If Jack Johnson was white?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by McGrain, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Same ability, same attitude to life and the world...how would things have gone if Jack was white?

    One thing this means is that Jack has to take on a peak Jeffries for the title, how do you see that going?

    Which decisions might he have got that went agains him?

    Would a guy as sharp as him have made fights with the black fighters of the day? With his gift for promotion he makes anything possible but does that make him more or less likely to take on guys like Langford?

    How do you see things ending for him?
     
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  2. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    For one thing I think that he would have been shielded from the concequences of his antics outside the ring. If the media had cast the same critical eye over the extra curicular activities of Sullivan or Corbett they would have dug up as much dirt as they did on Johnson.

    He would have been less likley to take on the other top black fighters of the period before he won the title because it could have damaged his chances of getting a title shot even if he won. Top white contenders generaly only took on the black dynamite crew if they needed the money urgently.

    He would have had better financial backing early in his career and would have fought softer opposition. This would likley mean that many of his early losses would not have occured.

    Whether or not he had beaten Jeffries he would certainly have been the heir to his throne after he retired.
     
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  3. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

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    Johnson was a man born at the right time. He cleaned up on hall of fame to be fighters such as McVey, Langford, and Jeanette when each man was green as heavyweights, and never fought them again after he became champion. After the sun set on decent champions like Corbett, Fitzsimmons, and Jeffires in 1904, the boxing world was left with the Marvin Hart, Jack O'Brien, and Tommy Burns of the world. Johnson was 1-1-1 vs these three. Post 1908, the field of white contenders was a hopeless lot full of middle weights, clumsy oafs, and older / washed up champions. Johnson feasted on the white hopes until age caught up with him vs Willard, who really was not a white hopes. IMO, Gunboat Smith or McCarty were better at their peak. Johnson did not fight them; instead he fought the guys Smith and McCarty defeated. Willard just caught Johnson when he was older.

    How Johnson would have done from 1899-1904 if he was white vs Fitzsimmons, Corbett, or Jeffries is debatable. Films are few, so we have to look at how Johnson did vs the other top white fighters. If lesser heavyweights such as Choynski, Hart, and Griffin could defeat Jack Johnson, it is likely Jeffries would knock him out. Corbett could out box him, and Fitz with his lethal power would have a punchers chance too. The elementary deduction is if Johnson was 1 win 3 losses and 3 draws vs Choysnki, Hart, Griffin, Burns, and O'Brein, it is unlikely Johnson would have a winning record vs a series of fights vs Jeffries, Corbett, or Fitzsimmons when Jeffires, Corbett and Fitzsimmons were in good working order.

    If Johnson was white, I believe Johnson’s record would be even spottier than it was before he became champion. My logica as to why is above. However I do think Papa Jack would become “ The Man “ about the time he beat Burns. Being white however means he would not have given McVey, Langford or Jeanette lineal title shots. I say this because as lineal champion Johnson wanted no part of the trio, who without a doubt were the best in the business from 1908-1914.

    Things worked out best for Johnson. History remembers him as the first black gloved lineal champion. That legacy is special for boxing more so than his championship run, or track record leading up to the Burns fight in December 1908.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
  4. FlatNose

    FlatNose Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Johnson was an all time great.Jeffries admitted that Johnson would have beaten him even when Jim was at his best.Smart, bi-lingual, clever, a white Jack would have taken the boxing world by storm.He would have been popular as Dempsey was years later, and would have racked up one successful title defense after another.Without the trumped up charges, Jack wouldn't have had to flee the country, would have fought and trained better, with less distraction.As good as Jack was, even under the most hostile of conditions, he would have been even better if his career wasn't hampered by the blatant racism, and constant hounding.
     
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  5. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    Jeffries would have retired and given Hart the title, since Hart would have beaten Johnson for the "white" title. Burns would beat Hart, and then have the choice between facing Johnson or facing one of the "black dynamite" fighters. He may well have chosen Langford (considering Langford the better stylistic matchup), and Johnson would have been the likely #1 contender for the fight against Langford.

    Johnson, ever the gamesman, may have been able to whip up the same sort of racist storm against Langford that he had used against him in the Jeffries fight. Then again, Langford was a quieter guy than Johnson, so he may have ended up as a fairly well-liked by comparison. Perhaps we would have seen more black champions sooner.

    Johnson would be able to maintain his peak longer than he did in the real world, due to much better public treatment of him.
     
  6. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Johnson used Gunboat Smith as a sparring partner on occasion,Smith admitted ,while he was being hailed as the"white heavyweight champ",that he was in no hurry to fight Jack for real.
     
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  7. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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  8. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

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    You do not understand Johnson. While adversity and public scorn might hurt most athletes, Johnson loved the spot light and thrived under such circumstances. If Johnson was white, he would not have been molded into the same fighter he became. To dare is what fueled Johnson fire. If Johnson was white, things would be easier for him; ergo he would have missed out on part of what made him great in the ring.

    When Jeffires lost his come ill fated comeback, he wanted to go home so he gave the quick I could not have won remark. It was to get the press off his back. Jeffries also said he was poisoned, and if the fight took place when he was younger, it would be different. Johnson called Jeffires the greatest in his auto biography, which was a real scream of a read.
     
  9. OLD FOGEY

    OLD FOGEY Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    1. I think if Johnson was white he gets the decision over Hart
    2. If he were white, Johnson fights Jeffries in 1904 or 1904. Given the problems Jeffries had with Choynski and Corbett, it certainly is at least possible that Johnson wins this fight. How long does he reign? I would say until Dempsey. My guess is he does not fight the black dynamite fighters and probably beats Willard by 20 round decision and also beats Gunboat Smith.
    3. Johnson would be viewed as the greatest American athletic idol prior to Babe Ruth, even more popular than Dan Patch. They might even have named a candy bar after him.
    4. After losing to Dempsey, he goes into politics and with his overwhelming popularity is elected Senator from Texas. He is chosen by FDR as his Vice-President and assumes the Presidency in 1945 on FDR's death, winning reelection in the greatest landside in history in 1948. He is still popular enough to beat Robert Taft in 1952, as Ike wants no part of challenging such a popular hero. Truman and Ike are never President. In 1956, during an age of peace and prospertity, the 78 year old Johnson can and does name his successor. Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, a former Republican who switched parties to run with Johnson in 1948, becomes the first Catholic president. John F Kennedy remains an obscure Senator until his death from old age.
     
  10. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    That was a nice read OF.

    This was one of the main things i was thinking of when I started the thread:

    I agree, strongly. I think he would have got that decision too.

    The next one would be over Jeffries, I think.
     
  11. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

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    These are excuses. Johnson had several undocumented boxing matches, at least 20 odd fights, and a few battle royals before Choynski corked him. Johnson could not defeat Griffin in three fights, and who won between him and Hart was not my point. The point that Hart wasn’t very talented and Johnson had a close match with him is. Fitzsimmons, Corbett, and Jeffries were several notches above Choysnki, Griffin and Hart. To suggest Johnson wins these matches is not logical unless there is a specific style match up as to why. Furthermore, Johnson was even or behind middle weight contender Jim O’brien.
    As I mentioned before Johnson ring record was 0-3-3 vs Choynski, Griffin, Hart, and O’Brien. If Johnson was white, his title shot comes sooner, not later, and in my opinion he doesn’t become champion any sooner than he did.
    If Johnson was white, his TKO loss a black fighter named Klondike Haines, and other draws would have hurt his status too.
    I’m not so sure about this. Fitzsimmons and Choynski fought many tough matches early in their careers too
     
  12. ChrisPontius

    ChrisPontius March 8th, 1971 Full Member

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    Interesting theory.

    One thing though, i think Johnson struggled a lot more with Choynski than Jeffries did. We will never know but i think this fight is pretty much 50/50.
    The irony is that his championship reign may have been identical. Johnson used the color bar very well.
     
  13. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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  14. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin End of an error. Full Member

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    :applaudit:
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
  15. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxingoholican Full Member

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    Johnson had a lot more problems with Choynski than Jeffries.

    Jeffries fought him to a draw, a more experienced Johnson, fighting a more diminish Choynski got KO'd
     
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