Originally Posted by apollack
As for career resume, there is no way in hell that Johnson would ever have gotten a title shot in that era unless he had cleaned out the division and convinced the press and public that he was the leading contender.
Excellent point and so obvious it's embarrassing we missed it. There's no way a black man (specially one with Johnson's personality) would ever get near a title shot if he didn't prove his superiority over every single other contender in the horizon. We could trash every single name in Johnson's record on his way to Burns, it's doubtful we could point anything else Johnson could have done to improve his resume at least up to that point.