The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

The Wells-Carpentier Fight

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Wells-Carpentier Fight is an article published in The Times on 10 december 1913.

In the second part of the article is the opinion of Arthur Conan Doyle about the match, as he saw it.

The Wells-Carpentier Fight

The Times (10 december 1913, p. 8)

The News in Paris.

Lessons for English Boxers.

(From our own correspondent.)

Paris, Dec. 9.

Paris was informed of the result of the Wells-Carpentier fight by means of special editions of the newspapers, which were eagerly bought up on the boulevards. The rapidity of Carpentier's victory came as a surprise to many Frenchmen, who have throughout had a fear in the bottom of their hearts that the Ghent victory was largely due to luck. The result is acclaimed with delight as offering fresh evidence of the physical renaissance of the youth of France, and even the sober Journal des Débats declares it to be some compensation to France for the political crisis of the week.

Much sympathy is expressed for Wells, to whom the somewhat humiliating advice is given to confine himself to sparring exhibitions in future. Sam Langford, who is shortly to meet Jeannette in the preliminary to a fight for the World's Championship, voices the opinion that a man with a stomach like Wells's should not try to fight.

Tristan Bernard, a great admirer of Carpentier, looked forward to his victory with confidence, but he warns Carpentier against the dangers which await him when he meets American body-fighters.

Need of New Methods.

Although slight odds were offered on Wells before the fight at the National Sporting Club on Monday night a great many good judges of boxing believed that Carpentier would win. The actual result was, of course, a surprise to every one. No one could have imagined that Wells would be knocked out in less than two minutes. What happened is yet another unmistakable warning, if one were needed, that all is not well with English boxing.

Under the old prize ring rules with closing allowed and a 30 sec. interval after each knock-down blow the old fighters had worked out a method in which a straight loft and out-fighting played the chief part Mendoza with his left leg advanced and his rule of "never both hands up or both down" had driven the two-handed fighter who stood square out of the field.

It was the misfortune of the English fighting men to inherit this tradition and to apply it to entirely new circumstances, where closing was not allowed and a knock-down meant only a 10 sec. interval, and that without assistance from the seconds. The spectators, who made the fighting career worth adopting, demanded out-fighting and our boxers for the most part took the easiest road to favour. The Americans, on the other hand, who give much solid planning to all forms of sport, recognized that the absence of closing and wrestling for a fall opened entirely new possibilities for the in-fighter and that the presence of the glove made round arm hitting worth developing. The ungloved hand was more easily damaged by this type of blow than by others, but the vital spots which are situated down the sides of the body are more readily accessible to such an attack and in any event it adds variety. Carpentier has come down on us as the "All Blacks" came down on the Rugby football men and, by not merely beating but abolishing our best performer, first at Ghent and then in our own stronghold, has brought our Short-comings home. The New Zealanders started a revival in English Rugby, and it is to be hoped that Carpentier by the same methods will give us as good results.

Sir A. Conan Doyle's Opinion.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stated last night to a representative of The Times that he had never imagined he would come away from a fight to miserable as the meeting between Wells and Carpentier had made him. He admired Wells as a boxer and as a man, but there could be no doubt that he had not the temperament for the prize-ring. On Monday evening from the time Wells entered the ring he appeared to have lost his presence of mind entirely. In the old days a fighting man regarded his opponent, for the time being at all events, as an enemy and grimly concentrated every thought upon defeating him. Wells was apparently quite incapable of any such feeling, and it was, partly at any rate, due to this that he would never achieve real success as a pugilist. Sir Arthur added that he was very much pleased at the way both the spectators and the crowd outside the club received the victory of the Frenchman.


Among the many telegrams which Carpentier received yesterday was the following from M. Maurice Maeterlinck:— "Hurrah for the champion who is not yet 20 years of age."

A film of the Wells-Carpentier fight was shown at the West-end Cinema last night.