner knocked him down, and Britton staggered through the round, barely hanging on. With the champ dazed and vulnerable, Gardner pressed the attack in round two, but Britton's head cleared and he countered well, winning the round. By the end of round 3 Britton had connected enough to cause swelling around Gardner's right eye and also opened a nasty looking cut over the eye. Britton then began working away at the cut with long looping lefts, taking round 4. Gardner came back to take the next round, causing some swelling around the champ's left eye. Gardner tried to become more aggressive in rounds 7 and 8, but Britton managed to re-open the cut and, in round 8, the bout was stopped. Britton by TKO 8 (cut).
NABF: Britton took the title from Young Peter Jackson (TKO 5) then vacated the crown after becoming WBA champ. Rube Ferns stepped up to beat Joe Gans for the vacant title with a controversial SD 12 win. Mike "Twin" Sullivan took out the aging Ferns (KO 11) and then defended versus Joe Walcott (SD 12) and Gans (KO 1) making him probably the first to win back-to-back bouts against these two boxing legends.
USBA: Honey Mellody started the year with the belt, defended once versus Jack Goodman (UD 12), then lost it to Willie Lewis (TKO 2). Lewis defended versus Kyle Whitney (SD 12) but was TKO'd in 11 by Young Peter Jackson, who had started the year as the NABF champ.
CBU: Only one title fight during the year saw Brit Johnny Summers resurrect his flagging career by taking the crown from Mysterious Billy Smith when Smith was DQ-ed for a flagrant foul in round 10.
GBU: Summers also annexed the GBU belt with a UD 12 win over defending champ, Young Joseph.
EBU: Jimmy Gardner battled Summers to a 12-round draw to keep the crown.
Jan 1910 Ratings (perf pts and changes from prior year in parens)
Champ: Jack Britton 21-3 (12) (957) (up 8)
1. Mike Sullivan 29-10-2 (16) (849) (up 6)
2. Young Peter Jackson 42-9-2 (29) (844) (NC)
3. Johnny Summers 26-8-2 (13) (826) (up 13)
4. Dixie Kid 32-9-1 (14) (792) (down 4)
5. Rube Ferns 41-19 (30) (759) (up 8)
6. Joe Walcott 60-19-2 (21) (756) (NC)
7. Jimmy Gardner 24-6-3 (12) (750) (down 4)
8. Willie Lewis 26-12 (16) (705) (up 4)
9. Joe Gans 60-9 (35) (689) (down 8)
10. Dick Nelson 21-7-1 (16) (621) (up 1)
Britton swept to the title and now has won five in a row, which could make him a dominant figure in the division for years to come. Mike Sullivan was won four in a row to become the top challenger. Summers' big year, fighting six times without a loss (4 wins and 2 draws), also led to a shakeup as four boxers moved out of the Top 10 while Summers, Ferns, W Lewis and D Nelson, moved up. Honey Mellody who had been #4 dropped all the way to #12 after losses to W Lewis and Whitney. Young Joseph tumbled from #5 to #16 after losing to Summers and Dave Deshler. Mysterious Billy dropped all the way from #9 to #17 losing to Kid, Summers and Bartley Connolly. Jack Goodman lost 3 of his four bouts (to Mellody, Joseph and Walcott) to drop all the way from #10 to #19.
Gans and Walcott are now at Post-Prime and clearly on the downside of their illustrious careers. Ferns, who moved up, is actually at the End stage, others in the top ten are at Prime. Gans has lost his last three to Ferns, Walcott and Mike Sullivan, boxers he was beating just a couple of years ago. No retirements in 1909-- Ferns will probably be the next one.
Prospects a-plenty: Packey McFarland, now 13-0-1 (11), failed to capitalize on a great 1908; Glover suffered a SD loss to W Lewis after two lackluster draws with McFarland and Mellody, his record is 11-1-2 (5). British hope Arthur Evernden had won his first 11 but then lost to Glover and Dick Nelson. Still unbeaten are Dane Waldemar Holberg at 9-0 (6), Tommy Howell at 6-0 (no KOs yet), Johnny Alberts 4-0 (3), Eddie Shevlin 4-0 (2) and Brits Matt Wells at 3-0 and Ted Kid Lewis at 1-0. Several newcomers, incluing Sid Burns of the UK and Willie Schaeffer, will be added to the mix for 1910.
Stats for the Division:
Fighters: 84 (41 real-life, 43 TCs)
RL breakdown by career stage: 10 beginning (6 new), 7 at Pre, 18 at Prime, 5 at Post, 1 at End
800 + : 4
500 + : 14
200 + : 24