Thomas J. Gibbons (March 22, 1891 in Saint Paul,
Minnesota – November 19, 1960) was a nearly undefeated heavyweight boxer.
The brother of Mike Gibbons
started boxing professionally in 1911 as a middleweight. Like his
brother he was a master scientific boxer who chose to outbox his
opponents. In time, he advanced to the Heavyweight class and
developed a respectable punch.
biggest fight came near the end of his career when he met
heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey on
July 4,1923 in Shelby, Montana.
local backers and the town of Shelby went broke putting on the
fight. The great Dempsey battled through the full fifteen rounds
before winning by decision. Dempsey was awarded $200,000, whereas
Gibbons received expense money.
Tommy Gibbons record was 56-4-1 with 44 no decisions, and 1 no
contest. He scored 48 knockouts, and was stopped only once by
on June 5, 1925. The names
dotting his record read like boxing's hall of fame. Tommy recorded
wins over George Chip
, Willie Meehan,
, Chuck Wiggins, Jack
Bloomfield, and Kid Norfolk. Tommy had no decision matches with
George "K.O." Brown, Billy Miske
, Battling Levinsky, Bob Roper,
Chuck Wiggins, Georges Carpentier, and others. Only Harry Greb
, Jack Dempsey
, and Gene Tunney
were able to score wins over Tommy
his retirement, Tommy Gibbons was elected four times as the Sheriff
County. He became a member of the Ring Boxing Hall of
Fame in 1963, and was inducted into the International
Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
He began work at the Great
rail yard for $1.10 a day, of which he was
allowed to keep 10 cents. He gave the rest of the money to help his
mother and father support the family. He accompanied his brother,
Mike to some of his boxing matches. When their father saw that they
could earn much more money boxing, than they could ever earn at the
rail yard, he allowed them to go into boxing full time. After
retiring from boxing at age 34, he sold insurance very successfully
and was a member of the $100,000 Club in the 1920*s. His friends convinced
him to run for Sheriff of Ramsey County in Minnesota, which included the capital city of Saint Paul,
He won for six consecutive four year terms
before retiring at the age of 68.
Tommy Gibbons also fought Jimmy Delaney.
- Owned the Gibbons Brother's Gym with his boxing brother
- He started boxing professionally in 1911.
- Boxed 106 fights, losing only 4 and being stopped only once, by
Gene Tunney. He retired after the
the first boxer to go the entire fifteen rounds with Dempsey during
the World Championship Fight in Shelby, Montana on July 4, 1923, where he lost the
and Helen donated $50,000 to build the Immaculate Conception Church
Minnesota from his
purse from the Tunney fight.
- Was elected, along with his brother Mike to the *Helms* Boxing
Hall of Fame in 1954.
"Nailing him was like trying to thread a needle in a high wind."-
Jack Dempsey about Tommy Gibbons bout in 1923
"Dempsey could beat anybody he could hit. The only reason that he
couldn't do anything with fellows like Tunney or Greb or myself was
he couldn't hit us."- Tom Gibbons in a radio interview in
"For the first and only time, I was more worried about getting hurt
by the crowd than by the guy I was fighting. I got a pretty good
blast when introduced. The crowd was hollering and raising hell. I
looked around for my bodyguard, a colorful New York character named
Wild Bill Lyons, who packed two pearl-handled pistols and used to
talk a lot about his days in the West. Wild Bill was under the
ring, hiding."- Jack Dempsey about being introduced to the crowd at
the Dempsey/Gibbons fight in Shelby, Montana July 4, 1923
"I could have licked him in Shelby if I had been 30, but I was 32.
I'll never forget that day. I never got so tired of man in my
life."- Tommy Gibbons discussing his World Championship bout with
"People couldn't seem to understand how I could take so much from
Dempsey. They said I was as Iron Man (a name I always wanted to
avoid), when really all I did was slip this way and that as the
occasion required. Brother Mike was a past master at that. I never
saw anyone to equal him at all. He taught it to me."- Tommy Gibbons
from Punches I Have Taken
Jack Dempsey vs. Tommy
Boxing in the 1920s
Boxing Hall of Fame