|Jack Johnson was the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878, Johnson won the title by knocking out Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, on December 26, 1908. However, the world was not ready for a black champion so Johnson was not recognized as the “Champ”. The search for the “Great White Hope” was on and retired champion, Jim Jefferies, answered the call. Coming out of retirement, Jefferies worked out for a year before meeting Johnson in the "Fight of the Century" on July 4, 1910, in Reno, Nevada.
The fight didn’t live up to the hype with Johnson easily handling Jefferies and finally knocking the "Boilermaker" out in the 13th round.
For this famous fight, Johnson had tied an American flag around his waist as a belt.
Johnson eventually had to flee the country on trumped up charges of violating the Mann Act. He lived and fought in Europe and finally lost his title to Jess Willard in 1916 in a fight staged outside Havana, Cuba.
Johnson died in an automobile accident in 1946.