ESPN will knock out an original made-for-TV movie on the life of African American heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, according to the network’s executive vice president Mark Shapiro. The movie will premiere next year, written by Paris Qualles (Blood Brothers, Hannibal) and executive produced by Gerald Abrams and Cypress Point Productions (Nuremberg, Out of Ashes). Johnson, the first African American world heavyweight champ, held the title for more than six years. He also fueled racial tensions around the turn of the century.
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