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1912 Jack Johnson and Jim Flynn Signed Fight Contract-The Only Known Johnson Fight Contract

1912 Jack Johnson and Jim Flynn Signed Fight Contract-The Only Known Johnson Fight Contract

Jack Johnson was clearly one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. Perhaps he was the greatest. It did not come to him easy. Born in poverty in Galveston, TX, Johnson entered boxing at a time when African Americans were generally excluded unless they fought each other. Notable heavyweights like Sam Langford and Joe Jeannette could not get title shots and when Johnson began making noise in the division few thought he would either. But Johnson possessed not only tremendous ring ability, he also had the perseverance outside the ring necessary to get that title shot. He literally chased champion Tommy Burns around the globe daring him to fight. Burns finally agreed and the two met in Sydney, Australia on Christmas Eve, 1908. Johnson enjoyed his Christmas completely outclassing Burns to win the title. He was the first African American to achieve this lofty goal. By winning he invoked the wrath of the white public who were determined to get that title back. They certainly tried. White hopefuls Al Kaufman and Stanley Ketchel, the World Middleweight Champion, were dispatched to win back the title for the white race, but both were easily beaten by Johnson. This brought the cry to bring back Jim Jeffries, the former champion who had retired undefeated in 1905, to beat Johnson. In a much ballyhooed affair the two met in Reno on July 4, 1910. Johnson was dominant and stopped the aging Jeffries in 15 rounds. Johnson seemed invincible. Two years passed until a suitable opponent was found. The opponent chosen was “Fireman” Jim Flynn. Flynn was familiar to Johnson. The two had fought in 1907 with Johnson stopping the Fireman in 11 rounds. Since that fight Flynn had posted victories over Kaufman, Billy Papke, Bill Squires and Carl Morris. The site chosen was Las Vegas, New Mexico. Jack Curley was the promoter. The fight was held on July 4th, 1912. It was an easy fight for Johnson. Flynn lacked the size or skill necessary to compete successfully. Lacking that he tried to intimidate Johnson by intentionally head butting and hurling racial epithets, but neither worked. The fight was stopped in the 9th round with Johnson declared the winner and still champion. Jack Johnson would not fight in the United States again thanks to his arrest on Mann Act violations. In 1915 he would lose his title to Jess Willard in Havana, Cuba in a fight he insisted he had thrown to settle his criminal matters. The parties entered into the agreement offered here on January 6, 1912. Johnson received $30,000.00 for the fight plus one third of the moving picture rights and $1100.00 for training. The fighters were contracted to wear five ounce gloves with soft bandages. This incredible one page contract has the bold ink signatures of promoter Jack Curley, heavyweight Jim Flynn and World Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson. The signatures were witnessed by six people who have added their signatures to the document. Printed on thin stock this document is perfectly intact. There is water staining at the top far outside the signatures, and some minor edge wear. This is an extremely rare and important document in reference to Jack Johnson. To our knowledge this is the only fight contract of Jack Johnson ever offered at public auction. LOA from Craig Hamilton of JO Sports, Inc.

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