Re: Luther McCarty
Smith was a definite white hope. The cyber boxing zone reports:
“Smith was lean, quick and crafty - and a sizzling hitter; He was a very good boxer who moved well and hit sharply with both hands; Slightly larger than a light heavyweight, he hit like a heavyweight
Smith was a White Hope of the teens who fought all-comers; From March 23, 1912 when he knocked out "Battling" Jack Brooks until he lost to Jim Coffey on November 29, 1915, he was a "hot item" in the heavyweight division; His list of opponents reads like a "Who's Who of the Teens"
Among those he defeated during his career were Jess Willard, Sam Langford, Battling Levinsky, Carl Morris, Frank Moran, "Fireman" Jim Flynn, "Bombardier" Billy Wells, Jim Stewart, Jim Savage, Tony Ross and George "Boer" Rodel
He won the White Heavyweight Championship in 1914 when he knocked out Arthur Pelkey; Six months later he lost the title to Georges Carpentier on an "ill-called" foul “
There you have it. While I agree that Johnson shrewdly picked and choose his “ white hopes “ , you have to admit that Smith was too good for Johnson to risk. If it were Moran, Ross, Willard, or Flynn who beat Smith, then Johnson might have given Gunboat Smith a title shot. As it was it was Smith who defeat these “ white hopes “. Johnson picked the losers that Smith beat. The history is there for us to read.
In addition to good size, and ability, Smith also had a good chin in his prime years. There is a reason Johnson never selected either Smith or McCarty. They were the best of the white hopes. Over time the meaning of words can change. White Hope meant a fighter was white and could not fight. Smith was only white. He was not a “ White Hope “. Smith could fight.
I gather you a big Johnson fan. Johnson’s body of work stands on its own.