Jack Johnson versus Jesse Willard: Willard Won the Title, but Johnson the Money
Digital History ID 1107
New Champion Barely Made Expenses But Expects to Make a Fortune
Havana, April 6. It developed here today that Jesse Willard got only glory out of his fight with Jack Johnson yesterday.
The big Kansas cowboy smiled when he admitted it. His agreement was to take one half of whatever money that was left after Johnson's $82,000 and the expenses were taken out. Jack Curley gave out the official figures as $73,000. He said that he just did make expenses, but that all hands expected to up on the moving pictures of the contest.
Johnson appeared on the streets today looking because of his battle yesterday. He tried bravely to make the best of it by laughing, but it was plain to be seen that Johnson was forcing his golden smile. He declared that he had been offered $200,000 for his end of the moving pictures.
"I don't think that is enough, and I intend to get a better price before I will sell," said the ex-champion. "When I get the money I intend to buy a farm in France and settle down. No more fighting for me. I shall not attempt to regain the title. In a measure, I am glad that it is over. I have never had a moment's peace since I defeated Jeffries at Reno. Perhaps now people will be more inclined to let me alone. My one regret is that I am not allowed to return to my own country."
"I think it will be a long time before they beat Willard. He is too tall and hits too hard for the rest of them. He is far cleverer than I had any idea of. I held him safe up to the twenty-fifth round. I felt myself slipping. Youth had to assert itself, I guess, and I will take my defeat like a man. They can't say that I didn't try to the very . I'm glad that I am leaving the ring with a clean record.
Jack Welsh said today that he would have given the decision without question to Johnson had it been a twenty-round fight.
"I think that Johnson put up one of the most masterful battles I ever witnessed: said the famous arbitrator. "He couldn't have lost in the shorter route. He fought carefully and punished the big white man. I think it surprised Johnson that he was there after the thirteenth or the fourteenth round I expected Willard to be dropped in those rounds, as Johnson was making every blow count."
Source: The Philadelphia Tribune, v. 31, n. 19, April 10, 1915.
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