Provided by J Michael Kenyon through WRESTLING AS WE LIKED IT.
"STRANGLER INSISTS WRESTLERS BEST"
Indianapolis News, August 3, 1948
Straight Stuff by Bob Stranahan
Ed (Strangler) Lewis, the former world's heavyweight wrestling champion, still contends that a top grappler can beat a top boxer at any given time.
Lewis, now 58 and around 290 pounds, is on sort of a "busman's" holiday. He's taking a couple of months off from his job of being athletic instructor and public relations man with the Los Angeles Athletic Club . . . and is refereeing a few mat shows.
He'll be at the Sports Arena tonight for Promoter Billy Thom's attraction. The Strangler and Coach Billy are friends of long standing and Lewis came in yesterday ot spend a short time with him.
But getting back to that first statement in paragraph one, Lewis likes to quote Jack Dempsey as his clincher.
Back in the '20s quite an argument raged when both Lewis and Dempsey were champions on the mat and in the ring on which would be the victor if they met. Attempts even were made to promote such a match, but they never went through.
Lewis maintains that he found out only comparatively recently why the negotiations fell down. He was addressing a father-son dinner at a church in Los Angeles and Dempsey also was on the program.
After the Strangler had made his talk, Dempsey admitted in public that he would have wanted no part of the mat champ when they both were in their prime. A grappler's tactics so incapacitate a puncher -- even the best of them -- that there is not much of a chance for the boxer to win.
Lewis still is a big, healthy fellow for all of his 58 years and claims he is the happiest in his life. Part of his job entails talking to boys' clubs, visiting reform schools and giving talks on juvenile delinquency. "I like to fell that I'm helping some in this big problem," he says.
The ex-champ, who battled all comers in the days of Joe Stecher, Gus Sonnenberg, Dick Shikat and Jim Londos, still looks as though he might be able to cause a tremble or two among the present heavyweights.
Less than four months ago he went into rigid training for 30 days when an argument came up whether or not he could still go into a Honolulu ring and beat Jack Sherry.
Lewis whittled off 35 pounds in the month's time by working two hours at a stretch with heavyweight partners. He offered to take the match for $2,500 and expenses. If he lost, he wanted nothing.
Lewis says that after he arrived in Honolulu his opponent took a "powder" and the promoter had to fork over the two and half grand.
It is fairly generally known that Lewis received his "strangler" tag from the tough headlock he used on his opponents.
He wasn't giving away any trade secrets when he told about its use, for the hold and its effect are well known and recognized in the mat business now.
Lewis explains that the particular headlock he used ties up the arteries in the neck and causes insensibility . . . just as though the opponent were "strangled."
Thom chimed in and said he recalled very distinctly the first time he ever used the particular hold. His rival "blacked out" completely and Coach thought he actually had killed the guy.
The secret of the hold, Lewis explained, is in keeping the other fellow off balance.
The last time we saw them, Billy and the Strangler were headed for a steak house and Thom was prepared to lay out the price for a doubleheader for Lewis.