Griswold’s Description of Corbett vs. Mitchell

Samuel Griswold, the early 20th-century World-Herald sports editor, was well known for his fiery boxing reporting.

He once described a match between James Corbett and Charles Mitchell as “one of the foulest and dirtiest prize fights in the annals of the ring.”

Noted sportswriter Samuel “Sandy” Griswold came to Nebraska in 1886. He became sports editor, first of the Omaha Bee and then of the Omaha World-Herald, where he remained until his death in April 1929. Although he also wrote fiction, especially on nature and outdoor life, Griswold is remembered chiefly for sports reporting. He was famous for his articles on baseball and boxing, and was said to have been at the ringside of more championship fights than any other writer of his time.

The Lincoln Call of January 26, 1894, included Griswold’s impressions of the recent bout between world heavyweight champion James J. “Gentleman Jim” Corbett and Charles Mitchell of England. Griswold, who witnessed the match, said:

The big international punch is over and my friend Jimmy Corbett is still champion of America, if not the world. There is no gain saying the fact he is a physical hurricane, quick as lightning’s flash and as powerful as a grizzly bear, clever as a magician and ferocious as a hyena. There were just seven and a half minutes of fighting when Charley Mitchell received a thunderbolt in the jaw and fell forward to the yellow pine floor, upon his handsome face, as good as a man who has been in his grave an hundred years.

But without extravagance or prejudice it was one of the foulest and dirtiest prize fights in the annals of the ring, and instead of being undefeated champion today Jim Corbett should be cringing under the sting and disgrace of ignominious defeat, and Charley Mitchell should be trotting about with a crown of laurel leaves resting on his brow. The fight was a go-as-you-please, free-for-all after the first round and in the second after having knocked the Briton to the floor with the smash of his wrist across the bridge of the nose, Corbett not only once but repeatedly fouled his adversary . . . . Referee Kelly stood by like a big cigar sign, and while Corbett’s seconds were frantically attempting to keep him from killing Mitchell while he was down, he did little else but flourish his arms and bellow ‘break away.’

Griswold’s summary of the match: “Mitchell was a high school kid compared with the herculean American champion and had no more chance of whipping the colossus from the slope than I have of being elected president of the United States.”

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

Vacationing on a Budget in 1909

Vacationing on a Budget in 1909

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.