1912-07-04 Jack Johnson w rsc 9 (45) Fireman Jim Flynn, The Arena, Las Vegas, New Mexico, USA - WORLD

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1912-07-04 Jack Johnson w rsc 9 (45) Fireman Jim Flynn, The Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WORLD. Referee: Ed Smith. Having been inactive for two years, Johnson took on Flynn and virtually toyed with him throughout as the latter continually rushed in. There was no other way for Flynn (175) to get near Johnson (195½) and he was soon bleeding badly before resorting to foul tactics and being warned for use of the head five times in the sixth round. In the eighth Flynn was given a final warning, but it seemed to make no difference and when he was smashed to the floor by a right uppercut to the chin the policeman in charge ordered the referee to stop the fight on the grounds that there had been too much fouling. When the referee brought the fight to a close, he gave the decision as a stoppage win for Johnson rather than deciding it on a disqualification.

With the authorities desperately looking for ways and means to take Johnson out of circulation, having earlier tried to get him indicted on charges of smuggling, he was arrested under the Mann Act on 12 October and charged with ‘Transporting a White Woman for Immoral Purposes’. This one stuck, despite Johnson marrying the woman involved, and he was convicted and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment on 4 June 1913. However, released on bail and given two weeks to appeal, Johnson skipped the country and fled to Europe, via Canada. The American public were outraged and, while the Government were intent on bringing Johnson back, he was recognised as champion only in Europe.

Meanwhile, in Australia, Sam Langford, who was being groomed to take on Johnson, was seen as the ‘black’ champion and successfully defended his claim in three further matches against Sam McVea, winning on points over 20 rounds at The Stadium, Sydney on 3 August, by an 11th-round stoppage at the Exhibition Stadium, Perth on 9 October and a 13th-round kayo at The Stadium, Sydney on 26 December. By the end of 1912 with the first ‘white’ champion due to be crowned, there was no way a black man was going to be allowed to contest the championship in America at that moment in time, but, nevertheless, Langford should be considered as having a claim equal to all his rivals if not better.

From here until 5 April 1915, the date that Jess Willard unified the title, I have listed ‘black’ and ‘white’ championship contests, along with Johnson’s, separately.