JO Sports Inc.

Regular price $1,750.00

HISTORY: JESS WILLARD (December 29, 1881 – December 15, 1968) was an American world heavyweight boxing champion billed as the Pottawatomie Giant who knocked out Jack Johnson in April 1915 for the heavyweight title. Willard was known for size rather than skill, and though held the championship for more than four years, he defended it rarely and was in person reserved. In 1919, when he was 37 years of age he lost the title in an extremely one sided loss by declining to come out for the fourth round against Jack Dempsey, who became a more celebrated champion. Soon after the bout Willard began accusing Dempsey of using something with the effect of a knuckle duster. Dempsey did not grant Willard a return match, and at 42 years old he was KO'd, following which he retired from boxing, although for the rest of his life continued claiming Dempsey had cheated. Ferdie Pacheo expressed the opinion in a book that the surviving photographs of Willard's face during the Dempsey fight indicate fractures to Willard's facial bones suggesting a metal implement, and show he was bleeding heavily. The matter has never been resolved, with contemporaneous ringside sports journalist reporting by the NYT that Willard spat out at least one tooth and was "a fountain of blood" increasingly discounted in favor of a view that he had only a cut lip and a little bruising. Offered here is an original, rare, souvenir pennant of Jess Willard issued when he was World Heavyweight Champion. Circa 1915.

FULL DESCRIPTION: This is an illustrated, felt, souvenir pennant picturing Willard in full fight pose. White tassels at the end. Small tack holes in corners. Color has faded somewhat although print and image are bold. Some light spotting. No tears. 29" long plus tassels. Professionally framed to 14" x 38."

Size: 29" long

Condition: Very Good