THE IRISH ARE STILL HERE!
TOM SPRING v JACK LANGAN (JUNE 1824)
The early skirmishing is finely balanced, Egan's own newspaper reporting: ‘Another skilful stop was made by Spring; and one also by Langan’. But, by the seventh round flash terminology is deployed to convey contrasting progress: ‘This was a prime milling round […] Spring followed his opponent, administering pepper, and Langan’s face clareted. Langan endeavoured to put in a heavy blow, but the harlequin step of Spring would not have it […] “It won’t last long – 5 to 2, and 3 to 1 […]” backers of the Champion were smiling’.
Despite general reservations relating to subtlety, Egan accentuates the resolution of Langan, who ‘could not persuade himself that anything alive could master him’.
Eventually (one hour forty-nine minutes), Spring prevails, but Langan dominates Egan’s closing analysis: ‘he has fallen […] nevertheless, he has risen in the estimation of […] twenty thousand or more spectators’.
And the English Fancy Go on a 'Crusade'
When Tom Belcher travelled to face Dogherty at the Curragh of Kildare (April 1813), Egan’s commentary implies that the ‘home’ fighter was outclassed by the London Fancy’s hero:
'Twentieth. – Belcher now seemed perfectly at home […] Superior science, enabled him to serve out Dogherty about the head […] A bet could not be obtained, from the offer of any odds […] He was covered with blood, and in the event was milled to the earth.
The dexterity, the ease, and perfect sang froid, with which Belcher defeated Dogherty […] excited universal astonishment – to view one man […] nearly smashed all to pieces – his head so transmogrified […] perfectly insensible as to his fate; while […] the other combatant was seen […] driving away […] with all the gaiety of a spectator. It was impossible that such a vast superiority could be passed over with indifference!' (Boxiana II)
[On DONNELLY] Egan concedes that the Irish champion’s form, on his 1819 visit to London, had been conspicuously unimpressive:'As a pugilist […] he did not raise himself in the estimation of the English […] nor did the Irish FANCY in London, it is said, think half so much of his capabilities, as they had previously anticipated, and those gentlemen who also came from Ireland to witness the fight, expressed themselves astonished at the deficiency of boxing talent'. (Boxiana III)