Baby name story: John Dempsey

On July 2, 1921, American boxer Jack Dempsey fought French boxer Georges Carpentier in New Jersey. It was boxing’s first million-dollar gate, and the radio broadcast of the bout drew radio’s largest-ever audience up to that point.

That morning, a baby boy was born in Pittsburgh to Mr. and Mrs. John Mahoney. “[A]s the father was an enthusiastic rooter for the Irish fighter, it was decided to hold off naming the baby till after the result of the Jersey City fight should be known.”

Dempsey won in the 4th round. So the baby was named John Dempsey Mahoney.

Mr. Mahoney’s brother stopped by later that night. The brother was a Carpentier supporter, and the men fought over the baby’s name. They ended up at the police station, charged with disorderly conduct.

Ultimately, the magistrate ordered the uncle to buy baby John Dempsey Mahoney his first pair of shoes.


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