Lyons, Dolly : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Lyons, Dolly

Adolph Lyons

Lyons was a bantanweight and featherweight at the end of the 19th Century.

Birth and Death Dates:

Career Highlights:
A featherweight from New York, Lyons boxed primarily in Brooklyn during his career in the 1890s. At this time, boxing was still considered an undesirable sport by many middle class Americans because of its brutality and the presence of a number of 'lower' sorts associated with the sport. Yet, boxing also attracted colorful characters and Lyons certainly seems to have fit into the latter category. In July 1892, Lyons issued a statement in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The Eagle explained that Lyons 'lays claim to championship of America in bantam weights,' and his statement read: "I want the public to understand that I do not weaken in the match made for me by the Coney Island athletic club to meet Billy Plimmer. I merely refuse to fight...for the $500 purse, $400 to go to the winner and $100 to the loser because they would not pay my training expenses to which I think I am entitled...To show that I mean business I will fight Plimmer for a $1,000 purse the winner to take all, for the championship of the world...If this is satisfactory the Coney Island athletic club knows where to find me."

While the fight with Plimmer apparently never took place (it is unclear why), three months later, Lyons was back in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle when the newspaper published an account of the fighter, which described him as "a pugilist who is exhibiting there [Grand Street Theater] this week, offered a purse of $25 to any 110-pound man who would stand up before him for four rounds." The challenge was accepted by a boxer named Eddie Keenan, but the manager of the theater explained that if the two men fought, the police would intervene. Keenan's friends and others, including an intoxicated boxer named Mike Slattery, attempted to rush the stage and a fight broke out. Lyons, meanwhile, had to be taken by police escort to the ferry so he could return to Brooklyn unharmed [Grand Street is in Manhattan]. A number of individuals were arrested in the melee.

Despite the fiasco at the theater, Lyons proved his meddle on October 31 of that year when he fought Kid Hogan at the Coney Island Casino on the undercard of a fight between Joe Choynski and black boxer George Godfrey. Hogan was heavily favored as Lyons has reported sickness the week prior to the fight, but Lyons, who the Eagle described as "sturdily built and has an ugly right hand...leave its mark wherever it lands," fought well, but lost a ten-round decision. In February 1893, Lyons and Hogan fought a rematch (they had placed a side bet prior to the bout of $800 each) at the Coney Island Athletic Club. The build-up to the fight was big and the Eagle stated that Lyons was favored despite his loss in the first meeting. The bout, won by Lyons in a 20-round decision, was described as boring and relatively uneventful. The two boxers fought once more, with Hogan being declared the victor after the police broke up the bout in the second-round.

Lyons continued to fight regularly in Brooklyn in 1895 and 1896, including a bout against Maxey Haugh in front of 25,000 in May 1896. The following month, Lyons fought future world champion Solly Smith and in the third round, Lyons "landed a straight right on Smith's left eye and cut it severely, but the bout was "rather tame" and ended in a 10-round draw. Then, in July, Lyons fought Joe Bernstein, nicknamed 'The Pride of the Ghetto,' one of the best fighters from the Lower East Side. The bout ended in an eight-round draw. Lyons and Bernstein fought twice more, with Bernstein winning both bouts - the first on a knockout and the second, a 20-round decision. Lyons' third fight with Bernstein, which took place in March 1899, was his last recorded fight.

New York

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 17, 1892
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 23, 1892
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 1, 1892
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 7, 1893
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 2, 1896