On September 22, 1927, the boxing heavyweight championship between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney was fought at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Tunney was an avid reader, and Dempsey, as part of the pre-fight exchange of slander, called Tunney “a big bookworm.”
Tunney won the fight, but the decision was controversial, because of a longer-than-usual count in the seventh round that allowed Tunney extra recovery time from Dempsey’s left hook. Dempsey appealed but lost, and Tunney retired undefeated after another year.
Tunney continued his bookworming ways, becoming friends with George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, and Thornton Wilder. He also remained lifelong friends with Jack Dempsey. Historian Tracy Callis calls Tunney “one of the most intelligent fighters in boxing history.”