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The Boxing Biographies Newsletter

Volume 5 - No 2   27th July ,  2009

Letherbridge Daily Herald 17 November 1917

 

Harry Wills, who is matched with Jack Dempsey to fight for the world's heavyweight championship sometime next year, is the most prominent boxer of his race today, although far below the class of many great negro fighters in past years. Wills has a poor record for a championship contender,' having made no great showing against the men he has fought,and having been extremely careful to pick easy marks and avoid all risks of defeat ever since he was first mentioned as a possible opponent for Dempsey. Also he has been much criticized for his use of hold and hit tactics in his fight's, contrary to all rules of fair boxing. He seems unable to go through a fight without using this trick.

But there have been some wonderful men among the negro fighters. Almost invariably they have been honest, clean fighters and good sportsmen. I can say here that among all the fighters I have known, in following the sport closely for thirty years, there are none for whom I retain more respect than little George Dixon, Joe Gans, Joe Jeannette, old Peter Jackson and Sam Langford.

These were as fine fighting men as ever were seen in the ring, square, courageous, skilful and sportsmanlike under all circumstances.

Trained With Jackson

One of my earliest recollections in the boxing line is of a time when Peter Jackson, freshly over from Australia, trained at a roadhouse near a little town called San Leandro, in California. Joe Choynski, a great  fighter although unfortunate in being pounds lighter than the average heavyweight, trained with Jackson. Peter was a courteous, quiet big fellow. He avoided all arguments and was always willing to fight any heavyweight under any terms in the ring, but unwilling to engage in any of the brawls that were common among fighters in those days. In short, Peter was a thorough gentleman.