Philadelphia Inquirer – May 2, 1928
Wrestling in Philadelphia, revived four years ago by the irrepressible Aurelio Fabiani, may touch its peak tonight when those arch rivals of the mat, Jim Londos and John Pesek, come to grips in a finish match at the Arena.
The Quaker City has entertained seven or eight world’s championship bouts since the renaissance of the sport here, but none of these have inspired the discussion stirred up by the Londos-Pesek affair.
There are a number of good and sufficient reasons for this. There is a long-standing rivalry between the two, born when they handled each other so roughly in Omaha, in 1919, that the police stopped the gory battle, and there is the fact that both are outstanding challengers for the title now held by Ed (Strangler) Lewis.
But the fact that this match will bring together two great wrestlers who are evenly matched is the main factor in making the bout the most fascinating in recent years. The men will enter the ring at even money provided there isn’t a shift in the betting odds between this writing and the moment of action.
Never before has this been the case with a feature match on a Philadelphia card. Before Lewis lost his title to Munn, he defended here twice against Renato Gardini, and both times was an outstanding favorite.
Munn defended against Stanislaus Zbyszko at the Arena three years ago, and was a 10 to 1 shot. After he had won the championship from Zbyszko, Joe Stecher met more than half a dozen challengers here, and was always favored to win by an overwhelming margin.
But in the approaching brawl between Pesek, the Bohemian, and Londos, the Greek, one is conceded as much chance as the other. Like Dick Shikat and Hans Steinke, the two stand out head and shoulders above all others.
There is another reason the bout is heralded as the most notable wrestling “natural” of the last five years. It is that Londos and Pesek are the “little giants” of heavyweight wrestling. The Greek will weigh about 195 when he steps in the ring, while Pesek will go six or seven pounds lighter.
Of course, as ordinary men go, Pesek and Londos are robust enough. But compared to the athletes they have been meeting and beating year after year, they are pygmies. Four out of five men who achieve prominence in heavyweight wrestling weigh over 200 pounds, and half of them go over 215.
Therefore, the Greek and the Bohemian are outweighed by many pounds every time they step on the mat. Tonight, however, they are about evenly matched in poundage, for five or six pounds make little difference on the mat.
Furthermore, they appear to be about evenly matched in every other way. It would be difficult to say which is the faster, for both are greyhounds on the mat. Pesek is credited with possessing a more profound knowledge of holds than Londos, but this is a matter of opinion. In the matter of sheer strength Londos undoubtedly enjoys an advantage.
Both can give punishment, and both can take it without making a fuss. They will be forced tonight, for each is determined to inflict as much torture on the other as the rules of wrestling will permit.
Much is at stake in tonight’s brawl. The loser is certain to lose caste and to surrender to the victor his share of a claim to championship recognition. The financial opportunities that will accrue to the winner are manifold.
The victor’s services will be in demand for a match with either Steinke, Shikat, or both. If successful against the Germans, tonight’s winner will be in a position to force the issue with Lewis and either get a title match or drive the Strangler out of the game.
Londos has been quoted as saying that he fears Frank Wiener, chairman of the State Athletic Commission, more than he does Pesek – which indicates that the Greek does not expect the match to be any part of a pink tea. Wiener has the reputation among wrestlers of enforcing the rules to the letter, with disqualification and suspension for those who offend.
The chairman has warned both men to be careful. He told them he didn’t care a hang what they did to each other so long as they obeyed the rules. He went over with them the commission’s interpretation of the mat code and all concerned have come to a thorough understanding.
Both men are ready, trained to the minute, and so far the fans and all records for attendance at an indoor wrestling bout in the East will probably be shattered. Let the bone cracking start and may the best cracker win.