ABPress

From suburbia and skyscraper scrawl to the open prairies and 'local color', slum life to rural idyll: reprinting American and British literary classics.

The Game & Other Writing on Boxing
Jack London

£6.00

Jack London was a great boxing fan, and loved to box himself. He wrote two novellas and several short stories about the sport. The first novella was The Game, published in 1905. In response to criticism that he wrote inaccurately about the boxing world, he could write: “I have had these experiences and it was out of these experiences, plus a fairly intimate knowledge of prize-fighting in general, that I wrote The Game.” Included in this volume is The Abysmal Brute, a novella from 1911, two short stories and selections of his journalism, including his reporting over ten days of the first ‘Fight of the Century,’ Jack Johnson against James L. Jeffries.

AMERICAN RETRO SERIES : AR06
C format paperback (216mm x 135mm)
gatefold cover, 256pp
cover design by Alexandra Andries

Biography

                            Jack London in 1909

JACK LONDON (1876 – 1916) was an American novelist, short story writer, journalist and social activist. He came from a poor background, and as a writer he was mostly self-taught. Throughout his life he advocated socialism, unionization, and workers’ rights. He was published first in 1898, and became one of the first writers to gain worldwide celebrity. It was recognised that he was the best-paid writer of his time. Jack Londonʹs most remembered books are Call of the Wild, Sea Wolf and White Fang, romantic tales of struggle and heroism. But his writing encompassed a variety of genre. The Iron Heel (1908) is one of the earliest dystopian novels, and he wrote also some of the earliest examples of science fiction. He wrote usually of his own experiences. He wrote of his time as a vagrant in the East End of London in The People of the Abyss (1903), and of his various occupations, both at sea and on land, including time spent in the Klondyke during the Gold Rush. In his later life he suffered from dysentery and alcoholism, and died in 1916 from uremia and an overdose of morphine, though speculation that he committed suicide is sentertained still by some.

London & boxing

Boxing was the up and coming sport of late nineteenth century America. The sport’s dynamic since the 1850s had shifted from England to America: both the last bare-knuckle world title fight in 1889 and the first fight under the Marques of Queensberry Rules in 1892 had taken place on American soil. As in Britain, it had become a sport to indulge all classes of society, helped by its acceptance of a rule book and a governing body. It had allied itself with the fashionable masculine personal development and good health (it was referred to often as either the noble art or the sweet science), or Teddy Roosevelt’s token vision of the “strenuous life,” the recovery of masculinity from a mechanical and toxic fume-filled urban lifestyle that had pitched the morality of the Boy Scouts or the faux, bijou wilderness of the National Parks as compensation for the closure of the frontier. The progress from bare-knuckle to Queensberry Rules made boxing consistent with the emerging sports culture of early twentieth century America; it was now a sporting spectacle as well as an opportunity to bet. This, unfortunately, was also its Achilles’ heel. After the Johnson Jeffries bout, Roosevelt withdrew his support for the sport and lambasted it as too violent and with still too large an immoral hinterland. Commercially though and rather conveniently, the sport had come to prominence when cine film and an excited cinema audience clamouring to watch it came of age. If still outlawed in many states, the sport had tried hard to refine its respectability, particularly in California where London was settled mostly.

Jack London’s delinquency at school had developed into bar room brawls later in life. He was consistently pugnacious, as were many others from his background. Recreational rumpus was a method of relaxation, particularly at times of stress. When a daughter died several days after she was born in 1910, London sought refuge in a bar brawl with an Irish saloon manager; both spent the night in jail, accusing each other of assault, though neither were charged. This fracas was one night before London was to travel to Reno to cover the Johnson and Jim Jeffries fight; one local newspaper wag commented wryly that London had wanted to be Jack Johnson’s challenger “if Jeffries takes the count.” But its formal counterpoint – sparring in the gym – had started when London was twenty years old. He had learnt to box when a member of the Socialist Labor Party, in Oakland in 1896; a fellow member, Herman ‘Jim’ Whitaker, had taught him, and he frequented the gym for most of his life thereafter. He befriended boxers, the great champion Bob Fitzsimmons and Jimmy Britt in particular. Although only 5 foot 7 inches tall, he was proud of his physique when younger and expressed general interest in physical fitness; his later ill health and torpor distressed him. He equated boxing with ruddy health and fitness. When returning from Australia on his boat, recuperating from pellagra, sparring on deck was his means of “getting into condition.” He told a reported in an interview of 1911, that of “all the games, it is the only one I really like.”

Journalism

Jack London himself had covered the sport as a journalist before he had written any fiction on the topic. As early as November 1901 he was covering James L. Jeffries’ world title fight against Gus Ruhlin for the San Francisco Examiner [included in this book], and his colourful reportage continued for more than the next decade and included many of the top fights of this era. His travel itinerary had in 1908 had been disturbed by illness, and he was accidentally well placed to witness Jack Johnson defeat Tommy Burns in Rushcutters Park, Sydney, suitably on Boxing Day. Ever since John L. Sullivan had declared his own “color line” in 1892 – “I will not fight a negro” – heavyweight boxing was a sport contested at the highest level by whites only, a closed shop. Johnson became the first African American to be allowed to fight for the world heavyweight crown, simply because the boxers current were lacklustre and without personality: the sport was temporarily in the doldrums. Johnson wasn’t supposed to win, of course, and it was Jack London who, in response to this affront of national white pride, called for the return of the great retired and undefeated champion James L. Jeffries, the “Great White Hope,” to defeat Johnson.

London’s reporting of Johnson’s match against Jeffries in 1910, billed as the first “Fight of the Century,” was masterful. Johnson’s win which triggered race riots in more than 25 states and 50 cities all across the United States. Circumstances had made him reluctant to go to the bout. He had lost his first child the night before he was due to travel but, after a night’s drinking and a bar brawl which saw him spend the night in jail, he set to. The fight had been stopped from taking place on his doorstop in San Francisco, but a license had been sought to hold the fight in Reno. He had arrived ten days before the fight in the pay of The New York Herald, although his coverage over ten days was syndicated to The San Francisco Call and The Australian Star. His writing for the ten days before the fight depicts a melodramatic and colourful scene, London heightening every tension with both skill and conviction. This event was a true spectacle, even Al Jolson was there as a special correspondent.

Fiction

Jack London was the first American novelist of note to write about boxing in any literary sense. He would have been very aware of boxing’s recent pedigree in fictional form. Both Bernard Shaw’s Cashel Byron’s Profession and Arthur Conan Doyle Rodney Stone had been published in 1896; the former had become a bestseller in the United States. After London’s literary attempts – two novellas and two short stories – the boxing ring and its peripheral, shadowy world was the setting for a plethora of novels.

The Game, London’s first boxing novella, was written in 1905. It had started life as a short story. George P. Brett, London’s editor at Macmillan Co., enthusiastically recommended a series of such boxing tales. London preferred to develop the love story between Joe and Genevieve, and it took shape as a novella. It was published first in two issues of Metropolitan Magazine in April and May, and in four issues of The Tatler in Britain. Macmillan published in June, 1905, a revised version with additions, illustrated by Henry Hutt and T. C. Lawrence. Over 26,000 copies were registered for the first printing, and it was reprinted later that year in September. Reviews were generally favourable, although sales were not anywhere approaching those for The Call of the Wild and The Sea-Wolf from the previous two years. This book allegedly persuaded world champion Gene Tunney to retire from boxing in 1928.

A Piece of Steak was written for the Saturday Evening Post in 1911, though written in 1909.

The Mexican was written during the Mexican Civil War and is as much a propagandist tract in favour of the revolution as about boxing. It was published by the Saturday Evening Post in 1911, and came out in book form two years later in a collection of Storie called The Night Born. It was filmed in 1952 as The Fighter with Richard Conte and Lee J. Cobb (and it as filmed also in the Soviet Union in 1956).

The Abysmal Brute was published first in Popular Magazine in 1911 and was written in October 1910; it was published in book form in 1913 by the Century Company.  It was influenced greatly by his coverage of the Johnson-Jeffries fight that had taken place on 4th July in Reno. Pat Glendon was based on Jack Johnson: Glendon’s walk was “smooth and catlike.” And Glendon had pursued Tom Harrison to Australia to win the world title on Boxing Day (as Johnson had done in 2008), but its plot was based on a plot line bought from a young, virtually unknown Sinclair Lewis (one of twenty-seven plotlines he bought from Lewis that year for a total of $137.50; The Dress Suit Pugilist cost $7.50). The novella had been rejected by more established and literary magazines (perhaps an indictment on its subject matter), but Popular Magazine, which specialised in adventure pulp paid $1,200 for it, twice the average annual wage at the time. It was published in novella form two years later. It is the last of London’s fictional works to focus on boxing, although the sport is referred to elsewhere in his writings several times. It was made into a Hollywood film twice. In 1923, a silent movie directed by Hobart Henley and starring Reginald Denny, Mabel Julienne Scott, Charles K. French and Hayden Stevenson; and in 1936, Conflict, a low budget film starring John Wayne and Jean Rogers.

Extract

Jack London’s Journalism:
Jack Johnson vs. Tommy Burns

Jack Johnson Describes the Fight and  Jack Johnson’s Golden Smile
[The Call, December 27, 1908]

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, SATURDAY.—The fight; there was no fight. No Armenian massacre could compare with the hopeless slaughter that took place in the Sydney stadium today. It was not a case of “Too Much Johnson,” but of all Johnson. A golden smile tells the story; and a golden smile was Johnson’s. The fight, if fight it might be called, was like unto that between a colossus and a toy automaton. It had all the seeming of a playful Ethiopian at loggerheads with a small and futile white man—of a grown man cuffing a naughty child; of a monologue by one Johnson, who made a noise with his fists like a lullaby, tucking one Burns into his little crib in Sleepy hollow; of a funeral, with Burns for the late deceased, Johnson for undertaker, grave digger and sexton.

Twenty thousand men were at the ringside and twice 20,000 lingered outside. Johnson, first in the ring, showed magnificent condition. When he smiled, a dazzling flash of gold filled the wide aperture between his open lips, and he smiled all the time. He had no trouble in the world. When asked what he was going to do after the fight, he said he was going to the races. It was a happy prophesy. He was immediately followed into the ring by Burns, who had no smile whatever. He looked pale and sallow, as if he had not slept all night, or as if he had just pulled through a bout with fever. He received a heartier greeting than Johnson and seemed a favorite with the crowd.

It promised to be a bitter fight. There was no chivalry nor good will in it, and Johnson, despite his carefree pose, had an eye to the instant need of things. He sent his seconds intently into Burns’ corner to watch the putting on of the gloves for fear a casual horseshoe might stray in. He examined personally Burns’ belt and announced flatly that he would not fight if Burns did not remove a tape from his skinned elbows.

“Nothing doing till he takes ‘em off,” quoth Johnson. The crowd hooted, but Johnson smiled Ms happy, golden smile and dreamed with Ethiopian stolidity in his corner. Burns took off the offending tapes and was applauded uproariously. Johnson stood up and was hooted. He merely smiled. That is the fight epitomized—Johnson’s smile… The gong sounded and the fight and monologue began all right.

“Tahmy,” said Johnson, with an exaggerated English accent, and thereafter he talked throughout the fight—when, he was not smiling.

Scarcely had they mixed when he caught his antagonist with a fierce uppercut turning him completely over in the air and landing him on his back. There is no use giving details. There was no doubt from the moment of the opening of the first round. The affair was too one sided. There was never so one sided a world’s championship fight in the history of the ring. It was not a case of a man being put out by a clever or a lucky punch. In the first or second round it was a case of a plucky, determined fighter who had no chance for a lookin at any single instant of the fight.

There was no fraction of a second in all the 14 rounds that could be called Burns’. So far as is concerned, Burns never landed a blow. He never feazed the black man. It was not Burn’s fault, however. He tried moment throughout the fight, except when he was groggy. It was hopeless, pre-posterous, heroic. He was a glutton for punishment, and he bored in all the time, but a dewdrop in Sheol had more chance than he with the giant Ethiopian.

In all justice it must be urged that Burns had no opportunity to show what he had in him. Johnson was too big, too able, too clever, too superb. He was impregnable. His long arms, his height, his cool seeing eyes, his timing and distancing, his footwork and his splendid outsparring and equally splendid infighting kept Burns in trouble all the time.

At no stage of the fight was either man ever extended. Johnson was just as inaccessible as Mont Blanc, and against such a mountain, what possible chance had Burns to extend himself? He was smothered all the time. As for Johnson, he did not have to extend. He cuffed and smiled and smiled and cuffed, and in the clinches whirled his opponent around so as to be able to assume beatific and angelic facial expressions for the benefit of the cinematograph machines. Not Burns, but Johnson, did the fighting. In fact, the major portion of the punishment he delivered was in clinches. At times he would hold up his arms to show that he was no party to the clinch.

Again he would deliberately, and by apparently no exertion of strength, thrust Burns away and get clear of him, and yet again he would thrust Burns partly clear with one hand and uppercut him to the face with the other, and when Burns instantly fell forward into another clinch would thrust him partly clear and repeat the uppercut.

Once he did this five times in succession, as fast as a man could count, each uppercut connecting and connecting savagely, but principally in the clinches Johnson rested and smiled and dreamed. This dreaming expression was fascinating. It seemed almost a trance. It was certainly de-ceptive, for suddenly the lines of the face would harden, the eyes would glint viciously and Burns would he frightfully hooked, swung and uppercut for a bad half minute, when the smile and dreamy trance would return as Burns effected another clinch. At times, too, when both men were set, Johnson would deliberately assume the fierce, vicious, intent expression, only apparently for the purpose of suddenly letting his teeth flash forth like the rise of a harvest moon, while his face beamed with all the happy, care free innocence of a little child.

Johnson play acted all the time, and he played with Burns from the gong of the opening round to the finish of the fight. Burns was a toy in his hands. For Johnson it was a kindergarten romp.

“Hit here, Tahmy,” he would say, exposing the right side of his unprotected stomach, and when Burns struck, Johnson would neither wince nor cover up. Instead he would receive the blow with a happy, careless smile, directed at the spectators, turn the left side of his unpro-tected stomach and say, “No here, Tahmy,” and while Burns hit as directed Johnson would continue to grin and chuckle and smile his golden smile.

One criticism, and only one, can be passed upon Johnson. In the thirteenth found he made the mistake of his life. He should have put Burns out. He could have put him out. It would have been child’s play. Instead of which he smiled and deliberately let Burns live until the gong sounded, and in the opening of the fourteenth round the police stopped the fight and Johnson lost the credit of a knockout.

But one thing remains, Jeffries must emerge from his alfalfa farm and remove that smile from Johnson’s face. Jeff, it’s up to you.

 

In a Modern Stadium
[The Australian Star, December 28, 1908]

FULL CREDIT FOR the big fight must be given H. D. McIntosh, who has done the unprecedented. Equal credit, however, must be given to Australia, for without her splendid sport-loving men not a hundred McIntoshes would have pulled off the great contest on Saturday.

The Stadium is a magnificent arena, and so was the crowd magnificent, which was managed by that happy aptitude which the English have for handling big crowds. The spirit of the Stadium crowd inside and out, with its fair-mindedness and sporting squareness, was a joy to behold. It was hard to realize that those fifty or sixty thousand men were descended from generations that attended old bare-knuckle fights in England, where partisan crowds jammed the ringside, slugging each other, smashing the top hats of gentlemen, promoters, and backers, and swatting away with clubs at the heads of the poor devils of fighters whenever they came near to the ropes.

Never in my life have I seen a finer, fairer, more orderly ringside crowd, and in this connection it must be remem-bered that the majority were in favor of the man who was losing. That many thousand men could sit quietly for forty minutes and watch their chosen champion hopelessly and remorselessly beaten down, and not make the slightest demonstration, is a remarkable display of inhibition.

There is no use minimizing Johnson’s victory in order to soothe Burns’s feelings. It is part of the game to take punishment in the ring, and it is just as much part of the game to take unbiased criticism afterwards in the columns of the Press. Personally I was with Burns all the way. He is a white man, and so am I. Naturally I wanted to see the white man win. Put the case to Johnson and ask him if he were the spectator at a fight between a white man and a black man which he would like to see win. Johnson’s black skin will dictate a desire parallel to the one dictated by my white skin.

Now, to come back to the point. There is no foolish sentimental need to gloss over Burns’s defeat. Because a white man wishes a white man to win, this should not prevent him from giving absolute credit to the best man who did win, even when I that best man was black. All hail to Johnson. His victory was unqualified. It was his fight all the way through, in spite of published accounts to the contrary, one of which out of the first six rounds gives two rounds to Burns, two to Johnson, and two with the honors evenly divided. In spite of much mistaken partisanship, it must be acknowledged by every man at the ringside that there was never a round that was Burns’s and never a round with even honors.

Burns was a little man against a big man, a clever man against a cleverer man, a quick man against a quicker man, and a gritty, gamey man all the way through. But, alas! Men are not born equal, and neither are pugilists. If grit and gameness should win by decree or natural law then Burns, I dare to say, would have won on Saturday, and in a thousand additional fights with Johnson he would win, but, unfortunately for Burns, what did win on Saturday was bigness, coolness, quickness, cleverness, and vast physical superiority.

From any standpoint the fight between Cripps and Griffin last Wednesday night was a far better contest. The men were evenly matched, and the result was in doubt from round to round and moment to moment, and this delicate balance was due to their being equally matched. Each man had opportunity to show the best that was in him. That opportunity was denied Burns.

Bear with me for a moment. I often put on gloves myself, and take my word for it I am really delightfully clever when my opponent is a couple of stone lighter than I am, half a foot or so shorter, and about half as strong. On such occasion I can show what I’ve got in me, and I can smile all the time, scintillate brilliant repartee and dazzling persiflage, and, in the clinches, talk over the political situation and the Broken Hill trouble with the audience. But, heavens! Suppose I were to don gloves with Burns. I could no more show what I had in me than Burns showed against Johnson. That is the whole fight in a nutshell. The men were so unevenly matched that Burns was barred from showing anything he had in him, with the exception of pluck. Johnson was too big, too strong, too clever. Burns never had a show, he was hopelessly outclassed, and I am confident that had a man from Mars been present at the ringside witnessing his first fight, he would have demanded to know why Burns was ever in the ring at all.

It’s hard to talk, Tommy, but it is no harder than those wallops you received on Saturday, and it is just as true that it is no dishonor to be beaten in fair fight. You did your topmost best, and there’s my hand on it, and on all your pluck, grit, and endurance.

Jack Johnson, here’s my hand, too. I wanted to see the other fellow win, but you were the best man. Shake.

“Stop the fight?” The word is a misnomer; there was no fight. No Armenian massacre would compare with the hopeless slaughter that took place in the Stadium. It was not a case of “too much Johnson,” but of “all Johnson.” A golden smile tells the story, and that golden smile was Johnson’s. The fight—if fight it can be called—was like unto that between a Colossus and a toy automaton. It had all the seeming of a playful Ethiopian at loggerheads with a small and futile white man, of a grown man cuffing a naughty child, of a monologue by one Johnson, who made noise with his fist like a lullaby, tucking one Burns into his little crib in Sleepy Hollow; of a funeral with Burns for the late deceased and Johnson for undertaker, grave-digger, and sexton.

Twenty thousand men were at the ringside, and twice twenty thousand lingered outside. Johnson, first at the ring, showed in magnificent condition. When he smiled a dazzling flash of gold filled the wide aperture between his open lips, and he smiled all the time. He had not a trouble in the world. When asked what he was going to do after the fight, he said he was going to the races. It was a happy prophecy.

He was immediately followed into the ring by Burns, who had no smile whatever. He looked pale and sallow, as if he had not slept all night, or as if he had just pulled through a bout with fever. He received a heartier greeting than Johnson, and was favorite with the crowd.

It promised to be a bitter fight. There was no chivalry nor good will in it, and Johnson, despite his carefree pose, had an eye to instant need of things. He sent his seconds insistently into Burns’s comer to watch the putting on of the gloves, for fear a casual horseshoe might stray in. He examined personally Burns’s belt, and announced flatly that he would not fight if Burns did not remove the tape from his skinned elbows.

“Nothing doing till he takes ’em off,” quoth Johnson. The crowd hooted but Johnson smiled his happy, golden smile and dreamed with Ethiopian stolidness in his comer. Burns took off the offending tapes and was applauded uproariously. Johnson stood up and was hooted. He merely smiled. That is the fight epitomized—Johnson’s smile.

The gong sounded and the fight and monologue began. “All right, Tommy,” said Johnson, with exaggerated English accent, and thereafter he talked throughout the fight when he was not smiling.

Scarcely had they mixed when he caught his antagonist with a fierce upper-cut, turning him completely over in the air and landing him on his back. There is no use giving details. There was no doubt, from the moment of the opening of the first round, the affair was too one-sided. There was never so one-sided a world’s championship in the history of the ring. It was not a case of a man being put out by a clever or lucky punch in the first or second round; it was a case of a plucky, determined fighter who had no chance for a look in at any single instant of the fight. There was no fraction of a second in all fourteen rounds that could be called Burns’s. So far as damage is concerned Burns never landed a blow, he never grazed the black man.

It was not Burns’s fault, however. He tried every moment throughout the fight, except when he was groggy. It was hopeless, preposterous, heroic. He was a glutton for punishment, and he bored in all the time, but a dewdrop in Sheol had more chance than did he with the giant Ethiopian. In all justice it must be urged that Burns had no opportunity to show what he had in him. Johnson was too big, too able, too clever, too superb. He was impregnable. His long arms, his height, his cool-seeing eyes, his timing and distancing, his footwork, his blocking and locking, and his splendid out-sparring and equally splendid in-fighting, kept Burns in trouble all the time. At no stage of the fight was either man extended. Johnson was just as inaccessible as Mont Blanc, and against such a mountain what possible chance had Burns to extend himself? He was smothered all the time.

As for Johnson, he did not have to extend. He cuffed and smiled and smiled and cuffed, and in clinches whirled his opponent around so as to be able to assume a beatific and angelic facial expression for the benefit of the cinematograph machines. Burns never struck a body blow that would compare with Johnson’s, nor a cross nor straight nor upper cut; while as for kidney blows, Johnson’s most frivolous and pensive taps were like thunderbolts as measured against Burns’s butterfly flutterings in that painful locality.

Johnson frivolled with Burns throughout the fight. He refused to take Burns seriously, and with creditable histrionic ability played the part of a gentle schoolmaster administering benevolent chastisement to a rude and fractious urchin.

The “mouth fighting” on the part of both men must have seemed bizarre to the Australian audience; never-theless, mouth fighting as a ring tactic has won more than one battle, but on Saturday it neither won nor lost anything. Burns’s remarks failed to ruffle his opponent’s complacency in the slightest, while there was no need for Johnson’s airy verbal irritations, for Burns was as angry as could be from the stroke of the gong, and though Johnson proved a past master in the art of mouth fighting, even his preeminent ability in that direction failed to make Burns angrier by one jot or tittle.

There was, however, one result from word sparring, an unfortunate result to Burns. He was fighting desperately and his last hope lay in making the big negro lose his head; instead he nearly lost his own by having it punched off. Not that he irritated Johnson in the least by what he said. Far from it. Johnson never ceased smiling when the uncom-plimentary remarks were addressed to him, nor did he cease smiling as he proceeded to wallop the naughty boy for his impertinence, but wallop him he did, in so smiling and summary a fashion as to take the steam out of Burns’s verbal punches. In fact, after two distinct adventures of this sort Burns concluded that that tactic was too disastrous and abandoned it.

Not Burns, but Johnson did the in-fighting; in fact, the major portion of the punishment he delivered was in clinches. At times he would hold up his arms to show he was no party to the clinch. Again, he would deliberately and by apparently no exertion of strength, thrust Burns away and clear of him, and yet again he would thrust Burns partially clear with one hand, and upper-cut him to the face with the other; and when Burns instantly fell forward into another clinch, thrust him partially clear and repeat the upper-cut. Once he did this five times in succession, as fast as a man could count, each upper-cut connecting and counting savagely. But principally in clinches Johnson rested, smiled, dreamed. This dreaming expression was fascinating, it teemed almost a trance. It was certainly deceptive, for suddenly the lines of the face would harden, the eyes glint viciously, and Burns would be frightfully hooked, swung, and upper-cut for a bad half minute; then the smile and dreamy trance would return as Burns effected another clinch.

At times, too, when both men were set, Johnson would deliberately assume the fierce, vicious, intent expression, only apparently for the purpose of suddenly relaxing and letting his teeth flash forth like the rise of a harvest moon, while his face beamed with all the happy, care-free inno-cence of a little child, Johnson play-acted all the time. His part was the clown, and he played with Burns from the gong of the opening round to the finish of the fight. Burns was a toy in his hands. For Johnson it was a kindergarten romp. “Hit here, Tahmy,” he would say, exposing the right side of his unprotected stomach, and when Burns struck Johnson would neither wince nor cover up. Instead, he would receive the blow with a happy, careless smile directed to the audience, turn the left side of his unprotected stomach, and say, “Now here, Tahmy,” and while Burns hit as directed, Johnson would continue to grin and chuckle and smile his golden smile.

One criticism, and only one, can be passed upon Johnson. In the thirteenth round he made the mistake of his life. He should have put Burns out. He could have put him out; it would have been child’s play. Instead of which he smiled and deliberately let Burns live until the gong sounded, and in the opening of the fourteenth round the police stopped the fight and Johnson lost the credit of a knock-out.

But one thing remains. Jeffries must emerge from his alfalfa farm and remove that smile from Johnson’s face. “Jeff, it’s up to you, and, McIntosh, it’s up to you to get the fight for Australia. Both you and Australia certainly deserve it.”