Bill Brennan




Bill Brennan,although born in Ireland, hailed from Chicago, Illinois. Bill Brennan is best known for his second fight with Jack Dempsey. He was expected to be knocked out in the first 5 rounds. He actually outpointed Dempsey for 10 rounds, but Jack rallied to knock durable Bill out in the 12th. Previous to that fight Jack had never gone further than 10 rounds. Bill brought the fight all the way into the 12th.




-the following is taken fromthe Oct. 1954 issue of Boxing and Wrestling Magazine. It was written by Stanley Weston.-


Of all the men he ever fought there was no one Jack Dempsey admired and respected more than Bill Brennan. Ever since there first bout in Milwaukee, one year before Jack won his title, a strong and lasting mutual bond had been cemented between them.

Brennan was a big powerful fellow out of County Mayo, Ireland,and although he had all the equipment a great fighter must have, one quality about him stood out above all the rest-his tremendous courage. And it was that courage which caused Dempsey to remark, "Bill Brennan deserves every break the boxing business can give him."

Dempsey practiced what he preached and Brennan was one of the first men to get a chance at his new heavyweight championship. As we mentioned before, they first met in Milwaukee when Jack was bowling over all his opposition and heading for a title match with Jess Willard.

On his way into the ring, Brennan stopped in at Dempsey's dressing room. "I hate to have to stop you, Jack,"he said. "You've been coming along very well, but I'm going to get that Willard fight. You know how it is."

"That's all right Bill," grinned Dempsey. "But I'm after Jess myself."

Brennan wasn't trying to upset Dempsey and he wasn't boasting. He meant what he said and sincerely believed he could and would stop Jack kearns' tiger.

But Big Bill had underestimated the Mauler and it was Jack's fight all the way. He smacked brennan so hard in the sixth round that Bill dropped to the floor with his legs locked together. Brennan rolled over and over, his face twisted in agony. The referee looked at his feet and noticed a bone around his ankle jutting through his shoe. The punch to the jaw had actually resulted in a broken ankle. Of course Brennan was unable to continue.

Dempsey hurried to Brennan's dressing room to see how bad the injury was. "I'm sorry,' he said, "But it had to be one of us."

"Don't worry about it Jack,"Bill replied "It's all in the game."

That was the first time Brennan had been stopped. In fact it was only his second loss in over sixty bouts. Previously he lost a twelve round decision to Battling Levinsky.

Dempsey went on to knockout Willard and become champion while Brennan fought fellows like Harry Greb, Billy Miske, Bartley Madden, and Willie Meehan.

---------Fight #2------------

On December 13, 1920, at 9:53 PM Bill Brennan crawled into the ring at old Madison Square Garden. He wore green trunks and a bright red sweater. Accompanied by his manager Leo P. Flynn and trainer Dia Dollings, he took his place in the southeast corner.

About two minutes later Dempsey came in. Wearing his famous white drawers which almost reached his knees and with only a towel tossed over his head, he was followed closely by Jack Kearns and Harry Neary.

A battery of news photographers snapped pictures like crazy and after Joe Humphries introduced the fighters, the movie cameras started to gring away. Dempsey and Brennan smiled and struck the many different poses requested of them. Then Humphries held up the diamond-studded belt Rickard was donating to the winner.

Referee Haukup called them to mid-ring and gave them their instructions. Brennan looked bigger and stronger and had a big edge in the weights--197 to 188.25

Kearns took the towel from Dempsey's broad shoulders as the champion walked back to his corner.

At the bell they met in mid-ring and Bill stuck his left into jacks skee-nose. Dempsey bobbed and weaved in typical fashion trying to find the one opening that would end it then and there. But that opening wasn't there. Brennan boxed beautifully and won the round with plenty to spare.

Midway through the second round, Bill exploded a right to the champions chin which hurt and followed quickly with a terrific right uppercut to the same spot. Dempsey was shaken as he had never been shaken before, He reeled around like a drunk and in talking about the incident in later years said, "Had Brennan followed up he'd have been the heavyweight champion of the world. I was completely helpless and that uppercut hurt much more than Firpo's shot which sent me out of the ring at the Polo Grounds two years later."

But Brennan stepped back waiting for Jack to fall and when he didn't fall he started to box with his left jab and Dempsey shook out the cobwebs in time to survive.

For the next six rounds Brennan held command. He punched more often and much harder and the crowd buzzed with excitemnt. It looked as though Dempsey had left all his 'Tiger' at Toledo and that he was no 'superman' after all.


Jack won the ninth and the tenth and in the eleventh he had Brennan ready for the cleaners but the bell saved him. The fight was three quarters over and Dempsey couldn't possibly save his title unless he scored a knockout. Thus far he hadn't been able to even put Brennan on the floor.

By the strat of the twelfth, Bill had completely recuperated from the three minute beating and Dempsey's sudden advantage had gone for nothing. They traded on even terms for about a minute and a half and then Jack was nailed with a left hook to his bloody ear. The punch hurt so much that he closed his eyes and ground his teeth. Dempsey fell into a clinch and the referee pulled them apart. But just as the official pulled away, and before Brennan could get his hands up, Jack hit him under the heart with the hardest punch of the fight, a sizzling right cross. Brennan staggered and was about to clinch when Dempsey slammed his famous left hook to jaw. Bill's knees gave out from under him and he slid to the floor.

Dempsey stood watching and at the same time trying to keep his own legs from giving out. His head buzzed and the roar of the crowd blended with the bells inside his head. "I felt like I was going to heaven," said Dempsey.

Brennan struggled to get up and at the count of nine he managed to get to one knee off the ground, but it wasn't good enough and when Referee Haukup yelled "TEN", Bill fell on his face and Dempsey rushed over to pick him up. The Manassa Mauler was still champion of the world.

In his dressing room after the fight, Brennan told a boxing writer, "It took him six rounds to stop me in 1918, and twelve rounds tonight-but I'll get him yet."



RING RECORDas of 1923: 71 wins - 8 losses - 5 draw - 37 ND's (121 total bouts)

 selected bouts

Jun 27	1916	Joe        Cox			Brookl.		LF 7
unknown	1916	Homer    Smith			unknown		ND 6
unknown	1916	Larry Williams			unknown		ND 10
Jul 15	1916	Joe        Cox			Brookl.		ND 10

unknown	1917	Jack   Hubbard			unknown		KO 2
unknown	1917	Homer    Smith			unknown		ND 10
Jan 29	1917	Joe        Cox			Roches.		ND 10
unknown	1917	Bartley Madden			unknown		ND 10
Aug 3	1917	Joe        Cox			Quebec		WK 3
unknown	1917	Bartley Madden			unknown		ND 10
Oct 2	1917	Battling Levinsky		Boston		Draw 12
Oct 23	1917	Battling Levinsky		Boston		W 12
Nov 9	1917	Jim     Coffey			NewYork		ND 10
Nov 27	1917	Battling Levinsky		Boston		L 12

Jan 15	1918	Battling Levinsky		Boston		Draw 12
unknown	1918	Bartley Madden			unknown		ND 8
Feb 25	1918	Jack   Dempsey			unknown		KO'd 6

Feb 10	1919	Harry     Greb			Syracu.		ND 10-Loss
Mar 17	1919	Harry     Greb			Pitts.		ND 10-Loss
unknown	1919	Billy   Miske			unknown		ND 8
Jul 4	1919	Harry     Greb			Oklaho.		L 15
unknown	1919	Billy   Miske			unknown		L 15
Aug 23	1919	Harry     Greb			Pitts.		ND 10-Loss

Jan 7	1920	Bartley Madden			Wisco.		ND 10
Mar 5	1920	Capt. Bob Roper			Michi.		ND 10
May 19	1920	Willie Meehan			Philad.		ND 6
Dec 14	1920	Jack   Dempsey			NewYork		KO'd 12	

unknown	1921	Fighting Bob Martin		unknown		L 15
unknown	1921	Billy   Miske			unknown		ND 10

unknown	1922	Fighting Bob Martin		unknown		W 15

unknown	1923	Floyd  Johnson			unknown		L 15
Nov 6	1923	Billy   Miske			Omaha		KO by 4
unknown	1923	Luis Angel Firpo		unknown		KO by 12