JOHNSON vs BURNS
26/12/1908
from Johnson's autobiography "Jack Johnson is a Dandy"

By the day of the fight my friends and supporters had increased and Burns was less a ruling favourite. The fight was attended by 30,000 people, who came from every country in the world. It is said that the representation of the press was the largest that ever watched a fight up to that time, countless newspapers and sporting publications having sent their writers to the fray. We fought for a purse of $35,000, and of this amount I got only $5,000, those being the unequal financial terms which I had accepted in order to bring the fight about. I was scheduled to go twenty rounds but the fight was stopped by the police in the fourteenth round, so obviously was it in my favor. I was declared the world's champion heavyweight boxer. The fight was one of the easiest of the more important fights of my career. At no time did Burns have a show with me. The champion had fallen. A new champion had arrived and that new champion was Jack Johnson. I had attained my life's ambition… and, for the first and only time in history, a black man held one of the greatest honors which exists in the field of sports and athletics - an honor for which white men had contested many times and which they held as a dear and most desirable one.

Naturally I felt a high sense of exaltation. I was supremely glad I had attained the championship, but I kept this feeling to myself. I did not gloat over the fact that a white man had fallen. My satisfaction was only in the fact that one man had conquered another, and that I had been the conqueror. To me it was not a racial triumph, but there were those who were to take this view of the situation, and almost immediately a great hue and cry went up because a colored man was holding the championship. The hunt for a "white hope" began, not only with great earnestness and intenseness, but with ill-concealed bitterness. I regretted this phase of, the hunt.

Many times there was manifested by those from whom we should expect better things an unsportsmanlike attitude that I regretted then and always shall. That they should wish to find a contender for the crown was natural and I lost no time in announcing my readiness to meet any who might wish to strive for the honors I had attained. There were many possibilities in the field.

Burns, my late defeated antagonist, soon after our meeting, set forth to comb Europe and other sections of the world for someone whom he might send against me in an effort to win back what he had lost. Everywhere the search went on. I watched it with deep interest but not with any alarm. I was sure of myself and would have taken the utmost satisfaction at any time in giving aspirants an opportunity. In the meantime I returned to the United States.



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