Originally Posted by Boilermaker
This is an excellent post, and one which cant really be disputed factually.
Just some other things to consider also,
Like Dempsey and others, Johnson rarely defended at all. In a sense you could say he lived the high life, though i am not sure many would choose his version of the high life over dempseys.
Johnson dominated the three top contenders when they actually fought. Not much more he could do. It would almost be like accusing Sonny Liston for Ducking Floyd Patterson in his comeback, had he won the title. Not much more johnson could really do.
The three guys mentioned, with hindsight were the three top contenders. I am not so sure they are the out and out standout contenders at any point in time for anything other than longevity. Certainly they were not standouts like Tyson was for Spinks, Lennox was for Briggs, Johnson for Jeffries (or even vice versa) etc.
Jim Johnson is one guy i feel is dreadfully underated and underappreciated today. This is a guy who has fought on even terms with Johnson, mcvey, Jeanette, Langford, Tate, arguably even Wills, who has never (from my recollection) been stopped by any of those guys and yet he is just considered a journeyman boxer who was nothing special and simply a battler. I dare say if he was known as Sugar Jim Johnson, bonecrusher Jim Johnson or maybe even Gunboat Jim Johnson he would have a huge following and resume today.
The Wills situation would have been interesting. Hypothetically, if Johnson had rematched and beat Willard, or even better say Dempsey, would a Wills fight be made. Wills was the second highest paid and best drawing fighter of the Dempsey era and definitely the most dangerous challenger. Presumable after beating Dempsey, Johnson could write his own price against white challengers. This would be a very interesting and telling situation, i think.
Insightful post B, which raises some interesting points.
Especially the underating of Battling Jim Johnson, his draws and wins over the black trio that were just below Jack Johnson ,and his kos of Jeff Clark, he also drew with him, and beat him by decision] and Arthur Pelkey, kos of Tate and Black Bill , wins over Tom Cowler, a stoppage win over Wills , Wills broke his wrist in the 2nd rd, and quit at the end of it.[unlike Jack Johnson who struggled for another 7 rds to get a draw with his young opponent] . Battling Jim also drew with Tony Ross, stopped Jewey Smith, beat Morris Harris.
Battling Jim was no easy mark ,especially for a 35 years old inactive overweight champion.
Going into his title challenge ,Battling Jim had won 8 of his last 10 fights 7 by ko ,and lost 2, both to Jeannette, 1 by dec, and 1 by dsq
These results indicate he was more than a journeyman.