One of the few 19th century boxing champions caught on film, Afro-Canadian George Dixon (1870-1908) was the first black world boxing champion in any weight class, while also being the first ever Canadian-born boxing champion. This is the only surviving footage of Dixon in action, and captures him at the end of his career.
This genuine three round fight between Dixon and journeyman Chester Leon was staged by The Biograph film Company. Unlike other staged fight films of the period, the battle appears legit, though the knockdown is not convincing. As fight films became popular at the turn of the century, it was common for boxers, even in genuine fights, to fake knockdowns to boost the film’s appeal. The most famous of these was Jack Johnson’s drop to the canvas as he ducked under Stanley Ketchel’s telegraphed haymaker.