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Boxing UnderGround >> Boxing champ teaches military 1901


8/19/12 10:11 PM
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m.g
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Boxing Champ Gibbons instructs military:

http://youtu.be/ga4zLsMmkE0
8/20/12 6:05 PM
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martinburke
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Mike Gibbons is one of the forgotten influences on the evolution of boxing. Father of the St. Paul style, he was copied by several generations of fighters.

8/20/12 7:09 PM
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m.g
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Some excellent stuff that works even today!
8/20/12 9:40 PM
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youngcorbett
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What exactly is the Saint Paul style? Judging by that youtube video it looks very similar to the style that Kenny Weldon teaches?
8/20/12 10:54 PM
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martinburke
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It was basically a counter punching style. Most important was to make the other guy miss, and never, ever take one to give one.

It wasn't a running style, but it was definitely safety-first. The fighters out of that gym were prone to stinking out the joint.

Here's a clip of Gibbons vs Mike O'Dowd, middle champ 1917-20. O'Dowd was also from Minnesota , but from a different gym.

http://www.harrygreb.com/video_odowd_gibbons_r8.mov

Gibbons had broken his right hand in the first or second round, and had sustained a nasty gash over his eye that he continually wiped at throughout the bout, even wiping it on the ref's shirt when the ref would break clinches.

I think this is the first boxing match that was ever filmed with state-of-the-art production values. There are multiple camera angles(even one looking down on ring center), and the film is remarkable considering its age.

There used to be much more of it on the internet, but this is all I could find now.

8/21/12 11:36 PM
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youngcorbett
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Ok so how does Billy Miske stylistically to either of the Gibbons brothers? Upon doing some quick searching, Minnesota had quite a few good light heavy and heavyweight fighters in the early 1900's what happened? Does anyone know how Mike Gibbons landed the job instructing for the army? Was it just luck, did he have some connections to the army, or was it because of his boxing style?
8/22/12 12:58 AM
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martinburke
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They were all pretty similar until Tommy started campaigning as a heavy. He set down more on his punches, looking to land the right hand.

His younger brother thought it was stupid to trade punches and said so publicly.

Minnesota wasn't the only state in the midwest that had talented boxers back then. Jack Blackburn's first world champ, Bud Taylor, came from Indiana, iirc. It was just tougher times; they didn't have the multitude of government programs set up to help the poor, and there were far less opportunities for the average man back then.

Not sure if Gibbons was just well-connected or lucky to get the gig as instructor. I know that some Hall of Fame baseball players got injured: Christy Mathewson suffered lung damage from being gassed accidentally during a training exercise that eventually led to his death about 10 years later, and Grover Cleveland Alexander got pretty fucked up during the Battle of the Argonne. He was exposed to mustard gas.
8/22/12 2:16 AM
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youngcorbett
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Thanks for all of your help Martin, I really enjoyed that video you gave me the link to. One thing that still perplexes me is how the St Paul style could die off since Mike was an instructor for the army. I would think that having so many soldiers taught that style would ensure its longevity.

Could you recommend any books that are about any of the Gibbons brothers, Billy Miske, or any fighters really from that era, I am really unfamiliar with the fighters from that time.
8/22/12 9:45 AM
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martinburke
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I don't think the style died off. Gene Tunney admitted to copying him(" I learned more about boxing by watching Mike Gibbons in the gym than from any other source.") , and several generations of fighters referred to him as a model. In the tiny bit of Holman Williams I've seen, he skates along just like Gibbons.

Clay Moyle has a book on Billy Miske(as well as one on Sam langford. Adam Pollack has a number of boxing biographies available on the early heavyweight champs. If I know Moyle and Pollack, they'll both offer a huge amount of meticulous info on not only the subject of each book, but of all their major opponents.


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