Re: tommy burns
It's an odd one. He looks better on film working with modern eyes than many of his contemporaries but was not highly thought of in his own era, perhaps unfairly as he such a small heavyweight - and was judged as a heavyweight. Tommy Ryan, who i'd consider as keen an observer of fighters as that era produced, called him a "joke of a champion." Hard words. Also, when Ketchel dispatched Papke the first time (having also beaten Thomas a second time, Thomas weighing in at around Tommy's weight), Stanley was being lined up to take on Burns, and many favoured him.
I personally don't think that he was sick when he faced Johnson but there's nothing to really suggest he was in Johnson's class anyway.