Titles: middleweight champion 1884-1891 Record: 50-3-8 Born: December 15, 1862 in Curran, County Kildare, Ireland Years active: 1883-1895 Nickname: The Nonpareil Nonpareil was the first holder of the middleweight title and was also noted for his clever timing and accuracy of his punches. He is considered by many as one of the greatest boxers pound for pound who ever fought in the ring. He moved well and was extremely quick, agile, and skillful. He was a two-handed fighter who could box or punch. His jab was quick and accurate. His right hand punch was stiff. His nickname of "Nonpareil" was accurate as he simply had no peers in ability that included a 6 year unbeaten streak to start his career. Like many of his age he boxed both with and without gloves and also fought much larger men. Born in Ireland his family left for America when he was still a boy and settled in Brooklyn, New York. Like other fighters of his day he also had to change his name from Kelly to Dempsey because his parents disapproved of boxing. In his very first pro bout Dempsey won a 21 round decision and only a year later laid claim to the newly established middleweight when he defeated George Fulljames. Universal recognition did come until he defeated Jack Fogarty in 27 brutal rounds in 1886. His reign lasted for 2 bouts before a elbow punch in the 32nd round by George LaBlanche knocked him out. Dempsey had previously defeated LaBlanche and was said to have had the upper hand until the blow occurred. The blow was outlawed immediately after this bout. He would not loose again in this decade. Dempsey fought on going from one coast to the other and once again gained universal recognition as middleweight champion when he knocked out Australian Billy McCarthy in the 32nd round. A year of wins followed before Dempsey took on the bigger and future heavyweight champion Bob Fitzsimmons in New Orleans and received a horrific beating. Dempsey was knocked down 13 times in 13 rounds and had Fitzsimmons pleading to him to give up. But Dempsey kept getting up and only a punch the throat which effected his speech for the rest of his life would keep him down in the 13th round. In his dressing room he reportedly wept uncontrollably. This fight took everything out of Dempsey, he was never the same again as he fought only 3 more times and in his last fight was knocked out in the third by Tommy Ryan for his welterweight title. Dempsey died within the year from tuberculosis. In case you are wondering......yes, Nonpareil was the man Jack Dempsey admired enough to take on his name when he entered professional boxing.
1883 Apr 7 Ed (Rug) McDonald, Maspeth, Long Island, NY KO 21 Aug 14 Jack Boylan, Flushing, NY KO 23 Sep 3 Harry Force, Brooklyn, NY (Coney Island) NC 11 Sep 17 Thomas (Soap) McAlpine, New York City, NY D 4 Oct 15 Jack Boylan, New York City, NY ND 6 Nov 10 Billy Frazier W 6 Nov 25 Robert (Cocky) Turnbull, New York City, NY D 8 1884 Jan William Mahoney, New York City, NY KO 3 Feb 10 Joe Heiser, Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg) D 8 Feb 14 Jim Fell, New York City, NY KO 2 Feb 28 Jim Barry, New York City, NY KO 3 Mar 2 Joe Hennessey, New York City, NY KO 4 Mar 4 Tom Sullivan, New York City, NY KO 2 Mar 6 Billy Dacey, Brooklyn, NY (Coney Island) KO 9 Apr 25 Joe Hayes, New York City, NY D 6 May 1 Jack Bowles, New York City, NY KO 6 Jul 9 Tom Henry, Far Rockaway, NY NC 3 Jul 30 George Fulljames, Staten Island, NY KO 22 -Middleweight Championship of the World; Sep 4 Mike Dempsey, Rockaway, NY KO 7 Sep 15 Jimmy Ryan, Philadelphia, Pa (Club Theatre) NC 7 Oct 8 Robert (Cocky) Turnbull, New York City, NY W 8 Oct 24 Tom Henry, New York City, NY (8th Street Theatre) W 6 Nov 6 Tom Ferguson, New York City, NY (Harry Hill's) W 4 Nov 20 Billy Frazier, New York City, NY (Alhambra) TKO 5 Nov 20 Jimmy Ryan, New York City, NY (Alhambra) W 5 Nov 30 Mike Mallon, Philadelphia, Pa KO 2 Dec 15 George Wilson, Philadelphia, Pa ND 4 1885 Jan 12 Billy Frazier, New York City, NY ND 4 Jan 12 Jimmy Ryan, New York City, NY ND 4 --- Johnny Banks, New York City, NY W ? Jan 22 Jim Fell, New York City, NY W 4 Mar 19 Charles Bixamos, New Orleans, La (Sportsman Park) KO 5 May 4 Tom Barry, San Francisco, Ca KO 5 May 11 Tom Cleary, San Francisco, Ca (Wigwam AC) KO 5 Jun 5 Jim Carr, San Francisco, Ca KO 9 --- James Rodda, in Nevada W 2 Jul 20 Jack Keenan, San Francisco, Ca (Golden Gate Park) KO 2 Aug 29 Billy Manning, Los Angeles, Ca KO 7 Sep 12 Tom Norton, Sacramento, Ca KO 4 Nov 2 Dave Campbell, Washington Territory KO 3 Dec 16 Tom Barry, Portland, Or KO 6 1886 Jan 15 Jimmy Murray, New York City, NY W 4 Jan 15 Tom Henry, New York City, NY W 4 Feb 3 Jack Fogarty, New York City, NY (Clarendon Hall) KO 27 -Middleweight Championship of the World Feb 24 Pete McCoy, Jersey City, NJ (Oakland Rink) W 6 Mar 4 George LaBlanche, Larchmont, NY KO 13 -Middleweight Championship of the World; Apr 26 Ned McCann, Philadelphia, Pa (Theatre Comique) KO 4 Apr 28 Charles (Bull) McCarthy, Philadelphia, Pa ND 4 Apr 30 Jimmy Ryan, Philadelphia, Pa W 4 May 20 Paddy Norton, St. Paul, Mn W 4 Ed Moehler, Minneapolis, Mn W 4 Nov 22 Jack Burke, San Francisco, Ca (Merchants Pavilion) D 10 --- Sandy Bannister, Buffalo, NY KO 2 1887 Jan 31 Mike Boden, Philadelphia, Pa (Theatre Comique) W 4 Feb 2 Jack Langdon, Philadelphia, Pa (Theatre Comique) W 4 Feb 5 Denny Killen, Philadelphia, Pa (Theatre Comique) W 4 Apr 9 Billy Baker, Buffalo, NY ND 4 May 2 Stephan (Reddy) Gallagher, Cleveland, Oh D 6 Oct 10 Eddie Reede, Hoboken, NJ W 4 Oct 13 Jim McHugh, Hoboken, NJ W 4 Oct 15 Billy Dacey, Hoboken, NJ W 4 Oct 31 Ned McCann, Wilmington, De W 4 Nov 1 Frank Bosworth, Wilmington, De W 4 Nov 3 Denny Kelliher, Wilmington, De W 4 Nov 5 Bill Gabig, Wilmington, De W 4 Dec 13 Johnny Reagan, Manhasset, NY (Long Island) TKO 45 -Middleweight Championship of the World; 1888 Jan 31 Dominick McCaffrey, Jersey City, NJ (Pavonia Rink) W 10 Feb 18 Billy Baker, Buffalo, NY ND 4 Apr 23 James Stevens, Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg) W 4 Nov 15 Mike Donovan, Brooklyn, NY D 6 1889 Aug 22 Mike Dempsey, San Francisco, Ca KO 7 Aug 27 George LaBlanche, San Francisco, Ca (Calif. AC) TKO by 32 1890 Feb 18 "Australian" Billy McCarthy, San Francisco, Ca TKO 28 1891 Jan 14 Bob Fitzsimmons, New Orleans, La (Olympic Club) TKO by 13 -Middleweight Championship of the World; 1893 Mar 1 Billy Keough, Portland, Or (Pastime AC) W 4 1894 Sep 5 "Australian" Billy McCarthy, New Orleans, La D 20 1895 Jan 18 Tommy Ryan, Brooklyn, NY (Coney Island) TKO by 3