David Barry was a native of Ballinwillin,Lismore, Co. Waterford. Little is known of his early life.He emigrated to the U.S and became a boxer.He later became a boxing referee.He also owned a bar and was quite wealthy. As a man of integrity he was chosen to referee the heavy-weight title fight between Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey in 1927.
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This became known as the Night of the Long Count. Before an attendance of 145,000 Dempsey knocked down Tunney but failed to retreat to the neutral corner.David Barry did not begin the count until Dempsey retreated. Gene Tunney got up at the count of nine and proceeded to win the fight. Dempsey and his supporters lambasted Barry.The reality was that they were bad losers.Dempsey had used nasty rabbit punches and probably won only rounds six and seven.They resorted to libel and slander.The referee had acted strictly in accordance with the new rules.
This controversy dogged David for the rest of his life.He was washed up as a referee of major fights. Whenever he appeared in the ring they would start to chant the count,"one...two...three". He also ran into business difficulties but eventually solved his problems.David's honesty and integrity cost him dearly.
Click on boxing link at bottom for more pictures and details of Tunney/Dempsey.