24 - McAuliffe’s Bloody 64 Round Battle with Billy Myer!

posted Feb 4, 2016, 5:26 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Feb 4, 2016, 6:00 PM ]
This is taken verbatim from the North Judson Centennial Booklet and I wish I knew where they got all this information about the fight!  Strangely enough I was unable to find anything about this fight in the local newspaper from that time period and began to suspect that it was just a local legend without much fact behind it.  

However, last year I was able to find three articles confirming that this fight DID in fact take place in North Judson on February 13, 1889; they are listed at the end of the article.

Jack McAuliffe                                                                                     Billy Myer 

McAuliffe’s Bloody 64 Round Battle with Billy Myer!

    With two of McAuliffe’s ribs broken and Myer blinded what else could the referee do but call it a draw!

    February 13, 1889, was a momentous day in pugilistic history, for it was on that day that Jack McAuliffe of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Billy Myer of Streator, Ill., fought their famous draw of sixty-four rounds, lasting 4 hours and 16 mintues, at North Judson, Ind.  Jack was the lightweight champion of the world and his title was at stake.  The men fought for a purse of $5,000 and the POLICE GAZETTE DIAMOND BELT, in addition to the championship.

    A review of the preliminary events that brought about the match is interesting.  Billy Myer, known as “The Streator Cyclone,” defeated the former champion, Harry Gilmore, twice, and thus raised himself in the estimation of his friends so high that they offered to back him against any lightweight in the world.  The challenge was intended especially for McAuliffe.

    Jack agreed to meet Billy, but just as the contract was about to be made, Jem Carney arrived in America.  Jem was the lightweight champion of England and was particularly anxious to meet McAuliffe.  After considerable wrangling, the rival international champions agreed to fight it out.  They did, but there wasn’t any satisfaction derived from the bout, for it ended in a draw after going seventy-four rounds and consuming 5 hours. 

    Finally the McAuliffe-Myer match was brought about at the POLICE GAZETTE office and the men agreed to fight on Feb. 13, 1889, at North Judson, Ind. 

McAuliffe More Scientific

    McAuliffe was a much more scientific fighter, and as he faced Billy the difference was remarkable. 

    Jack held his left well out and his right covering his ribs and stomach, while Myer, who had little idea of sparring, held both arms very low and looked sternly at his opponent, ready to swing out either hand when he thought there was a chance.  He appeared in no humor for fooling or spending any time at all in sparring. 
    Jack danced around for a spell.  On a retreat he feinted once or twice, and in getting to close caught a pile driver on the chest that left its mark.  Great caution was observed on both sides, and it looked as if both had made up their minds to feel each other out.  First Myer would advance and then step back.  Then McAuliffe, who didn’t want to be caught napping, would give ground. 

    “It will be a long fight.  See if it ain’t,” remarked a ringsider. 

    After more cautious sparring and feinting, McAuliffe led and landed his left heavily on the right side of Myer’s head, making it go sideways with a sudden jerk. 
Breaking away, and feeling a little miffed, Billy shot out his left, but it fell a little short of the mark and Jack managed to land another haymaker on the “Cyclone’s” right listening organ.  He followed his advantage with a straight lefthander which raised a lump on Myer’s forehead.  Sharp exchanges with rights and lefts followed, and Jack scored a right to the forehead that had all the marks of a mean blow. 

    It drew a little blood.  Myer was angered and he cross-countered, sending McAuliffe spinning.  The latter quickly recovere3d from the “Western Cyclone’s” blow and landed left and right with telling effect. 

Swapping Heavy Punches

    When time was called for round two, Jack was the more anxious of the two.  He advanced to Myer’s corner and tried one of his straight lefthanders, which the “Western Cyclone” dodged.  After a little feinting they got to close quarters and hit together.  Jack’s blows were being propelled as if they were sent out by a twelve-cylinder engine, while Myer’s lacked steam. 

    Sharp fighting followed, which McAuliffe forced. 

    Billy Madden, Jack’s manager, who sat at the ringside, shouted to his protégé, “Keep cook, Jack.  Jab him with that left.”  Jack jabbed away at a great rate and so did Billy.  In the midst of the hot mix-up the bell rang. 

    The third was a slashing round.  No sooner was time called than Jack rushed to the scratch and met Myer before he had toed the center; he began pushing out his left and swinging his right when within distance.  Time and again the New Yorker landed his dexterous mauler with terrific force on Myer’s brain box, which must have not only made his head reel, but also injured McAuliffe’s batteries. 

    Myer forced the scrapping in the fourth and time and again managed to drop a red-hot shot on McAuliffe’s cheeks and neck.  Twice they met like gamecocks in the center of the ring, and the fighting was desperate up to the time the round ended. 

    In the fighting from the fifth to the tenth rounds there was tremendous hitting, the champion uppercutting Myer time and again.  In the sixth and the seventh rounds Myer had a decided advantage, and the New York delegation looked blue.  The following three rounds were rounds slightly in favor of the man from Streator. 

    In the eleventh round McAuliffe tried to wind up the fight by landing a terrific right-hand uppercut on Myer’s neck. 

    The fight came very near to ending in favor of Myer in the nineteenth round when he landed a left to McAuliffe’s nose, followed immediately afterwards by a whale of a blow on the neck which sent Jack staggering across the ring. 

    The twenty-ninth round was full of action, but the following five were little more than a walking match.  Action returned in the fortieth when Myer fought like a Trojan and forced the scrapping. 

    Jack landed a left-hander on Myer’s neck in the next round and there was desperate infighting, McAuliffe having the better of the round.  Both men were just about exhausted from the ferocity of the going and were hoisting signals of distress.  Interest was again returning to the spectators who were in anything but an agreeable mood, owing to the interruptions by the officials and then to the lack of action of the principals in spots, but which was excusable in view of the fact that the fight had been going on for nearly three hours. 

    When Myer came forward for the forty-fifth both his eyes were blackened, and his left optic was all but closed.  There was more desperate fighting. 

    In the forty-seventh round Myer fought like a general, landing numerous devastating blows on Jack’s body, which were so powerful that they broke two of McAuliffe’s ribs. 

    The fighting continued to be terrific in the forty-eighth, and betting on the result was even with many favoring Myer.  The “Western Cyclone’s” wonder pluck and stamina and the adroitness with which he dodged the champion’s blows, made it difficult for Jack to deliver a straight or an uppercut, to say nothing of a knockout blow. 

    The men came forward for the fiftieth round, McAuliffe with his ribs broken and Myer with both eyes all but closed and his face smashed all out of shape.  McAuliffe made a desperate attempt to win, but the westerner was the better ring general and a harder hitter than many of the supporters had been lead to believe.  Several began to think of hedging their money, although there was no real cause for this, as neither had a decided advantage over the other. 

    Game and determined fighting featured the fifty-second period.  Myer fought with great discretion and one would judge from the tactics he displayed that he was watching closely for an opportunity to knock the champion out by one of his terrific right-hand cross-counters, which was the only thing McAuliffe’s backers dreaded. 

    Madden and those who had seen Myer fight before posted the champion on Myer’s style, and every time the Streator man swung that devastating right, McAuliffe ducked and drove his left into Billy’s face. 

    Round after round was fought, Myer time and again doing some fighting with his left and great damage with his right on McAuliffe’s face, paying him back in full for the way he had disfigured his own features.

    Finally, after sixty-four rounds had been fought, the referee came to the conclusion that further fighting would do nothing towards settling the argument.  He therefore called it a draw.  The battle lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes. 

    The gladiators came together again on September 5, 1892, during the famous three-day fistic carnival at New Orleans.  George Dixon retained his bantamweight crown by knocking out Jack Skelly in the eighth round.  On the final night of the tournament the mighty John L. Sullivan was dethroned as the heavyweight king by James J. Corbett.  In the case of Jack McAuliffe, he knocked out his old rival, Billy Myer, in the fifteenth round to retain the lightweight laurels. 

New London, Connecticut newspaper The Day.  

Los Angeles Herald, Volume 31, Number 135, 14 February 1889

WAIL! The CyberBoxingZone Journal September 2000 issue