1904-10-18 Jack Johnson w co 2 (20) Denver Ed Martin, Hazzard’s Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, USA

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1904-10-18 Jack Johnson w co 2 (20) Denver Ed Martin, Hazzard’s Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, USA. Billed for the ‘black’ title, although Martin started well enough with solid left jabs he was soon in trouble from heavy blows to the body and was dropped twice in the opening round. At this stage Johnson looked awesome and after Martin had been down twice more in the second from cracking body shots, he was knocked out by a right-hand smash to the jaw that lifted him fully two feet in the air. Many people left the building fearing for Martin’s life, such was the crash made when he hit the floor, and it took some ten minutes before he came round.

Afterwards Johnson stated that he would not rest until he got the opportunity to fight for the world title, claiming that James J. Jeffries was happy to fight black men before becoming champion and it was pure hypocrisy for him to have put up a ‘Colour Bar’. Although Johnson lost some credence when he was outpointed over 20 rounds at Woodward’s Pavilion, San Francisco, California on 28 March 1905 by Marvin Hart, the winner going on to contest what some perceived to be the world title, he was convinced that he had been duped out of the verdict.

Johnson next risked his ‘black’ title claim in a series of six-round fights at the Knickerbocker AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, against Black Bill (nd-w co 4 on 2 May 1905), Walter Johnson (nd-w co 3) and Joe Jeannette (nd-drew 3). The last two contests took place on 9 May 1905, with Johnson contracted to knock both men out.

I have been unable to locate a six-round no-decision contest between Johnson and Jeannette that, according to some record books, took place in Philadelphia on 19 May 1905.

On 13 July 1905 at the Broadway AC, Philadelphia, with the ‘black’ title up for grabs, Johnson met two men on the same day over three rounds apiece, beating Black Bill (nd-w pts 3) and Morris Harris (nd-w co 1). He again risked his ‘black’ title claim against Jeannette (nd-l disq 2 at the National AC, Philadelphia on 25 November 1905). Although the latter tried to claim the title he was given very little credence with the fight being over six rounds and the decision being a strange one.