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Thread: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

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    Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    I am interested if there are any interviews on record from Jess Willard discussing Johnson and Dempsey .... he had the unique experience of fighting both and wonder about his thoughts on the two ... anyone know anything?

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    there is something out there...favorable to JJ i recall. I'll try and unearth it. BTW Jim Flynn clashed with both too.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    How about Gunboat Smith? PeteLeo.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    Gunboat no but Homer yes. G.Smith sparred JJ a fair bit though so his opinion would be interesting.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    Gunboat mentioned both in "In This Corner" but no real comparison was made , most likely edited out ... Gunboat knew Johnson and did spar with him ...

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    Willard on interview on the radio greatest heavyweight tourney made mention of both, laughing at the idea that Dempsey was great and basically saying that his bout with Johnson was a survival of the fittest and he was the surviver.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    willard said immediatleuy after the fight that dempsey was the hardest hitter he ever faced. by 1922, willard deluded himself to believing the gloves were loaded . willard figured johnson would beat dempsey and louis. he figured he, wiillard, was the best heavyweight ever. jeffries next. frank moran said willard was a big baby about the dempsey fight with him losing- and dempsey shoudve loaded his gloves because of willards whinhg
    Last edited by langford; 11-12-2007 at 04:00 PM.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    a few quotes from the Pottawatomie Giant:

    Willard on the Johnson fight being rigged:

    "If he was going to throw the fight, I wish he'd done it sooner. It was hotter than hell out there."

    after the dempsey fight, given at ringside to a representative of
    the Associated Press follow:

    "In the first round when Dempsey hit me with a left hook, I tried hard
    to continue, but I was rapidly losing my strength. My eye closed at
    that end of the third round and I realized that it would be useless for me
    to continue, as I could hardly see. It was hard to admit defeat, but Dempsey
    is the hardest puncher I ever faced."

    later after the dempsey fight:

    Although the fight was over before 4:30 o'clock, Willard did not motor to his home until an hour and a half later. He said he did not re-cover from the effects of the left hook that Dempsey landed early in the first round until perhaps an hour after he left the ring.

    "That was the blow that started me on defeat," Willard said. "I felt physically able to continue but my head wasn't clear and my eye was closed and I realized it would have been useless for me to attempt to
    box while half blinded."

    more...

    "Dempsey is a remarkable hitter. It was the first time that I had ever been knocked off my feet. I have sent many 'birds' home in the same bruised condition that I am in and now I know how they felt. I sincerely wish Dempsey all of the luck possible and hop that he garners of the riches that go with the championship. I have had my fling at the title. I was champion for four years. And I want to assure you that they'll never have to give a
    benefit for me. I have invested the money I have made."

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    I listened to more of the willard interviews and commenting on Jack JOhnson v Max Baer in the computer tourney Willard says that Johnson had a great left, and great right uppercut, that he was strong and basically had everything. He said Baer was more clown than fighter and JOhnson could have koed him anytime he felt like it.
    on Dempsey he said jokingly and I quote "Aw anybody can lick Jack Dempsey....."
    Amazing that Willard had no slur in his speech nor did Sharkey, Marciano, Schmeling, Braddock, Walcott and many others in the interviews. Strong guys obviously.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    Rocky, what is this recording you keep refering to ? Who else is on it? I'd like to know more about it ...

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    On the copy of the "Super Fight" reguarding the Marciano v Ali thing years ago that was reissued by Mike Delisa and Bucket and the guys we all know, there is a added feature and that is the complete "Imaginary Heavyweight Computer Championship Tournament" and believe me that alone is worth the price of the dvd. The interviews with the now deseased champs are classic for the fans.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    Wasnt Jess Willard later a Real Estate agent in Los Angeles?
    Youd figure that he be asked about that all the time by perspective buyers,maybe no one thought to write down what he said and record it at the time.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    Yeah, I listened to some of their voices on the Marciano/Ali Superfight DVD.
    Jack Sharkey,James J. Braddock,They all sound like old school tough guys like that dude in RESIVOIR DOGS.
    Nowdays so called "tough guys" sound like p*ssy's.
    Last edited by brutu; 11-20-2007 at 06:25 PM.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    I did a quick search over at newspaperarchive.com.
    And found a couple of interesting things.
    One is an article from 1962 reporting that Jess Willard(age 80) was suing
    Jim Jacobs and William Cayton for One Million dollars for breach of contract and fraud for
    selling the recently found Jess Willard vrs Jack Johnson fight footage to television and showing it.
    Reportly it was Jess Willard who found the "secret collector"in Australia who had a print in November 1959,Willard then informed Jacobs and Cayton about the collector who had a copy of the "lost bout" under the condition that the footage would not be commercialized.
    It also said that previously the only known print of that fight was said to have been seized at the New York border by U.S Customs and destroyed when they tried to bring a print over from Cuba back then.
    Willard still became angry in his old age when it was said that Johnson threw the fight.
    He was also still strongly suspected that Dempsey had plaster of paris in his gloves in Toledo.
    He also wondered how he(Willard) managed to take all
    those punches from Dempsey like he did after viewing the fight again in 1963 in a darked theatre.
    Last edited by brutu; 11-17-2007 at 07:26 PM.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    For a more detailed remberence from Willard concerning his fight with Dempsey,check out the article by Jim Murray/Jess Willard Still Bitter/ in the Oakland Tribune 1962-01-22(page 30)at newspaperarchive.com.Maybe someone could post it here.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    In September 1959 Jess Willard was unsuccesfully trying to locate any prints of the fight( he had never seen the fight footage) ,
    The library of Congress had only two sample clips of each round that were in
    "last stages of deterioration"
    Reportly Jim Jacobs traded the collector in Sydney Australia his own prints of Tommy Burns "Down under" plus $5,000 dollars for the Willard vrs Johnson fight footage.
    Interestly enough during the intitial search for the lost Willard vrs Johnson bout they contacted the Army which saved fight footage and showed them to the troops.
    Last edited by brutu; 11-17-2007 at 07:27 PM.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    To move foreward on Willards comments I went over them again and he has amazing respect for the abilities of Jim Jeffries as do most of the era. He laughs off the Johnson bout as anything resembling the real Jeff. Obviously Jeff was a monster of a man and a fighter.

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    Re: Willard on Johnson and Dempsey ...

    Yeah on the Murray Woolner radio broadcats which last 15 weeks9one radio show a week),they interviewed a lot of the heavyweight champs to get an opinion about who would win what,including interviews with Jess Willard,Jack Sharkey,Joe Louis ,Jersey Joe Walcott,Rocky Marciano.
    Willard praised abilites of Jack Johnson,and commented on JOhn L. Sullivan(whom he had met)Jim Jeffries,Joe Louis curiously he didnt appear to give any opinion on Jack Dempsey.

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