Jack Johnson vs. James Jeffries – The Prize Fight of the Century
Jack Johnson vs. James Jeffries – The Prize Fight of the Century – Reno, Nevada, July 4, 1910
by Robert Greenwood.
The title fight between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries in Reno, Nevada on July 4, 1910 for the heavyweight championship of the world was truly "the fight of the century." It was so named by the sports writers of the time, who also described Jeffries as the "white hope." This book focuses upon the fight itself, events leading up to it, and events afterward, making it more than a conventional biography.
All the players in this historic drama are colorful and intriguing characters. The story itself is fascinating, and the Reno of 1910, caught up in the excitement of the event, with the eyes and ears of the world focused on it, comes alive again in words and pictures. There are over 80 pictures in this book, many never before published--pictures of Jack Johnson, James Jeffries, the training camps, sparring exhibitions, crowds at the arena, celebrities, memorabilia of the event, and of the fight, almost round by round. As a pictorial record of the most famous of all heavyweight title fights, this book has no equal. The author consulted many sources in preparation of this book, which includes footnotes, a bibliography, and index.
An exquisite publication, 166 pages, with 64 pages of historic photographs, 6” x 9,” hardcover, printed on archival stock.
In the language of boxing promotion, hyperbole has become commonplace, so much so that nearly every title fight is hailed as “The Fight of the Century.” Seen in the light of history, however, it is the first title fight promoted under that banner that most deserves the honor. The contest between Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries held in Reno, July 4, 1910 was, for several reasons, truly “The Fight of the Century.” That fight attracted more public attention around the world than any since. For weeks prior to the event newspapers in every city in the land carried stories on almost every conceivable aspect of the fight. Magazines and newspapers sent their top correspondents to Reno to cover the contest, among them Jack London, John L. Sullivan, Bat Masterson, Rube Goldberg, Rex Beach and a host of others. Coverage was not limited to the United States. In England, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Canada, South America, thousands of words were printed every day in the foreign press. On the day of the fight people across the nation watched facsimile re-enactments of the fight in auditoriums or on large electric billboards, or read bulletins posted outside newspaper offices. In exclusive clubs in New York City the rich and famous followed the fight by watching specially installed ticker-tapes. At matinee performances in theaters the latest bulletins were read to audiences between acts and during intermission. The focus of this book is upon the championship title fight in Reno, Nevada, July 4, 1910, the events leading up to it, and the events afterward. It was not my intention to write a biography of either Johnson or Jeffries, or to explicate the social milieu of America during those years. Events are presented as they occurred, in chronological order, and in an objective manner.