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In the process of researching Billy Irwin’s boxing career a number of interesting and informative articles, illustrations and factoids were discovered.  Some of this information pertains to Billy Irwin and some does not.  I am including many of these items in the “scrapbook” appendix and hope it will be useful to boxing historians and enthusiasts who may come across my website:


1. “Alleged” Tampered Boxing Gloves:


After completing this photo-essay, “Lightweight Champion (Disputed) of Colorado (1898)”, I continued to ponder Coogan’s boast on fight day

“that if I hit Irwin on the head I will kill him.”  “Tampered gloves” … “kill him” are very incriminating words when coupled with the results of round one of this Lightweight championship match.  The preceding being said I decided to do a little bit of investigative research in order to see if I could shed more light onto this dark and murky issue.


I began by interviewing a number of boxing enthusiasts who may know something about “tampered” boxing gloves.  In separate interviews I was informed by these people that such “tampering” could entail three possibilities:  Something could be subtracted from the gloves.  Something could be pre-inserted inside of the boxing gloves or a combination of adding and subtracting could be done to the boxing gloves.


Upon further investigation I learned that as far as subtraction was concerned, a maldoer could massage, manipulate or remove the padding from the glove so that the wearer of the glove would be delivering a punch tantamount to bare knuckles.  As far as addition was concerned a brass knuckle or a door knob could be clandestinely stashed inside a glove which would magnify the punching power of the wearer of such a glove.  As far as both subtraction and an addition are concerned a glove could be modified to have no padding and it could also be fortified to include some sort of punching enhancement (i.e. brass knuckles, door knob, etc.).


Upon obtaining such preliminary information I considered it mandatory that I at least try to make some sort of determination as to what kind of alleged glove tampering Billy Irwin had come up against.  I knew from my previous research that there were three Coogan brothers (Reddy, Jimmy and Danny) who had been prize fighters in Colorado at this time.  I also knew from previous research that these three brothers had been managed by Johnny Mosconi and trained at his ranch near Denver.  They also, in later years, worked at the Mosconi Tavern in Denver as saloon waiters.  

I thought it possible that between Johnny Mosconi and the Coogan brothers that, over the years, there may have been accusation(s) or conviction(s) of glove tampering incidents in the records which would, in turn, shed light on Billy Irwin’s unfortunate encounter with tampered boxing gloves.


Given the limited research I did regarding this matter I did not divulge any sort of “smoking gun.”  However I did come across evidence that at least one of the Coogan’s (Jimmy) did carry a door knob on his person.  Could this door knob evidence possibly be a clue to the alleged “tampered” gloves worn by Coogan during this match?”


Jimmy Coogan did indeed have a door knob on his person at the time of his death at age 23.  As the story goes on March 14, 1901 “Jimmy Coogan, one of the celebrated family of fighters was killed, according to men who claim to know, as a result of a quarrel over a woman of the town” (Denver Post March 14, 1901).  “He was killed by Plunk Salter who has been mixed up with many crooked transactions in the city during the past few years.” (Rocky Mountain News March 14, 1901). Then, according to the Rocky Mountain News dated March 15, 1901, “the coroner found a porcelain doorknob wrapped up in a handkerchief, in the clothing of the corpse” (Jimmy Coogan).


Porcelain doorknob…wrapped in a tampered unpadded boxing glove…could this be the clue searched for to explain the uncharacteristic “flooring” of Billy Irwin four humiliating times within a couple of minutes of the first round on August 23, 1898 at Glenwood Springs?  If this is how Billy Irwin met his defeat that day then he was truly lucky that Coogan did not “kill him” when as per Coogan boast, he hit Irwin on the head!”


2.   In 2014 at Box Rec’s Ratings: Bantamweights Annuals - (1890s) Box Rec (Googled) the best Bantamweights in the U. S. A., ranked in order were:


  • Best one of 1890

  1. Fred Johnson


  • Best 4 of 1891

  1. George Dixon

  2. Fred Johnson

  3. Billy Plimmer

  4. James Anderson


  • Best 6 of 1892

  1. George Dixon

  2. Tim Murphy

  3. Willy Smith

  4. Billy Plimmer

  5. Fred Johnson

  6. Kid Hogan


  • Best 7 of 1893

  1. Billy Plimmer

  2. Maxey Haugh

  3. Dolly Adolph Lyons

  4. Tim Murphy

  5. Martin Flaherty

  6. Kid Hogan

  7. Fred Johnson


  • Best 5 of 1894

  1. Billy Plimmer

  2. Tim Murphy

  3. Kid Hogan

  4. Maxey Haugh

  5. Billy Whistler


  • Best 7 of 1895

  1. Pedlar Palmer

  2. Jack Ward

  3. Dolly Adolph Lyons

  4. Billy Plimmer

  5. Jimmy Barry

  6. Casper Leon

  7. Billy Whistler


  • Best 8 of 1896

  1. Pedlar Palmer

  2. Billy Plimmer

  3. Martin Flaherty  -   (Billy Irwin was his trainer for  “Fight of the Century” 03/17/1897)

  4. Dolly Adolph Lyons

  5. Jimmy Barry

  6. Casper Leon

  7. Casper McKeeck

  8. Jack Ward


  • Best 13 of 1897

  1.  Pedlar Palmer

  2.  Martin Flaherty

  3.  Jack Kid Madden

  4.  Dave Sullivan

  5.  Jimmy Barry

  6.  Billy Plimmer

  7.  Casper Leon

  8.  Dolly Adolph Lyons

  9.  Will Curley

  10. Jack Levy

  11. Danny Baugh

  12. Alf Allen

  13. Charley Kelly


  • Best 15 of 1898

  1.  Pedlar Palmer

  2.  Patsey Haley

  3.  Martin Flaherty     -  (Billy Irwin was his trainer for  “Fight of the Century” 03/17/1897)

  4.  Jack Kid Madden

  5.  Harry Brodigan

  6.  Charley Kelly

  7.  Will Curley

  8.  Jimmy Barry

  9.  Ned Starkey

  10. Casper Leon

  11. Patsy Corrigan

  12. Jack Ward

  13. Joe Barrett

  14. Bob Bailey

  15. Jimmy Rose


  • Best 15 of 1899

  1.  Terry McGovern

  2.  Pedlar Palmer

  3.  Danny Dougherty

  4.  Patsey Haley

  5.  Martin Flaherty     -  (Billy Irwin was his trainer for  “Fight of the Century” 03/17/1897)

  6.  Charley Kelly

  7.  Jimmy Barry

  8.  Jack Kid Madden

  9.  Morris Rauch

  10. Jack Hare

  11. Ned Starkey

  12. Doc Kennedy

  13. Billy Forsyth

  14. Harry Brodigan

  15. Llew Morgan



3.       In 2014 at Box Rec’s Ratings: Featherweight Annuals - (1890s) Box

Rec (Googled) the best Featherweights in the U. S. A., ranked in order, were:


  • Best 6 of 1890

  1.  Young Griffo

  2.  George Dixon

  3.  Jack King

  4.  Abe Willis

  5.  Jack Gavin

  6.  Alf Gower


  • Best 8 of 1891

  1.  Jim (Iron Bark) Burge

  2.  Young Griffo

  3.  Torpedo Billy Murphy

  4.  George Powell

  5.  Jack King

  6.  Abe Willis

  7.  Cal McCarthy

  8.  Mick McCarthy


  • Best 9 of 1892

  1.  Young Griffo

  2.  Chiddy Ryan

  3.  Yankee?

  4.  Solly Smith

  5.  Nipper Peakes

  6.  Johnny T. Griffin

  7.  Torpedo Billy Murphy

  8.  Mick McCarthy

  9.  Jack King


  • Best 11 of 1893

  1.  George Dixon

  2.  Young Griffo

  3.  Morgan Crowther

  4.   Solly Smith

  5.  Ike “Spider” Weir

  6.  Nipper Peakes

  7.  Ed Gorman

  8.  Johnny T. Griffin

  9.  Reg Agnew

  10. Jack McGowan

  11. Tommy White


  • Best 15 of 1894

  1.  Tim Hagerty

  2.   George Dixon

  3.   Alf Tompkins

  4.  Young Griffo

  5.  Oscar Gardner

  6.  Jack Downey

  7.  Johnny Van Heest

  8.  Solly Smith

  9.  Ted O’Neill

  10. Ike “Spider” Weir

  11. Tommy White

  12. Jack Skelly

  13. Johnny T. Griffen

  14. Jack McGowqn

  15. Eddie Pierce


  • Best 15 of 1895

  1. Jerry Barrett

  2. Tommy Dixon

  3. Tim Hegarty

  4.  Joe Gans

  5.  George Dixon

  6.  Solly Smith

  7.  Tom Wilson

  8.  Jack McGowan

  9.  Tom Ireland

  10. Eddie Pierce

  11. Frank Erne

  12. John Ball

  13. Pittsburgh Kid Hogan

  14. Danny McBride

  15. Jack Smith


  • Best 15 of 1896

  1.  Solly Smith

  2.  Sammy Kelly

  3.  Tommy Dixon

  4.  Tommy White

  5.  Mike Sears

  6.  Marty McCue

  7.  Eddie Curry

  8.  Johnny Lavack

  9.  George Dixon

  10. Torpedo Billy Murphy

  11. Jack McGowan

  12. Eddie Pierce

  13. Jury Barnett

  14. Nipper Peakes

  15. John Ball


  • Best 15 of 1897

  1.  Solly Smith

  2.  Sammy Kelly

  3.  Ben Jordan

  4.  Billy Rotchford

  5.  Tim Hegarty

  6.  Austin Rice

  7.  Oscar Gardener

  8.  George Stout

  9.  Mike Stears

  10. Eddie Curry

  11. Ben Marks

  12. Danny McMahon

  13. Benny Leon

  14. Jack McGowan

  15. Johnny Van Heest


  • Best 15 of 1898

  1.  George Dixon

  2.  Ben Jordan

  3.  Dave Sullivan

  4.  Terry McGovern

  5.  Tommy White

  6.  Billy Rotchford

  7.  Oscar Gardner

  8.  Aurelio Herrera

  9.  Solly Smith

  10. Charley Miner

  11. Luke Steves

  12. Jerry Marshall

  13. Gil “Kid” Goulette

  14. Tommy Hogan

  15. Jack Farrell

  • Best 15 of 1899

  1.  George Dixon

  2.  Eddie Santry

  3.  Austin Rice

  4.  Kid Ned Broad

  5.  Tommy Sullivan

  6.  Oscar Gardner

  7.  Jack Farrell

  8.  Joe Bernstein

  9.  Ben Jordan

  10. Aurelio Herrera

  11. Arthur Jones

  12. Marty McCue

  13. Danny McMahon

  14. Harry Forbes

  15. Charley Miner


4. In 2014 at Box Rec’s Ratings: Lightweight Annuals – (1890s) BoxRec (Googled) the best Lightweights in the U. S. A., ranked in order were:


  • Best 15 of 1890

  1.  Jimmy Carroll

  2.  George Dawson

  3.  Billy “Shadow” Maber

  4.  Torpedo Billy Murphy

  5.  Paddy Smith

  6.  Andy Bowen

  7.  Tom Tracey

  8.  William Young Lindsay

  9.  Martin Denny

  10. Jim “Iron Bark” Burge

  11. Billy Meyer

  12. Jimmy Murphy

  13. Jack McAuliffe

  14. Tom Barron

  15. Dave Reese     - (Billy Irwin, in a newspaper decision win, knocked out Dave Reese in a  bare knuckle impromptu fight in a                                       Cripple Creek  saloon on 03/11/1895)


  • Best 15 of 1891

  1.  Jack McAuliffe

  2.  Austin Gibbons

  3.  Jimmy Dime

  4.  Jimmy Carroll

  5.  Harry Overton

  6.  George Dawson

  7.  Charles Turner

  8.  Billy Eyles

  9.  Arthur Valentine

  10. Jimmy Shadow Maber

  11. Young Jack McAuliffe

  12. Billy Water

  13. Tom Tracey

  14. Stanton Abbott

  15. Frank Young McShane


  • Best 15 of 1892

  1.  Sam Baxter

  2.  Sandy McGregor

  3.  Stanton Abbott

  4.  Bobby Dobbs

  5.  Martin Denny

  6.  Jack McAuliffe

  7.  Jimmy Murphy

  8.  Harry Overton

  9.  Jimmy Dime

  10. Billy Myer

  11. Young Jack McAuliffe

  12. Andy Bowen

  13. Charles Bogan

  14. Jack O’Brien

  15. Billy “Shadow” Maber


  • Best 15 of 1893

  1.  Stanton Abbott

  2.  Martin Denny

  3.  Sam Baxter

  4.  Jack McAuliffe

  5.  Jimmy Murphy

  6.  Sandy McGregor

  7.  Young Mitchell

  8.  Billy Eyles

  9.  Arthur Valentine

  10. Jimmy Carroll

  11. Joe Walcott

  12. Austin Gibbons

  13. Jimmy Dime

  14. Andy Bowen

  15. Texas Jack Burke


  • Best 15 of 1894

  1.  Jack Everhardt

  2.  Kid LaVigne

  3.  Jack McAuliffe

  4.  George Green

  5.  Martin Denny

  6.  Bill Mahan

  7.  Jimmy Carroll

  8.  Jimmy Dime

  9.  Arthur Valentine

  10. Jimmy Murphy

  11. Stanton Abbott

  12. Austin Gibbons

  13. Young Pluto

  14. Andy Bowen

  15. Billy Eyles


  • Best 15 of 1895

  1.  Kid LaVigne

  2.  Charles McKeever

  3.  Young Griffo

  4.  Owen Ziegler

  5.  Jimmy Handler

  6.  Jack Everhardt

  7.  Charles Bull McCarthy

  8.  Jerome Quigley

  9.  Billy Hill

  10. Tommy Hogan

  11. Jimmy Dime

  12. Jack Fitzgibbon

  13. Bill Greaves

  14. Billy Ernst

  15. Fred Ross           -  (Billy Irwin knocked him out in one round on 03/11/1895 at Cripple Creek)


  • Best 15 of 1896

  1.  Kid LaVigne

  2.  Charles McKeever

  3.  Jack Everhardt

  4.  Joe Walcott

  5.  Frank Erne

  6.  Young Griffo

  7.  Matty Matthews

  8.  Barney Malone

  9.  Kid McPartland

  10. Billy Ernst

  11. Pat Daly

  12. Joe Gans

  13. Billy Hill

  14. Jack Downey

  15. Charles “Bull” McCarthy


  • Best 15 of 1897

  1.  Kid LaVigne

  2.  Matty Matthews

  3.  Kid McPartland

  4.  Joe Gans

  5.  Young Griffo

  6.  Wilmington Jack Daly

  7.  Jack Everhardt

  8.  Charles McKeever

  9.  Owen Ziegler

  10. Young Jack McAuliffe

  11. Frank Purcell

  12. Jim Halloway

  13. Danny McBride

  14. Johnny Gorman

  15. Jack Fox


  • Best 15 of 1898

  1.  Joe Gans

  2.  William “Spike” Sullivan

  3.  Andy Walsh

  4.  Frank Erne

  5.  Tom Tracey

  6.  George “Elbows” McFadden

  7.  Wilmington Jack Daly

  8.  Young McAuliffe

  9.  Jack Downey

  10. Kid McPartland

  11. Harry Webater

  12. Frank McConnell

  13. Young Griffo

  14. Jack Delany

  15. Tom Ireland


  • Best 15 of 1899

  1.  Frank Erne

  2.  Frank McConnell

  3.  New York Jack O’Brien

  4.  Andy Walsh

  5.  William Spike Sullivan

  6.  William “Kid” Parker

  7.  George “Elbows” McFadden

  8.  Herb McKeel

  9.  John Mahoney

  10. Wilmington Jack Daly

  11. Tim Kearns

  12. Bill Chester

  13. Tim Callahan - (On September 3,1906 Billy Irwin, Manager of the Cloud City Athletic  Association, promoted a match in Leadville between Tim Callahan of Philadelphia and Frank Hardin of Omaha, Nebraska).                                                       

  14. Joe Caen

  15. Jim Holloway

5. Michael Mongone grave marker at Crown Hill Cemetery, Denver, Colorado. It is located at Block 48, Lot 129, Unit 4. According to the U.S. Federal Census of 1900 Michael Mongone was born in Colorado in June of 1882.

6.   Leadville Fire Dept.circa 1905. Billy Irwin is at the bottom row far left.

7.    Young Corbett grave marker located at Littleton Cemetery, Denver Colorado. It is located at Block B, Lot 12, Grave 4. 

8.  Pioneer Bar in Leadville Colorado. For years it was owned and operated by Dago Mike (behind the bar).

Author's Note : Mike was the son of Anthony Mongone and Felicia Vitello (sometimes spelt Vitullo and Vilella). This family came to America from Italy in 1882 (See U.S. Federal Census for 1900). Mike was born in Colorado, most probably Denver, in June of 1882. And analysis of this census entry leads one to state with virtual certainty that Mike, though born in Colorado, was  conceived  in Italy. The Mongone Family's place of origin before coming to the U.S.A. was probably the small, picturesque town of Bellano on the eastern shore of Lake Como. Bellano is 10 miles from Switzerland. It is in the Province of Lecco which is in the region of Lombardy. Bellano in the local Lombardo dialect (Dialetto Comasco) is spelt " Belaan" and it is pronounced "Bela/Bella." When accompanied with the definite article " the " it would be " Labela." When Mike applied for a Social Security Number (August 20th 1938) he resided in Reno Nevada and listed his place of birth as "Labela," Italy. Therefore when Billy Irwin lost his Bantamweight Championship to Mike he was 13 yrs older than Mike.

9.   Billy Poole whom Billy Irwin fought in 1894.

10.  Martin Flaherty whom Billy Irwin trained for what was billed as the World Featherweight Championship at Carson City, Nevada  on March 17 1897

11.  Seen here is an advertising poster (Original) showing the Main Boxing Event between Billy Irwin and Fred Ross also known as "The Denver Iron Boy."

12.  St. John's Cathedral (Roman Catholic) Limerick City, Ireland. William " Billy" Irwin was baptized here in 1869.

13. Young Corbett - World Featherweight Champion.

14. Old photos of Garvey's Range, Limerick City before demolition circa 1960s.

15.  See Garvey's Range on city map near Baal's Bridge and St, John's Cathedral (John's Square) 

16. St, John's Cathedral near Garvey's Range in Limerick City;s " Garryowen District" of Limerick City as seen today.

17. Billy Irwin and Family arrived in Leadville during the 1879 Silver Boom.

18. Newspaper clip of Irwin - Corbett match.

19. Newspaper clip of Irwin - Dago Mike match.

20. Newspaper clip of Irwin - Kid Brooks match.

21.  Ticket to boxing contest at Cloud City Athletic Club, Billy Irwin, Manager.

22. Leadville, Colorado Billy Irwin's resident (1879- 1910).

23. Irwin plot St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery at Leadville, Colorado.

24. 124 West 3rd Street Billy Irwin's last resident and place of death. At second from left is Kate Cunningham Loftus (Billy's mother-in-law), at far left is Mary Cunningham McGuinness (Kate Loftus's sister on a visit to Leadville from Eau Claire, Wisconsin circa 1903), at far right is Mary Loftus Irwin (Billy Irwin's wife.)

25. Billy Irwin's son Francis (1907 - 1977). Photo taken circa 1911 next to residents at 124 West 3rd Street, Leadville. On this day a news paper reporter was roaming town in search of news worthy items. He came across young Francis playing in front of his house and snapped this picture which was shown on the local movie screen much to the laughter and amusement of all of the viewers.

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