View Full Version : Jack Johnson vs Luis Angel Firpo (The Sparring Encouter)


Southpaw16BF
07-21-2009, 11:10 PM
In Febuary of 1923 Jack Johnson was working in New York as a $250-a-day sparring parther for Luis Angel Firpo, a ****y young heavyweight from Argentina with fourtenn early round knockouts behind him, whom the broadway columnist Damon Runyon had already dubbed ''the wild bull of the pampas'' Firpo was preparing for a fight with ''KO'' Bill Brennan, who had almost taken Dempey's title two years earlier, and Tex Rickard was already thinking that big money might be made someday from a Dempsey Firpo fight.

But when the fight crowd was invivted down to McLevys gym on 26 street to see the newcomer go through his paces with the ex champion Johnson, the temptation to show up his opponent proved more than Johnson could resist, just as it had when he'd worked Kid Carter twenty two years earlier. Firpo rushed at Johnson, only to find himself punching thin air or trapped within the grinning 44 year olds encircling arms as he bowed to the ringsiders-who broke into applause. As the bell rang ending the first round , he patted Firpo on the rear end. Firpo was furious.

So was Rickard, who saw to it that johnson was fired and refused entry to the gym so long as the Argentinian hoepfull was training there.




Very impressive that Johnson could handle a young Firpo with ease. Especailly when Johnson was 44 years of age. Firpo would go on to give then champion Jack Dempsey all he could handle.

When realesed form jail, Johnson always called out Demspey and wanted a showdown. But Doc Kearns had drew the colour line and Johnson was no exception.

Kinetic Linking
07-22-2009, 02:51 AM
Nice. That's some good **** southpaw.

Sugarj
07-22-2009, 07:55 AM
I'll second that too!

Johnson looked good against Willard at 37 years old for many rounds. Wasn't it the 26th that he got knocked out in!? Cuban sun too, plus the controversy that he threw the fight.

Johnson sparred and did exhibitions until he was 65. Then killed himself in a car crash, he never grew up. What a life!

Kid McCoy
07-22-2009, 08:04 AM
In Febuary of 1923 Jack Johnson was working in New York as a $250-a-day sparring parther for Luis Angel Firpo, a ****y young heavyweight from Argentina with fourtenn early round knockouts behind him, whom the broadway columnist Damon Runyon had already dubbed ''the wild bull of the pampas'' Firpo was preparing for a fight with ''KO'' Bill Brennan, who had almost taken Dempey's title two years earlier, and Tex Rickard was already thinking that big money might be made someday from a Dempsey Firpo fight.

But when the fight crowd was invivted down to McLevys gym on 26 street to see the newcomer go through his paces with the ex champion Johnson, the temptation to show up his opponent proved more than Johnson could resist, just as it had when he'd worked Kid Carter twenty two years earlier. Firpo rushed at Johnson, only to find himself punching thin air or trapped within the grinning 44 year olds encircling arms as he bowed to the ringsiders-who broke into applause. As the bell rang ending the first round , he patted Firpo on the rear end. Firpo was furious.

So was Rickard, who saw to it that johnson was fired and refused entry to the gym so long as the Argentinian hoepfull was training there.




Very impressive that Johnson could handle a young Firpo with ease. Especailly when Johnson was 44 years of age. Firpo would go on to give then champion Jack Dempsey all he could handle.

When realesed form jail, Johnson always called out Demspey and wanted a showdown. But Doc Kearns had drew the colour line and Johnson was no exception.

Interesting story. Where did you get it from?

There have always been rumours that Dempsey did have an unofficial showdown with Johnson, in private, when Dempsey was champion.

Sugarj
07-22-2009, 08:26 AM
If it did happen and if Johnson acquitted himself well he would'nt have left the newspapers alone. My guess is that it didn't happen.

VINXGC
07-22-2009, 02:54 PM
If he did so, he actually bragged to a real champ. The video of Firpo's fight with Dempsey, that one we all had seen, has been tampered to and cut short to avoid the embarrasement of showing the Mauler being docked far into the ringside, for much more than 20 secs.

At 44 Jack Johnson was still (naturally) big, athletic and skilled, no surprise he could handle the strong Bull of the Pampas in his early times in US (ie. begining of 1923), by that time he was used upto almost nil of top level competition, and they were worlds appart sepparated by an ocean of experience.

Early on 1923 columnist Damon Runyon would already refer to him as "wild bull" just because he was nothing than this yet, but then on as since march 1923 Firpo would run over Bill Brennan (ko12), MCAullif II (ko3), Jack Herman (ko2), Jim Hibbard (ko2), Jess Willard (ko8), Joe Burke(ko2), Homer Smith (p10), Charley Weinert (tko2) and by the time he finally arrive to the shot for Dempsey's title (september 1923) he has collected minimun ring knowledge to cope a legend. And he made it successfully, except for the obvious ruling.

7 out his 8 wins in a row from march to september 1923 were kos. Dempsey got 2 fights the same year 1923 (1 wp15, and the Firpos wko2). and this also speaks volumes of how the world has revolved on it axis ever since.

Southpaw16BF
07-22-2009, 03:34 PM
Interesting story. Where did you get it from?

There have always been rumours that Dempsey did have an unofficial showdown with Johnson, in private, when Dempsey was champion.

Knew about this for years now. Thought many people wound't of knew about this. I have heard it of numerous sources, and the book written on Jack Johnson unforgivable blackness also confirms this.

Johnson pleaded for a showdown with Demspey. And really thought he could defeat the champion. But due to Jack (Doc) Kearns drawing the colour line for Demspey the fight didnt take place.

It would of been a interesting one, do Johnson was in his forties, but he still was very crafty and still had a trick or two up his sleeve, as he proved in the sparring session with Firpo. But Dempsey would of had alot of youth on Johnson and this may have been a key factor in the fight.

Kid McCoy
07-22-2009, 03:50 PM
Knew about this for years now. Thought many people wound't of knew about this. I have heard it of numerous sources, and the book written on Jck Johnson unforgivable blackness also confirms this.

Johnson pleaded for a showdown with Demspey. And really thought he could defeat the champion. But due to Jack (Doc) Kearns drawing the colour line for Demspey the fight didnt take place.

It would of been a interesting one, do Johnson was in his forties, but he still was very crafty and still had a trick or two up his sleeve, as he proved in the sparring session with Firpo. But Dempsey would of had alot of youth on Johnson and this may have been a key factor in the fight.

Johnson never beat another top contender after being released from prison, so I don't know why he thought he was going to get a title shot. I also find it a little ironic for Johnson to be shut out of the title picture because of the colour line, given how he drew his own one throughout his reign.

TheGreatA
07-22-2009, 04:08 PM
Johnson never beat another top contender after being released from prison, so I don't know why he thought he was going to get a title shot. I also find it a little ironic for Johnson to be shut out of the title picture because of the colour line, given how he drew his own one throughout his reign.

He did beat Dempsey's sparring partner Jack Thompson in one of the most boring fights of all time. This was supposed to be the beginning of his big comeback.

Previously in his career Thompson had actually fought Harry Wills, Sam Langford, Joe Jeannette, Sam McVea, Fred Fulton, Kid Norfolk. Jeff Clark, George Godfrey, Bill Tate... He was much, much better than his record indicates with wins over Langford, Jeannette, McVea, Clark, Godfrey and Tate.

Homer Smith was a journeyman who scored the occasional upset. Pat Lester was a decent up and comer. Tom Cowler was a solid British contender whom Johnson fought earlier in 1919.

Not saying that these wins warranted a title shot but it's interesting that Johnson had some success in his mid 40's.

Here's a picture of Dempsey with his sparring partners Jack Taylor and Jack Thompson (on the right):

http://pro.corbis.com/images/U177432INP.jpg?size=67&uid=39bf0d8f-e447-42af-95a1-171644d34287&uniqID=2360e0ec-8516-45fc-a0de-5dd9f174a44f

Gettin Jiggy
07-22-2009, 04:34 PM
Great Stuff SOUTHPAW16BF! very interesting

Obama
07-22-2009, 05:20 PM
Did not know this, thanks.

Southpaw16BF
07-22-2009, 08:39 PM
Did not know this, thanks.

Great Stuff SOUTHPAW16BF! very interesting

Nice. That's some good **** southpaw.

I'll second that too!

Johnson looked good against Willard at 37 years old for many rounds. Wasn't it the 26th that he got knocked out in!? Cuban sun too, plus the controversy that he threw the fight.

Johnson sparred and did exhibitions until he was 65. Then killed himself in a car crash, he never grew up. What a life!

No Problem.........;)

Kinetic Linking
07-23-2009, 12:56 AM
that picture of dempsey with his sparring partners is sort of mind blowing. He looks like a shrimp compared to those guys but I'm sure he gave them hell.

sonnyboyx2
07-23-2009, 02:28 AM
that picture of dempsey with his sparring partners is sort of mind blowing. He looks like a shrimp compared to those guys but I'm sure he gave them hell.
yes great picture

billionaire
07-23-2009, 07:13 PM
If he did so, he actually bragged to a real champ. The video of Firpo's fight with Dempsey, that one we all had seen, has been tampered to and cut short to avoid the embarrasement of showing the Mauler being docked far into the ringside, for much more than 20 secs.

At 44 Jack Johnson was still (naturally) big, athletic and skilled, no surprise he could handle the strong Bull of the Pampas in his early times in US (ie. begining of 1923), by that time he was used upto almost nil of top level competition, and they were worlds appart sepparated by an ocean of experience.

Early on 1923 columnist Damon Runyon would already refer to him as "wild bull" just because he was nothing than this yet, but then on as since march 1923 Firpo would run over Bill Brennan (ko12), MCAullif II (ko3), Jack Herman (ko2), Jim Hibbard (ko2), Jess Willard (ko8), Joe Burke(ko2), Homer Smith (p10), Charley Weinert (tko2) and by the time he finally arrive to the shot for Dempsey's title (september 1923) he has collected minimun ring knowledge to cope a legend. And he made it successfully, except for the obvious ruling.

7 out his 8 wins in a row from march to september 1923 were kos. Dempsey got 2 fights the same year 1923 (1 wp15, and the Firpos wko2). and this also speaks volumes of how the world has revolved on it axis ever since.

damn i never knew the dempsey firpo tape was doctored...i saw it for the first time last week, dempsey got up so fast i thought what was the big deal...