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Burns v Johnson
New York Times
26 December 1908
Negro's Punishment of Champion
Burns Causes Authorities
to End Bout.
DECIDED ON POINTS
of Saturday Morning's Battle In
Australia Received Last Night
in New York.
Heavyweight Championship Fight,
SYDNEY, Saturday noon, . Dec. 26.
Jack Johnson, the big negro from Galveston, Texas is the world's champion, heavyweight pugilist. He won the title to-day in the big arena at Ruschutters Bay from Tommy Burns, the French-Canadian, who had held it since James J. Jeffries relinquished it, and after a chase of Burns that had led half way round the world.
The end came in the fourteenth round when the police, seeing: Burns tottering and unable to defend himself from the savage blows of his opponent, mercifully stopped the fight. Previously it had been arranged that if the police interfered a decision should be rendered on points, and referee Mclntosh without hesitation declared the big black man the winner, for all through the fight he had shown himself Burns's master in every style of fighting.
Burns in an interview after he had gone To his dressing room said: “I did the best I could and fought hard. Johnson was too big and his reach was too great."
Johnson appeared fresh after the fight, while Burns's eyes were badly puffed and his mouth swollen to twice its normal size. The Canadian fought a game battle and showed Indomitable pluck, but he was no match for the big- black Texan. The fight was for a purse of $35,000 of which Burns received $30,000" and Johnson £5,000. The ring was a 24-foot one, and was pitched in the centre of a big arena built especially for the purpose at Rushcutters Bay. The bout was to have been for twenty rounds. The day dawned overcast and cool.
Thousands of persons from all parts of the country were attracted to the scene of the encounter, and many reached there Christmas night and slept in the open. They came by street cars, automobiles, carriages, and on horseback, and at 10 o'clock this morning, one hour before the fight was scheduled to start, every seat was occupied. The crowd was estimated at between 18,000 and 20,000 persons, and it kept perfect order throughout the fight.
Before the contestants entered the ring, " Bill " Squires, who thrice has been defeated by Burns, challenged the winner. Burns weighed in at 108 pounds and Johnson at 192. The betting was 7 to 4 on Burns at the start, but it veered after a .few rounds to 2 to 1 on Johnson. The spectators conceded that Johnson's victory was due to his physical advantages over burns, his superior knowledge of the fighting same, and his unruffled demeanor while being taunted by the champion. The stakes were paid the men while they were in the ring.
At 10:42 o'clock Johnson entered the arena accompanied by his seconds, Sam Fitzpatrick, Mullins, Unholz, Lang, and 'Bryant. Wild cheering greeted him and the big black man turned and bowed to all four sides of the ring.
Just as Johnson took his seat Burns appeared. He was smiling and the plaudits of the spectators were even more enthusiastic than those accorded Johnson. Burns took up his position in the western corner of the ring surrounded by his seconds, Keating, O'Keefe, O'Donnell, Burke, and Russell. When the cheering had died down somewhat Johnson crossed over and shook Burns by the hand. The Canadian glanced at the big hands of the Texan and noticed that both were covered with bandages. Fearful that perhaps they might not be of the soft kind, he scrutinized them closely, but finding them to his satisfaction he made no objection. The announcement was made that if during the contest the police should interfere and stop it the referee would immediately give a decision based on points scored.
When Burns stripped it was noticed that he wore elastic bandages about his elbows. Johnson shouted across the ring half angrily: " You must take those off." Then the men met in 'the centre of the and for a few minutes argued the question. Then they retired again to their corners, but Burns did not remove the bandages.
From Johnson's seconds came the announcement' that their man refused to fight unless Burns took off the wraps around his elbows, and it looked as though there was a possibility of the fight not taking place, for Burns was stubborn and Johnson insistent on his point. The referee, however, here took a hand in the controversy and said that the wearing of bandages was not against the rules. Johnson still demurred, nevertheless, and Burns, with a show of Impatience, had his seconds unwind the tape. His action brought forth from the spectators a tremendous round of applause.
At 11:15 o'clock Johnson and. Burns posed for a moving picture machine, and, having received final instructions from Referee Mclntosh, retired to their corners. Then the battle began.