But Two-Ton Tony Galento was a better fighter than given credit for. His left hook was a bomb of a punch, comparable to Sonny Liston. Galento is most known for scoring a flash knockdown over Joe Louis using that very punch.
Galento had an aggressive brawling style that was not used yet during Jack Johnson’s time, and Galento had fierce power, capable of dropping anyone if they’re not careful. Jack may have been a masterful defensive fighter, but against the style and power of a guy like Galento, does Jack survive and get the duke?
"Two Tons" of Power
Joe Louis was in his prime and destroying his opposition so quickly and easily that his opponents were nicknamed “Bums of the month.” Joe wound up being heavyweight champion for nearly 12 years and defended the championship a record 25 times. One of the guys he defended his crown against during this time was “Two-Ton” Tony Galento.
Tony was one of boxing’s first trash talkers. When asked once about Joe Louis, Tony replied by saying, “I’ve never heard of the bum.”
During the weeks leading up to their fight, Tony would repeatedly call Louis and say, “I’m gonna moida ya bum,” and then slam down the receiver. Louis generally kept a stoic face and a cool head, but Galento wound up being one of the few fighters to piss him off. Louis even said to a reporter before the fight, “Why is that little fat man calling me a bum?” Not only did Galento hurt Joe in the ring, but he hurt the champ's feelings :(
Louis and Galento both sat down to discuss their infamous battle together in the video below. They went into detail on everything, including Joe mentioning how he planned to carry Tony for a long time to punish him for his trash talk, but got upset when Tony knocked him down, so he decided to end it fast. I must also point out that Joe always ended things quickly when an opponent hurt him or was a major threat to him. Galento is a great example of this, as was Max Baer, Jack Roper, Max Schmeling (rematch) and others.
This was Louis’ 7th title defense of 25. The champion only got better, but it was Galento, Jersey Joe Walcott and Billy Conn who gave him his biggest scares.
Back to Galento. “The little fat man” was very confident in his left hook because throwing the right hand threw him off balance. Of course, Galento's poor balance is partially the reason he wound up on the floor the first time against The Brown Bomber.
There has been a lot written about Jack Johnson and I won’t be repeating what other writers have said about how legendary and great he was in the ring. But let’s examine how he would react if he were in the ring with Tony Galento.
In Johnson’s day, guys were not yet crouching at each other. Everything was about circling and sizing each other up, waiting on the other man to attack. Jack always had his hands up ready to counter or parry. He generally fought patiently during the early rounds, and gradually became more and more assertive as his opponent got winded and discouraged. Like Ali, Louis, Holmes and Wladimir Klitschko after him, Johnson could be very patient and didn’t take any unnecessary risks.
Even though he fought out of a crouch, the sloppy Galento was not difficult to hit. His bobbing and weaving was minimal. Galento seemed to be more concerned with planning his own attack than worrying about what the other guy would do. Louis basically hit him at will and could have knocked him out in the first round if he wanted to, but chose to carry him a few rounds and punish him. This is what led to Galento nearly knocking him out in that fight. Galento is not the kind of fighter you wanna waltz with. He was dangerous and unpredictable.
If Galento blasts Johnson to the ground with his fierce left hook, what happens next? This, to me, is the key to the entire fight. Let’s look at Johnson’s chin and heart. Before his prime, he was knocked out by Klondike and Choynski. He was only knocked out once more in his lifetime, and this when he lost the title to Jess Willard. Johnson was no longer fit and far from his best by that point. There are rumors that he threw the fight, but I don’t think so. Despite the footage being grainy, you can still clearly see Willard knock the wind out of Johnson’s chest at one point. When Willard hurt Johnson with the knockout punch, Johnson attempted to hold on to him to keep from going down, but failed and hit the deck anyway. He was a tired, old, overweight fighter. It was amazing that he hung in there for almost 26 rounds against a much bigger, younger opponent.
During his prime years, Johnson was decked by a middleweight fighter named Stanley Ketchel. Many people point to this knockdown and say Johnson had a bad chin considering he was hurt bad by a middleweight fighter. But the popular story is that the fight was a scripted affair, and, seeing his chance, Stanley went off script and decided to smash Johnson. A surprised Johnson went down, and returned the favor with his own brutal haymaker. The punch not only put Stanley to sleep, but it knocked his teeth out. (You see Johnson smearing Stanley's teeth off his glove immedieatly following the knockout).
This may have been the hardest punch Johnson landed in his life, similar to the punch Hasim Rahman destroyed Lennox Lewis with. The problem with these kinds of punches is that you have to wind up for them, leaving you wide open for a counter while also giving your opponent enough time to escape. Fortuneatly, Johnson rarely threw this kind of punch. But Galento? It was his specialty, especially his left hook.
I see this as a repeat of Galento’s fight with Louis, only longer. Jack would have to adjust to Tony’s crouching aggression, but I think in a short time he’d frustrate him by countering and wrapping him up in clinches. Knowing Jack, he'd be smiling while he does it. Easy sparring session. Or so he thinks.
Johnson would be having an easy night and having his way until Galento inevitably lands his monster left hook. Jack would be overconfident and I could definitely see him getting a tad careless and getting blasted by a thunderous Galento left hook to the chin.
I see Johnson crashing to the ground in a daze, but quickly getting up with fury as he did against Stanley. Now it turns into a fight! Johnson would be able to see Galento’s wild haymakers coming a mile away, and counter him easily but now with more bite. Galento would be eating some real leather here, and Johnson would wrap him up in clinches and tire him out further. Galento had a great chin. His biggest knockout losses were to Joe Louis and Max Baer, two of the best all-time sluggers of all time.
Johnson wins here by TKO, but it wouldn’t be Johnson’s punch that would do it. Galento would be tired, faded and defenseless. This one ends by technical knockout late in the fight.
Jack Johnson wins by TKO in round 13 or so.
Although I pick Jack to win, I must also note that I don't think anyone should be careless against Galento. Not even for a second. Louis wasn't careless, but Tony happened to hit him when he was in the midst of throwing his own punch. Pure luck, but still. Seeing Galento standing over a fallen Joe Louis shows that Galento might just luck up against anyone.