The Latymer School History Magazine - page 47

*An old fashioned term for
the gamblers, hangers on
and ne’er do wells who
followed boxing.
**The concept of
heavyweight boxing
champions in the 1880s is
difficult. With no overarching
boxing authority, a lack of
agreement over whether
gloved or bare knuckle fights
should be recognised and a
tendency only to recognise
contests fought in North
America it was not until 1888
that John L Sullivan was
universally recognised as
world champion.
*** A peculiar consequence
of Johnson’s tenure as
heavyweight champion was
the emergence of a White
Heavyweight Championship
between 1911 and 1915. It
became defunct when Jess
Willard controversially beat
Johnson in 1915 and
reclaimed the title for the
white race.
****The refusal to fight
outstanding black
challengers during these
years casts doubt on the
records of some legendary
heavyweights most obviously
‘The Manassa Mauler’ Jack
Dempsey. We will never
******Drew Bundini Brown,
Muhammad Ali’s legendary
corner man, claimed on a
number of occasions to
have seen Johnson’s ghost
standing ringside at Ali’s
fights. ‘Ghost in the house’
he would whisper to the
champion ‘ghost in the
*****The graves of
heavyweight champions
boxers tend to bear terse
statements. Peter Jackson’s
grave in Brisbane simply
says ‘This Was a Man’ while
the grave of Sonny Liston,
champion in the early
1960s, bears the plain
epitaph ‘A Man.’
By far the best book on
Jack Johnson’s
extraordinary life is
Unforgivable Blackness by
Geoffrey Ward.
The American film maker
Ken Burns has made a
three hour documentary
Unforgivable Blackness
based upon Ward’s book.
In the 1970 film The Great
White Hope, James Earl
Jones plays Johnson. It is
based on Howard Sackler’s
1967 play of the same
Jack Johnson vs Jim Jeffries.
In 1910 for the Heavyweight
Championship of the World
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