Bareknuckle Boxing Hip Flask.
Rare Hip Flask depicting a bare knuckle fight between Sam Haley and George Probert. The flask has a top half covered in leather with a plated base. The base engraved with the two named boxers to the front, the reverse engraved 'Neck Oil 1871' and the bottom 'Von Moltke' and a face. The two boxers fought on December 18th 1866 for £50 each.
Extracts from Bell's Life in Sydney, March 2 1867 (page 5) from Bell's life in London.
THE ENGLISH RING. ~ SLASHING AND DETERMINED FIGHT BETWEEN SAM HALEY (LATE OF LEEDS) AND GK PROBERT OF BIRMINGHAM, FOR £50 A SIDE.
These midland bruisers met according to articles at 9st 8lb, for £100, when a fine battle was got off, fortunately with-out interruption. The men are not unknown in fistie annals, Haley being an undefeated man having repeatedly appeared within the magic ring. He is in his 30th year, 5ft 7in. high.
Probert's backers now sought an opportunity for him to distinguish himself, and some little difference existing between the men, a match was ratified to box at 9st 8lb, for £50, a side, to come off in the Birmingham district on Tuesday, December 18, over 30 and under 50 miles from home, it being understood to be Sam's last appeal to arms, he having relinquished the Prize Ring in favour of the Turf, among the habitues of which his universally straightforward and sportsmanlike character have won him hosts of friends.
Probert, a comparatively untried man, is 24 years of age, stands 5ft 6in, and has twice previously appeared within the ropes. A long trudge brought the party to a capital spot on the confines of Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, where a was quickly prepared, into which Probert threw his cap at 10:5, Haley quickly following suit, and winning the toss for corners. The lads having disrobed, their hands were joined at 18 minutes past 10 for the fight.
17 to 19. Brilliant exchanges, Haley showing the better pace, George boring in and landing repeatedly on the mark. Give and take without flinching was the order, the pair evidently meaning business.
20. From the sharp work of the preceding rounds both showed unmistakably that they had been in the melee - Haley's forehead lumpy and his nose peeled, Probert's right cheekbone also skinned, and his eye contracting, and mouth swollen. After a couple of left-hand deliveries they fought to a close at the ropes, where much execution was done, Tom again on the right optic; they then grappled for the fall, when both went down over the ropes.
21. They got to close quarters at once, and some sharp fibbing was followed by a wrestle for the fall, and both measured their lengths side by side. Forty - five minutes bad now elapsed.
30. A clipping bout, both going in with the utmost determination, and pegging away right and left all over the ring, until they closed at the ropes, and Sam was the first to reach the grass.
38. George slow to time, but when up they got together, and some good half-arm work followed, breaking away again, and investing sundry long shots. Probert got well home on the conk, drawing Sam's ruby, who in retreating came on his beam ends. Time, 1hr.
48. Mutual exchanges, George bored down at the ropes. Time, 1hr 20min.
53 to 64 and last. Probert was falling away weak, his opponent felt his way cautiously until sufficiently recruited, when he set about George right and left, the latter struggling most gamely with his fate, and coming up round after round, when there was not the ghost of a chance of altering matters, and, we are convinced, against the wishes of his seconds. He was in a pitiful state, and at the 64th bout, when he could scarcely keep on his pins, his seconds induced him to resign, in consideration of a pecuniary 'softener' which no one who witnessed his game efforts to save his backer's' money could begrudge. He was naturally much mortified at his defeat, and showed an extraordinary amount of punishment about his disfigured nob, while Haley was anything but ornamental to look at. Although the lads, at the commencement, fought somewhat shy, never was a fight witnessed with a more thorough determination to win, and punishment taken with better grace ; indeed, a better fight could hardly be conceived, and so say a host of pugilists present.
Haley has acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of his backers, and has proved himself a clever two-handed fighter, his chief failing being a too strong predilection for rushing, which with some men might cost dear; still he exhibited great generalship, and fought in a fair manly style that did him great credit. That he is hot-tempered was abundantly proved, but it must be remembered that the combatants had their 'knife into the hilt' and left no stone unturned in their laudable endeavours to give each other a good hiding, in which, it must be confessed, they succeeded. As this is admittedly Sam's last appearance in the P.R., he will have the satisfaction of retiring an undefeated man. Of Probert it would be difficult to say too much in praise of the extraordinary gameness he displayed in trying to avert the result, and although he got on repeatedly, and fought on pretty oven terms for a number of rounds, he was clearly over matched in generalship. It is to be hoped that his friends will rally round him with that helping hand to which his genuine efforts in the present encounter alone so justly entitle him.