Trump Considering Pardon For First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Trump considering pardon of late boxing champ Jack Johnson

Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Top Pruitt aid requested backdate to resignation letter: report MORE said Saturday he's considering a posthumous pardon for boxer Jack Johnson at the urging of actor Sylvester Stallone.

Johnson became the first black heavyweight world champion in 1908, winning a fight in Australia against a white boxer from Canada.

Johnson defended his title in Reno, Nevada, in front of a mostly white crowd, prompting violent race riots in which more than 20 people were killed and hundreds were injured.

Chastised for his relationships - each of his three wives were white - Johnson was found guilty in 1913 of violating the Mann Act, a law which prevented the transport of women across state lines for an "immoral goal".

The boxer was eventually found guilty by an all-white jury.

Duly convicted, Johnson said: "They crucified Christ, why not me?" In 1920, he returned to the USA and served almost a year in jail.

Johnson died in 1946 at age 68, and his legend has since grown.

As the Ken Burns documentary, Unforgivable Blackness, noted, "For more than 13 years, Jack Johnson was the most famous, and the most notorious, African-American on Earth". Supporters have included Arizona Senator John McCain and former Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid; however, Barack Obama, the first black president, did not act on it.

"It was quite a story", Lewis said.

"Back then, if you were black and you were told that you did something wrong, you really had no recourse", Johnson's great-niece, Linda Haywood, once told CNN. Look at the time he lived. "In the end he got old, like we all do, and he got knocked out by Jess Willard".

Trump announced on Twitter that Stallone brought Johnson's story to his attention.

Despite refusals by some of that era's top boxers to even consider joining him in the ring, Johnson went down in history for his 1910 bout with former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries - a match later called "the fight of the century" that made "a black man. the undisputed champion of the world".

Stallone, the star of the Rocky movies, has been a guest at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort.

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