Boxers are very superstitious. Jerry Sullivan and Johnny Summers crossed themselves in the ring, Herb McCoy had an old pair of trunks with some emblem sewn inside them, George Taylor used always to enter the ring with his father’s old Crimea shirt on, while Harry Stone always insisted on wearing a cap when he walked into the ring. The latest Yank, Ancel Bell, has a lucky bag, which he wears around his neck. Cross-eyed people are their pet aversions. I remember a fight between two champions, and during the progress of the bout on eof them lost heart and eventually quit. When asked what made him turn it up he said: “I knew I had no chance as soon as I saw Tommy Jones in Mehegan’s corner.” (Tommy Jones had a decided squint).
Bob Fitzsimmons had a little superstition in his make-up. Before every fight Bob went to some blacksmith shop and a made a horseshoe. He made one just before he fought O’Brien in America – the fight in which he lost his championship title. While Bob was on the road one of his trainers took the horseshoe and nailed it over the door of the training quarters “for luck.” When Bob came in he was furious. The horseshow had been nailed with the ends down! “The luck has all spilled out, ” said Bob furiously, and rushed away to make another horseshoe. No doubt Fitzsimmons’ defeat by O’Brien was caused by the fact that he ad become too old to fight, and nature had given out, for he collapsed between rounds. But you couldn’t convince him of that. “I’m as good as ever I was,” Fitz said a moth afterwards. “I’d like to lay my hands on the fellow who nailed up that horseshoe.”