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Newsboy Brown vs. Johnny McCoy

After resigning the world flyweight title in order to attend Stanford University, Fidel La Barba publicly proclaimed his successor to be Johnny McCoy, a past master of tricks and one of the best ring generals the flyweight division had ever had. McCoy, whose real name was Clarence Millard, was born in Ogdensburg, New York in 1899. Claiming the vacant California flyweight title by virtue of a win over Tommy Hughes in Hollywood on October 28, 1927, he had never defended that title. He claimed that he had once floored Newsboy Brown in a workout in Sioux City, but the Newsboy hotly denied that the incident ever occurred.

Newsboy Brown
After losing a heartbreaking 15 round decision to Corporal Izzy Schwartz in the elimination tournament for the world flyweight championship in New York on December 16, 1927, Newsboy Brown decided to take on McCoy. The Newsboy had lost only one fight in his last 15 in Los Angeles, and his last appearance–a defeat of Johnny Vacca–had been heralded as one of the best fights ever seen in the Olympic Auditorium.

Had McCoy weighed in at anything over the 112 pound limit, he would have forfeited the title to Brown. The afternoon before the fight, Brown weighed in at 111 ½ pounds, and McCoy, whose manager was an expert at bringing in his fighters within the prescribed limits, weighed in at 112 pounds. Although Brown was a home town favorite at the Olympic Auditorium, the popular La Barba, whom Brown had fought to a draw in two non-title fights, was on hand at ringside to cheer on the Newsboy's cagey opponent. Here is a round by round description of that fight:

  1. They boxed evenly in the first round, Brown doing the leading.

  2. Brown took the second round with body punches.

  3. Brown clearly outboxed McCoy in the third, landing a stiff left hook to the jaw and a right to the pit of the stomach that did McCoy no good.

  4. The fourth round was even.

  5. Brown took the fifth round by a wide margin. He established a lead with right-hand punches to the head in the early going and was outboxing McCoy at the finish. A left hook to the jaw sent McCoy to his corner at a none too steady gait. McCoy appeared worried.

  6. Brown took the sixth round also, outboxing the veteran wuite thoroughly. McCoy could not tie up the Newsboy when he tried to work inside so Brown had the better of it in all departments.

  7. The seventh round also went to Brown, although McCoy was boxing better at the finish.

  8. McCoy's first round was the eighth, which he took by a comfortable margin. He suddenly discovered that he could hit Brown with his right hand and landed frequently with a straight left. Brown kept busy but was outscored.

  9. McCoy took the ninth by a shade. He had discovered a defense against the Newsboy's attack and proceeded to out box him in his methodical was, keeping him off balance at times with a straight left and tying him up in the clinches.

  10. McCoy won the tenth round by a wide margin. A swing right-hand punch caught Brown on the chin and he went to the canvas, only to bound up without a count. Three other times McCoy had the Newsboy on the verge of a knockdown, but Brown kept on his feet.

McCoy might have been saving himself in the early rounds in an effort to finish like a whirlwind. He was finally looking like a champion in the last three rounds, but it was too late; Brown had already accumulated too wide a margin. Brown won 5 rounds, and McCoy won the last 3, with two even. Newsboy Brown was at last a champion.

Front Page / Biography / Photo / Opponents / Fidel La Barba / Corporal Izzy Schwartz / Frankie Genaro / Midget Wolgast / Panama Al Brown / Small Montana / Opening of the Olympic Auditorium / Memorable Fights / Brown vs. La Barba / Brown vs. Schwartz / Brown vs. McCoy / Newsboy Brown vs. Al Brown / Flyweight Champions

Copyright © William B. Shubb, 1998. All rights reserved.