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Old 04-14-2012, 05:09 PM   #1
guilalah
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Default S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

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Mendoza will love Woodman's answer.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

A strong argument can be made for Johnson being the greatest heavyweight prior to the latter end of Joe Louis's career. Prior to Louis, nobody came close to matching the depth or longevity of his record.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Not H2H but i would certainly say that Johnson is the greatest heavyweight pre Louis.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Pre-Louis I have Wills above Johnson and could see arguments for Jeffries and Dempsey. But Johnson has as good a case as anyone.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Ive seen limited footage, but have read and heard praise about
His defensive ability and atheticism. H2H how do you think
He would fare against modern champions like Ali,Tyson,Lewis
For example?
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Johnson,Jeffries,Dempsey and until Louis,Marciano and Ali did a heavyweight champ dominate..Dempsey missed Wills and some say Greb and Holmes missed a few top guys and avoided all tough rematches in there era and are punished for it,Dempsey mostly but as far as Wills and the weak argument of Greb I feel Jack beats them both, Holmes gets a pass on ESB but it will catch up to him..

Lewis had a short career and missed Bowe but we must blame that on Bowe ( who trashed his belt) and we give Lewis a pass for no rematch for Vitali and most blame it on age but no other heavyweight would get a much slack for passing down a large sum of money and rematching a tough fight....

Johnson was good for his time,avoided all the tougher black challengers but had a long rein against the rest but IMO far from the greatest and not even the best lb4lb I think Marciano and Dempsey and surely Louis were greater
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Great article.

Nat Fleischer, Jimmy Bronson, Lou Stillman and George Barton all quite sure in their support of Jack Johnson as the greatest.

Interesting what Bronson says of Tunney "retired three fights from his peak. Had he continued, he might have been the greatest. He had everything."

True enough. Tunney remains a bit of an enigma.
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Great article! Thanks
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by guilalah View Post
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Mendoza will love Woodman's answer.

Woodman claimed his fighter Sam Langford knocked Johnson down , until backed into a corner by Nat Fleischer he admitted he made the story up . I would not call him objective on Johnson.

Ali was superior to Johnson imo, but then I think he was superior to everybody else.

We all have our favourites, I think it's enough for Johnson to still be discussed 68 years after his death,and 83 years after his last fight.
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvey View Post
Woodman claimed his fighter Sam Langford knocked Johnson down , until backed into a corner by Nat Fleischer he admitted he made the story up . I would not call him objective on Johnson.

Ali was superior to Johnson imo, but then I think he was superior to everybody else.

We all have our favourites, I think it's enough for Johnson to still be discussed 68 years after his death,and 83 years after his last fight.
Johnson corroborated the story that he was down to the French press. OR the French lied about it. Take your pick.

As for Johnson's greatness he failed to beat the best when they were in their prime or near prime, and avoided the best as champion. More worrisome for his fans is he lost and drew a lot more than a great fighter should.

Having said that, I do think Johnson was among the best of his time, and is far from the worst heavyweight champion.

Its a pity there are no filmed interviews of these men talking boxing. Or are there?
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvey View Post
Woodman claimed his fighter Sam Langford knocked Johnson down , until backed into a corner by Nat Fleischer he admitted he made the story up . I would not call him objective on Johnson.
Was Nat at the fight? I know Woodman was. As far as Fleischer goes he has his share of errors and bias too.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:23 AM   #12
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendoza View Post
Johnson corroborated the story that he was down to the French press. OR the French lied about it. Take your pick.

As for Johnson's greatness he failed to beat the best when they were in their prime or near prime, and avoided the best as champion. More worrisome for his fans is he lost and drew a lot more than a great fighter should.

Having said that, I do think Johnson was among the best of his time, and is far from the worst heavyweight champion.

Its a pity there are no filmed interviews of these men talking boxing. Or are there?
It proven fact that Langford not only did not score a knockdown , but that he was down himself for two long 9 counts in that fight.
I told you before Johnson did not write that book ,but you want to believe it so you do.The truth and you have always been strangers so no change there.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:30 AM   #13
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Outside of Sullivan, the argument can be made that he was the greatest until Louis, tho I think that Jeffries might be a shade better in terms of actual heavyweight accomplishments. I still rank Sullivan higher, tho, as he absolutely laid waste to the division for for a period of 4 or so years and the pack only caught up to him after he had depleted his body to a great extent.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendoza View Post
Was Nat at the fight? I know Woodman was. As far as Fleischer goes he has his share of errors and bias too.
No he wasn't but his father in law AD Philips was do you want to read his ringside account of it?

"Two and a half years before the start of Johnson's legendary reign as World Heavyweight Champion, he met Sam Langford at the Lincoln Athletic Club in Chelsea, Massachusetts in defense of his "colored" portion of the heavyweight crown. Johnson, who had met the best heavyweight contenders (compared to the 156 lbs Langford, who had just recently started fighting heavyweights), dominated the bout and won by a lopsided fifteen-round decision. However, Langford's manager, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], told everyone who would listen that Langford floored the "Galveston Giant" with a right uppercut and gave him a tremendous battle. Woodman's account persisted for years, which offended Johnson greatly and prompted him to issue a series of vehement denials.
In an open letter to The Ring in 1934, Johnson wrote: “I have accounts of the fight from my dear old friend, Tad (legendary sports writer and cartoonist Tad Dorgan), which show how badly Sam Langford was whipped. Please note the account of our fifteen-round fight at Chelsea, Mass., which I am enclosing. The report shows that I gave poor Sam such a severe trimming that he had to find his way into a hospital to recuperate. The records of that fight prove that statement to be correct."
In 1945, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], who believed Johnson was the greatest of all the heavyweight champions, backed up Johnson's account. Waterman stated that he was at the fight and witnessed Johnson dish out a "terrible beating" to the smaller Langford.
In his 1958 book, 50 Years at Ringside, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], founder of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], produced the testimony of his father-in-law, Dad Phillips, who allegedly saw the fight.
Said Phillips: “Jack Johnson decisively defeated Sam Langford. He was complete master of the situation. Jack so far outclassed Langford that for a time, until he purposely eased up on his onslaughts, the fight was one-sided."

Fleischer once cornered Woodman and good-naturedly demanded the true version of events. According to Fleischer, this was Woodman’s response: “You’ve got me, Nat. Langford never dropped Johnson. But I was anxious to fix up another fight between the two and, knowing Jack’s pride, I invented the story of that knockdown to goad him into the ring against Sam again. Although it never happened, all the newspapermen believed it. They just never took the trouble to investigate. That knockdown was just a publicity gimmick.”


Always happy to oblige in the interest of TRUTH.

Last edited by mcvey; 04-10-2014 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: S.I. (1955) -- Was Jack Johnson greatest heavyweight?

The first sentence of Dempsey's comment sums up my attitude perfectly on it; I don't think there is one single greatest heavyweight. Johnson did enough to get his name on a very exclusive list of ATG heavyweights though, and nobody can take that away from him.
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