Check out this vid of Jack Johnson the boxer... video
I am going to paste parts of his wiki page just so people get a taste of "The Galveston Giant"
Johnson's boxing style was very distinctive. He developed a more patient approach than was customary in that day: playing defensively, waiting for a mistake, and then capitalizing on it. Johnson always began a bout cautiously, slowly building up over the rounds into a more aggressive fighter. He often fought to punish his opponents rather than knock them out, endlessly avoiding their blows and striking with swift counters. He always gave the impression of having much more to offer and, if pushed, he could punch quite powerfully.
Johnson's style was very effective, but it was criticized in the white press as being cowardly and devious. By contrast, World Heavyweight Champion "Gentleman" Jim Corbett, who was white, had used many of the same techniques a decade earlier, and was praised by the press as "the cleverest man in boxing".
By 1902, Johnson had won at least 50 fights against both white and black opponents. Johnson won his first title on February 3, 1903, beating "Denver" Ed Martin over 20 rounds for the World Colored Heavyweight Championship. His efforts to win the full title were thwarted as world heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries refused to face him. Blacks could box whites in other arenas, but the world heavyweight championship was such a respected and coveted position in America that blacks were not deemed worthy to compete for it. Johnson was, however, able to fight former champion Bob Fitzsimmons in July 1907, and knocked him out in two rounds.
He eventually won the world heavyweight title on December 26, 1908, when he fought the Canadian world champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, after following him all over the world, taunting him in the press for a match. The fight lasted fourteen rounds before being stopped by the police in front of over 20,000 spectators. The title was awarded to Johnson on a referee's decision as a T.K.O, but he had severely beaten the champion. During the fight, Johnson had mocked both Burns and his ringside crew. Every time Burns was about to go down, Johnson would hold him up again, punishing him more. The camera was stopped just as Johnson was finishing off Burns, so as not to show Burns' defeat.
After Johnson's victory over Burns, racial animosity among whites ran so deep that even a socialist like Jack London called out for a "Great White Hope" to take the title away from Johnson — who was crudely caricatured as a subhuman "ape" — and return it to where it supposedly belonged, with the "superior" white race. As title holder, Johnson thus had to face a series of fighters billed by boxing promoters as "great white hopes", often in exhibition matches. In 1909, he beat Victor McLaglen, Frank Moran, Tony Ross, Al Kaufman, and the middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel. The match with Ketchel was keenly fought by both men until the 12th and last round, when Ketchel threw a right to Johnson's head, knocking him down. Slowly regaining his feet, Johnson threw a straight to Ketchel's jaw, knocking him out, along with some of his teeth, several of which were embedded in Johnson's glove. His fight with "Philadelphia" Jack O'Brien was a disappointing one for Johnson: though scaling 205 pounds to O'Brien's 161, he could only achieve a six-round draw with the great middleweigh
In 1910, former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries came out of retirement and said "I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro". Jeffries had not fought in six years and had to lose around 100 pounds to try to get back to his championship fighting weight.
At the fight, which took place on July 4, 1910 in front of 22,000 people, at a ring built just for the occasion in downtown Reno, Nevada, the ringside band played "All coons look alike to me". The fight had become a hotbed of racial tension, and the promoters incited the all-white crowd to chant "kill the ******". Johnson, however, proved stronger and more nimble than Jeffries. In the 15th round, after Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, his people called it quits to prevent Johnson from knocking him out.
The "Fight of the Century" earned Johnson $225,000 and silenced the critics, who had belittled Johnson's previous victory over Tommy Burns as "empty," claiming that Burns was a false champion since Jeffries had retired undefeated
The outcome of the fight triggered race riots that evening — the Fourth of July — all across the United States, from Texas and Colorado to New York and Washington, D.C. Johnson's victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of a finding a "great white hope" to defeat him. Many whites felt humiliated by the defeat of Jeffries and were incensed by Johnson's comments.
Blacks, on the other hand, were jubilant, and celebrated Johnson's great victory as a victory for the entire race. Black poet William Waring Cuney later highlighted the African-American reaction to the fight in his poem "My Lord, What a Morning". Around the country, blacks held spontaneous parades, gathered in prayer meetings, and purchased goods with winnings from backing Johnson at the bookmakers. These celebrations often drew a violent response from white men.
Some "riots" were simply African-Americans celebrating in the streets. In certain cities, like Chicago, the police allowed them to continue their festivities. But in other cities the police and angry white citizens tried to subdue the celebrations. Police interrupted several attempted lynchings. In all, riots occurred in more than twenty-five states and fifty cities. At least 23 blacks and 2 whites died in the riots, and hundreds more were injured.
On April 5, 1915, Johnson lost his title to Jess Willard, a working cowboy who did not start boxing until he was almost thirty years old. With a crowd of 25,000 at the Vedado Racetrack in Havana, Cuba, Johnson was K.O.'d in the 26th round of the scheduled 45-round fight
Johnson was an early example of the celebrity athlete, appearing regularly in the press and later on radio and in motion pictures. He earned considerable sums endorsing various products, including patent medicines, and indulged several expensive hobbies such as automobile racing and tailored clothing, as well as purchasing jewelry and furs for his wives. He even challenged champion racer Barney Oldfield to a match auto race at the Sheepshead Bay, New York one mile dirt track. Oldfield, far more experienced, easily out-distanced Johnson, ending any thoughts the boxer might have had about becoming a professional driver if not his passion for just going fast. Once, when he was pulled over for a $50 speeding ticket (a large sum at the time), he gave the officer a $100 bill, telling him to keep the change as he was going to make his return trip at the same speed. Johnson was also interested in opera (his favorite being Il Trovatore) and in history — he was an admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte, believing him to have risen from a similar origin to his own.
Johnson flouted conventions regarding the social and economic "place" of African Americans in American society. As a black man, he broke a powerful taboo in consorting with white women, and would verbally taunt men (both white and black) inside and outside the ring. Johnson was not shy about his affection for white women, nor modest about his physical prowess, both in and out of the ring. Asked the secret of his staying power by a reporter who had watched a succession of women parade into, and out of, the champion's hotel room, Johnson supposedly said "Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts".
Johnson married Etta Terry Duryea in late 1910 or early 1911. A Brooklyn socialite and former wife of Charles Duryea, she met Johnson at a car race in 1909, and their romantic involvement was turbulent. Beaten several times by Johnson and suffering from depression, she committed suicide in September 1911, shooting herself with a revolver. Johnson then married, on 4 December 1911, Lucille Cameron, a young prostitute. Both Duryea and Cameron were white, a fact that caused considerable controversy at the time. After Johnson married Cameron, two ministers in the South recommended that Johnson be lynched. The couple fled via Canada to France soon after their marriage to escape trumped-up criminal charges in the U.S. Cameron divorced him in 1924 on the grounds of infidelity. The next year Johnson married Irene Pineau, also white; she outlived him. Johnson had no children.
In 1920, Johnson opened a night club in Harlem; he sold it three years later to a gangster, Owney Madden, who renamed it the Cotton Club.
After fighting a number of bouts in Mexico, Johnson returned to the U.S. on July 20, 1920 and surrendered to Federal agents for allegedly violating the Mann Act against "transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes". He was sent to the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth to serve his sentence of one year, and was released on July 9, 1921. There have been recurring proposals to grant Johnson a posthumous Presidential pardon. The latest, a bill requesting President George W. Bush pardon Johnson in 2008, has passed the House, and a companion bill is going through the Senate, sponsored by John McCain
Johnson died in a car crash near Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1946, after racing angrily from a diner that refused to serve him.