GALVESTON — Community leaders and residents came together Tuesday afternoon at 2601 Ave. M to dedicate a park in honor of a storied Galvestonian — heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson.
Johnson was born on the island in 1878 and put Galveston on the map as he traveled the world to compete in boxing matches under the moniker “The Galveston Giant.” He held the title of World Heavyweight Champion from 1908 to 1915.
Steve Mataro, who boxed during his youth in New Jersey and now serves on the Galveston Chamber of Commerce board, spoke of Johnson’s far-reaching influence at the dedication.
“We knew him back in New Jersey,” Mataro said. “He was a role model to us, even though he was from Galveston. He was a man of great controversy and great accomplishments. This is a time to reflect on the people who fought and paved the road before us.”
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