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The Game Chicken Versus Elias Spray
Henry Pearce Defends His Title on Monday, March 11, 1805 Upon Molesworth Meadow


This fight was supposed to have been held at Hamptoncourt, but was abruptly moved across the river where some spectators nearly drowned, in order to avoid interference by the authorities.

This was a fight in 20 foot ring, both men stripped to the waist, but wearing breaches and cleats, with three half-inch spikes under the toes.

Pearce had Maddox and Hall as his second and bottle holder [No one ever thought to ask what was in the bottles.]

Spray, a coppersmith from Bristol was a four-to-seven underdog and was the subject of side bets saying he would not last 25 minutes with the Game Chicken.

Round 1: Several feints were attempted. Spray threw a jab from too far out and was dropped by a straight right [probably to the jaw].

Round 2: Spray landed a good right to Pearce’s chest [this would be vertical fist].rallied and dropped him with what was most likely a body punch.

Odds went up to 9-4 Pearce

Round 3: Spray stood up well, exchanged, and clinched. They fell together in the clinch which restarts the round.

Round 4: Spray was missing with his punches. Pearce caught him reaching and dropped him with a hip throw

Round 5: Spray was ‘distressed” and Pearce put on a clinic and dropped Spray with a smile, the punch not specified but likely part of a combination.

Round 6: The fighters exchanged, with spray landing a wicked body shot to the belly. Pearce rallied and threw him again.

Round 7: Still hurt by the body shot, Pearce tried to throw Spray again and fell in the attempt.

The odds fell some.

Rounds 8-11: Nothing significant occurred, with the fighters slipping to a knee to restart.

Round 12: Spray pressed Pearce and brought him down with a punch to the nose.

Round 14: The Chicken was covered in blood, but Spray fading, and fell while trying to land a punch.

Round 15: Spray stood tall and got leveled with right to the chin.

Round 16: Both fighters went at it hard with spray landing the better shots. Pearce ended it with another hp throw.

Round 17: Spray fought heroically as he continued to fade, until Pearce scored below the temple with what was probably his special punch, the palm-up jab, which dropped Spray.

Rounds 18-23: Spray, out on his feet, and “stupid” gets mauled and dropped six rounds in a row.

Odds are 20-1, with no takers.

Rounds 24-26: Spray puts up a feeble fight, with Pearce smiling as he hits him with light combination to drop him each round.

Round 27: Spray leveled as soon as he steps up.

Round 28: Spray could barely stand but tried. Pearce picked his shots and dropped him with few well placed blows.

Round 29: Spray toed the scratch and Pearce pointed at him in derision before leveling him, at which point Spray declined to continue.

The fight lasted 35 minutes, and Pearce leaped over the ropes to accept a challenge from Cart of Birmingham, to be fought on April 27. Pearce stretched out on the ground to rest for a few minutes, then headed to town to party.

This is an example of a typical, clean, bare-knuckle fight with minimal activity outside the ring, no interference and no serious injuries other than brain damage, which did not overly concern the press.

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