Sunday, August 4, 2013
Jack Johnson vs Jim Flynn (An Update to What Happened in This Vegas, Shouldn't Necessarily Stay There!)
Loving my African-American History in New Mexico book! I have learned so much and I'm only half-way done.
Well, Las Vegas, Nevada is/was truly a copy cat of the true, original Las Vegas. In addition to being the adult playground for just about every western outlaw, Las Vegas, New Mexico held Marquee prize fights! Guess who fought there? Stumped? The inimitable, Jack Johnson. Jack Johnson was probably the greatest heavy weight boxer, ever, and he was African American. The fight took place on July 4, 1912, and his opponent was Jim Flynn. The fight was scheduled for 45 rounds! I don't know much about prize fighting, but that seems ridiculous compared with today's 15 round maximum.
Apparently, America couldn't handle a black man being the heavy weight champion, so they pitted several men known as a "White Hope" to unseat him. Remember the James Earl Jones movie? It was loosely based on Jack Johnson. What's important here is that Jack Johnson trained and lived in the area for a time, and he won the match in the 9th round. Mr. Johnson was written about extensively in the New Mexican press, and his share of the proceeds was $31,000, today's equivalent of approximately $750,000. Wow. Race relations in New Mexico seemed to have been at an even keel during this fight era, but the press wasn't always so kind. Great history for a town no one knows about! Here's the fight!