Jack Dempsey vs. the Evil Robots

“I can whip any mechanical robot that ever has or ever will be made.”

So said Jack Dempsey. Captain Billy Fawcet, former WWI Army Captain, apparently talked Jack Dempsey into doing this puff piece for Fawcett’s biggest magazine, Modern Mechanix, in 1934.

The idea of the early sci-fi robot battling the hard hitting fighter is captivating and much more interesting than the article itself. (Click on the pic above to read the article).

The article is relative fluff, ostensibly pointing out boxing tips from the champ’s perspective, but my guess is Dempsey had little to do with the article. He describes how physics is involved in punching and posits that a robot will always be defeated by a boxer’s out-thinking it.

I won’t comment on Dempsey’s predictions on robotic thinking abilities, after all, even the futurists are wrong more often than they are right. However, the discussion of the physics of punching is weak, especially so considering that Dempsey’s Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense contains some of the best descriptions of generating punching power ever written.

Dempsey had his name on another interesting text on fighting with his How to Fight Tough based on his time spent in the Coast Guard during WWII. His tour appears to have been mainly a public relations move, the “very real threat” of Coasties engaging in hand-to-hand combat emphasized in the book copy notwithstanding.

Dempsey demonstrates a number of hand-to-hand moves, mainly on wrestler Bernard J. (BJ) Cosneck. Just to add to the spectacle, Cosneck appears in his wrestling boots and briefs throughout the book. Cosneck also wrote a book based on his time teaching the Coast Guard entitled American Combat Judo. Cosneck’s is by far the better work.

But that’s all beside the point. The point is to take a moment out of your busy day and imagine the Tin Man’s piston-like attacks facing those steel-denting Demspey hooks. Yeah, I’d still go with Dempsey.

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