1908-12-26 Jack Johnson w rsc 14 (20) Tommy Burns, The Stadium, Sydney, Australia - WORLD

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1908-12-26 Jack Johnson w rsc 14 (20) Tommy Burns, The Stadium, Sydney, Australia - WORLD. Referee: Hugh McIntosh. The ‘black’ champion for close on six years, but unable to force a match with Burns, Johnson followed him first to England and then to Australia. The fight was eventually made after Burns accepted a $30,000 guarantee from promoter, Snowy Baker, a huge sum for those days.

Inside the first 20 seconds Burns (168) was down, having taken a heavy right uppercut to the jaw, and he was soon dropped again from a similar blow. Fighting courageously, Burns threw everything he had at a goading Johnson (192) to little effect. Down again from a left to the body in the seventh Burns did his utmost, but Johnson appeared to be toying with him, calling him names and ridiculing him. Round after round Johnson failed to put Burns out of his misery until the 14th when he battered the champion to the floor with a constant barrage of blows. Having got up at ‘eight’ Burns was there to be taken, but with the crowd at fever pitch the police asked the referee to stop the contest to save the Canadian from being badly hurt.

With Johnson now generally recognised as the world champion, Sam McVea outpointed Joe Jeannette over 20 rounds at The Circus, Paris, France on 20 February 1909 to win what was considered by the coloured population as being a fight for the vacant ‘black’ title.

This was followed by Johnson boxing an exhibition bout against Victor McLaglen over six rounds at the Athletic Club, Vancouver, Canada on 10 March 1909. In later years, although McLaglen, who went on to become a famous film star, was said to have fought for the world title in this one it was nothing more than studio publicity.

Contesting the ‘black’ title, McVea knocked out Cyclone Billy Warren inside two rounds at The Circus, Paris on 9 April 1909 before being forced to retire in the 49th round of a return finish fight at the same venue against Jeannette on 17 April 1909.

Next, Johnson took part in two six-round no-decision contests in Pennsylvania, against Philadelphia Jack O'Brien (nd-drew 6 at the National AC, Philadelphia on 19 May 1909) and Tony Ross (nd-w pts 6 at the National AC, Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh on 30 June 1909) before he was ready to commence proper business again.