Thread: Luther McCarty
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:55 AM   #6
Dominating a decade
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Default Re: Luther McCarty

I think that it is fair to say that he was the best of the white hopes.

I would say McCarty had ability, but Gunboat Smith was clearly the best of the white hopes. Smith once knocked Johnson out in a sparring session. Gym stories aside, from 1910-1914 Smith beat the following fighters:

Frank Moran, Jess Willard, Fireman Flynn, Carl Morris, Tony Ross, Sam Langford, Jack Blackburn, and Arthur Pelky. This list wins over name fighters is more impressive than Johnsonís entire lot of title defenses.

Moran, Willard, Ross, and Flynn received title shots from Johnson himself. Smith did not! Here merely beat them, than Johnson picked the loser. Smith beat a prime Sam Langford, and everyone knows Johnson would not fight Langford as champion. In addition, Gunboat Smith beat many of the other white hopes out there. The White hope era is completely mis-understood. While being white got you the title shot, the fighter had to be flawed in Johnsonís eyes for him to accept the match. It is ironic that the two best ď white hopes ď in terms of ring ability in Smith and McCarty did not received title shots. Willard did, and he defeated Johnson. Moran, who was a solid contender gave Johnson a very close fight.

Smith crossed the street whenever he saw Johnson. He was happy to sit on his "white" alphabet title.

Smith was Johnson sparring partner at times. He was not afraid of Johnson at all, but he was smart enough to know who was paying him.

Some sources suggest that Johnson McCarthy was already signed when McCarthy died.

I have heard this. If it is true, then I believe McCarty was more hype than ability. Johnson risked little as champion.
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