Thoughts on Harry Wills

Hey guys

I am curious as to know what you good people know of the Black Panther..

His style...
His strengths...
His weaknesses..
who you would compare him too..

Thanks again guys.


Wills was a big guy who was good boxer and a good puncher. He was not a great puncher nor was he partcularly fast. He dominated Louis Firpo in a very boring fight in which champ Jack Dempsey walked out during the middle of it. He never got the chance he deserved against Dempsey, either because Tex Rickard really didn't want it to come off or local or state boxing comissione would not sanction an interracial fight. Demspey signed to fight him at least once and tickets were actually sold before the fight was called off. Tunney had no interest in fighting him either but it was really Dempsey who always had to hear about him "ducking Wills". I personally believe Demspey would have taken him out in less than 3 rounds but we will never know. I believe up and comer Jack Sharkey beat a very washed up Wills.

Wills lost to Dempsey's sparring partner Big Bill Tate in 1921. He didn't get a title shot because of the racist backlash to Jack Johnson.

Doc Kearns, who was Dempsey's manager when he won the title, but who split with him before he lost to Tunney always said had he still been managing Dempsey in 1928 he would have used Wills as a tune-up for Tunney. He said something to the effect that Demspey could have handled three Wills before breakfast. Kearns always said he could not understand the rush to fight "a runner" like Tunney without a few tuneups by Dempsey. When asked how he would have gotten the match approved in the US, Kearns said "they could have fought in Havanna, Cuba" -- no boxing commission. Kearns said Wills was too big and slow to hold off Dempsey -- but naturally he would say that. Wills may or may not have won, but he should have been given his chance.