Talk the Talk
Walk the Walk
~ Jack Dempsey ~
Sam Langford – The World Champion That Never Was
The Beginning of a Great Career
Sam Langford Vs. Jack Johnson
It is true that Johnson dodged a rematch, when promoter Hugh “Huge Deal”’ McIntosh tried to set the fight up, Johnson told him; “I don’t want to fight that little smoke……he’s got a chance to win against anyone in the world. I’m the first black champion and I’m going to be the last.”
That, as a matter of fact, was the plain and unvarnished truth. Johnson did dodge a meeting with the Boston Tar Baby after their terrific clash at Chelsea, Massachusetts……Johnson just scraped home on points after fifteen rounds, but I think he learned enough to realise that if he ever got into the same ring with Langford again, those gigantic arms and shoulders would make short work of sweeping him off his throne.
You’ve got me….Langford never dropped Johnson. But I was anxious to fix up another fight between the two and, knowing Jack’s pride, I invented the story of that knockdown to goad him into the ring against Sam again….Although it never happened, all the newspapermen believed it. They just never took the trouble to investigate. That knockdown was just a publicity gimmick.
Sam got badly busted up around the eyes in that bout, and I was afraid he’d go blind if he kept fighting. I told Sam he’d better quit, but he was stubborn. He insisted he’d keep going. I said it was dangerous for him, that he’d probably lose his eyesight and I didn’t want to be held responsible. I argued and pleaded but it did no good. So we parted. I was right. Sam did keep fighting and eventually became blind. It was too bad. He was a great fighter and one of the finest chaps, personally, I’ve ever had anything to do with.
I went down to Mexico….with this here left eye completely gone and the right eye just seeing shadows. It was a cataract. They matched me up with Kid Savage for the title. I was bluffing through that I could see but I gave myself away. They bet awful heavy on the kid when the word got round. I just felt my way around and then, wham, I got home. He forgot to duck and I was the heavyweight champion of Mexico.
Life after Boxing
Don’t nobody need to feel sorry for old Sam. I had plenty of good times. I been all over the world. I fought maybe 600 fights, and every one was a pleasure!
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