Acclaimed "Fighting Irishmen" Exhibit Comes to ICC's McClelland Library
|Courtesy of the Irish Cultural Center|
|Gene Tunney's boxing gloves|
Other highlights of "The Fighting Irish" include such gems as Sullivan's fur coat and a punching bag he used to train, a blazer owned by Dempsey, and Tunney's vintage boxing gloves, as well as a variety of posters and programs promoting some rather famous fights.
One particularly infamous fisticuff contest that's featured in the exhibit is Sullivan's July 1889 matchup with Jake Kilrain, which took place during a sweltering summer day in a field outside of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It was the last-ever bare-knuckle fight for the world's championship that went a record 75 rounds, and -- according to Houlihan -- was considered to be an illegal battle the time.
"Fighters and promoters were often one step ahead of the law in those days. In most of the states boxing was illegal, so if they got caught they could wind up in jail," Houlihan says. "That fight went for 75 rounds and for several hours. You can imagine how tough they had to go through that. And you think about today and most fights only going a few rounds and they have actual gloves. These gentlemen didn't."
The opening reception for "The Fighting Irishmen: Celebrating Celtic Prizefighters 1820-Present" takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at the Irish Cultural Center's McClelland Library.
The exhibition will be on display through May 31. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays; and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on First Fridays. Admission is $10 for the general public; $5 for seniors, students, and children, and $3 for ICC members.