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1916 Jess Willard vs. Frank Moran Signed Fight Contract with Telegram

1916 Jess Willard vs. Frank Moran Signed Fight Contract with Telegram

After controversially taking Jack Johnson’s title in Cuba, Jess Willard successfully defended it only once. On March 25, 1916 at Madison Square Garden in New York he agreed to fight journeyman Frank Moran for the title. The fight marked the Tex Rickard’s first appearance as a promoter in New York City. Rickard, in order to secure the services of Moran, engaged in a side deal with his manager Ike Dorgan. Dorgan was paid $2,000 to secure Moran’s signature on a contract (which he did). This is confirmed in a telegram offered here. At the bottom of the telegram in pencil Rickard has added, “Providing Moran boxes for me I will give you $2,000.00 two thousand dollars G.L. Rickard.” This is Rickard’s signature. The telegram is in VG condition with the original folds. The two-page contract for the fight is offered as well. It is signed on the second page by Jess Willard and Frank Moran and is witnessed by John Dorgan and Nat Fleischer (later editor of The Ring). The fight contract has some edge tears, but nothing that affects the content or signature which are all bold and in ink. Signatures of both Willard and Moran are scarce and any fight contract from this era is extremely rare.

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