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I don't know. I've never been a big fan of this story. I don't think it shows Houdini in his best light. He had the advantage over a member of his audience and he certainly pressed it. In Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss, author Ken Silverman says Willard's bluster that night might well have been a cover for stage-fright -- that outside the ring Willard was self-conscious about his enormous 6 ft. 6 1/2 in. size. I don't know much about Jess Willard, but it seems he not only found himself on the wrong side of Houdini that November day in 1915, but also the wrong side of an emerging media machine. What we would call a "media backlash" today. Also, history has only recorded Houdini's side of the story.
Now, thanks to The Culliton Papers, we can hear Willard's side. This letter he wrote to the Los Angeles Examiner on December 3, 1915 has never been transcribed or quoted (as far as I could find) in any Houdini biography. It's a pretty good counterpunch, and despite calling Houdini's act "moth-eaten" (kind of funny), it's hard to not sympathize with Willard's point about how, as paying customer, he was "entitled to decent treatment."
Willard also shows a pretty crafty understanding of media himself by not using Houdini's name in his letter, thus not giving Houdini the publicity Willard claims was the real intent behind this episode (and certainly Houdini openly boasted he'd received "at least a million dollars advertising space from this fray"). Ironically, not using Houdini's name also makes this letter hard to find via modern keyword searches, so Willard's side of the story has been lost to history. Until now.
By the way, I was surprised to learn that Jess Willard lived until 1968! But this article in the Examiner seems to be the last time he spoke publicly of his encounter with Houdini.
UPDATE: Make sure you click in and read Patrick Culliton's own comments on this. Did Willard use an anti-Semitic slur against Houdini that night that went unreported in the papers? If so, that certainly explains why Houdini and the audience turned on him as they did. Very interesting notion. Thank you, Pat!