This Day In Boxing History: Jack Johnson stops James J. Jeffries in Round 15 to retain his world heavyweight championship July 4, 1910

On this day July 4, 1910, Jack Johnson stopped James J. Jeffries in Round 15 of their scheduled 45-round fight to retain his world heavyweight championship before an estimated 20,000 spectators in Reno, Nevada.

Billed as the “Fight of the Century,” the bout was moved from San Francisco to Reno after California’s governor was pressured to stop the event on moral and religious grounds. The fight also had racial undertones as the 32-year-old Johnson, the first black world champion who had won the title by beating Tommy Burns in December 2008, was defending it against the white Jeffries, an undefeated former world champion who was pressured to come out of retirement at age 35 after nearly six years out of the ring. Johnson used his defensive excellence to frustrate Jeffries throughout the fight before knocking him down three times in the 15th to end it.

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