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Newspaper Page Text
"Most of the stories about
Johnson's start in the fight game
are yarns." continued Connors.
"Take it from me this fellow
started right here in Springfield
and I was the first man to put a
glove on him.
"We used to have a boxing
show here once in a while in
those days. Johnson blew in from
down south and T put him to
work as porter and let him use
that shine stand you see in front
of the drum, now. s
"About this time Bob Long, a
"negro welter came here after
beating wonderful Rube Fe'rns
in Kansas City and I took charge
of his business. The first match
I got for him was with Martin
Judge, of Chicago.
Sparring partners were hard
to find and I suggested that John
son go on with him. Jack was a
giant and we thought he could
stand the gaff.
"That afternoon Johnson and
several others beat it to the levee
where Long was training. When
Johnson put on the gloves he was
nervous, and when Long planted
his left "into Jack's midsection the
big smoke shook off the gloves
and hiked back to the shine stand.
"We used to stage a batfle roy
al between five or six negroes and
after Jack's showing with Long,
everyone wanted to see him "get
his" good and plenty, so we got
him into a battle royal.
He went in scared to death but
after five or six huskies had slam
med him around he got mad and
cleaned out the ring. He was the
only dark spot standing, when it
"Shortly after this Joe Coffey,
who is promoting wrestling
matches in Chicago, was matched
with Jack Grace and Tohnson met
"Klondike" the same night. That
fight is history. "Klondike" won
in five rounds. Johnson never re
turned here and I was srlad to get
rid of him, as I never thought he'd
amount to anything.
"On the square. I thought
I could tell a fighter, but I missed
my guess. If I had second sight
I'd be Johnson's manager right
now, believe me."
Mrs. Eastlake: "You visited
Venice while you were in Europe,
I hear, Mrs. Trotter."
Mrs. Trotter: "Yes, indeed;
and we were rowed about by one
of the chandeliers for which that
city is noted."
Perfectly correct grammar dis
guises a whole lot of stupidity., J