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  • #81
    Originally posted by HOUDINI563 View Post
    Their are many instances all through Johnson’s reign of proposed bouts with contenders such as Langford that eventually fell though. Today those who are bent upon pointing a finger that Johnson himself was afraid to fight these opponents use this information as proof. However in every instance once you dig deeper the proposal fell through due to promoters not being able to offer the purse required. Also their was always more money to be made pitting a white opponent against Johnson. For the lay public a black vs black match left no one to root for. Thus a low level of interest and the real potential for poor gate receipts.
    Do you know about or know where I can learn more about the one in Russia? I could be wrong, but I think it was meant to be a Joe Jeanette fight.

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    • #82
      Originally posted by Marchegiano View Post
      I don't know of any to be honest, but, you're probably the man to ask.

      Where there any champions with a legitimate racial agenda? Pretty much every colorline champion, including the pre-queensberry guys, all fall back on the not allowed bit. Or, at least the historians who write about them.

      Not John L.'s fault he didn't fight Godfrey

      Corbett's not to blame for Armstrong

      Fitzs or Jeffries, and Childs almost never even be mentioned together let alone anyone blamed for that fight not happening.

      So on, Dempsey and Will, Johnson and Langford, etc.

      I'm not looking to absolve or demonize anyone, there is no point beyond the curiosity. It just seems odd everytime the colorline is spoken to people point out it was cultural and the audience who is to blame really, but, not one single champion during that culture actually adhere'd to the culture?


      To be clear, I'm not asking who was racist. I know some of them were racists but I don't know of a single champion who has ever used their own racism as a reason to not fight or at least ever has been held responsible for their racism. It's always told as if the champ really didn't have much choice in the matter and I'm just curious how true that was vs how convenient it is to say and cast a blanket over the entire era.

      Thanks for any info bud.
      Originally posted by HOUDINI563 View Post
      Problem is...what was considered normal “speak” in those days sounds like off the wall racist today. As an example some of the statements by Jeffries. Conversely others have written he was not racist in the least.
      Keep in mind that during these times journalists played a large part in this process of what was normal, conventional etc... Journalists were given an important place in society and were often well read and influential.

      the best example of this is Jack London. London was brilliant and stuck up for the repressed. He wrote works of dystopia, etc pointing out explotation of the working man and the need for progressive socialism. Of course he is also known for his love of animals in his most popular works... But he was a journalist and despite all these leanings, he was firmly convinced in the manifest destiny of the White Race, was cruel to Johnson, calling him the laughing Ethopian, among other things, and he was instrumental in getting Jeffries to take Johnson on, when he should not have done so.

      To complicate matters Jeffries was exceptional for the time and really had no grudge against Johnson... Like Schmelling, who got roped into Nazi expectations, Jeffries was, by all accounts a decent guy who was not a bigot, even considering the times. But Johnson, and the Moby Dick type relationship he had with London, was such that this fight with Jeffries was made. it is hard for me to imagine that no one ever asked London how he could espouse such sympathy for men, and then use race to exclude... But cultural blindness is what it is. I see it happening on our society with young people now...I sort of understand lol.

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      • #83
        Originally posted by Willie Pep 229 View Post
        Interesting analogy. I see the connection.

        As I was reading about Mendoza I was thinking, yea that's sounds like Floyd today. Then I got to your last paragraph. LOL

        I think others have been tarnished that way as well. Tunney and early Clay come to mind first. Funny that it doesn't seem to have applied to Willie Pep though. Makes you wonder why some can transcend the game and others get called (unjustly) cowards.
        Again this point is more complicated that one imagines. As early as the late 1800's boxing trainers who knew the sport were writing about better defensive skills, punching with power, not using the lead hand effectively, etc. then, as now, fans and their blood lust had to be accomodated to an extent.

        Now the problem related to a fighter using lateral movement is interesting and there is light to shed upon it: In the classical boxing ways before Dempsey and the advent of the punches vis a vis Louis as the perfection of the punch... boxing used a vocabuary designed for fencing. Fencing, as a sport sacrificed most combat movements by making people fight off one line... The art of the blade is actually about a thousand lines! Many styles of fencing, like the Iberian/Spanish schools demanded that a person walk while they exchanged blows/cuts.

        The idea in natural movements was to be able to cut and parry while having a conversation about the weather... being natural and responsive made the person adaptable, pliable, and able to fight as easy as walking. Meanwhile in the Lichenstein lexus for fencing the lines of entry were painstakingly drawn up and taught like a circle, so a person would know how to cut, parry etc from any degree of a circle.

        It was the Italian fencers, with their preoccupation with length, that developed fencing procedures. In so doing, they destroyed the combat integrity of many of their systems...were often derided as losing their life to commoners brandishing a Bastard Sword, but, who managed to design a sport version of the blade where two opponents fought off one line.

        Naturally smart men like Mendoza and Mace, among others, learned to circumvent the relationship between fencing and boxing, that Figg built the sport upon. Even in older forms of boxing that are not related to our own tradition, like in China, there was little information on angles and laterial movements... The three mother systems of the fistic arts in China were: Hsing Yi, fighting in a line, linear force, Bagua, fighting in a circle, the force of circular strikes and footwork and Tai Chi, the use of transfering weight, taking the force of the opponent and using it and rooting the body from the legs, to be stronger and to shift the body with power.

        After studying the fighting arts for many years one learns that there will always be a great lacuna between how/what people believe makes something effective, and what actually has to happen. Boxing is no different.

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        • #84
          It was the reverse in actuality. The arts such as music and this would include the written arts such as journalism REFLECTED the era within a specific culture at that time. If you read some of the early newspaper articles concerning Johnson he was portrayed in horrific fashion. Many times more animal than human. The N word was used as were many other derogatory phrases. As the years went by these became less pronounced and this reflects how our society was progressing.

          Some writers were more progressive early on but a distinct minority. Then finally they became the majority. Again reflecting how our cultural was evolving.

          Looking back as compared to today all of it was tainted and foreign vs what are today’s norms. This is the reason one must study information from this period as FROM this period. Inserting today’s cultural norms into 110 year old history is a huge error that most here are guilty of.

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          • #85
            Originally posted by HOUDINI563 View Post
            It was the reverse in actuality. The arts such as music and this would include the written arts such as journalism REFLECTED the era within a specific culture at that time. If you read some of the early newspaper articles concerning Johnson he was portrayed in horrific fashion. Many times more animal than human. The N word was used as were many other derogatory phrases. As the years went by these became less pronounced and this reflects how our society was progressing.

            Some writers were more progressive early on but a distinct minority. Then finally they became the majority. Again reflecting how our cultural was evolving.

            Looking back as compared to today all of it was tainted and foreign vs what are today’s norms. This is the reason one must study information from this period as FROM this period. Inserting today’s cultural norms into 110 year old history is a huge error that most here are guilty of.
            Journalism was a lot more pointed to say the least. Yes Johnson was horribly portrayed, including in cartoons. Again, London referred to him as the laughing Ethiopian.

            What you say about journalism is self evident and applies to anything... To a medieval upperclass individual in Europe, there was no concept of small creatures fighting against other small creatures (bacteria, virus against white blood cells) rather there were bodies of humors...some danker, heavier, some lighter, all that could be attacked with a spell (a period of dis-ease) and subject to impurities... One literally "caught a cold" so to speak.

            But one thing that is for sure, is that journalists could render people in absolute dehumanizing fashion and not be called out on it. You also have to understand that many small splinter groups had progressive people who wrote... the big papers had not cornered the market so much... Jewish papers for example, had progressive writers writing about working people and unions. So not all journalists were into the same kettle of fish.

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