July 27, 1918. Harrison, New Jersey. Jack Dempsey Vs. Fred Fulton.
The fight lasted all of:18 seconds.
Dempsey and Fulton, two big punchers, met in what could be described as an eliminator for the world heavyweight title held by Jess Willard. Fulton was the betting favorite, Dempsey being largely unheard of at the time, but the odds would be smashed by “The Manassa Mauler.” Dempsey, 23 years of age, had turned pro in 1914 (according to available records, but almost certainly a good deal earlier) but he was not unbeaten; having been KO’d by Fireman Jim Flynn (in a controversial fight; some claims stating the fight was fixed) and defeated by Willie Meehan.
Fulton, the older man by four years, had been fighting as a pro since 1913 and he was a southpaw. A very powerful-punching southpaw. But Fulton was not blessed with a great chin; having been stopped numerous times prior to facing Dempsey. Dempsey would unleash all of his withering power on Fulton as soon as the fight began.
With 10,000 fans in attendance to witness the battle of punchers, the fight was over in a blur. A left hand to the body followed by a smashing right to the chin got the job done for the young Dempsey, Fulton being knocked cold in just:18 seconds. Dempsey was one big step closer to a shot at Willard’s title; with the writer of the day Bob Edgren stating how Dempsey would “destroy” Willard if the two fought. We all know what happened on July 4th, 1919.
But Fulton, so brutally and swiftly beaten by Dempsey, had a tale to tell. Fulton said in 1919 how he and Dempsey had had an agreement to box an eight-round exhibition, and that Dempsey had “double-crossed” him. Dempsey called the man he had flattened a “bum sport,” and vowed to knock him out again if he ever ran into him.
There have been many first-round KO’s scored at heavyweight over the years, but Dempsey’s quick destruction of Fulton is especially notable for a number of reasons. Was the fight legit, or did Dempsey really double cross Fulton? Did Dempsey ever land a sweeter right hand?
Fulton, who scored 72 KO’s during his career (83 wins, 17 defeats and 4 draws), was listed in Ring Magazine’s 100 Greatest Punchers list in 2003.