View Full Version : Do you belive Jack Johnson is overrated?


Gettin Jiggy
07-16-2009, 11:29 AM
does any1 think the great jack johnson is overrated?

held wins over mcvey, langford, ketchel, jeffries, fitzsimmons, and others.

discuss

Sugarj
07-16-2009, 11:41 AM
I've watched alot of Johnson on video, he was clearly head and shoulders ahead of the competition of his day. He moved well, had a good defence, power in both hands, speed, good chin. He was alot bigger and heavier than most of his contempories though (6,2 and 210 pounds at his best was huge for the day 'the Galveston Giant' was his nickname!) and you know what they say about 'a good big un'.

Many of the films are jerky but his combinations look pretty dazzling and he was good at tying up opponents and catching their shots with his gloves. I'm sure I once read that even Louis's trainer 'Chappy' Blackburn admitted that Louis would not have beaten Johnson. Says alot really.

I dont like to speculate about how he would have done in different eras but think that upto the Liston/Ali/Foreman times he would have had a fair chance against any heavyweight.

TredKiller
07-16-2009, 12:30 PM
he's overrated by some, but isnt every fighter

sonnyboyx2
07-16-2009, 12:55 PM
Johnson is vastly underated

Southpaw16BF
07-16-2009, 01:27 PM
I feel he is pretty underrated to be honest.

In my mind Johnson is greatest defensive heavyweight of all time. In recent years some revisionists have tried to downplay Johnson’s defensive capabilities, which is an injustice to both the man and those who saw him fight. The key to understanding the defensive mastery of men like Johnson, Joe Gans, and George Dixon comes in their ability to block an opponent's leads. That is where the old masters like Johnson truly shined. You have to jab to get inside and to set up your punches and they could block and pick off an opponent's jabs and counter. Trainer Eddie Futch said, that Ken Norton gave Ali 3 very tough fights because he knew how to block a jab with an open glove and counter-jab.

Another key factor is that although Johnson fought often and with only 5 ounce gloves, his defensive skills kept his face largely unmarked. This demonstrates his effectiveness as a defensive fighter.

John Durant wrote in The Heavyweight Champions of Johnson, “He was a genius in the ring. He was a flawless boxer with an almost perfect defense, and he could hit hard with either hand. A superb counter puncher, he was never off balance, always in position to hit, and he was a master of the art of feinting."

Jack Dempsey said of Johnson, “He was the greatest catcher of punches that ever lived (glove blocker). And he could fight all night. He was a combination of Jim Corbett and Louis. I’m glad I didn’t have to fight him.”

Some boxing experts and fans have questioned the quality of Jack’s chin. But Johnson’s chin is not nearly as bad as some revisionists make it out to be. Prior to the Willard fight he was knocked out only by Klon***e Haynes (Johnson quit after 4 rounds) and then by the wily veteran Joe Choynski both fairly early in his career and before he had reached his pinnacle as a fighter. After the Choynski loss he would not be knocked out again for 14 years. Also while him and Choynski were in jail to get together, Choynski would help Johnson develop as a fighter.

Nat Fleischer rated Johnson as the greatest heavyweight up to the time of his death in 1972. He picked Johnson in a dream fight over Joe Louis. The reason is given in 50 Years at Ringside pp 80-81. Fleischer quotes Johnson as saying that Louis was "always off balance" and to beat a counter-puncher like Schmeling he had to "change his stance." Johnson said a "clever sharp shooter" with a good "right hand" could beat Louis. And that is precisely what happened in the first Schmeling fight. It was because of Johnson's prediction that Nat always thought that Johnson could beat Louis.

Charley Rose who saw both Johnson and Ali fight said, (July 1966 Ring), "Johnson would have caught Clay's jabs like Willie Mays catches a baseball."

''One of those who worked with him during the hot afternoon sparring sessions was a very young Harry Willis. ''I was still growing'' Remembered Willis but I already had a right hand to the body that i thought i could hit anybody with. I was working with Johnson one day and sure enough, I nailed him....I got ****y and in the next round i tried the same thing again. Old Jack reached down and caught my fist like you catch a ball and grinned at his wife who was sitting at the ringside.''

Johnson was preparing for the Fireman Jim Flynn rematch.

Jack Johnson Resume Of Wins
Sam McVea x3
Joe Jeannette x5
Sam Langford
Bob Fitzsimmons
Fireman Jim Flynn x2
Tommy Burns
Stanley Ketchel
James J Jeffries

Now looking at his resume of wins, thats up there as one of best resumes of all time. Although Johnson had weight alot of weight on Langford and Ketchel.

But would of always been interesting if Johnson had give Langford his rematch, something which he had no interest in doing, due to a high risk little reward.

<object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop*****?clip_id=2994551&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;sho w_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;ful lscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop*****?clip_id=2994551&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;sho w_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;ful lscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/2994551">Jack Johnson: Tribute Video</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user1220271">Cox's Corner</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

GJC
07-16-2009, 02:05 PM
I think Johnson was years ahead of his time.

TheGreatA
07-16-2009, 02:21 PM
The win over Jim Jeffries really shouldn't mean much, neither should the win over Fitzsimmons. Jeffries was a man in his mid-30's who hadn't fought in years and had bloated to up to 300 lbs when he made his desperate attempt at regaining the title. Fitzsimmons was well over 40 years old and offered very little resistance although few bring this up as a great win for Johnson so it's not really "overrated".

Jeannette, McVea and Langford were somewhat young and not as experienced as they would go onto become although they were not as inexperienced as their records would indicate (in the case of McVea and Jeannette). Jeannette had already made Langford quit by the time he fought Johnson and McVea, even at 20 years of age, was like the Tyson of his day.

Johnson does have some underrated wins over the lesser known names of his day such as Klon***e Haines, George Gardner, Denver Ed Martin, Black Bill, Sandy Ferguson, Frank Childs, Sailor Burke and others. He fought everyone as a contender but avoided fighting the best as the champion.

I do rate his abilities quite highly. He may have fought from the clinch a lot more than any of today's fighters or even the mid-1900's boxers, but people might miss some of his "magic" due to the poor quality film. He had a really good uppercut from the clinch.

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2:40

Gettin Jiggy
07-16-2009, 05:39 PM
I feel he is pretty underrated to be honest.

In my mind Johnson is greatest defensive heavyweight of all time. In recent years some revisionists have tried to downplay Johnson’s defensive capabilities, which is an injustice to both the man and those who saw him fight. The key to understanding the defensive mastery of men like Johnson, Joe Gans, and George Dixon comes in their ability to block an opponent's leads. That is where the old masters like Johnson truly shined. You have to jab to get inside and to set up your punches and they could block and pick off an opponent's jabs and counter. Trainer Eddie Futch said, that Ken Norton gave Ali 3 very tough fights because he knew how to block a jab with an open glove and counter-jab.

Another key factor is that although Johnson fought often and with only 5 ounce gloves, his defensive skills kept his face largely unmarked. This demonstrates his effectiveness as a defensive fighter.

John Durant wrote in The Heavyweight Champions of Johnson, “He was a genius in the ring. He was a flawless boxer with an almost perfect defense, and he could hit hard with either hand. A superb counter puncher, he was never off balance, always in position to hit, and he was a master of the art of feinting."

Jack Dempsey said of Johnson, “He was the greatest catcher of punches that ever lived (glove blocker). And he could fight all night. He was a combination of Jim Corbett and Louis. I’m glad I didn’t have to fight him.”

Some boxing experts and fans have questioned the quality of Jack’s chin. But Johnson’s chin is not nearly as bad as some revisionists make it out to be. Prior to the Willard fight he was knocked out only by Klon***e Haynes (Johnson quit after 4 rounds) and then by the wily veteran Joe Choynski both fairly early in his career and before he had reached his pinnacle as a fighter. After the Choynski loss he would not be knocked out again for 14 years. Also while him and Choynski were in jail to get together, Choynski would help Johnson develop as a fighter.

Nat Fleischer rated Johnson as the greatest heavyweight up to the time of his death in 1972. He picked Johnson in a dream fight over Joe Louis. The reason is given in 50 Years at Ringside pp 80-81. Fleischer quotes Johnson as saying that Louis was "always off balance" and to beat a counter-puncher like Schmeling he had to "change his stance." Johnson said a "clever sharp shooter" with a good "right hand" could beat Louis. And that is precisely what happened in the first Schmeling fight. It was because of Johnson's prediction that Nat always thought that Johnson could beat Louis.

Charley Rose who saw both Johnson and Ali fight said, (July 1966 Ring), "Johnson would have caught Clay's jabs like Willie Mays catches a baseball."

''One of those who worked with him during the hot afternoon sparring sessions was a very young Harry Willis. ''I was still growing'' Remembered Willis but I already had a right hand to the body that i thought i could hit anybody with. I was working with Johnson one day and sure enough, I nailed him....I got ****y and in the next round i tried the same thing again. Old Jack reached down and caught my fist like you catch a ball and grinned at his wife who was sitting at the ringside.''

Johnson was preparing for the Fireman Jim Flynn rematch.

Jack Johnson Resume Of Wins
Sam McVea x3
Joe Jeannette x5
Sam Langford
Bob Fitzsimmons
Fireman Jim Flynn x2
Tommy Burns
Stanley Ketchel
James J Jeffries

Now looking at his resume of wins, thats up there as one of best resumes of all time. Although Johnson had weight alot of weight on Langford and Ketchel.

But would of always been interesting if Johnson had give Langford his rematch, something which he had no interest in doing, due to a high risk little reward.

<object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop*****?clip_id=2994551&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;sho w_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;ful lscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop*****?clip_id=2994551&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;sho w_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;ful lscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/2994551">Jack Johnson: Tribute Video</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user1220271">Cox's Corner</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

great post SOUTHPAW16BF

Kid McCoy
07-16-2009, 05:51 PM
Johnson did have some good wins as a contender coming up: McVea, Jeannette, Haines, Martin, Ferguson, etc, and generally fought the best around. He did also beat Langford, although Sam was barely a light-middle at the time.

His title run tends to get overrated, however. His best wins as champion were the six-year inactive Jim Jeffries who had to lose 100lbs in training for it, and middleweight Stanley Ketchel - how many heavyweight champions would not have beaten the reigning middleweight champion of their day?

Both of those fights were forgivable given the big money involved, but other that that he mainly defended against a motley crew of journeymen, whilst drawing the colour line as egregiously as any white fighter. Langford in particular chased him all over the world and couldn't get Johnson in the ring for love nor money.

Lower top ten is arguable, but the current IBRO rating of #3 is overrating him, imo.

Gettin Jiggy
07-16-2009, 05:56 PM
Johnson did have some good wins as a contender coming up: McVea, Jeannette, Haines, Martin, Ferguson, etc, and generally fought the best around. He did also beat Langford, although Sam was barely a light-middle at the time.

His title run tends to get overrated, however. His best wins as champion were the six-year inactive Jim Jeffries who had to lose 100lbs in training for it, and middleweight Stanley Ketchel - how many heavyweight champions would not have beaten the reigning middleweight champion of their day?

Both of those fights were forgivable given the big money involved, but other that that he mainly defended against a motley crew of journeymen, whilst drawing the colour line as egregiously as any white fighter. Langford in particular chased him all over the world and couldn't get Johnson in the ring for love nor money.

Lower top ten is arguable, but the current IBRO rating of #3 is overrating him, imo.

You make some good points there Mr McCoy;)

Gettin Jiggy
07-16-2009, 06:10 PM
Johnson did have some good wins as a contender coming up: McVea, Jeannette, Haines, Martin, Ferguson, etc, and generally fought the best around. He did also beat Langford, although Sam was barely a light-middle at the time.

His title run tends to get overrated, however. His best wins as champion were the six-year inactive Jim Jeffries who had to lose 100lbs in training for it, and middleweight Stanley Ketchel - how many heavyweight champions would not have beaten the reigning middleweight champion of their day?

Both of those fights were forgivable given the big money involved, but other that that he mainly defended against a motley crew of journeymen, whilst drawing the colour line as egregiously as any white fighter. Langford in particular chased him all over the world and couldn't get Johnson in the ring for love nor money.

Lower top ten is arguable, but the current IBRO rating of #3 is overrating him, imo.

Poster Poet682006 also has him number #3 in his Heavyweight ATG List.

jerzeytib
07-19-2009, 07:35 PM
i agree also

Obama
07-19-2009, 08:38 PM
Johnson did have some good wins as a contender coming up: McVea, Jeannette, Haines, Martin, Ferguson, etc, and generally fought the best around. He did also beat Langford, although Sam was barely a light-middle at the time.

His title run tends to get overrated, however. His best wins as champion were the six-year inactive Jim Jeffries who had to lose 100lbs in training for it, and middleweight Stanley Ketchel - how many heavyweight champions would not have beaten the reigning middleweight champion of their day?

Both of those fights were forgivable given the big money involved, but other that that he mainly defended against a motley crew of journeymen, whilst drawing the colour line as egregiously as any white fighter. Langford in particular chased him all over the world and couldn't get Johnson in the ring for love nor money.

Lower top ten is arguable, but the current IBRO rating of #3 is overrating him, imo.

His best title defense wins you mean? Cuz Burns (who he won the title from) was clearly the best win. Having ****ty title defenses as champion was pretty common at the time. Before Joe Louis, no one really impressed in the World Title defense department aside from Jeffries, who quite clearly could have done more by facing Johnson. Had Johnson won the title back then from a prime Jeffries (which he would have imo), assuming they convicted him of violating the Mann Act at the same time, Johnson would have had more title defenses. And who knows who would have been included in that list.

Poster Poet682006 also has him number #3 in his Heavyweight ATG List.

I also rate him #3. His pre-championship resume is the greatest any Heavyweight has ever had. And when you watch him on film, it never seems like the man is even trying. He played with credible opposition like they were bums.

mickey malone
07-19-2009, 10:38 PM
He had a controversial career, & ratings in general display this..
I've seen him in peoples top 5 as often as I've seen him outside of the top 10.. I'd have to be an under rater to.. In my opinion, he's around 12 or 13.. Skill wise, he was exceptional, & introduced a few things that hadn't been done before.. His defense in particular, was one of, if not the, best of all time & I often think about moving him up.. What puts me off has already been mentioned.. It's that his title resume wasn't particularly great.. He was a great HW, but not a great champ, so falls into an odd category really..

Benny Leonard
07-19-2009, 11:30 PM
The win over Jim Jeffries really shouldn't mean much, neither should the win over Fitzsimmons. Jeffries was a man in his mid-30's who hadn't fought in years and had bloated to up to 300 lbs when he made his desperate attempt at regaining the title. Fitzsimmons was well over 40 years old and offered very little resistance although few bring this up as a great win for Johnson so it's not really "overrated".

Jeannette, McVea and Langford were somewhat young and not as experienced as they would go onto become although they were not as inexperienced as their records would indicate (in the case of McVea and Jeannette). Jeannette had already made Langford quit by the time he fought Johnson and McVea, even at 20 years of age, was like the Tyson of his day.

Johnson does have some underrated wins over the lesser known names of his day such as Klon***e Haines, George Gardner, Denver Ed Martin, Black Bill, Sandy Ferguson, Frank Childs, Sailor Burke and others. He fought everyone as a contender but avoided fighting the best as the champion.

I do rate his abilities quite highly. He may have fought from the clinch a lot more than any of today's fighters or even the mid-1900's boxers, but people might miss some of his "magic" due to the poor quality film. He had a really good uppercut from the clinch.

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2:40


Maybe you know a more on the topic, but didn't Johnson challenge Jeffries when Jeffries was Champion, only for Jeffries to decline the fight?

For TS's question: Depends on who is rating him.

I think what he had to go up against (and I'm not just talking about inside the ring), should be considered. Everybody is tested at different levels in life, and Johnson went through a harder test than many other Champion boxers.
Being who he was in his era and being as succesful as he was, is something incredible. We can't say any Champion could have gone through it and came out like he did.

Rockin'
07-19-2009, 11:34 PM
Johnsons not overrated. The atg ratings are by how/what they did in their time, not what they might do today. Johnson took 'em all on, except for some of the black contenders when he held the belt but that was the fashionable thing to do back then. In my opinion Johnson was/is not overrated..........Rockin':boxing:

Miburo
07-19-2009, 11:56 PM
Not for his time at all, but in fantasy match-ups with many modern fighters, yes. That said, boxing was almost a different sport at the time. You didn't go 40 rounds by fighting like Paul Williams.

Kid McCoy
07-20-2009, 06:08 AM
His best title defense wins you mean? Cuz Burns (who he won the title from) was clearly the best win. Having ****ty title defenses as champion was pretty common at the time. Before Joe Louis, no one really impressed in the World Title defense department aside from Jeffries, who quite clearly could have done more by facing Johnson. Had Johnson won the title back then from a prime Jeffries (which he would have imo), assuming they convicted him of violating the Mann Act at the same time, Johnson would have had more title defenses. And who knows who would have been included in that list.

I also rate him #3. His pre-championship resume is the greatest any Heavyweight has ever had. And when you watch him on film, it never seems like the man is even trying. He played with credible opposition like they were bums.

Sure you can count Burns, all 5'7" and 170lbs of him. It was a pretty good win though. I disagree on Jeffries, I think Johnson dodged a bullet when he lost to Hart and Jeffries subsequently retired without facing him. At that point, I think Jeff would have beaten him.

Given Johnson's words and actions when he was champion, I very much doubt any of those extra title defences would have been against Langford, McVea, Jeannette or Wills. As he put it himself, "I'm the first black champion, and I'm gonna be the last."

Spartacus Sully
07-20-2009, 06:50 AM
Over Rated? no so much. i wouldn't rate him at 3 but he would be in my top 10

A-Hole? Definately. i mean who needs gold teeth in 1910?

though for the record Jeffries would have tore him a new one if they fought when he was in his prime.

Sugarj
07-20-2009, 06:53 AM
Ha ha, the Hart fight! I seem to remember one ringside journalist saying something like 'in the excitement of the occasion the referee pointed at the wrong man'. Hard to believe Johnson would have been outpointed by Hart, that said I haven't seen the fight so I reserve judgement and I guess he did last the 20 round (if memory serves) distance which is a feat in itself.

As for a peak Jim Jeffries beating Jack Johnson, I doubt it. Jeffries in retirement did say that he didn't think he could either, true gent, very honest. That said its arguable as to whether Johnson was peak around the time of the Hart fight so hell, who knows?

TheGreatA
07-20-2009, 07:24 AM
Ha ha, the Hart fight! I seem to remember one ringside journalist saying something like 'in the excitement of the occasion the referee pointed at the wrong man'. Hard to believe Johnson would have been outpointed by Hart, that said I haven't seen the fight so I reserve judgement and I guess he did last the 20 round (if memory serves) distance which is a feat in itself.

As for a peak Jim Jeffries beating Jack Johnson, I doubt it. Jeffries in retirement did say that he didn't think he could either, true gent, very honest. That said its arguable as to whether Johnson was peak around the time of the Hart fight so hell, who knows?

Jack Johnson was quite light in those days compared to the 208 lb version of himself who fought Jeffries.

Back when he fought Choynski, he was no more than a super middleweight (168 lbs) and against Hart I'd estimate that he weighed around 180 lbs (no official weights were given) as he did in most of his bouts at that time.

The 220 lb Jeffries may have very well been too strong for Jack Johnson back then.

Of course you can't underestimate Johnson's "science", since he was able to outbox the much bigger and stronger Sam McVea but McVea lacked the experience of Jeffries. Johnson did rely a lot on being able to control his opponents in the clinches, Jeffries likely wouldn't have allowed that.

Sugarj
07-20-2009, 07:59 AM
Maybe Johnson would have been too underdeveloped then, I wouldn't have bet against even a 180lbs Johnson though. I always favoured his peak to be 1908-1910, I doubt a peak Jeffries would cope with this Johnson although I think he would make the distance.

boxingbuff
07-20-2009, 04:05 PM
Johnson over rated? Are you kidding?

A big heavyweight with all the skills,quick reflexes,and the greatest defense in boxing history.Power in both hands.

He is under rated if anything.

T.Horton
07-22-2009, 02:37 AM
Poster Poet682006 also has him number #3 in his Heavyweight ATG List.so do i. given what ge accomplished especially when he did it, you'd have to at least have him in the top five.

Kinetic Linking
07-22-2009, 02:49 AM
One of the baddest dudes ever, toyed with great fighters. Not overrated.