Digital Project Assignment
Jack Johnson: Champs of Champs
Boxing is a combat sport in which two people engage in a competition of throwing punches at each other, usually with boxing mitts starting from rough and tumble, a sport of the 1800s that resulted in many injuries and even death. Boxing is both a sophisticated and elegant sport that require dedication, or being able to punch really hard. Organized boxing is controlled today by a referee over a series of one- to three-minute intervals called rounds. The result is decided when an opponent is beat so badly they can no longer continue by a referee, is disqualified, or throws in the towel, or the boring way which is going to decision by judges. This sport has had many heroes, but none other as prominent as the legend Jack Johnson, the boxer the world wanted to see lose. The child of two former slaves growing up in Texas did not experience the Southern racism in full because the area he was raised in was less segregated than other parts of Galveston, Texas. After his first fight he was then known as “The Black Hercules” for how much power he had behind his punches.
The article I choose to write about was written about the fight that took place on July 6, 1910, two days after Johnson vs. Jefferies. The article includes a lot of racial slurs and hatred towards Jack Johnson. During this time racial segregation ran rampant, and William McKinley was president getting nothing accomplished. Jack Johnson was from an area in Texas where most people were farmers and sharecroppers and racism wasn’t as extensive as other areas says his biography. Jack Johnson was in peak physical condition. The fight took place in Nevada on July 4th where Jack Johnson was booed and verbally assaulted. During this time most boxers refused to fight black boxers even Jack Johnson, an African American, refused to fight black boxers for it raised less money. The white media brought it excitement for belief that Jack would easily be defeated by Jefferies.
The fighters were James Jefferies, a boxer who came out of retirement for a fight known as "The Fight of the Giants", which became the battle of the races. White media was eager for Jeffries to win this fight, although in no way close would happen. Pressure was put on Jeffries until he finally accepted by saying he would be going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro. Everybody wanted to see Jack Johnson defeated, all media sources told stories of how inferior Jack was to Jefferies. Racial tension were high before the fight created by Tex Rickard. Tex was known for using racial tensions to stir up big crowds, he was one of the main driving forces in making Jefferies coming back to fight.
Like most newspaper articles that was published after the fight it criticized Jack Johnson claiming his past fights were mediocre and made excuses for Jefferies defeat, saying he was too old to make a comeback or Johnson was too much of an animal. The newspaper article do give a descriptive account of the fight but gives little to no credit to Jack as a boxer. The article says indirectly that the outcome of the fight prompted race riots throughout places with segregated cities like Texas and New York. The article describes Jack as more on the line as a rampaging animal saying the corner begged for Jack not to hit Jefferies anymore before throwing in the towel. The article also states that Jack walked out the ring untouched after brutalizing Jefferies for 15 rounds.