Wyatt Earp- Boxing referee. Wait, what?

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It was  billed as a contest for the heavyweight championship of the world. And yet, by noon on Dec. 2, 1896, with the fight slated to take place that same evening in San Francisco’s Mechanics’ Pavilion, they had the boxers, they had the venue but they didn’t have a referee.

It was the problem promoters J.J. Groom and John Gibbs faced.

The fight was between Fitzsimmons vs. Sharkey it was held to settle a three-year question as to the rightful holder of the gloved (Marquess of Queensberry rules) heavyweight title. Boxing was illegal in San Francisco but that didn’t really matter to  the city officials and police commissioners . they even embraced the bout, Mechanics Pavilion was secured as a venue and more than 10,000 tickets were sold.

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Both boxers had an Irish background, Fitzsimmons parents were Irish and Sharkey was a native from Dundalk.

Earp had refereed 30 or so matches in earlier days, though not under the Marquess of Queensbury rules, and he had never refereed a match of national prominence. He was actually hired by The Hearst family, owners of the San Francisco Examiner,  to provide security to their family.  The Examiner, had suggested Earp to Gibbs , he reluctantly agreed because the Fitzsimmons camp had reservations about Earp as referee.  But with no alternative, they finally agreed for Earp to be the referee, knowing that 15,000 people had paid between $2 and $10 for tickets.

Almost immediately after agreeing to Earp, Fitzsimmons’s people heard rumors that Earp had agreed to fix the fight ,with its $10,000 prize for Sharkey, who was a heavy underdog.

Earp had  entered the ring carrying his customary .45 caliber pistol in his coat pocket. Police Captain Charles Whitman, who was at the  ringside, climbed into the ring and demanded Earp hand over his pistol, which Earp promptly complied.

Wyatt Earp awarded the match to Sharkey after Fitzsimmons knocked Sharkey to the mat. Earp ruled that Fitzsimmons had hit Sharkey when he was down, but very few witnessed the purported foul.

The angry  crowd pelted Earp with boos and taunts. He rapidly left the ring and exited the Mechanics Pavilion. But his troubles were far from over

.For weeks, fans and sportswriters who said they had never seen a below belt punch mocked the decision. Fitzsimmons’s attorney, HL Kowalsky, told the San Francisco Call that Earp’s ruling was: “Clear and dirty theft.”

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Sources

ESPN

The Guardian

The Veteran Boxer

Yerba Buena, California

1280px-Choris,_Presidio

The name of the town was taken from the yerba buena (Micromeria douglasii) plant, native to the pueblo site. Franciscan missionary Pedro Font, accompanying the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of 1775-76, applied the Spanish name to the common native herb he found abundant in the landscape. The plant’s common name, yerba buena, the same in English and Spanish, is an alternate form of the Spanish hierba buena (meaning “good herb”).

The earliest report of the use of Yerba Buena as a place name comes from the log of George Vancouver, who in 1792 sailed his ship HMS Discovery into San Francisco Bay and anchored “about a league below the Presidio in a place they called Yerba Buena.

HMS_Discovery_1789_Vancouver

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Now before you all go to Google Earth to find Yerba Buena, you wont find it, because the town no longer exists. It is now a city called San Francisco.

1920px-SanFrancisco_from_TwinPeaks_dusk_MC

On July 7, 1846, US Navy Commodore John D. Sloat, in the Battle of Yerba Buena, claimed Alta California for the United States during the Mexican-American War, and US Navy Captain John Berrien Montgomery and US Marine Second Lieutenant Henry Bulls Watson of the USS Portsmouth arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later by raising the American flag over the town plaza, which is now Portsmouth Square in honor of the ship.[2] Henry Bulls Watson was placed in command of the garrison there. On July 31, 1846, Yerba Buena doubled in population when about 240 Mormon migrants from the East coast arrived on the ship Brooklyn, led by Sam Brannan. In August 1846, Lt. Washington Allon Bartlett was named alcalde of Yerba Buena.On January 30, 1847, Lt. Bartlett’s proclamation changing the name Yerba Buena to San Francisco took effect.

Panorama_of_San_Francisco_by_Eadweard_Muybridge,_1878

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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