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Griswold's Description of Corbett vs. Mitchell

Noted sports writer Samuel "Sandy" Griswold came to Nebraska in 1886. He became sports editor, first of the Omaha Bee and then of the Omaha World-Herald, where he remained until his death in April 1929. Although he also wrote fiction, especially on nature and outdoor life, Griswold is remembered chiefly for sports reporting. He was famous for his articles on baseball and boxing, and was said to have been at the ringside of more championship fights than any other writer of his time.

The Lincoln Call of January 26, 1894, included Griswold's impressions of the recent bout between world heavyweight champion James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett and Charles Mitchell of England. Griswold, who witnessed the match, said: "The big international punch is over and my friend Jimmy Corbett is still champion of America, if not the world. There is no gain saying the fact he is a physical hurricane, quick as lightning's flash and as powerful as a grizzly bear, clever as a magician and ferocious as a hyena. There were just seven and a half minutes of fighting when Charley Mitchell received a thunderbolt in the jaw and fell forward to the yellow pine floor, upon his handsome face, as good as a man who has been in his grave an hundred years.

"But without extravagance or prejudice it was one of the foulest and dirtiest prize fights in the annals of the ring, and instead of being undefeated champion today Jim Corbett should be cringing under the sting and disgrace of ignominious defeat, and Charley Mitchell should be trotting about with a crown of laurel leaves resting on his brow. The fight was a go-as-you-please, free-for-all after the first round and in the second after having knocked the Briton to the floor with the smash of his wrist across the bridge of the nose, Corbett not only once but repeatedly fouled his adversary . . . . Referee Kelly stood by like a big cigar sign, and while Corbett's seconds were frantically attempting to keep him from killing Mitchell while he was down, he did little else but flourish his arms and bellow 'break away.'"

Griswold's summary of the match: "Mitchell was a high school kid compared with the herculean American champion and had no more chance of whipping the colossus from the slope than I have of being elected president of the United States."

(January 2003)



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