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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Galveston Giant Posthumously acquitted

Por dbloggers

He was called the Galveston Giant, and his boxing style was known to be on the defensive a predator of the opponent's mistakes. Jack Johnson, according to many sports specialists, was undoubtedly the best fighter of his time, becoming the first black to win a World Heavyweight Champion (1908-1915), and according to the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) one of the top ten heavyweights of history.

However, the life of this man who became the most famous African-American in history did not have a happy ending. A victim of the racism and jealousy of many white fighters who wanted to get rid of him, he was sentenced to prison in Chicago for violating the Jim Crow era White-Slave Traffic Act, which was aimed at preventing and punishing the trafficking of people.

Now, many years after his conviction and freedom, President Donald Trump considers granting complete and historic acquittal the Galvestone Giant, after the request of another great boxer Rocky Balboa, I mean, Silvester Stallone. The popular American actor who embodies one of the most memorable and iconic films of sports cinema, he prompted the president to grant absolute posthumous forgiveness to Jack Johnson who died in 1946.

Sylvester Stallone made the request to Trump after telling him how the life of the talented boxer who suffered the racism of the time had been. The American president wrote on Twitter: "I'm considering a Total Forgiveness (sic)!" According to the New York’s mogul, Johnson's story moved him and his response will let it known soon.

Half a century after being unjustly imprisoned, one of the most prestigious political figures in the United States has also promoted his total absolution. For a long time, activists and family members have advocated for Johnson’s posthumous pardon. John McCain was one of those who filed the motion to restore the reputation of the athlete who refused to accept the conditions and impositions of a society in which blacks had little rights. Several followers of the Galveston Giant believe that he paved the way for racial integration in sport. His name is inscribed along with that of other great athletes such as Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali.

Johnson's capital sin began after he wanted to reach the absolute title of his division. Despite having won more than 50 fights and winning the Heavyweight World Title for Color boxers in 1903, he never settled down for. Then, he started a campaign to face the white champion James J. Jeffries who dodged the challenge in more than one occasion. And although he did not fight with the reigning champion, he did it with the former one Bob Fitzsimmons in July 1907, and knocked him out in just two rounds. In 1908 he won the world title against Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, after several years of challenging him without receiving a positive response. Johnson gave a boxing lecture to Tommy and won by technical KO; however, that ignominy against a white man was not forgiven.

The press and a fierce campaign came over the Giant. The whites claimed the title that belonged to them and compared Johnson to an ape with a human form. Despite requests from journalists, politicians and even writer Jack London for a "white hope" to fight and to take the title back, it never happened. Not even James J. Jeffries himself could do it. What was worst, Johnson aggravated the situation with provocative comments that caused the authorities to follow him closely. In 1913 he was arrested for the alleged crime of crossing the border with a woman for immoral purposes.

After a year in prison, he escaped and went to Europe and after five years of fighting in Europe and Argentina he returned to America, surrendering to the authorities.

He spent nine months in jail. Among the legends that are told about Johnson are his statements to have sold his fight against the giant Pottawatomie, Jess Willard, for the US State Department to let him visit his father before going to prison.

He died in a traffic accident at 60, after leaving a cafeteria where they denied him services because he was black.