Two months after
the fight, De Valera's Republican government ordered a stop to hostilities; the
great fight riot which might have aggravated the hostilities, or destroyed
confidence in the stability of the new government, had not come off, and the
civil war was over. The Saturday Record asked its readers who opposed
prizefighting to consider if a fight in a ring, and other sports, "were not
less injurious than a night spent skulking behind a wall with a revolver or a
can of petrol."
Late in the
summer of 1923, Siki sailed to New York, receiving a surprise welcome at the
dock from McTigue. He continued his boxing career in the U.S. with indifferent
success. He also continued to live it up, promenading down Broadway in evening
clothes in "the middle of the day and sometimes tipping 10 times the amount
of his check in restaurants and speakeasies.
Siki was shot to
death near his home in Hell's Kitchen on Dec. 15, 1925. He was 28; the case was
never solved. In a eulogy at Siki's funeral service, the Rev. Adam Clayton
Powell said, "No man ever came out of Africa who had a more dramatic life
or had a more tragic ending. A lack of proper preparation or a noble purpose
were the two dreadful mistakes of his life. Our civilization is perhaps more to
blame for these mistakes than he was."
returned to the U.S. in May of 1923 to a clamorous reception. In June he fought
Tommy Loughran, who later became the light-heavyweight champ; it was a
no-decision bout, but The New York Times reported that Loughran was the winner.
In October, McTigue fought Young Stribling, "The Georgia Peach," idol
of the South, in Columbus, Ga. McTigue was about as popular there as Siki had
been in Dublin. Like Siki, McTigue insisted upon a referee of his own choosing,
Harry Ertle, of Jersey City, who called the fight a draw. After the decision
was announced, a number of armed rednecks leaped into the ring and threatened
to lynch both McTigue and Ertle, who quickly raised Stribling's arm. Three
hours later, when he returned to New York, Ertle reversed himself, calling the
fight a draw. And so it stands in the record books.
McTigue lost his
title to Paul Berlenbach at Yankee Stadium on May 30, 1925. The Times reported
that Berlenbach "hammered the defending champion relentlessly."
McTigue, who lost all but three of the 15 rounds, was "bleeding and weary,
a sorry spectacle, yet deserving of sympathy."
for nearly six more years, winning about half his fights. The Depression
coincided with his retirement, wiping out investments of some $150,000. He
became a laborer, once shoveling snow on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and opened
a restaurant in Queens, which he ran for some 15 years. During World War II he
was a physical instructor at a naval base on Staten Island, where he suffered a
back injury. Later he seriously injured a leg in an auto accident and was in
and out of hospitals for the last 15 years of his life. He died on Aug. 12,
1966 at the age of 73.