Regular price $750.00

Jess Willard (December 29, 1881 – December 15, 1968) was a world heavyweight boxing champion known as the Pottawatomie Giant. Willard did not enter the ring until he was twenty-nine. First employed as a cattle puncher and horse and mule handler, he had moved to Elk City, Oklahoma, by 1910, where he worked as an overland freighter. On a clothes-buying trip to Oklahoma City late that year, Willard encountered J. D. Brock, who, impressed with his size and strength, encouraged him to consider prizefighting and became his first manager. He won the heavyweight title from Jack Johnson in April 1915 which earned him the nickname "The Great White Hope". He was known for his great strength and ability to absorb tremendous punishment, although today he is best known for his title loss to Jack Dempsey. Willard held the championship for more than 4 years but only defended his title once as few people dared to challenge him. Today his reign is considered the 11th longest in the heavyweight division. Willard derived considerable financial benefit from the title by appearing in circuses and Wild West shows, including the Miller Brothers' 101 Ranch Wild West Show, but defended the crown only once before meeting Dempsey. He lost the title to Jack Dempsey in 1919 and to this day the fight is considered the worst beating any man has ever received in the history of boxing. Willard was knocked down for the first time in his career during the first round and another 6 times before the round was over; he suffered a cracked skull, broken ribs, shattered jaw, broken nose, four missing teeth, partial hearing loss in one ear along with numerous cuts and contusions. Jess fought for two more rounds before retiring on his stool due to the injuries he received in the first round, relinquishing the title. It is one of the most controversial fights in boxing history and many thought Dempsey had something in his gloves during the first round to act as a knuckleduster to weaken the big Willard down. Offered here is an original signed photograph of Jess Willard.
This is an original, promotional, paper stock photograph of Jess Willard. Signed along the left edge in blue ink, "Jess Willard." Bold, clear image. Not creased or torn. Clean. 3 1/2" x 5 5/8."

Size: 3 1/2 x 5 5/8

Condition: excellent