Believe it or not, the term "white hope" was not created to help Complex race bait for page views. It exists because of African-American boxer Jack Johnson and his propensity for knocking out challengers, including white ones.
Johnson's dominance triggered a man hunt for the "white hope," a worthy, pale-skinned adversary. After a few failed attempts, whitey ended its losing streak to Johnson in the form of a 26th-round (the bout was scheduled for 45 rounds) knock out by Jess Willard. Jack Dempsey would later end Willard's pro career with one of the most brutally one-sided fights of all-time, but we'll save that list for another day.