As insanely masculine as Sullivan was, he was also insanely addicted to alcohol. So when a relatively young and fit family man named Jake Kilrain challenged Sullivan to an illegal match for a $20,000 purse, he did what any man with a mustache like that would do: he continued binge drinking. And this was while battling a host of ailments that, according to him, included typhoid fever, gastric fever, inflammation of the bowels, heart trouble, liver complaint, an "incipient paralysis," a "mysterious itch" and delusions of phantom rats. So, he was not in fighting shape is what we're saying.
The Sullivan/Kilrain match lasted over two hours and 75 excruciating rounds. Oh, and the fight was outdoors, in July, in Mississippi.
They don't make stenches like that anymore.