1899-05-06 Klondike w co 5 (6) Jack Johnson, Howard Theatre, Chicago, Illinois, USA

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1899-05-06 Klondike w co 5 (6) Jack Johnson, Howard Theatre, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Referee: Malachy Hogan. In spite of having little more than a handful of fights under his belt, as a recent winner of a ‘battle royal’ in Springfield, Illinois Johnson was reckoned to be a good match for Klondike by none other than George Siler, the famed referee and boxing writer. Once Siler began eulogising about Johnson’s potential it was not long before they were matched for the ‘black’ title, regardless of the fact that George Byers already had a claim and it was just a six-round affair.

After the bout quickly exploded into life it was only the bell bringing the first round to an end that saved Klondike, who had been dropped heavily by a left big uppercut. Years later the referee admitted that he had given Klondike a long count that enabled him to eventually get up at ‘nine’. Although Klondike was still groggy at the start of the second, quickly getting his legs back he was soon matching Johnson blow for blow. Towards the end of the fifth Klondike dropped Johnson with a solid left to the midsection, and after the latter had rolled over into a more comfortable sitting position he was counted out. If those at ringside were surprised at Johnson’s actions they were even more taken aback when he got up the moment the count had been completed and headed for the dressing room, looking to be still full of fight. Conflicting reports stated that the fight took place on 8 May and that it was the end of the fourth round the fight ended, not the fifth.

Three risk fights for Klondike came in six rounders in Chicago against George Grant (w pts 6 at Fort Dearborn AC on 12 May), Scaldy Bill Quinn (w rsc 2 at the Illinois AC on 27 May) and Frank Childs (l pts 6 at Fort Dearborn AC on 11 August), but despite losing on points to the latter he continued with his claim.