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Johnnie Sweeney

My father was a man who did not brag either about himself nor his brothers. This stroy came to me one late night as I sat beneath our dinning room table as my father and his 4 brothers sat talking and drinking. They started talking about a young boxer who went by the name Johnnie Sawyer. Named after Tom Sawyer from Hunckleberry Finn. He was Irish and as tough a lad as there ever was. His older brothers decided to enter him in a boxing tournament under the name of Johnnie Sawyer. They did this so that Pop would not know. It turned out that Johnnie started winning all of his fights. His reputation grew and so did Irish pride so much so that Pop came home with tickets for his sons and him for next week's matches which included Johnnie Sawyer. Well, Johnnie Sawyer had just knocked a guy out the week before in 13 seconds of the first round setting the record in Pennsylvania for the fastest knockout (later verified by a clipping that my Mom had taken from the newspaper). You can image the look on Pop's face when he saw that Johnnie Sawyer was none other than his son Johnnie Sweeney and his other 2 sons were his handlers. But after round one the only handler was Pop who was telling Johnnie to hit him with his left hook. Johnnie Sawyer lost only one fight but writers from New York and Philly and Baltimore came to many of the boxing matches held in Eddystone, PA. Years later, Johnnie Sweeney was inducted into the Delaware County Hall of Fame not for his boxing legend but for his golfing merits. That's another story.

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