The Information

RedondaJohnsonIn 1916, Jack Johnson tried to prove luck in a profession much removed from the combats, opening its own advertising agency in Spain. «Advertising was a profesion wich had attracted me to a considerable extent, and one wich I understood quite well because of my extensive use of publicity in the theatrical and boxing world», he wrote in his book The Autobiography of Jack Johnson. In the Ring and Out (Carol Publishing Group, New York, 1992).

The company called «The Information – Jack Johnson and Co.» and his social head office was in the numbers 30 and 32 of the Rambla of the Center (Barcelona). The boxer had to improve all that could his knowledge of the Spanish language to take charge promoting the business. In the Excelsior Cafe, he began to tackle all kinds of businessmen to offer his services:  «This Society of Modern Publicity has to be shortly one of the first ones of Spain for the sure, strong and faced well efficacy of his procedures of claim and propaganda that the best and most positive guarantees allow him to offer to the advertisers. Known it is, that in Spain, as in other countries, the withdrawal of the advertiser is often effect of his suspicion. And kill this fear comes “The Information”, which complies with what it offers and only offers what it can deliver.


Neither the resounding speech by former champion managed to get on with the business. Although it went so far as to be provided with some brilliant collaborators, as the drawer Jasón or the photographer Vela, « The Information » scarcely received orders. Almost no merchant risked putting in Jack’s hands to promote his products. In fact, most did not take too seriously the fighter’s entrepreneurship.

AnuncioNestleThe newspaper La Tribuna (Madrid) pubished the following article on September 24, 1916:

In Barcelona there is, as in Madrid, rare types that provoke the hilarity of the public… In Barcelona, two persons who make the people of Barcelona laugh are of higher lineage: they are two ex-kings. One about which one has spoken much is Muley Haffid, the ex-sultan of Morocco; other, about which one has not spoken anything during his permanence in Barcelona, is Jack Johnson, the ex-king of the boxing. About Muley Haffid many curious things have been said, because, although he is a strong man, it is not possible to punish those who speak badly about him, because his social condition it is prevented. More that it does is to take revenge for the journalists, saying that it gives them money and clocks. About Johnson, on the other hand, one does not speak at all because he knows very well Spanish, circulates along the streets of Barcelona, and, especially, because it has an aspect that it imposes. His muscles are of steel; the punches of this man must be wreckers. Johnson is an elephant without horn, but elephant to the end. Well, Jack Johnson has mounted an advertising agency in Barcelona, ensuring that its procedures are unique and positive results. It would be funny to see how the king of boxing will make announcements. Surely, when visiting advertisers move less language than the arms. He will conquer the publicity by force of punches! Anyone stands up black convincing argument Johnson! However, advertisers in Barcelona, and non-advertisers, laugh a lot of black. And besides laughing, are not advertised.

While some scoffed at the agency, others looked askance. Among those who sympathized with the cause of the allies in the World War I, began to spread rumors that pointed to «The Information» as a support center of the German side in front. Two factors fueled the rumors: the renowned friendliness of Jack Johnson by the German cause and the inclusion in the staff of the agency of Moritz Moisevics, an anarchist revolutionary who had been imprisoned in a French concentration camp at the beginning of the war and who had threatened to do everything possible for collaborating in the defeat of the Allied Forces.


Jack Johnson Boxing in Spain

The boxer Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson came to Spain in good shape

March 23, 1916. The first time that Jack Johnson was boxing in Spain. The match took place at the Grand Theatre. The Madrid crowd moved in droves to attend the first public appearance of Jack Johnson in Spain. The Grand Theatre was filled to overflowing, and in their best appointments lyrics. The diverse audience was like a small representation of Madrid society of the time: aristocratic, military, politicians, priests, artists, small businessmen, journalists, shopkeepers, workers, peasants… Even went to a stage Don Alfonso, son of King Alfonso XIII.

On the theater stage was placed a platform as a ring and, to lengthen a little more the spectacle, they projected a series of comedic short films before starting the evening itself. The nephew of champion, Gus Rhodes was the first to jump on stage in the company of Kid Johnson, a Canadian wrestler who often employed the same name as a black boxer who act in Barcelona. This night was the Rhodes debut as professional. The fight did not have much interest.

The Jamaican fighter Frank Crozier was the opponent of the champion

The Jamaican fighter Frank Crozier

Later, slowly, as the big stars, Jack Johnson went out to the scene. In the spotlight he looked impressive: big, strong, slightly flat of the nose and of shaved head. The appearance of his opponent, the Jamaican fighter Frank Crozier, drew applause and more than a joke about the black that would be white for the champion. The Jamaican made clear that it was there to do a simple exhibition. His blows scarcely were raising air in the proximities of Johnson, who, for his part, it did not also demonstrate any hurry to attack. But the public started getting impatient and Jack chose to feign a more aggressive attitude.

The press thus described the combat that marked the first time that Jack Johnson boxing in Spain: «Only one time Jack unloaded a good blow to his adversary in full face, which was enough for Crozier rolling on the floor, where he remained for some moments as rugged. The panic that caused him to the Jamaican this serious mishap was such that after throwing on the floor two more times to contact Jack glove, did warn the public that, feeling short of forces withdrew the tapestry.»

Jack Johnson boxing in Spain with Frank Crozier

Jack Johnson vs. Frank Crozier

When the spectators sensed that the show was over, they started protesting. In the stalls, a fiery call to mutiny. Jack Johnson reacted rapidly and announced an exhibition with his sparring partner: Gus Rhodes. And with a series of strength exercises, Jack Johnson completed his first boxing match in Spain.