Joe Goss-Paddy Ryan Championship Fight

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
June 2, 1880

Brutal Bruisers

The Goss-Ryan Prize Fight.

It Comes Off in Brooke County in Presence of an Orderly Crowd.

Both Badly Beaten But Ryan the Victor.

The Sheriff of Brooke County Gently Remonstrates But Without Effect.

The Night Before.

The Men Within Two Miles of Each Other and Everything Quiet.

It became very evident on Monday afternoon, at Pittsburgh, that a place of meeting had been definitely arranged between Goss and Ryan, whose presence in the city was well known to the authorities, and whose supposed plans were freely ventilated in the evening papers. An INTELLIGENCER reporter, who had been detailed to witness the affair if it came off within West Virginia's limits, was at the Union Depot when Ryan and his party came to take passage, and by a little cautious inquiry ascertained that the party would leave the train at Collier's Station. The news that Ryan was on the train soon spread through the depot, and the car in which the pugilist was seated was the centre of attraction for the loiterers inside the depot railing. By twos and threes the sporting gentry boarded the cars, and when the train left the depot there was nearly a hundred passengers whose destination was the same as that of the ambitious young pugilist. Two Pittsburgh detectives, O'Mara and McGovern, were of the party, who, it came to be generally understood, had undertaken to prevent the fight taking place in Pennsylvania.

Goss and his party were reported as having left on an earlier train on the C. & P. R. R., their destination being Steubenville.

About six o'clock the train reached Collier's Station, where Ryan, Roach and two others got off and secured quarters for the night. Two reporters, representing the Pittsburgh Telegraph and WHEELING INTELLIGENCER, also concluded to test the hospitality of West Virginia, and likewise left the train. They were considerably surprised on receiving a telegram from Pittsburgh stating that the Collier Station location had been abandoned, and that the fight would take place in Ohio, two miles below Steubenville. The Ryan party were then approached, the telegram was shown them, and the report immediately and emphatically pronounced untrue. "The fight," said Roach, "will take place right here. One man is here now. The other man will be here early in the morning. We have the stakes and ropes with us, and that means business." Presently there were a couple of new arrivals, being Billy Tracey and Johnny Newell, members of the Goss party, who came to report their man in the neighborhood and everything all right. The INTELLIGENCER reporter interviewed the driver of the carriage, from whom he learned that Goss and his friends, numbering about a dozen, had left their train about a mile and a half above Steubenville, crossed the river in skiffs and been conveyed to the farm house of Mr. Snyder two miles from Collier's Station, where they had taken quarters for the night.

This demonstrated beyond a doubt that the fight would certainly occur near the station, unless the authorities interfered, and to still further confirm this belief the entire party started out for the purpose of selecting a location for the fight, and returned in half an hour, having found ground in every respect desirable.

The party then separated, the Goss representatives returning to their headquarters, while the Ryan crowd, now considerably augmented by the village idlers and railroad men, distributed themselves about the platform to enjoy the cool of the evening, and converse in whispered tones about the vent of the coming morning. A cloudless sky, with myriads of sparkling stars, gave promise of a clear to- morrow, and the knowing ones nudged each other and referred to the prospect with great apparent satisfaction.

Ryan and his party retired to bed about half past eight, and his example was soon followed by the other strangers, leaving the natives in full possession.

The Men In The Ring.

Cordial Interchange of Greetings - Stripping for the Fight.

During the early morning a train arrived from Pittsburg[h], bearing a crowd of bruisers and sporting men who had learned of the location of the fight. Their shouts awoke many of the sleepers, and their boisterous conduct and high handed refusal to pay for eatables procured at the station hotel, indicated the general "cussedness" of the multitude. Each freight train that came in, whether from east or west, added a dozen or more to the crowd, and the noise of their brawls and riotous arguments banished all thought of repose.

By four o'clock all who had been in bed had arisen and drank a cup of coffee; and presently some men, bearing a bundle of stakes and a coil of rope, were seen to leave the station and proceed up the railroad toward the Pennsylvania line, three or four hundred rods distant. The crowd fell in after them, and in a few moments disappeared around a curve in the railroad. Everybody seemed in good humor, but there was little or no hilarity, and the satisfaction at the prospect of a fine "mill" was very apparent.

The place fixed upon for the ring was a level plat of grassy meadow near the head of a ravine through which meandered a small brook. On one side, some thirty or forty feet distant from the ring, the hill rose abruptly, affording a most desirable position from which to overlook the proceedings of the pugilists within the small enclosure, while on the other side, but further away, the hill rose more gradually, not affording so good a view of the operations. The hillside first mentioned soon swarmed with those who desired to view the fight from an elevated position, while the making of the ring progressed rapidly.

While the men were driving the stakes, three gentlemen approached the crowd and made themselves known as the Sheriff of Brooke county and his deputies. The principals were asked for, but not being present, the officers warned the crowd that the laws of the State of West Virginia forbade such assemblages, and warned all concerned of the consequences if there should be any unlawful proceedings or disturbances of the peace. The officers were listened to respectfully, but there was no stoppage in the ring-making. Seeing that they would be powerless in case they undertook to enforce submission to the laws, the officers withdrew and were seen no more.

About five o'clock a crowd was seen approaching the ring, which was now completed, and a hearty cheer greeted the arrival of Ryan and his friends. Ryan went up to the ring, leaned over the rope, took a calm survey of the arrangement, removed his hat as if to throw it into the enclosure, and turning to the crowd gathered around him, said, "Now, boys, I hope Joe Goss will soon be here. If he comes, I assure you that you will see a fight." He then put on his hat, and accompanied by a few of his friends, started out for a walk.

Twenty minutes later another party appeared, coming up the road from the station, which proved to be Goss and his friends, to the number of twenty or thirty. As they neared the ring the crowd made a rush toward them, and cheered the veteran pugilist most heartily. He, like Ryan, rested his arms for a moment upon the rope surveying the ring, and, apparently satisfied with the appearance of things, turned away and was immediately surrounded by a group of admirers.

In a few moments Ryan and his companions reappeared, and Ryan, going up to the circle of friends which surrounded Goss, shook hands heartily with his soon-to-be antagonist, pleasantly wishing him "good morning," after which he stepped gaily inside the ropes, apparently very much pleased with himself, Goss and all the arrangements. The crowd closed up against the ropes, and the affair began to assume a most emphatic appearance of "business."

Goss, noting the fact that Ryan was already preparing for the fray, flung his hat into the ring, and in a moment was inside the ropes himself. Taking a corner, he sat down, and grasping a satchel, soon had its contents, his fighting clothes, upon the ground beside him, and began likewise to prepare for battle.

The crowd now began to be a little noisy. Words of cheer and encouragement were addressed to both alike, and it seemed that the great bulk of the men on the ground were in favor of the best man - whichever he was. Bets were offered, but no odds were given, though there seemed a more confident feeling among the partisans of Ryan than those of Goss. The stragglers closed up on the ring, and the noisy bluster subsided into murmurings of expectancy as the managers of the affair began the arrangement of the unfinished details.

The Fight.

The Men at Work - Eighty-Seven Rounds in Eighty-seven Minutes.

After some parleying and calling upon several parties to act as referee, Mr. Schell Fairchild, of Allegheny, was at last agreed on, and assumed a position at the side of the enclosure. Some little difficulty was experienced in obtaining men to act as seconds for Goss, while the Ryan men seemed to be amply provided. At last David Jones and Billy Crowley were chosen as seconds for Goss, and Roach and Shanahan for Ryan.

The men were now dressed for battle - in drawers, stockings and low, stout shoes. There was a very decided difference in appearance between the two men. Goss, whose bald head gave him an elderly look, was fair in color of flesh, and had, apparently, not been very well trained. His movements were quick, but not of that elastic quality one looks for in a pugilist, and there was some little disappointment expressed at his condition. Ryan, on the contrary, had the rich, ruddy color peculiar to rugged health; his flesh was firm and solid-looking, and his movements of that springy character which betoken well- developed muscles and tough sinews.

The contrast between the men became more apparent when they moved to the center of the ring and began tossing for choice of corners - Ryan tall, lithe, sinewy and graceful in motion; Goss stout and muscular, but a little clumsy in action. Goss won the choice, and selected the western corner, facing east. Roach, the trainer of Ryan, then went to the center of the ring, and with the heel of his boot drew a furrow in the sod, thus making, in the slang of the ring, the "scratch," which the contestants were obliged to toe.

At about six o'clock, everything being ready, the principals and seconds met in the centre of the ring, and after a formal shaking of hands the seconds retired, leaving Ryan and Goss, who toed the mark, put up their hands, the referee called "Time," and the battle commenced.

The first round opened with a tedious seesaw of arms and hands, indicating on the part of both a decidedly cautious opening, as if feeling each other's strength and tactics. Ryan at last let fly a terrific blow at Goss' head, which was partially parried and returned by Goss with a hard one straight from the shoulder on Ryan's body, followed by a sharp exchange at close quarters, and Ryan going down to avoid a clinch.

Brisk work opened immediately on coming to the scratch in the second round, Goss forcing Ryan into his corner, closing with him and falling. Ryan on top.

The third round was like the second, though Ryan jolted Goss a bad one in the neck before he fell.

The fourth round was short and sharp, Goss going down, with Ryan upon him.

In the fifth several stingers were dealt out by both, but Goss went down again. First blood claimed by Goss, and allowed, Ryan's forehead showing a scratch.

The sixth round was won by Goss, after a sharp exchange at short range, Ryan falling heavily.

The seventh, eighth and ninth rounds were simply sharp interchanges, Goss going to grass each time. A foul was claimed in the ninth, but not allowed.

The next three rounds witnessed some lively work at short range, too rapid to distinguish clearly, but Goss dropping to his knees at the end of each.

In the thirteenth Ryan forced the fighting, but was well met by Goss, who by a splendid blow knocked Ryan down.

In the next five rounds the fighting was at close quarters, and very sharp and wicked, both men evidently getting mad, and taking about equal punishment. Bets were freely offered at $25 to $10 on Ryan, and the Goss crowd beginning to grow excited.

In the nineteenth round, the men closed, and Ryan, catching Goss around the neck, held him up while he delivered two telling blows under Goss' chin.

The twentieth round opened with some cautious fencing, when Ryan delivered an awful blow which Goss dodged neatly, and Ryan went down from the force of his effort.

Five more rounds of sharp work, blood showing plentiful from both men, and a cry of "Give the old man a chance" from the crowd in Ryan's ___.

From the twenty-sixth to the thirty-seventh rounds the ____ of blows was about even, though _____ went down at the end of nearly every round to escape punishment. The hard blows were beginning to tell perceptibly on _____ which Arthur Chambers yelled ____ from Goss' corner to the Ryan party, "Oh! take him away. This is manslaughter." This evident whistling of the Goss party to steady their nerves was without effect on the Ryan men. In the thirty-seventh both men were a little tardy in coming out of their corners, and after a few passes Goss went down to his knees. A foul blow was claimed here, and a terrible hubbub raised. The claim was not allowed.

In the forty-second round Ryan fairly threw himself at Goss, with the evident intention of crushing him, but Goss evaded him, and Ryan fell heavily. For the first time Ryan was picked up and carried to his corner, which brought forth much mock sympathy from the Goss men.

In the forty-third round Goss went down, and claimed foul; not allowed. From this to the forty-eighth the work was hard and evenly divided, this round ending with a splendid hit by Goss on Ryan's eye. "Oh look at his eye!" came in exultant tones from Chambers.

From this to the sixty-first round, there was little variation in the _____ Goss coming to _____blow and dropping to his knees in the evident hope of receiving a foul blow. The crowd jeered each repetition of this movement, and it was feared that the fight would end in the ____ of a foul blow, and Ryan's friends cautioned him to be very careful. In the sixty-first round Ryan again got a good hold on Goss and held him up while he delivered two awful blows on his neck, and this right under the eyes of Goss' friends and in his corner.

From this round onward it became painfully evident that Goss was overmatched and must lose unless he could catch a foul blow. The Ryan party, seeing how badly punished the old man was, pleaded in pathetic tones for the Goss men to "take the old man away. He's too feeble to fight a ___ boy. Oh, take him home." The enthusiasm of the Ryan party was visibly heightened, and they looked ___ and smiling. Ryan, instead _____ at the scratch, would walk boldly ___ Goss' corner and force the fighting, and Goss, in dropping would almost ___ himself in the chair from which he had just risen. His blows lacked force and direction, often falling far short of the mark.

At the beginning of the seventieth round Ryan's seconds cautioned their man against crossing the line, thus causing Goss to come out of his corner to meet his adversary. Goss, staggering blindly, would strike out wildly, when Ryan, forcing the fighting, would drive Goss back to his corner and almost land him in the arms of his friends.

So much carrying of their man had begun to tell upon Goss' seconds, and they began to show signs of weariness. Blood flowed freely from the wounds of both principals and the bruises upon their heads and bodies were painfully numerous. At the beginning of the seventy-eighth round bets of two to one were offered from Ryan's corner, with no takers.

On the eightieth round Goss staggered helplessly from his corner, only to meet a powerful blow which stretched him out apparently lifeless. Goss was evidently gone.

Seven more rounds were fought, the supporters of Goss lifting him to his feet to start him to the scratch. Ryan, while badly punished, and partly blind, still walked back and forth from his corner to meet the old man, dealing blows more remarkable for misdirection than power. Goss, after making a fruitless blow, would sink slowly to the ground, helpless and almost inanimate. On the eighty-seventh round, a foul was claimed, but the referee refused to allow it. The claim was vociferously urged, but the effort was a transparent endeavor to secure a breathing spell for Goss.

On the eighty-eighth round, when Ryan came out in response to the call of "time," there was no one to meet him. Ryan stood for a moment, turned to the referee, who, entering the ring, declared Ryan the winner of the fight, the purse and the heavy-weight championship of the United States. Ryan then advanced to Goss, who sat helpless and almost dead in his chair, extended his hand, which Goss grasped and shook feebly, and the fight was over.

The battle last an hour and twenty-seven minutes, according to the referee.

The crowd immediately dispersed making a rush for the station, and in a few moments the principals and their immediate friends were all that were left on the ground. A glance at the faces and bodies of Goss and Ryan showed how terrible had been the punishment ___, both their faces being very much swollen and bruised, and their bodies showed the fearful effect of the powerful muscles of the athletes.

In half an hour both the men were at the depot waiting for the early express, which coming along shortly was boarded by nearly the entire party, and the great event and its actors passed into a memory for the people of Collier's Station and its vicinity.

Contrary to all precedent, the crowd that attended and witnessed this fight was very quiet and orderly. But one really drunken man was noticed near the scene of the battle, while the crowd around the ring, though frequently noisy and turbulent, was quite good humored and orderly. There was no disturbance of any character outside the ring during the progress of the "mill."

The Fighters.

The Winner's Brief History - Goss' Battles.

Patrick Ryan, the winner of this fight and now the heavy-weight champion of the United States, was born in Ireland and is twenty-eight years old. He was brought to this country when he was two years old, and have lived in West Troy, New York, until about a year ago, when he went to New York city, where he now keeps a saloon, at 7 and 9 Chatham square. His business before was that of a blacksmith's helper, in which work he developed the powerful frame which enabled him to defeat his skillful opponent yesterday. He had never fought before. He stands six feet one inch, and weighs 182 pounds.

Joe Goss is a man of many battles in the fistic arena. He was once the champion of England, and had a series of uninterrupted victories until he met Mace. With the latter he fought three battles, losing two, the third resulting in a draw. He came to this country about four years ago, fought a drawn battle with Tom Allen, and yesterday's was his second fight in this country. He is forty-four years of age, and although still a powerful man, this contest showed that his best days are past, and that he is no longer a match, in point of endurance, for an opponent so much younger. He is 5 feet 8 3/4 inches tall, and fought yesterday at 178 pounds.