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Willard -vs- Johnson. Rare post fight footage.

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Mendoza, May 8, 2017.



  1. klompton2

    klompton2 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    LOL. I found this. Its a first hand account taken the day of the fight:

    "Heavy clouds were hanging low and many wore overcoats as protection against the chill wind when time was finally called at twenty-three minutes after 1 o'clock, or 1:53 New York time. Johnsons weight was announced as 227 pounds, although he looked heavier, and it was whispered that the real poundage was some fifteen pounds more. Willard's weight was 238 pounds, the announcer said."

    As I said before, another which Im too lazy to reproduce, stated it was slightly overcast and breezy and called it ideal weather for such an event. That, combined with the meteorological sources which put the temperature somewhere in the mid 80s, simply do not support the idea that it was blazing hot this day. Certainly not to men who werent born to air conditioning and who typically spent their most active months training and boxing outdoors to begin with. Not only is Willard's contention that it was well over 100 degrees not borne out by any verifiable first hand source but instead the actual sources that are verifiable, using both scientific data and written accounts of that day completely disagree with such a notion.

    Now, the ultimate point behind that story, told by Willard originally was that if Johnson had indeed taken a dive he wouldnt have waited 26 rounds in the supposedly blazing hot sun to do it. Willard used the temperature to add emphasis to his point and while he was either fibbing or misremembering his point stands. Johnson didnt take a dive. Its plain to see in the most complete versions of the film how the fight ultimately played out. Johnson started out very well and had every intention of not only winning but stopping Willard. He likely didnt fancy his chances of going 45 rounds in his condition at his age against a younger, bigger, and very strong opponent. Willard, for all of his lack of experience (relatively) and his awkwardness fought a very heady battle. He came in with a game plan, stuck to it, and executed it to perfection. He let Johnson attack, expend his energy, and often absorbed Johnsons aggression like a rock being battered by the tides. It wasnt pretty. It wasnt scientific. It was fairly simple. Often times his best defense was to simply absorb punishment because his defense was porous at best. He was outhit and outpunched for most of the fight. But he didnt waver and after about the 21st round, as his confidence grew he became more active and Johnsons terrier like flurries began to decrease in frequency, volume, and intensity. In the 25th round you can see Johnson in the film sweating profusely, unsteady at times, and very tired. His taunting had ceased and his once smiling expression was now deadly serious, worried even. In the twenty sixth watch how slowly Johnson comes out for the bell and Willard meets him and immediately lands a one-two that buckles Johnsons knees. Nobody ever mentions that. Johnson holds on and Willard is trying to get his hands free, tugging and hauling on Johnson before they are finally separated. Willard then goes back on the attack and spears Johnson with a long left that Johnson cant get out of the way of. Willard then follows up with another one-two to the body and Johnson ineffectively tries to attack but you can clearly see his arms are weak and hes tired. Willard easily catches the attack, where earlier he had been getting blistered by the same flurries, rendering it ineffective. They waltz around and when separated Willard lands a long body shot that sends Johnson into a corner. They spar for a moment and you can see Willard looking for the right hand. He sticks out a quick measuring jab and then comes over the top with the right. You can see it lands with full impact square on Johnson's jaw, snapping his head violently to the side and he goes down. Even after the count is completed Johnson is on the mat and unconscious. In some angles of Willard celebrating, after he is already standing outside of the ring ropes Johnson can be made out to be seated on a stool, still being worked over by his handlers. It was a classic knockout without a hint of controversy.

    After the knockout in the film there is a closeup panorama of the crowd celebrating Willards victory. All of the men have heavy 3 piece suits on which isnt necessarily unusual for the day (although in the Nelson-Gans fight film you can see men clearly removing their suit coats, wiping sweat from their brow, and even hanging towels over their heads to protect against the heat) but in one shot you can see two women fairly close to the camera, very distinguishable, and both are wearing heavy woolen coats. Not suit coats, not dress coats, but actual coats.

    So with all of the evidence I submit that while Johnson was indeed legitimately knocked out after a valiant effort on his part and smart bit of a fighting by Willard, it was NOT helped or hindered by incredibly hot weather.
     
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  2. KuRuPT

    KuRuPT Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    What was the humidity like that day. Cuba can get a lot of humidity and that can greatly affect your perception of the temperature.
     
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  3. klompton2

    klompton2 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Youre reaching to preserve a myth that has no basis in fact. If humidity was so bad would people be wearing coats? No.
     
  4. KuRuPT

    KuRuPT Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I'm not "trying" to preserve any myth, so let's start there. I was asking a question on what the humidity was like. By the way, it's even more true then as it is now, people often dressed up for occasions like this. It was the norm to dress up for the biggest sporting event in the world.. The HW championship of the world. So what people were wearing isn't always indicative of what the weather was like, then and even now. Even now you can routinely go to events outdoors with people dressed in suits in blazing temperatures. If I saw a picture of someone in a suit in AZ in July, do I assume it was brisk out there? I'm simply asking what the humidity was like that day... Do you know?
     
  5. mcvey

    mcvey Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Pollack mentions the clouds but says that by mid day the sun had come out and shone down throughout.
    The ko was legit , Sam McVey who was Johnson's second said, when he helped him up Jack didn't know quite where he was.
    Johnson put up a great battle but was worn down by the bigger, stronger,younger ,fitter man.
    How many times has it happened in boxing?
    I hope to go to Havana next year ,so maybe I will get to experience the climate first hand.
     
  6. KuRuPT

    KuRuPT Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Also, let's no kid ourselves here, it doesn't have to be 100 to feel sweltering. Fighting in direct sunlight, in a packed arena, while it being in the mid 80's... It say it likely felt pretty hot
     
  7. mcvey

    mcvey Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Billy Jordan the ring announcer for the Jeffries v Johnson fight had a heavy winter three piece suit on ,the temperature rose to over a 100 degrees that day.Film footage shows Bat Masterson in a bowler hat starched collar and tie and wearing a suit.

    For the Willard fight both fighters seconds are in shirtsleeves or undershirts ,and some in the crowd are in shirts too.
    At the beginning of the footage provided by," Fight Films Guy, " umbrellas can be seen held aloft to protect their owners from the sun,and it is remarked upon by the narrator.
     
  8. mcvey

    mcvey Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Twenty six 3 minute rounds plus the introductions and minutes rest between rounds.Around two hours in the ring with about 76 minutes of that being actual fighting.a tall order for an overweight 37 years old man who had lived the life Johnson had.
     
  9. he grant

    he grant Historian/Film Maker Full Member

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    Interesting find for the couple of golden nuggets there .. ws the footage of Johnson right after the fight ? If so he was fat.
     
  10. Perry

    Perry Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    It was the norm in those days to dress formally for major events....plays, vaudeville as well as sporting events.

    If it was 85 degrees, in bright sun with high humidity the real feel temperature could be over 100 F. Certainly Fleischer who attended the bout and was present in Havana weeks in advance stated the sun was blazing hot.
     
  11. mcvey

    mcvey Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    He was described as 225 but looking like he weighed a lot more,he had surplus around his a*se, rolls of suet round his hips, and a paunch.
     
  12. Tomsharkeyfan

    Tomsharkeyfan New Member Full Member

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    Hi McVey - Yes - Johnson actually showed great skills in this fight. 37 years old and not in the fine shape of his younger days - Johnson still showed greatness and actually this fight convinced me that Johnson could have been a Champion in any era.
     
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  13. klompton2

    klompton2 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Boxing fans crack me up theyll believe any old tired tripe if its repeated often enough.
     
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  14. KuRuPT

    KuRuPT Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Expand on this If you don't mind. I'm agreeing it wasn't 100, but that doesn't mean it didn't feel hot as hell out there correct? They aren't mutually inclusive things here. The question is, did it feel hot enough to impact the fighters condition? Seems like a yes right?
     
  15. Seamus

    Seamus Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I do believe that the ring, however hot, is equally hot in both corners... whether or not the inhabitant of one of those corners is a whopping 3 years older.