The Long Count Fight

Considered one of the most notorious bouts of the 1920's, the Long Count fight saw reigning world heavyweight champion Gene Tunney and former champ Jack Dempsey in the ring for a second time in less than a year.  With a reputable $50,000 bet on Dempsey by none other than Al Capone, fueling false rumors of a fixed fight (and the first 2 million gate in history) the match had already found its place in boxing infamy.

After appearing to dominate the first six rounds of the fight, using his familiar method of maintaining a jab distance while racking up points, Tunney was floored in the 7th by a flurry of punches unleashed by Dempsey.  This was the first time Tunney has been grounded in his professional career.  Failing to return to a neutral corner by order of referee Dave Barry, Dempsey stood above the downed Tunney, potentially giving the Fighting Marine crucial moments to regain himself.  "By the time Dempsey finally walked to a neutral corner, Tunney had been down for around 3 to 8 seconds. Barry could not start to count on Tunney until Dempsey reached the neutral corner, but he was still able to count to nine before Tunney got up. Some believe that if Dempsey had responded to the referee's orders in time, he would have likely regained the world heavyweight crown with a seventh round knockout."

With his wits regained, Tunney dominated the 9th and 10th round, going on to retain his world title and defeat Dempsey for the second time.  This was Dempsey's last fight, and Tunney's second to last.  Now known as the 'Long Count Fight', the match remains a heavily debated topic nearly a century later.  In 2011, the family of Gene Tunney donated his gloves from the Long Count fight to the Smithsonian, to be preserved in permanent boxing lore.

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