Boxing History Jack Johnson Beats Jim Jeffries in Their Own Words Part 2

About the history of the boxing match between Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries in a first-hand account.


Jack Johnson Cuts Down Jim Jeffries (1910)

Jeffries gamely hung on and, in the 11th, sent a flurry of blows to Johnson's body, bringing the crowd to its feet. But Johnson just kept on smiling. It ended in the 15th, with the black man sending Jeffries to the canvas time and again. Corbett was now pleading with Johnson to stop. "Don't let the Negro knock him out!" screamed the crowd. Jeffries got up again, and Johnson put him back down. A towel was thrown into the ring from Jeffries's corner, but Rickard didn't see it. When one of Jeffries's seconds illegally stepped into the ring, Rickard stopped the count at seven and raised Johnson's arm in victory. Jeffries had at least been spared the crowning shame of being counted out.

As I Saw It

Johnson's first words after the fight were "I could have fought for two hours longer. It was easy. Where is my lucky bathrobe? Somebody wire to my mother. I wish it was longer. I was having lots of fun. Not one blow hurt me. He can't hit."

Later he would be more gracious. "One thing I must give Jeffries credit for is the game battle he made. He came back at me with the heart of a true fighter. No man can say he did not do his best. I believe we both fought fairly. There was nothing said between us which was rough. He joked me and I joked him. I told him I knew he was a bear, but I was a gorilla and would defeat him."

Jeffries, while still in the ring, his bruised face being attended to by his physician, bowed his head in his hands and groaned, "I was too old to come back."

After returning to his training camp, Jeffries said, "I guess it's all my own fault. I was getting along nicely and living peacefully on my alfalfa farm, but when they started calling for me and mentioning me as 'the white man's hope,' I guess my pride got the better of my good judgment. . . .Six years ago the result would have been different, but now--well, I guess the public will let me alone after this."

Yet, despite the sports-page theorizing about what he might have done to Johnson when he was still in his prime, Jeffries would later admit, "I could never have whipped Jack Johnson at my best. I couldn't have hit him. No, I couldn't have reached him in a thousand years."

Still later, when Jeffries was informed that the $192,066 he made on the fight was far more than he'd ever earned previously, he would say that the beating he took was not worth it.

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