Search this blog

Monday, May 26, 2014

Chicago boxing troubles in 1900

1900-12-23 The Sunday Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL) (page 16)
Houseman's Resume of the Week Among the Boxers.
Game Is Temporarily Dead, and It Is Just as Well.
Blackmailers Had Much to Do with Its Taking-Off--Governor Nash Takes a Stand--Ryan and Ordway.
For a time, at least, public boxing is dead in Chicago. And, for that matter, so is boxing of the private sort. The Gans-McGovern episode of a week ago last Tuesday brought the wrath of the city fathers down on the none too well-protected head of the game, and it will require a lot of "squaring" to revive the sport in Chicago.

And it is about as well that the city has a rest. The game has been worked to death, and from the loose manner in which "boxing carnivals" were being conducted the end was in sight long before it finally came. Every hall and handball court in the city, together with many basements and garrets, was giving weekly boxing shows. Ill-conditioned men, novices, and all manner of physical wrecks were being pitted against each other, and it was only a matter of time when the coroner and his grewsome work would have accomplished that which Alderman Patterson's resolution encompassed at the last meeting of the city council.

Aside from this, the complimentary blackmailers were gradually making the impost too heavy for the promoters to carry. To begin with, there were all of the aldermen in the council who had to be supplied with a pair of seats each, and when these were not the best the howl was deep-toned and sonorous. The various departments of the city and county had to be looked after, and, with $5,000 turned away from the doors at the last Tattersalls show, this is the mass of "snow" found in the boxes after the count-up:

  198 box seats at $5 each................  $990.00
  431 reserved seats at $3 each........... 1,203.00
  302 reserved seats at $2 each...........   604.00
  301 seats at $1.50 each.................   450.50
-----                                     ---------
1,232 seats...............................$3,338.50

Thus it will be seen that no building other than Tattersalls in Chicago could stand this sort of drain and make any money at it. Every man with a friend in the council or in the police department expected "courtesies." Then there were constables, the clerks of the police, the magistrates, the bailiffs, and what not. These "requests" were generally couched in terms which threatened displeasure and gave innuendoes of interference unless complied with. It resolved itself into nothing short of blackmail. Whatever the merits or the motives of Alderman Patterson's anti-fight resolution, there is little to weep over. As between the blackmailers for money and the blackmailers for tickets, boxing in Chicago had reached a state bordering on the moribund. It could not survive much longer. Whether the fight between McGovern and Gans was honest or not does not affect this condition. Boxing would better be given a rest. If it is ever revived, bouts between high-class men to go ten rounds, and the bouts to operate under licenses of, say, $250 or even $500 each, with an effective stranglehold provision for the deadheads, will give the clubs a chance and the city of Chicago a regulating revenue.

No comments:

Post a Comment