4. Jack Dempsey – Seven Years, Two Months and 19 Days
Far better known than the previous pugilist on our countdown, Jack Dempsey was a cultural icon in his age, the most popular fighter there had ever been and remains arguably one of the most popular of all time. During his career in the early twentieth century, Dempsey’s fights set numerous financial and attendance records, including recording the first ever million-dollar gate.
‘The Manassa Mauler’ defeated Jess Willard for the title in July of 1919 and held his belt until defeat to Gene Tunney on the 23rd September 1926. Dempsey’s unsuccessful rematch with Tunney to regain the title has gone down in history as ‘the long count fight’, with many believing that a nine count suffered by Tunney actually lasted closer to 14 seconds and should have seen the title return to Dempsey.