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NEWSBOY BROWN COMES TO SACRAMENTO

Never in the history of California's Capital City had such wide spread interest been generated in a boxing show as there was in the one presented at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium the night of January 28, 1932.

Newsboy Brown, billed as one of the world's greatest bantamweights, was to put his California title on the line in a 10 round bout with Young Tommy of the Philippines. As if that wasn't enough, the legendary Jack Dempsey would be on hand to present the championship belt to the winner. The event would dominate the sports pages of both local newspapers and captivate the enthusiasm of the sporting community for a full week.

Thursday, January 21, 1932

One week before the scheduled event, and the hype goes into full gear. Young Tommy, with his manager Johnny Sampson, two sparring partners and a trainer, arrives in Sacramento late in the evening and sets up headquarters at the Travelers Hotel. Forgoing training, they immediately embark on a campaigning tour of Filipino communities down the delta, at Stockton and elsewhere.

Friday, January 22, 1932

There is speculation about who might referee the match. Lt. Jack Kennedy, himself a celebrity, had agreed to take on the task at the request of the managers. He is considered to be the best referee in the west and officiates over every big fight in Los Angeles. However, Kennedy is a Commissioned Naval Officer with orders to report for duty at the San Diego Naval Base. Former heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey is also scheduled for an exhibition fight in nearby Stockton the following Monday, and if Kennedy is unable to fly to Sacramento for the bout there is speculation that Dempsey may agree to officiate.

Saturday, January 23, 1932

Newsboy Brown arrives from Los Angeles. When boxing promoter Jack Doyle originally offered the California Bantamweight belt on February 10, 1931, it went to Speedy Dado. But Newsboy Brown captured it from Dado in Los Angeles on March 3, 1931. Brown had also beaten Tommy in their only prior meeting, on November 14, 1931. It was Tommy's only prior loss. Moreover, later on December 15, 1931, the Newsboy defeated the reigning World Bantamweight champ, "Panama" Al Brown, in a non-title bout in Los Angeles. He is favored to win this rematch with Tommy.

Sunday, January 24, 1932

With Jack Dempsey's exhibition match in Stockton postponed a week because of his battle with a cold, interest in the Brown-Tommy bout spreads to the surrounding communities. Both Brown and Tommy begin training at the same location the Golden State Gymnasium. The rest of the card is completed. The semi-windup match will be a four round event between Billy McLeod of Stockton and Bobby Mars of the Philippines. There will be another four round special event and three preliminaries.

Monday, January 25, 1932

Jack Dempsey begins training at the same gym. An estimated 500 fans-- the largest turnout at a gym in the history of the town-- had showed up to watch Tommy and the Newsboy train before Dempsey arrived. When Dempsey arrives, the facility is unable to hold the multitude wanting to see the popular ex-champ as well as the principals in the upcoming fight. Dempsey spars with Brown for the cameras.

Tuesday, January 26, 1932

The fight is rumored to be a sellout. The capacity of Memorial Auditorium is enlarged to accommodate the anticipated overflow crowd. Both fighters step up their workouts. Both are said to be in top condition, and the fight promises to be a real battle.

Wednesday, January 27, 1932

The referee is still undetermined. Dempsey will not referee, but he has agreed to be at ringside and present the winner with the golden belt that is the symbol of the state's best bantamweight. The fight is virtually certain to be a total sellout. Advance sales mount to almost $3,000. Somewhere between 500 and 600 people will have to be turned away at the door. Regardless of the outcome, each of the fighters will collect a record sum for any local main eventers, and the American Legion will make the largest profit in the history of Sacramento boxing events.

Thursday, January 28, 1932

Fans flock to the Memorial Auditorium. By one estimate, as many as 1,500 were turned away after police and fire officials ordered the doors closed. A record 4,995 excited spectators packed the auditorium for the main event. Toby Irwin has come up from San Francisco to act as referee. Tommy's early campaigning had paid off. The crowd included hundreds, if not thousands of the members of the Filipino community to cheer him on.


* * * * *

Tommy gave Brown a pounding that night. A no-count knockdown was scored by Tommy in the ninth. By one account he took all 10 rounds. By another, Tommy took five rounds, Brown scored in two, and the other three were even. In the end, it was the challenger, not the favored champion, to whom Dempsey presented the coveted gold belt.

Maybe the Newsboy had a bad night. Maybe after 10 years in the ring and more than 70 professional fights he was through. Regardless, Sacramento boxing fans had a night they would long remember.

Read all about the week that Newsboy Brown came to Sacramento in The Sacramento Bee.


Copyright William B. Shubb, 1999. All rights reserved.