Home News Current Champs WAIL! Encyclopedia
The Cyber Boxing Zone Message Board
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 38

Thread: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Just curious how others would rank this group. I'd make it like this:

    1-Jack Johnson
    2-Sam Langford
    3-Harry Wills
    4-George Godfrey (II)
    5-Joe Jeannette
    6-Sam McVey
    7-Peter Jackson
    8-Larry Gains
    9-Hank Griffin
    10-Kid Norfolk
    11-Denver Ed Martin
    12-Battling Jim Johnson
    13-George Godfrey (I)
    14-Jeff Clarke
    15-Bill Tate

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Amazing list but I might rate Peter Jackson as number 2 or three.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    Amazing list but I might rate Peter Jackson as number 2 or three.
    That's a fair comment. I could see an argument for The Black Prince being rated anywhere from nos. 2-7. I do think he needs to be below Johnson, though.

  4. #4
    mike
    Guest

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    johnson,in prime godfrey, then wills,langford.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    johnson,in prime godfrey, then wills,langford.
    Hey, Mike-- I was thinkin' that Langford was past his prime a mile, and half blind t'boot, when he cold-cocked Godfrey a couple of times early in Godfrey's career. You reckon Godfrey was too green for those losses to be counted against him?

  6. #6
    mike
    Guest

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    well-according to his record--theywere in and around his first pro bouts--where his teacer took him out-coud be the pupil laid down--main thing did godrey have endurance and toughness in his prime--not sure though

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    577
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr E
    Just curious how others would rank this group. I'd make it like this:

    1-Jack Johnson
    2-Sam Langford
    3-Harry Wills
    4-George Godfrey (II)
    5-Joe Jeannette
    6-Sam McVey
    7-Peter Jackson
    8-Larry Gains
    9-Hank Griffin
    10-Kid Norfolk
    11-Denver Ed Martin
    12-Battling Jim Johnson
    13-George Godfrey (I)
    14-Jeff Clarke
    15-Bill Tate



    great list!


    heres mine


    1-Jack Johnson
    2-Sam Langford
    3-Harry Wills
    4.-Peter Jackson
    5. Joe Jeanette
    6. George Godfrey (II)
    7.Sam McVey
    8. Larry Gains
    9. Denver Ed Martin
    10. Hank Griffin
    11. Kid Norfolk
    12. Bearcat Wright
    13. George Godfrey (I)
    14. Jeff Clarke
    15. Big Bill Tate or frank childs

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by Elmer Ray
    great list!


    heres mine


    1-Jack Johnson
    2-Sam Langford
    3-Harry Wills
    4.-Peter Jackson
    5. Joe Jeanette
    6. George Godfrey (II)
    7.Sam McVey
    8. Larry Gains
    9. Denver Ed Martin
    10. Hank Griffin
    11. Kid Norfolk
    12. Bearcat Wright
    13. George Godfrey (I)
    14. Jeff Clarke
    15. Big Bill Tate or frank childs
    Bearcat Wright would have been my #16 man -- he was a real tough dude, I think. After him, Frank Childs and John Lester Johnson.

  9. #9
    mike
    Guest

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    i dont know mr. e . godfrey was very well schooled--on film he was a big walcott in stance and moves. IF he was the real goods- that is -had the heart,chin and endurance of a top 15 round fighter--he may do better against many a larger men than langford. i think part of why he was overlooked between wills and louis--was that louis came fairly quickly after godfry--and very explosively.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    312
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Was Peter Jackson ever an American citizen? I thought he was Australian. Also, wasn't Sam Langford Canadian?

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    380
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Sam Langford was born in Weymouth Falls, Nova Scotia

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    i dont know mr. e . godfrey was very well schooled--on film he was a big walcott in stance and moves. IF he was the real goods- that is -had the heart,chin and endurance of a top 15 round fighter--he may do better against many a larger men than langford. i think part of why he was overlooked between wills and louis--was that louis came fairly quickly after godfry--and very explosively.
    You could be right, man. My problem with Godfrey is I suspect he didn't have the greatest set of whiskers. He got KO'd a few times and, while Langford was an all-time great, etc., he WAS just an over-the-hill light-heavyweight at the time when he put Godfrey's lights oout.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallicrow
    Was Peter Jackson ever an American citizen? I thought he was Australian. Also, wasn't Sam Langford Canadian?
    Good point. I should have written "black" instead of "African American."

  14. #14
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,890
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Political correctness is a bitch, ain't it? I could be a real nightmare if I wanted, since I have a little bit of just about every race percolating in my veins. PeteLeo.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    121
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    The top three must be Jackson, Johnson, and Langford; which positions they fall into is debatable.

    Jackson dominated his time and generally took his opponents to the cleaners. Johnson demonstrated his superiority over his black rivals before snatching up the title, and Langford kept on through the 1910's with an impressive consistency vs. his talented colleagues.

    If you're going to get down to the bone, Langford should be shaven off to leave Jackson and Johnson standing alone as the alpha males of their time.

  16. #16
    mike
    Guest

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    mr. e -you may be right. i dont know that much godrey. i know he was damn good--other than that--if his chin was suspect, i differ to your analysis. thanks

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    I'm with Tedspoon.

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    419
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Mr. E, I don't know, I don't know of any time Godfrey was ever hurt in a bout. He was never off his feet through over a hundred fights (after these Langford episodes and the Renault fiasco) and I have never read any clippings during that period that even states that he was even hurt in a bout.

    As far as the KO defeats by Langford there seems to be some fuzzy facts tied to that. Here is what Baron Dougherty is quoted about Godfrey's early career (Chester Times 8/15/47- after Godfrey died) :
    "George was born down in Mobile, Alabama but left there when he was young and eventually found his way to Chicago. There he learned to box under old Sam Langford. Langford, one of the greatest old fighters, took him through the south giving exhibitions.
    "Just about that time Jack Johnson, the former champion, was looking for a sparring partner for vaudeville exhibitions. He was thinking about making a comeback. He picked up George and they toured the country. While the were in Atlantic City, Johnson drove up to see me.
    "Jimmy, he said, I engaged this boy but he is too fast and clever for me to make a good showing. I've got to get rid of him and get a bigger, slower man. He's a great boxer. I think you can make him champion. I'll sell you his contract for $1,000.........."then Rickard offered Wills $50,000. to fight Godfrey in Madison Square Garden. Paddy Mullen, Wills' manager, refused because he felt that Kearns and I were too close and that we were trying to "kill" Wills as an opponent for Dempsey..............."After that I toured all over with George. He never had to exert himself. HE WAS NEVER KNOCKED DOWN. In most of his matches he had to carry the fellows for a couple of rounds. We couldn't get the topnotchers to fight...............GODFREY WAS NEVER KNOCKED DOWN [when Dougherty had him], he was never on the floor,"

    So apparently Godfrey was touring with Langford during the time of the reported knockouts by Langford. We will never know what really happened. Another point is that no boxer in history ever was as mythicised as Langford. Throughout the South, in the "colored" sectors tales were told and retold of "Old Sam's" fistic exploits and with every tale the exagerations grew more astounding and the legend grew to the point that when one of the listeners (who became boxers) later faced Sam he was terrified from all the stories that he had heared about Langford and dropped meekly to the floor as soon as he was nailed.

    My opinion is that Langford was the greatest fighter in history. Any man that could flatten good solid fighters while "fighting by ear" (while blind) convinces me of his greatness not to mention his exploits during the rest of his career.
    Chuck

  19. #19
    mike
    Guest

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    chuck--outside of langford and renult--godgrey was never knocked down???now that is amazing--this is true??

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Chuck, thanks for that-- very interesting. My comment regarding concern for Godfrey's chin stems SOLELY from the record book. Langford was an awesome awesome fighter but he was just a light-heavy and he was completely shot by the time he is SUPPOSED to have flattened a 225 pound Godfrey twice. Take any other big-hitting light-heavy you can imagine-- from Bob Satterfield to Bob Foster to anyone else you can think of and ask whether you think they would have even be able to make Muhammad Ali or George Foreman or Larry Holmes even blink. ???

    That said, I have often wondered whether those Langford-Godfrey KOs were legit (I question a LOT of KOs from that era!), but I thought someone posted an interview w/ Godfrey here not long ago in which he was asked about them and said something along the lines of, 'yeah, well, old Sam could hit.'

    But, Chuck, if you tell me you think those KO losses either didn't happen or were staged, I'm inclined to believe you. You are, without question, a far more knowledgeable historian than I!

  21. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    380
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    11/1/1943 – Long Beach Independent
    “Godfrey, like all oldtimers believes that the present day fighters are not as good as the boys a few years back. “Today they use bigger gloves and mouthpieces and other forms of protection that oldtimers scorned,” Godfrey said. “I think they were tougher in the old days. The present day fighter would not take the punishment that was dished out by the oldtimers.”

    Godfrey says the hardest hitter he ever met was Sam Langford, but the greatest fighter of all time, the one that would take any of the fighters of today, is Jack Johnson. “He was the greatest defensive counter-puncher there ever was,” Godfrey said reverently.

    Incidentally, Godfrey says he does not go to fights any more and he would not advise anyone to be a professional fighter. “If I had a son, I wouldn’t let him go near a boxing ring. There’s better ways of making a living,” the uncrowned champ vows.”

  22. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    419
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Mr. E., I'm not saying that those KO's by Langford over Godfrey were not legit or that they were staged, I am just giving some room for thought because of the relationship of the two around the time of the KO's. I am not positive that George was employed by Sam at the exact time of the KO's. And I still give much credence to the fear factor of many good, big heavyweights who just seemed to totally come apart when they faced even the ancient version of "Ol' Sam." Those tall tales of Langford that they heard all of their lives made them easy pickins'. Like I said before the exploits of no other boxer in history has ever been mythicised to the heights of those of Sam Langford, He is truly boxing's greatest legend.
    Chuck

  23. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    380
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    The Lima News - 8/31/1924
    As A Matter of Fact by Harry Bradbury
    "Jackson and Johnson
    There was a bunch of prominent fight managers sitting together and talking shop, one evening not so long ago, when the subject was broached of which boxer really was the best America ever produced. Of course there was Sullivan mentioned, he's still a hero in the minds of those who never saw him fight; Corbett, Jeffries, and all the rest of 'em, not forgetting our Jack (Dempsey). It was the consensus of opinion that Dempsey was the rightful heir to the throne, until Jack Johnson was mentioned. Now it be be conceded that if we go on records we'll be forced to hadn the gonfalon (?) to Jim Jeffries.

    It is true that he didn't fight many ring battles, but what he did fight were always with boxers who held high positions in the world of fistiana - Fitzsimmons, Corbett, Gus Ruhlin, Joe Godddard, Peter Jackson, Tom Sharkey, Joe Chonski, and he beat them all (ed. comment -Ignoring the fact that some of these were past their prime such as Jackson). There were no shady bouts in Jeffries career; he won decisively and easily, and that's why his record stands above any other American heavyweight. And along comes this big black. Jeffries was licked almost before he got in the ring. But whether or not the Californian boy had been flirting with the temptations of the red light district or not, the battle showed plainly what a wonderful fighter Johnson was.

    Marvin Hart beat him in 20 rounds at San Francisco in March 1905, and I was talking to Hart afterwards. He had no hesitancy in stating plainly that he wanted no more of the black fellows game and Hart was not backward in saying that he could beat anyone in the world. It is nonsense to claim that Big Jess Willard could beat him, everything equal. "Lil Artha" outmatched Willard in the days of his fighting prime as Dempsey did Gunboat Smith. And these knowing managers talked these things over, and finally when the statment was put, who would win today if Johnson was at the height of his fighting career, the colored giant or Our Jack. The vote stood greatly in the majority for Johnson. He was the greatest fighter American ever produced. And Peter Jackson was another wonder with the mitts, beat nearly everybody, but hardly in the Johnson class. But figure on these black boxers and you'll agree that they occupy a prominent place in the history of fisticuffs so far as this country is concerned."

  24. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Very interesting stuff about Godfrey. Seems like George did what he had to do to get by. How do we verify (or come close) on any of these theories?

    We do know that Sam flattened heavyweights. Tough ones too like Flynn and Wills. He bounced Jeannette and McVea like rubber balls. His power is not in question. Great analogy with guys like Foster. Proves the point, there is no comparison. There was only one Sam Langford. Period.

    He sparred a ton with Dempsey and said the smaller Langford hit harder. Pretty amazing. He would be in a position to know.

  25. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    98
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    operative word is sparred with dempsey-fought johnson and langford. other times he said dempsey the best fighter he worked with, langford hit him hardest-breaking a molar, but dempsey with the big gloves hit him second hardest; while johnson the best boxer he worked with . bearcat wright said demsey was the hardest hitter he ever faced-including baer and langford.

  26. #26
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Can't argue with that. Who knows what motivated any of them at any time to say anything.

  27. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    98
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    most of the time you dont-fighters as anyonelse get tired of the same old questions and answers-often just give different ones for the hell of it. godfrey had tremendous respect for dempsey and johnson, as well as langford. wright said beyond doubt dempsey the best fighter and hardest hitter he ever faced--BUT he thought langford may have handled baer-thats how much he thought of langford. of course- sam was an almost mystical boxing figure. dempsey liked godfrey alot peronally, but thought george was "yellow"--probably refferring in comparison to himself --as he was asked how godfrey would do against him in 1925, and godfrey coulndnt "sock"--maybe not quite up to his[dempsey] standard.

  28. #28
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    373
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    Can't argue with that. Who knows what motivated any of them at any time to say anything.
    Yeah, the fact that old-man Langford (evidently) flattened him twice could also have motivated Godfrey to say his conqueror, i.e., Langford, "must" have been the hardest hitter ever.

  29. #29
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    380
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    The following comes from an article in an old Arena magazine that I just received from J.J. Johnston and thought I would pass along. It's an article about Jess McMahon, Tex Rickard's matchmaker, and his reply when asked who he considered the greatest fighter:

    "Who do I think is the greatest fighter that ever lived? Well, I may surprise you but I think that ole Sam Langford could have licked any man who ever stepped into the ring. He was the most perfect fighter that I have ever seen. Sam had everthing: speed, skill, a terrific punch with both hands, generalship, and the ability to take punishment. I firmly believe that if Langford had been white he would have been champion."

  30. #30
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,272
    vCash
    500

    Re: Greatest African American Heavyweights: 1890-1930

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr E
    Chuck, thanks for that-- very interesting. My comment regarding concern for Godfrey's chin stems SOLELY from the record book. Langford was an awesome awesome fighter but he was just a light-heavy and he was completely shot by the time he is SUPPOSED to have flattened a 225 pound Godfrey twice. Take any other big-hitting light-heavy you can imagine-- from Bob Satterfield to Bob Foster to anyone else you can think of and ask whether you think they would have even be able to make Muhammad Ali or George Foreman or Larry Holmes even blink. ???

    That said, I have often wondered whether those Langford-Godfrey KOs were legit (I question a LOT of KOs from that era!), but I thought someone posted an interview w/ Godfrey here not long ago in which he was asked about them and said something along the lines of, 'yeah, well, old Sam could hit.'

    But, Chuck, if you tell me you think those KO losses either didn't happen or were staged, I'm inclined to believe you. You are, without question, a far more knowledgeable historian than I!
    Actually by that time Langford was weighing over 200 lbs. Not as trim as the old days, but still a very short compact Heavyweight prize-fighter.

    Also, Bob Satterfield routinely flattened HWs. Could he have hurt Ali? Certainly. Just like a 185 Cooper or 205 Frazier did.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
News Current Champs WAIL! Encyclopedia Links Home