Jack Dempsey SIGNED typed letter to former opponent Homer Smith accompanied with addressed 1934 franked envelope.
The image shows the signature page of the letter, the front page of the typed letter reads:-
Thanks for your letter of the 27th. Glad to hear from you and happy to learn that everthing is going along okay.
No, Homer, the report was wrong about me taking over the Garden. We have had several conferences but nothing as yet has developed. Should anything happen in the near future, will keep you advised.
Hoping this finds you feeling okay and business going along all right.
Should you see any of my old friends around Kalamazoo, please give them my best wishes.
With the best to yourself always, I am, Your friend,
(SIGNED by Jack Dempsey)".
Jack "The Manassa Mauler" Dempsey Highlights
Jack Dempsey was one of America's first great sports heroes. His savage style captivated the public and made him as popular a figure as Babe Ruth or Red Grange.
In the ring, Dempsey was equipped with a two-fisted attack.
He boxed out of a low crouch, bobbing, weaving and bombing. He continually stalked the man in front of him and was an unrelenting and remorseless warrior.
His power was so prodigious that he once scored knockouts in 14 and 18 seconds. In his 78-bout career, Dempsey compiled 49 knockouts, with 25 of them in the first round.
Born William Harrison Dempsey in Manassa Colorado, Dempsey was one of 11 children. He left home at the age of 16 and traveled the west on freight trains with hobos, settling occasionally in mining towns. It was during that period of his life that Dempsey learned how to fight as a means of survival.
Dempsey's career turned around when he met manager Jack "Doc" Kearns. Under Kearns, Dempsey knocked out Fireman Jim Flynn, Fred Fulton, former light heavyweight titlist Battling Levinsky and Gunboat Smith.
On July 4, 1919, Dempsey challenged heavyweight champion Jess Willard at an outdoor arena in Toledo, Ohio. Temperatures in the ring reached 100 degrees that day.
Willard was beaten to the canvas seven times in the first round. There was nothing artistic about Dempsey's attack. It was pure rage. The fight ended when Willard failed to answer the bell for the fourth round.
Dempsey made easy title defences against Billy Miske, Bill Brennan, Georges Carpentier Tommy Gibbons. The Carpentier fight generated boxing's first million-dollar gate.
On September 14, 1923, another chapter was added to the Dempsey legend. He faced Argentina's Luis Angel Firpo at the Polo Grounds in New York. Known as the "Wild Bull of the Pampas," Firpo was dropped seven times in the first round.
But before the stanza ended, the challenger sent Dempsey through the ropes with a single right hand, silencing the 80,000 in attendance. Dempsey made it back into the ring and beat the 10-count. The fight ended 57 seconds into the second round with Dempsey a knockout winner.
Dempsey was inactive in 1924 and '25 and put his title on the line against Gene Tunney in 1926. At 31, Dempsey fell behind on points and was never able to change the momentum.
In July of 1927, Dempsey knocked out future champion Jack Sharkey in the seventh-round (the knockout blow was setup by a punch that landed low). Two months later, Dempsey met Tunney at Chicago's Soldier Field. The fight drew a crowd of 104,943, generating a gate of $2,658,660. Tunney was again outboxing Dempsey when he was dropped in the seventh round.
Before the fight, it was agreed upon that after a knockdown, the fighter scoring the knockdown would go to a neutral corner. But when Tunney hit the canvas, Dempsey hovered over the fallen champ, ignoring the referee's order that he retreat a neutral corner. By the time Dempsey was ushered across the ring and the referee began his count, it is estimated that Tunney had 14 seconds to recover. Tunney got up and won the fight by decision, but the long-count controversy would remain etched in boxing history.
Dempsey retired after the Tunney fight but remained a popular figure until his death in 1983.
Homer Smith was born May 28, 1893 on a farm near Kalamazoo, Michigan and died on May 6, 1971 in Pawpaw, Michigan. Buried in Glendale Cemetery. Death was caused from an abdominal aneurysm. He lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Grantwood, NJ and Ypsilanti, Mi. He also rented in south Dearborn, Michigan for two years while he worked as a plant protection employee at the Rouge plant for the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mi. during World War II. One summer, his son, H. James Smith worked in the steel mill.
The son seldom saw his father because they worked different shifts even though they slept in the same living quarters in Dearborn. At the age of 18, Homer Smith went into professional boxing. He journeyed approximately 300,000 miles for his 187 fights He fought as many as 14 fights in one year. He received $0.75 for his first professional fight. The biggest purse for fighting he received was $5,100. He was paid $218 for the Jack Dempsey fight. Homer Smith was an accomplished boxer, who would often comment that of all of his achievements, his proudest was "I fought the 3 greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Jack Dempsey, Jack Sharkey and Jack Johnson."
One time famous sports writer Damon Runyoun referred to Homer Smith as "Old Weeping Willow from Pawpaw." In October 1936, Homer Smith (age 41) fought his 15 year old son, H. James Smith and a 4 round technical knock out at Pawpaw, Mi as reported by a national news service. In 1937 he coached Pawpaw's Golden Gloves team. A January 19, 1960 Look Magazine article by Jack Dempsey related fight and human interest stories about Dempsey and Homer Smith.
Dempsey in his biography refers to Homer Smith as "That clean living kid from Kalamazoo" because Homer Smith never smoked or drank. On April 25, 1968 Homer Smith was presented with a plaque by Ring 32, the Veteran Boxers Association at Carl's Chophouse in Detroit, Michigan. The inscription presented to Homer Smith read "Outstanding Michigan Heavyweight". On October 9, 1971 at the 19th annual dinner and reunion of the Old Time Boxer's Association, Ring 23 of the National Veteran Boxer's Association at Allentown, PA, Homer Smith was one of seven members honored in memoriam.
During WWII, Homer Smith worked in plant production for the Ford Motor Company at the Rouge plant for 2 years. In his later years he worked in a real estate office in Ypsilanti, Mi. In WWI, he was on active duty, trucking ammo and supplies to a French Artillery training camp that had been used as a military training camp since the days of Napoleon Bonaparte.
One week before the Armistice of WWI, he was transferred to the First Army in France the day the Armistice was signed. A few days later, he was transferred to U.S. Second Army Headquarters. He inspected and drove tractors and trucks for 6 weeks. Then he boarded the U.S. Cruiser Montana on February 23rd and had his first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty when he landed at Hoboken, New Jersey. He then went on to Camp Custer on the boat and at Fort Custer he fought an exhibition boxing fight for the entertainment of the troops. It was a direct result of the popularity of the boxing fights at Camp Custer that the Michigan Boxing Commission was born. There is now a Smith Recreation Hall at Camp Custer.