Champion Jeffries Says He is Willing to Take On the Big Smoke. NEW YORK, Aug. 4, 1909 — Upon the eve of his departure for Europe tomorrow. James J. Jeffries issued a statement tonight through his manager Sam Berger, saying that everything now depends on Jack Johnson as far as a fight was concerned. He did not seem to consider seriously Johnson’s posting of $5000 in Chicago this week…
American Sporting Cartoons.
by John Adcock
JACK JOHNSON. Cartoonist George Herriman (1880-1944), without showing his subject’s face, captured Jack Johnson's mood perfectly in this sporting cartoon — triumph, elation, longing and an intense yearning. Johnson holds a bouquet of flowers in one hand and Jeff’s forfeit in the other. His feet barely touch the ground. The cartoon first ran in Hearst’s Los Angles Examiner on August 6, 1909. On July 4, 1910, Johnson met James J. Jeffries, a former miner and boilermaker, at Reno, Nevada and saw his dreams become reality.
CHALLENGERS. On June 9, 1899, James J. Jeffries had taken the American Heavyweight Champion title from Bob Fitzsimmons, a middleweight who won the heavyweight title from Jim Corbett in 1897 at Coney Island Athletic club in Brooklyn, N.Y. After fights with Sharkey, Ruhlin, Corbett, and a rematch with Fitzsimmons Jeff ran out of serious challengers except among the Negro fighters.
COLOR LINE. Jeffries had fought black fighters before but drew the color line to protect the heavyweight title from several clever Negro pugilists. After beating Nova Scotian boxer and coal miner Jack Munroe he retired in 1905, an undefeated champion. Jeffries designated Marvin Hart his successor and on February 23, 1906, the title passed to Canadian fighter Tommy Burns. On December 26, 1908, Tommy Burns lost the title to Jack Johnson in Australia.
BEAT IN 14 ROUNDS. The next year Johnson successfully defended the title against five white challengers leading sporting columnists and cartoonists to begin clamoring for Jeffries to come out of retirement and put the Negro upstart in his place. Jeffries was reluctant but, just as he had with Burns, Johnson began dogging the footsteps of the retired white hope and finally Johnson met Jeffries on July 4, 1910, at Reno, Nevada where he decisively beat the out of shape former champion in 14 rounds. Johnson finally lost the title to the Pottawatomie Giant, Jess Willard, in 1915 at Havana, Cuba. Willard was not an impressive boxer and it was believed by many that Johnson took a dive.
REPORTERS. When Jack Johnson battled White Hope James L. Jeffries for the championship of the world at Reno, Nevada on July 4, 1910, former champions and reporting writers and artists from east and west flocked to the small desert town. Present there was Canadian Tommy Burns who lost the title to Johnson in Sydney, Australia, as was Bob Fitzsimmons, who had fought both Johnson and Jeffries (Jeffries twice). Present as writers and cartoonists were Rube Goldberg, TAD, A.D. Condo, George Herriman, Clare Briggs and Bob Edgren.
The sporting cartoons shown here are all created by George Herriman.
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