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Old 06-05-2008, 07:11 PM   #1
Mendoza
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Default How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

After losing to Willard in 1915, Johnson won a string of fights in a row and did not lose until 1926! Granted Johnson's competition during these years was thin.

However, he was still a big name, and since neither Wills nor Godfrey was getting a shot at Dempsey's title, this fight would have made some sense.

In addition, why didnít Johnson fight Jeanette, McVey or Langford without the title post 1915? Surely these fights could have been made post 1915 for Johnson.

Does anyone know why we did not see the above matches? Did the contenders view Johnson as an untouchable, much as Liston was after he lost to Ali?
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Originally Posted by Mendoza
How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

After losing to Willard in 1915, Johnson won a string of fights in a row and did not lose until 1926! Granted Johnson's competition during these years was thin.

However, he was still a big name, and since neither Wills nor Godfrey was getting a shot at Dempsey's title, this fight would have made some sense.

In addition, why didnít Johnson fight Jeanette, McVey or Langford without the title post 1915? Surely these fights could have been made post 1915 for Johnson.

Does anyone know why we did not see the above matches? Did the contenders view Johnson as an untouchable, much as Liston was after he lost to Ali?
Johnson was 11 years older than Wills,after he came out of prison in1921 ,Johnson was 43 years old,he was no longer a world class fighter,he didnt have a real fight for another 2 years ,beating ham and egger Jack Thompson at the age of45,a year later he beat Homer smith and 2 years later Pat Lester,he was then 48,2 losses to Battling Norfolk and Brad Simmons finished his aspiring comeback,Jeanette was only a year younger than Johnson ,and he retired after beating Bartley Madden in1919 ,two years before Johnson was imprisoned.Johnson spent 7 years in exile.Wills ,apart from brief forays to Panama for 2 fights with Langford and 1 with Mcvey,and 2 fights in Mexico in 1914 and later in 1929 when he was finished ,stayed inthe States.Fights in the middle to late twenties between Johnson and Wills and Godfrey would have been mismatches.Jeanette retired early so there really was no opportunity,nor probably demand, two blacks fighting each other didnt exactly set white audiences pulses racing ,when they were in their primes,washed up ,discredited ,unpopular ex Champs wold be even less likely to draw them in,imo.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

He was an old man who couldn't have hoped to have won these fights, knew it. The fights would have been one sided and potentially disturbing beatings.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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The fights would have been one sided and potentially disturbing beatings.
People got off on that stuff back then. Especially if it's someone like Johnson.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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People got off on that stuff back then. Especially if it's someone like Johnson.
Quite true ,but I'm sure they would have preferred it to be a white guy administering the beating,epecially as the Jeffries fight backfired on the white establishment so disastrously.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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People got off on that stuff back then. Especially if it's someone like Johnson.
"Back then"?

Little naive by your standards!

The point is Jack was smarter than your average cat. If Wills meant a horrific beating he would never take that fight.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Originally Posted by McGrain
"Back then"?

Little naive by your standards!

The point is Jack was smarter than your average cat. If Wills meant a horrific beating he would never take that fight.
Johnson vs Willis would have been a quality match in 1915-1917. 15 or less rounds, and I give Johnson a shot.
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Originally Posted by McGrain
"Back then"?

Little naive by your standards!
Well, they didn't have midget porn back then.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Well, they didn't have midget porn back then.
Haven't you seen "Colonel Tom Thumb Does Dallas?" It was all the rage 80 years ago.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

According to Geoffrey Ward, Johnson was eager to fight Harry Wills in 1921, but the chairman of the New Jersey boxing commission banned the fight as not being in the best interests of boxing. New York had an age rule, so Johnson could not fight in that state.

My own take is that Johnson was ancient. There might be a lot to criticize Johnson for, but to criticize him for not fighting Wills or Godfrey when he was pushing fifty seems a bit over the top.
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Old 06-06-2008, 03:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

Especially when the poster is so quick to tell us what a hollow shell Jeffries was at 35
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Originally Posted by OLD FOGEY
According to Geoffrey Ward, Johnson was eager to fight Harry Wills in 1921, but the chairman of the New Jersey boxing commission banned the fight as not being in the best interests of boxing. New York had an age rule, so Johnson could not fight in that state.

My own take is that Johnson was ancient. There might be a lot to criticize Johnson for, but to criticize him for not fighting Wills or Godfrey when he was pushing fifty seems a bit over the top.
Interesting. Maybe by 1921 Johnson was too old, but in 1915 he put up a good effort vs Willard. Surely in 1915-1917, Wills vs Johnson would have been competitive.
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Originally Posted by Mendoza
Does anyone know why we did not see the above matches? Did the contenders view Johnson as an untouchable, much as Liston was after he lost to Ali?
Jack Johnson went to considerable lengths to get a fight with Harry Wills hoping that it would be his route to a rematch with Willard. Negotiations were started but the state athletic comision refused to sanction the bout due to Johnsons infamy.

When Godfrey came allong, Johnson was an old man, Godfrey was the young prospect and it beating Godfrey would have been unrealistic for Johnson.
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Originally Posted by janitor
Jack Johnson went to considerable lengths to get a fight with Harry Wills hoping that it would be his route to a rematch with Willard. Negotiations were started but the state athletic comision refused to sanction the bout due to Johnsons infamy.

When Godfrey came allong, Johnson was an old man, Godfrey was the young prospect and it beating Godfrey would have been unrealistic for Johnson.

I agree, and I think it was on Wills to take this fight. Older or not, Johnson was active and probably would have been one of Wills best opponents.

Considering that a half-blind Langford Ko'd a young Godfrey, I think Johnson would have a chance at beating a young / green Godfrey.
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: How come we never saw Jack Johnson vs Harry Wills, or George Godfrey?

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Originally Posted by Mendoza
Surely in 1915-1917, Wills vs Johnson would have been competitive.
Johnson went after Wills prety much as soon as he got out of prison, and Willard and Dempsey.

After Johnson got out of prison nobody would fight him regardless of their ability.

He was dangerous in the ring and he was bad publicity outside it.
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