THERE are many ways that the modern heavyweight boxer might prepare for an important championship contest, but boxing three 15-rounders in a week would not be one of them.
Phil Scott, our leading heavyweight in the mid-1920s, was so fed up with not being able to land a shot against Frank Goddard for the British heavyweight title that he came up with a scheme to do just that. Scott, who would go on to greater things as the decade progressed, won a heavyweight competition at the Crystal Palace in 1923 and then lost only one of his next 17 contests. He was clearly the outstanding challenger for the British title. Goddard became champion, also in 1923, but had been badly exposed in contests with leading Europeans since then.
In August 1925, when Scott announced that he was prepared to meet three leading men in only six days, the promoters at the Blackfriars Ring took him up on the offer. All around the arena in the weeks leading up to the contests placards could be seen asking, Can Scott Do It?
Fight fans were gripped by the mission and all three nights, none against easy opposition, were a sell-out.
Scott’s first contest was against Jack Stanley of Deptford. Phil had knocked Stanley out in six rounds at the Royal Albert Hall seven months previously, but Jack was probably still number two in line, behind Scott, for the British title. He was a good fighter. The two met on Monday, August 24, and the bout proved to be a short one. Unbelievably, Scott came into the bout with a nasty cut eye, which he protected with a sticking plaster. This provided Stanley with a good target, and he came out with all guns blazing. Towards the end of the opening round Scott saw an opportunity and according to the BN report, “Scott met Stanley’s rush with a pile-driving right to the stomach and then, as Jack swayed back from the impact, he steadied his man with the left and smashed a right to the jaw. Down came Stanley’s guard and Jack was turned sideways so swiftly that the eye could hardly follow the blows. Three more rights followed to the same spot and Stanley went down on to his face to be counted out.”
Phil’s next opponent, the reigning British light-heavyweight champion, Tom Berry, would have been hoping that Stanley could have given Scott a much sterner test than he had. When Scott came into the ring for his second contest, on the Thursday, he looked fresh, fit and determined. He had spent Tuesday and Wednesday at his training quarters in Brighton and he travelled up on the day of the contest to put Berry in his place. He had outpointed Tom in a hard bout at the same venue five months previously, and he repeated this feat without much difficulty. Nevertheless, Scott’s performance was criticised by the press, as he seemed unable to finish off his obviously beaten opponent inside the distance.
On Saturday night, Gipsy Daniels was the opponent, and like Berry, he was a light-heavyweight, albeit one with an excellent pedigree (Daniels is best remembered today for his one-round knockout victory over Max Schmeling in 1928). Daniels beat Tom Berry for the British light-heavyweight title in 1927 and he had all the skills. He was also the last man to have beaten Scott, outpointing him in a very controversial contest the year before at Liverpool Stadium. Daniels was, therefore, the perfect opponent for Scott to complete his treble, and once again, he won on points. BN reported: “Phil had Berry shaken in the first round and had him hovering on the brink of defeat on at least three later occasions. Scott is the best big man we have had for a quarter of a century at least.”
In 1926 Scott finally got his match with Goddard and he flattened him in three rounds to win the British title.