Jack Johnson vs. Victor McLaglen, Vancouver Athletic Club, Wednesday 10 March 1909
Another rare photo of Jack Johnson, this one taken in the Vancouver Athletic Club, which was located at Dunsmuir & Beatty, adjacent to the Cambie Street Grounds. This was Johnson’s first fight after winning the world heavyweight title. Johnson allegedly went easy on McLaglen and the exhibition fight lasted six rounds.
I’m guessing the guy in the striped sweater next to Johnson is George Paris, the in-house boxing trainer who put Johnson and his paramour up at his house after all the hotels refused the mixed race couple. Paris also trained Vancouver’s lacrosse team, and the same year got into some trouble at a game against New Westminster. After New West fans pelted eggs onto the field, Paris pulled out a pistol and fired into the crowd. No one was hurt, but one fan went home with a bullet hole in his coat.
Paris also taught Vancouver and Montreal police how to box and later traveled to Europe with Jack Johnson as his personal trainer. Besides sports, Paris was also an accomplished jazz drummer - the earliest known Canadian jazz musician - and organized shows at the Patricia Cafe. As for Jack Johnson, he eventually opened up a jazz club in Harlem that evolved into the famous Cotton Club.
Source: Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion, Vancouver and Beyond During the Golden Age of Postcards, 1900 - 1914 (Heritage House: 2000)