By: M. Swift
The first Black World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, “The Galveston Giant” Jack Johnson had few reoccurring rivals once he moved into the heavyweight ranks. The bulk of his rivalries came as World Colored Champion. Let’s look at five facts about one of his long-running rivalries against New Jersey’s Joe Jeanette.
5 FACTS: JOE JEANETTE AND JACK JOHNSON
- Jeanette’s early career was based mainly in Philadelphia where he got off to a rocky start with five loses in his first six bouts. His match would end in a draw against Jack Johnson who had defended his World Colored Heavyweight Title earlier in the evening.
- Because of early professional boxing blocking of Black boxers from competing outside of the “colored division,” many would face the same fighters several times over a career. In the case of Jeanette and Johnson, the two would duke it out 8 times in competition. Those bouts happened in Jeanette’s first two years.
- For most of his career, Joe Jeanette chased the World Colored Championship. In each fight against Johnson, Jeanette proved to be a tougher and tougher customer to deal with. Following a no-contest bout in May 1905, their November 1905 bout for the title ended in a disqualification victory for Jeanette.
- Their rivalry ended in Jack Johnson’s favor: 3 wins, 1 losses, 2 draws, and 2 no contest decisions in competition. While he never defeated the Galveston Giant for the title, he would be crowned champion on February 19, 1909, in Paris, months after Johnson won the World Heavyweight Championship.
- Their final bout was a three-round exhibition match in 1945 which Johnson won.
M. Swift primarily writes on moments and important figures in Black history for Your Black World. He also writes heavily on wrestling, comics, gaming, and Black sci-fi and fantasy.