Thread: Luther McCarty
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Old 08-12-2007, 01:06 PM   #12
Dominating a decade
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Default Re: Luther McCarty

Smith is often listed as a white hope but he is not one of them. He was not a direct product of the white hope tournaments like say Morris, McCarthy or Pelkey.

Smith defeated Morris and Pelky. He defeated Willard, Moran, Ross, Wells, Rodel et al. The bald truth is Smith’s record vs “ white hopes was better than Johnson. Smith victory over Langford, a man who absolutely destroyed many White hopes likely meant he was the #1 contender for a 1-2 year period while Johnson was champion. I can’t see anyone saying Smith was not a white hope unless they under stand the genesis of the word was meant to describe a bad white heavyweight with little chance of beating Johnson. Smith had a real chance of beating Johnson which is why they never fought in a stakes match. As I mentioned Smith was more impressive vs the same opponents, and dared to fight some talented black heavyweights that Johnson avoided as champion.

I am not questioning Smiths credentials. I will however suggest that he vascilated when offers to fight Johnson were put on the table while Willard grabed his offer with both hands.

This is not so. The heavyweight championship of the world was Johnson show. Johnson was his own manager. He picked the where’s and the when’s. There was no commission back then forcing him to fight anyone.

Your logic is misguided. You are saying-

"Fighters A, B, and C were active during Johnsons title reign and he did not fight them therfore I conclude that he avoided them"

I am not saying he didnt necisarily but the real story is inevitably much more complex than that. Politics always came into play and there are wranglings and machinations.

One fact which dose stand out is that Johnson efectively held the title hostage demanding cash advances har greater than previous champions had. The guys who got to fight him were often those whose backers could come up with these advances. Johnson was ofered far more for fighting Fireman Flyn than he was for fighting Sam Langford for example

Johnson did not draw well vs Flynn at all. A mere 9,000 or so saw the match. If Johnson had signed to fight GunBoat Smith in his adopted home town of Chicago, he’d fill Wrigley field. If Johnson had signed to fight Langford, Jeanette, or McVey in England or France, he would have a huge purse too. Langford. My point here is Johnson made his own fights as champion. The fact that he picked softer touches and left the more qualified fighters out in the cold says Johnson did more than draw a color line. He drew an ability line.
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