Boxers Unite to Seek Presidential Pardon for Jack Johnson
J.A.B. Starts Petition to Right Injustice
Association of Boxers, March 2, 2005
WASHINGTON—The Joint Association
of Boxers (J.A.B.) is rallying professional boxers behind the campaign to
pardon Jack Johnson by initiating a petition with boxing legends, professional
fighters and fans. “We in the
boxing community have a unique opportunity to fight for the redemption of a
pioneer in our field, said Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, President of J.A.B.
“Fighters are the most exploited workers in sports today. Professional
boxers are coming together and speaking as a community for one of our own,
Support for the campaign is growing each day as the
sport’s best and brightest from the past, present and future step up to help
right this wrong. The list is long and distinguished with current boxers like
undisputed Welterweight Champ Zab Judah, Junior Welterweight Champ Arturo
Gatti, Junior Middleweight Champion Travis Simms Jr., Light Welterweight
Champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., IBF Cruiserweight Champ Kelvin Davis, and
Junior Middleweight Kofi Jantuah throwing their support behind the petition.
Legends of the square ring have also signed the petition,
including former champs Sugar Ray Leonard and Larry Holmes, former
Welterweight Champ Carlos Palomino, former Heavyweight Champion Hasim Rahman,
1972 Olympic gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales, former two-time World Champ and
world class trainer James “Buddy” McGirt, former Light Heavyweight champ
Bobby Foster and former three division Champ Mike McCallum.
Monte Barrett, the current mandatory heavyweight
challenger in both the IBF and the WBC has never seen this kind of unity in
his time as a boxer.
“This is the first time fighters have come together for
something so important,” said Barrett.
The campaign is gaining momentum. On January 25, 2005,
Peter King (R-NY) and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) introduced a resolution in the
House of Representatives urging President Bush to grant Johnson a pardon.
The resolution states, “Jack Johnson was wronged by a
racially motivated conviction prompted by his success in the boxing ring and
his relationships with white women.”
The Congressmen are hopeful that the House of
Representatives will adopt the resolution and call on the president to grant
the former champ a posthumous pardon.
The campaign is also receiving considerable support from
the Teamsters Union, with which J.A.B. is affiliated. The Teamsters have
always been at the forefront of the fight for the rights of working men and
“Jack Johnson refused to accept the racial barriers of
his time and was ultimately punished,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General
President. “We support this effort because it’s the right thing to do.”
J.A.B. urges all professional boxers and boxing fans to
sign our petition for Jack Johnson. The petition can be found at http://www.boxersunion.org.
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