History | Oct 28 2017

The most anticipated heavyweight fights in history

Nothing grips the sporting world more than a huge heavyweight fight. Bob Mee looks back over some of the most-anticipated title clashes in history
heavyweight fight
US PRESSWIRE Sports Archive  |  MPS/USA Today Sports

SINCE the day over a hundred years ago, when Tex Rickard guaranteed Jack Johnson and James J Jeffries $101,000 each and two-thirds of the movie rights, plus $10,000 each as a signing-on fee, there has been nothing in boxing to rival the anticipation of a heavyweight championship fight.

That day in Meyer’s Hotel in Hoboken, New Jersey, when Rickard outbid ‘Tuxedo’ Eddie Graney and ‘Sunny’ Jim Coffroth from San Francisco, ‘Uncle’ Tom McCarey of Los Angeles and the Australian, Hugh McIntosh, took heavyweight boxing into the modern era.

Johnson, the son of an illiterate slave, had won the title against the Canadian, Tommy Burns, on Boxing Day 1908. Almost from the moment Burns was rescued in the 14th round, ‘white America’ had clamoured for the old, undefeated champion, Jeffries, to come out of retirement in California and put matters straight.


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