1909-05-24 Sam Langford w co 4 (20) Iron Hague, NSC, Covent Garden, London, England - NSC

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1909-05-24 Sam Langford w co 4 (20) Iron Hague, NSC, Covent Garden, London, England. Referee: Eugene Corri. Originally Langford should have been meeting Jack Johnson at the NSC on this date, but when the latter failed to honour the agreement Hague was drafted in. The contract with Johnson had stated that he would meet Langford at the NSC on 22 February 1909, but when he took the fight with Burns both parties agreed that he should come back to the Club to meet Langford on 24 May regardless of the outcome of his fight with Burns. Thus, Hague, who had recently knocked out Gunner Moir in the first round to win the British title at the NSC on 9 April, would participate in the NSC’s version of the vacant world title in his very next fight.

Although Langford was at a disadvantage in weight and reach, his cleverness and hard hitting would ultimately prove too much for Hague, despite the Englishman dropping the Canadian with a wild right swing and partially closing his eye near the end of the third round. Shaken up, Langford was a different man in the fourth and a terrific right to Hague’s jaw saw the latter counted out.

Not recognised as a world champion outside of the NSC, Langford was by now also claiming the ‘black’ title, which he risked in a subsequent contest against Klondike Haines (nd-w pts 6 on 13 July at the Bijou Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). Having presented Langford with a belt emblematic of the world championship it is difficult to know if and when the NSC discontinued recognising him as being the world champion, but under their own ruling that a champion should defend the belt every six months it was possibly before the end of the year. Anyway, it is quite clear that just about everyone throughout the world of boxing at this time, even those who ran the NSC, grudgingly recognised Johnson regardless of the fact that they wanted him beaten.