The Question: Nat Fleischer, editor of "The Ring," says that Jack Johnson was the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. Do you agree?

May 15, 1955

JOHN L. HORGAN, Miami
New Terrace Plaza Hotel proprietor
"I sang with old John L. Sullivan's revue. That's how far back I go. Jack Johnson was great, but not as great as Sullivan, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey or Jim Jeffries. I doubt that Louis, Dempsey, or Jeffries could have licked John L. in his prime. Jim Corbett beat John when he was all washed up."

BERNARD GIMBEL, Greenwich, Conn.
Chairman of the Board
Gimbel Bros.
"No, Tunney was the greatest. I saw Johnson around Philly for years. Look at the men he fought. True, he was a great boxer, but Tunney was a fighter, a more resourceful boxer, and he wasn't a spurt fighter. He had great speed and could go at top speed as long as necessary."

E.J. "MIKE" ROWELL, Amherst, Mass.
Trade association executive
"No. The greatest was the Manassa Mauler, Jack Dempsey. I saw Jack Johnson, Jess Willard, who licked Johnson, Dempsey, Braddock, Max Baer, Primo Camera, Gene Tunney and Firpo, the Wild Bull of the Pampas. Dempsey always came in with fists flailing like pistons. He never let up."

JACK DEMPSEY, New York
Former heavyweight champion
"It's unfair to name any one heavyweight as the greatest. Other greats were Gene Tunney, Jim Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Jim Jeffries and Jake Kilrain. Tunney and Corbett would have outboxed Johnson. Fitzsimmons might have ruined him for all time with one of his murderous body punches."

JACK McDONALD, San Francisco
Call Bulletin
Sports editor
"No. Johnson can't be faulted for his defensive skill, but Jeffries and Dempsey were the greatest offensively and Jim Corbett was one of the most scientific fighters who ever lived. Lightweight Joe Gans was the greatest fighter of all time. He had everything a man could have in boxing skill."

GEORGE BARTON, Minneapolis
Chairman Minnesota
State Athletic Commission
"Yes. He would defeat all heavies from John L. Sullivan to Rocky Marciano in any distance, from six rounds to 60. Old-timers like Fleischer and I know how great he was. He was often obliged to permit opponents, particularly white men, to go the limit or make good showings in order to get fights."

GENE TUNNEY, Stamford, Conn.
Undefeated heavyweight champion
"No. I've seen many great heavyweights and I've made a painstaking study of other records. The greatest heavyweights were John L. Sullivan, Jim Corbett, Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey, the greatest killer of all. In his prime, I think Dempsey would have chased Johnson out of the ring."

LOU STILLMAN, New York City
Owner Stillman's boxing gym
"Yes. He could do everything better than any other fighter. He was a terrific puncher at long range. Even Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons, who rated Jim Jeffries over him as a fighter, said Johnson was the greatest defensive battler in history. He was a master of the lost art of feinting."

JOE WOODMAN, New York City
Fight manager
"No. Johnson was a great defensive fighter. Jim Jeffries was the all-time great. He had such a terrific punch that he would take a blow to land one. Sure, Johnson beat him in 1910, but Jim came out of six years' retirement, way past his peak, in response to public clamor. It's the only fight he ever lost."

ED BANG, Cleveland News
Sports editor
"Jack was tops as a boxer. His rivals in cleverness were Corbett and Tunney. As hitters, I would place Dempsey, Jeffries and Joe Louis ahead of Johnson. Dempsey might have kayoed Johnson through sheer power. But in a distance fight, Johnson would certainly have won."

JIMMY BRONSON, New York City
Fight manager
"Yes. Jack fought all over the world. He frequently won battle royals against six fighters in the ring. At 68, when he was killed, he didn't have a mark on his body from boxing. Gene Tunney retired three fights from his peak. Had he continued, he might have been the greatest. He had everything."

ELEVEN PHOTOS ILLUSTRATION

NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION:

CCNY President Buell G. Gallagher says: "All big-time college sports are subsidized. Players go to the highest bidder." Do you agree?

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)