Running head: Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson, named by some historians as the single most important athlete in modern sports history, was the first black man to win the World Heavyweight Championship. It was not simply his skin color which shattered convention, but also Johnson's brash personality, his willingness to defy tradition and popular opinion to be his own man, and the combination of power and technique which he used to defeat an entire generation of the division's best that made him a figure of incredible historic significance during the early twentieth century (Box Rec, 2014).
Jack Johnson, the first black man to win the world heavyweight boxing championship, was born in Galveston on March 31, 1878, of poor, former slaves. He was the second of six children of Henry and Tiny Johnson. He left school after completing fifth grade. Jack Johnson began traveling in South Texas, picking up odd jobs as a porter, barber's helper, dockworker, and general laborer. He began his fighting career as a sparring partner and participated in events known as a battle royal, where black youths, sometimes numbering up to twenty, fought each other and white spectators threw money to the winner. He started fighting in private clubs in the Galveston area, and became a professional prizefighter in 1897.
On February 25, 1901 Joe Choynski traveled to Galveston, Texas to fight Johnson; knocking him out in the third round. Both fighters were arrested and they served 23 days in jail. Choynski and Johnson used the time to train together and develop Johnson’s defensive fighting style.
On May 16, 1902 Johnson fought Jack Jefferies, younger brother of the reigning Heavyweight Champion: Jim Jefferies. Johnson continuously beat on Jefferies, slowing his assault and holding Jefferies up instead of continuing to attack and knock him out. Finally, in the fifth round Johnson knocked him out, and then carried Jefferies back to his corner. It is rumored...