Floyd Johnson to Begin All Over as a Fighter

Damon Runyon

Quad City Times/January 7, 1924


New York, Jan. 7. Floyd Johnson, the young heavyweight fighter, whose desperate ring courage has given him the soubriquet of the “Iowa Bulldog,” was talking with the writer at Madison Square Garden the other night.

Johnson is just back from a farm in the Northwest that he bought tor his parents with his first ring earnings. He went there shortly after his fight with Jack Renault in which he was knocked out in the last minute of the final round.

“I had a lot of time to do some thinking while I was there,” Johnson says. “I went over my pugilistic case in my-own mind with great care from start to finish, and this was my conclusion: Either I must quit fighting, or I must begin all over again and LEARN HOW TO FIGHT.

Reviews His Mistakes

“I had to review all my many mistakes. I could see where I had taken too much for granted. I thought I knew all about fighting because I won a lot of fights. My chief fault was blind overconfidence.

“The two fights I lost I should have won. I beat myself through over confidence, through failure to perfect my pugilistic education. I blame no one but myself.

“I said to myself out there on the farm, ‘Johnson, you’re only 24 years old, you’ve got strength and health. You can quit the ring now and go into business, or you can keep on fighting with your present ring education and wind up with a badly battered face and ears and your brain jostled.

“Or you can turn in and devote your time to LEARNING HOW TO FIGHT, and perhaps gain some real success. But you can’t gain success unless you LEARN HOW!

“That’s what I said to myself,” said Johnson, “and my final decision was to attempt to LEARN HOW. I don’t want to become a pugilistic punching bag. If I find that I’m not getting anywhere in the next year I’ll go back to the farm. But, meantime, I’m going to LEARN HOW.

“When I went west my manager, Charley Cook, told me to think things over very carefully. He told me not to arrive at a decision until I was absolutely sure of my own mind.

“ ‘You’re too game a fellow and I like you too much to want to see you stick to fighting until you are hammered silly.’ Cook told me,” said Johnson. ” ‘But you’ve got to learn, or you’ve got to quit.’ Charley said. So I’m going to learn.

“Jimmy DeForrest has consented to take charge of my training and tutor me for a few months,” Johnson continued. “I’m going down to his training camp and remain there until he pronounces me fit to return to the ring, until Jimmy thinks I have LEARNED HOW.”

He is going to one of the best trainers and tutors in the world when he goes to Jimmy De Forrest. It will be interesting to watch his future career.

There is always hope for a young man who does a little THINKING of his own account.

Johnson is right when lie says his chief fault was overconfidence. He came to New York well grounded in boxing by old Alex Greggians, and he thought that sufficient equipment.

He improved little over his original form. He is gifted with astounding courage, which carried him through many fights to victory, but he did not learn how to protect himself, to hit properly.

His courage made him immensely popular with ring followers, even though they deplored his obvious mistakes. They could not understand why Johnson did not improve.

DeForrest evidently sees hope for Johnson or he would not take charge of him.

(Source: Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/65251613/?terms=Damon%2BRunyon)


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