Remembering the Old Master

Think of African-American athletes who broke down barriers and names like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe immediately come to mind. Joe Gans was as much a civil rights trailblazer as any athlete -- and as good an athlete as the sports world has ever seen as well.

Originally Published: January 31, 2008
By William Dettloff | Special to ESPN.com

It is instructive today to recall one of the more memorable stories concerning the great black lightweight Joe Gans, who dominated his weight class for much of the two decades that bridged the 19th and 20th centuries.

In March 1900, in his first title fight, Gans was stopped in New York by the swift-punching champion Frank Erne, who possessed, in the eyes of the majority of critics of the day, the best left jab in the business. Gans simply couldn't get past it and Erne battered him until ...

Read full story


You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?