Kansas 105

Today's trivia (July 14)

In his heyday, race discrimination was common and Kansan Jess Willard was unashamedly nicknamed "The Great White Hope," "Cowboy Jess" and "The Pottawatomie Giant."

At the turn of the 20th century, the world of boxing was looking for someone - anyone - who could take the championship title away from African- American heavyweight Jack Johnson.

It was an era when racist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, were gaining members and mainstream acceptance. Johnson, who seemed unbeatable, had also been twice married to Caucasian women, which aggravated the racial prejudice against him.

But while the fight with Johnson took on huge social significance, there is little evidence Willard felt the way his fans did.

Johnson had been the world's heavyweight champion for nearly five years.

Willard, a cowboy from St. Clere, a small town in Pottawatomie County, was an unknown in 1911, when at the age of 29 he began his first exhibition bouts.

Willard was big 6 feet 5 inches and 235 pounds with an 83-inch reach.

Willard was known for his long left jabs and his habit of leaning out of reach of his opponents' punches.

Question: Willard held the championship title from 1915 to 1919. On July 4, 1919, Willard fought Jack Dempsey and was defeated after the third round. What did he later claim Dempsey did during the fight?

Click here to enter for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate from Innovative Vein.

Answer to Wednesday’s Question: Walter “Big Train” Johnson was born Nov. 6, 1887, on his family's farm near Humboldt in Allen County. He moved as a child to Fullerton, Calif., where he did his first serious pitching at the age of 17.

Check back at Kansas.com Friday for the answer to today’s question.

  Comments