Jack Dempsey Net Worth
Jack Dempsey had an estimated net worth of $12 million at death. Jack Dempsey, known as the “Manassa Mauler,” was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1919-26. He earns most of his income from his career as a professional boxer.
As a child, Jack Dempsey worked as a farm hand, miner, and cowboy before learning to box from his older brother. Dempsey’s early prize fights took place in mining towns near Salt Lake City, but on July 4, 1919, he defeated Jess Willard, dubbed “The Great White Hope,” to become world heavyweight champion. He defended his title five times before succumbing to Gene Tunney in 1926.
To calculate the net worth of Jack Dempsey, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$12 Million|
|Monthly Salary:||$150 Thousand+|
|Annual Income:||$3 Million|
|Source of Wealth:||Heavyweight boxer|
Dempsey was born on June 24, 1895, in Manassa, Colorado, to Hyrum and Celia Dempsey, who were originally from West Virginia, where his father worked as a schoolteacher. A missionary group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited Dempsey’s parents and converted them around 1880. Soon after, they relocated to Manassa, a tiny Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints village in southern Colorado, where Dempsey was born.
Although Hyrum eventually left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his wife remained faithful and observant her entire life, and Dempsey was raised in the church. Later, the boxer explained his own religious beliefs: “I’m glad I’m a Mormon. And I’m embarrassed to be the Jack Mormon that I am.”
Dempsey’s father and two older brothers worked as miners after moving from West Virginia, and the family moved around Colorado and Utah frequently in search of mining jobs. Dempsey got his first job picking crops on a farm near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, when he was eight years old. To support his struggling family, he worked as a farm hand, miner, and cowboy over the next few years. As an adult, Dempsey frequently stated that he enjoyed three types of work — boxing, mining, and cowboying — and would have been equally content doing any of them. During this time, Dempsey’s older brother, Bernie, supplemented his income by fighting in the saloons of hardscrabble Rocky Mountain towns. Bernie was the one who taught Jack how to fight, telling him to chew pine tar gum to strengthen his jaw and to soak his face in brine to toughen his skin.
Dempsey’s family moved to Provo, Utah, when he was 12 years old, and he attended Lakeview Elementary School. However, he dropped out of school after the eighth grade to begin working full-time. He polished shoes, picked crops, and unloaded beets for ten cents per ton at a sugar refinery. Dempsey had developed into a skilled young boxer by the age of 17, and he decided he could make more money fighting than working.
From 1911 to 1916, Dempsey traveled from mining town to mining town, picking up fights wherever he could. His home base was Peter Jackson’s Saloon in Salt Lake City, where his fights were arranged by a local organizer named Hardy Downey. In his Salt Lake City debut as “Kid Blackie,” Dempsey knocked out his opponent, a boxer named “One Punch Hancock,” with one punch. Downey was so enraged that he forced Dempsey to fight another opponent before paying him.
Bernie was still fighting as Jack Dempsey, named after the great 19th-century boxer Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey. Bernie became ill one day in 1914, and his younger brother offered to fill in for him. That night, assuming the name Jack Dempsey for the first time, he decisively defeated his brother’s fight and never relinquished the name. By 1917, Dempsey’s reputation had grown enough for him to book more prominent and higher-paying fights in San Francisco and on the East Coast.
A Boxing Champion
On July 4, 1919, Dempsey got his first big break: a fight against world heavyweight champion Jess Willard. Willard, dubbed “The Great White Hope,” stood a commanding 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 245 pounds. No one in the boxing world thought Dempsey, who stands 6’1″ and weighs 187 pounds, had a chance. Despite his massive size disadvantage, Dempsey dominated Willard with superior quickness and ruthless tactics, knocking the bigger man out in the third round to win the world heavyweight title.
The Willard-Dempsey fight sparked controversy in 1964, when Dempsey’s former manager, Jack Kearns, claimed that he had “loaded” the boxer’s gloves with Plaster of Paris. Kearns had previously feuded with Dempsey. Because of the seemingly extraordinary amount of damage Dempsey did to Willard’s face, the “loaded glove” theory held some weight. However, video evidence showed Willard inspecting Dempsey’s gloves prior to the fight, making it highly unlikely that the fighter cheated.
Over the next six years, Dempsey successfully defended his heavyweight title five times, in what is considered one of the greatest runs in boxing history. Despite his success in the ring during this time, Dempsey was not well-liked by the general public. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, he had not served in the military, prompting some to label him a slacker and draft evader. Furthermore, an infamous and widely mocked photograph depicted Dempsey at a Philadelphia shipyard, ostensibly working hard but wearing gleaming patent-leather shoes.
Surprisingly, Dempsey’s popularity skyrocketed after he lost his championship title. He was defeated by challenger Gene Tunney in front of a record crowd of 120,000 fans in Philadelphia on September 23, 1926. When Dempsey returned to his hotel that night, his wife, shocked by his gruesome appearance, asked him what had happened. Dempsey famously responded, “Honey.” “I didn’t remember to duck.” The amusing and self-effacing anecdote cemented Dempsey’s place in folklore for the rest of his life.
A year later, in 1927, Dempsey challenged Tunney to a rematch in a fight that would go down in boxing history as one of the most contentious. Dempsey knocked Tunney out in the seventh round but forgot about a new rule that required him to return to a neutral corner while the referee counted, extending the fight’s pause. Dempsey’s mistake gave Tunney at least five valuable seconds to recover and get back to his feet, and Tunney eventually won the fight. Although Dempsey supporters argue that if not for the “long count,” Tunney maintained that he was in command throughout the fight.
Dempsey retired from boxing after his second defeat to Tunney, but he remained a cultural figure. In New York City, he opened Jack Dempsey’s Restaurant, where he was known for his hospitality and willingness to chat with any customer who walked through his doors. He also experimented with acting. He and his wife, actress Estelle Taylor, co-starred in The Big Fight, a Broadway play, and Dempsey appeared in a few films, including The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) and Sweet Surrender (1934). (1935). During WWII, Dempsey served as a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard, putting all questions about his military record to rest.
In 1977, he wrote an autobiography, Dempsey: The Autobiography of Jack Dempsey.
Death and Legacy
On May 31, 1983, he died of heart failure.
Dempsey, dubbed the “Manassa Mauler,” was second only to Babe Ruth among the great American sports icons of the 1920s. In 1954, he was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, and many commentators still consider him to be one of the top ten boxers of all time. Dempsey was known for his ruthless, unbridled violence in the ring, but he was also known for his warmth, kindness, and generosity outside of the ring.
He exemplified sportsmanship perhaps unparalleled in the history of the notoriously violent sport. Half-drunk and heartbroken after losing to Tunney in the contentious “long count” match, Dempsey offered nothing but heartfelt congratulations to his opponent. “Lead me out there,” he said to his trainer, unable to walk straight. “I’d like to shake his hand.”
During his life, Dempsey married four times: Maxine Gates (1916-19), Estelle Taylor (1925-30), Hannah Williams (1933-43) and Deanna Piatelli (1958). He had two children, Joan and Barbara, with Williams and adopted a daughter with Piatelli.
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