William was a God-fearing man although he never wore religion on his sleeve. He didn't drink or smoke and his biggest fault was his temper, uncontrollable explosions which sometimes got the better of him and dated back to his childhood.
Muldoon managed to get his temper under control as he grew older but back in 1878 a situation developed where he really went bananas.
Edwin Bibby, an Englishman, came to America, hoping to get a match with Muldoon whose reputation had spilled far beyond these shores.
Muldoon feared no man and quickly accepted Bibby's challenge. However, on the day of the match, William was required to work a full tour of duty. And the Superintendent of Police wouldn't even let Muldoon off early to fulfill his commitment.
When he returned to the station that night, Muldoon was fit to be tied. And to add insult to injury, one of his fellow officers unwittingly told him Bibby was saying Muldoon wouldn't even show up for the match.
Fuming, Muldoon raced to the site of the match which was New York's old vacant Post Office building. Since there was no Madison Square Garden in that era, the building was used for many boxing and wrestling events.
When Muldoon arrived at the building, he was still wearing his policeman's uniform, having been too riled up to bother to change into street clothes.
When William jumped into the ring still wearing his police uniform, Bibby was struck with terror. For all practical purposes the match was over right there and then.
Speed as well as power was among Muldoon's trademarks. Bibby was pinned twice in lightning succession and then for the coup de grace, Muldoon held him high over his head and slammed him viciously to the mat.
The smashing victory over the Englishman was big news far and wide and enhanced Muldoon's reputation even further.
Following up the Bibby match, Muldoon defeated Sebastian Miller and John Gaffney and these accomplishments prompted Richard K. Fox, then the publisher of the world-famed Police Gazette, to hail William as the first world champion in modern day Greco-Roman style wrestling.
To make it official, the Police Gazette presented Muldoon with gold pin which symbolized the honor.
Muldoon was proud of the 1 acclaim but he also knew he had to prove it - or should we say, defend it. One of William's arch rivals was Clarence Whistler, billed as the Omaha Demon.
Muldoon and Whistler met three times during their careers, the first coming in New York city in 1881. Using the Greco-Roman style, these giants of the mat battled eight hours and 10 minutes to a draw, an all-time record for this style of wrestling.
The pair tried it again a year later in St. Louis, using the Collar and Elbow style, which was something of a takeoff on American jujitsu. This time it was a draw again but no longer than two hours.
In 1883 Muldoon and Whistler squared off for the final time and William finally got a decision but not the way he wanted it.
Muldoon had been tossed out of the ring but he came roaring back and slammed Whistler to the canvas so hard it broke Clarence's shoulder.
Muldoon was not pleased with the victory because he had not pinned his man and he never got another chance. Whistler died in 1885, ending one of the greatest rivalries in mat history.
William returned to New York in the fall of'83, heralded as a national hero with fans in all walks of life from seven to seventy. Muldoon kept his world crown until 1887 when he privileged himself the honor of handing it over to Earnest Robert of Brooklyn, who he had trained for two years.
Muldoon had defended the title with honor and never refused a challenge. He never lost a match in his career and one of his greatest victories was over the great German champion, Carl Sandow.
Though he retired from all forms of competition in 1892, Muldoon continued his rigorous training methods until he was 85 and his health began to deteriorate.
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