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US cities with best boxing history

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by RealDeal, Oct 9, 2017.



  1. Chuck1052

    Chuck1052 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    New York City certainly was the mecca of American boxing for much of the time, but it also had some so-called "dead periods." Professional boxing was banned in New York City at least twice for a period of time during the first two decades of the 20th Century. After the third bout between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton in 1976, New York City's importance decreased dramatically in the boxing world with Las Vegas and, to a lesser extent, Atlantic City becoming huge boxing centers. I feel that Philadelphia has had a more consistent presence in professional boxing world than New York City.

    - Chuck Johnston
     
  2. expljose

    expljose Active Member Full Member

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    Detroit has been a solid hub ... Philly .. Chicago has had some bangers come through .. Youngstown ! Youngstown is a very under rated boxing factory .. Cincinnati always been tough .. they had tubs and pryor... I remember them having a wicked martial arts team back in the day too .. always had trouble out of them ..

    Pittsburgh has had some good fighters ..
     
  3. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I don't have info on where boxers came from. But NYC as the Mecca of boxing? Yes. I have been doing some on-line study of baseball and football parks and stadiums (which has nothing to do with this thread) and the sporting events there, and found the three ballparks in New York are only baseball parks in which fights drew a larger crowd than any baseball or football game.

    Yankee Stadium--88,150 (Louis-Baer 1935)
    The Polo Grounds--82,000 (Dempsey-Firpo 1923)
    Ebbets Field--49,186 (Berlanbach-Delaney 1926)

    Fenway Park in Boston had its largest attendance for a football game between Boston College & Georgetown in 1940. Shibe Park in Philadelphia for a NFL title game between the Eagles & Cardinals in 1948.

    The rest of the old baseball parks had their top attendance for baseball. (Braves Field in Boston, Baker Bowl in Philly, Griffith Stadium in DC, Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Wrigley Field & Comiskey Park in Chicago, and Sportsman's Park in St. Louis)

    Briggs Stadium is typical of non-NYC outdoor venues. World series games & NFL championships drew over 55,000. The 1939 heavyweight championship fight between Joe Louis & Bob Pastor (a decent match-up) drew 33,000.

    Boxing differed from other sports in that while certain fights elicited intense interest, there was never the steady support that baseball and football had. In Yankee Stadium, four fights drew over 70,000. 29 football games drew over 70,000. I have no idea how many baseball games did, but 11 world series games drew over 70,000.

    Of the football stadiums, Municipal Stadium in Philly had a top attendance of 120,000 for Dempsey-Tunney in 1926. That is the only football stadium with a top attendance for a boxing match. Soldier's Field in Chicago had 105,000 for Tunney-Dempsey in 1927, but several college football games drew more, led by 123,000 for Notre Dame & USC in 1929. For the other football stadiums, it isn't even close.

    Just a bit of arcane info I have come across and share if anyone is interested.
     
    escudo likes this.
  4. RealDeal

    RealDeal Member Full Member

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    Good info. However, where did you get the 123,000 number for the 1929 USC Notre Dame game? I see 112,912 when I look it up online. The record for college football was 115,109 from the 2013 Notre Dame Michigan game. However, this record was broken last year by the Tennessee Virginia Tech game at Bristol Motor Speedway, which had an attendance of 156,990.
     
  5. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Oh, it was on a blog on college football I read. I will go with your number which is still more than 105,000. It could be the difference between paid and total attendance as perhaps students & faculty & bands, etc., or under a certain age, could have gotten in for free.

    The actual number of people in Yankee Stadium for the Louis-Baer fight was apparently over 95,000. How many actually paid is put at 88,150 by the old Ring Record Book.

    Certainly 156,990 beats them all.

    *Doing a bit of quick research I found this entry on the Army-Navy game of 1926 at Soldiers Field from Tiptop.com which gives possible explanations for the variations in crowd size. This Army-Navy game was the official opening of Soldiers Field.

    "Most crowd estimates for this game were 110,000, but thousands of people got in with counterfeit tickets and by crashing the gate, and some estimates ran over 120,000."

    **Just an aside, Soldiers Field must have been a white elephant, as no one played regular games there as far as I know. The Bears played at Wrigley and the Cardinals at Comiskey. I know of no college team which played regularly there. There were just a few specials with Notre Dame, Navy, Army, and USC. Even NFL championship games with the Bears as the home team were never moved to Soldiers Field.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017 at 4:56 PM
  6. reznick

    reznick Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Chicago has a very rich amateur scene but no so much pro. If you look at the best fighters to come out of the city, it’s not the best roster.
     
  7. RealDeal

    RealDeal Member Full Member

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    Why do you guys think Northern cities have so much more boxing history than the South? For example, I’m from Atlanta, and we are a big city that produces a lot of great athletes, and we have a large African American population. But as far as I know, we don’t have much of a history in boxing.
     
  8. surfinghb

    surfinghb Member Full Member

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    Hold up there .. Georgia had some of the best boxer's of all time and some others. Ezzard Charles(Lawrenceville), SRR, Tiger Flowers, Ike Williams, Obie Walker, Vernon Forrest ..
     
  9. escudo

    escudo Active Member Full Member

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    A few factors. As a northerner who has spent time and has family down south, Northerner's are generally meaner. Less polite, less concerned with tradition or protocol and often very impatient. Also many northern cities have more of a british, irish and italian influence. Cultures that either created or kept boxing as a tradition, often in close proximity and that naturally leads to fights between them. Kids who fight become adults who fight.

    But most of it is mentality. We are naturally less respectful and less patient. Plus long winters with nothing to do but stay inside and hit the heavy bag.
     
  10. RealDeal

    RealDeal Member Full Member

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    We have had quite a few good boxers born in Georgia (usually rural parts, rather than Atlanta) but most picked up boxing after moving away from Georgia. SRR moved to Detroit and then NYC as a kid, Charles began boxing in Cincinnati I believe, Ike Williams took up boxing in Trenton NJ, and Flowers in Philadelphia. So I believe Walker and Forrest are the only ones from your list that actually fought out of Atlanta. And then of course, Holyfield was born in Alabama but fought out of Atlanta.
     
  11. Seamus

    Seamus Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    San Francisco, in it's former, rougher incarnation, was a major boxing town. Mechanics Pavilion alone hosted Jeffries-Corbett II, Fitzsimmons-O'Brien (one of the last cards before the 06 Earthquake), Battling Nelson-Jimmy Britt, Sharkey-Fitzsimmons, Jeffries-Ruhlin and many of George Dixon and Abe Attell's fights. I am sure I am missing many others. The remnants of the facility, mostly destroyed in the quake, was used as a hospital and morgue in the aftermath.
     
  12. Ra's Al-Ghul

    Ra's Al-Ghul The One and Only Full Member

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    1. New York
    2. Las Vegas
    3. Atlantic City
    4. New Orleans
    5. Chicago
    6. Philadephia
    7. Los Angeles
    8. Reno
    9. Miami
    10. Detroit
     
  13. RealDeal

    RealDeal Member Full Member

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    I understand your list but I was thinking of it more as the cities where the fighter is from and learns to box. Thus, the reason I don’t have Las Vegas or Atlantic City on my list.
     
  14. Chuck1052

    Chuck1052 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    During the first 40 or 50 years of the 20th Century, the boxing scene in the South was hampered by the fact that bouts between black and white boxers were not allowed at the time. It also didn't help that the South was far behind some other parts of the country economically, especially the northern states. Note that top black fighters generally didn't have their important bouts in the South at the time.

    - Chuck Johnston
     
  15. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    You nailed two good reasons for the South not being much into boxing. The South was also behind in industrialization so there wasn't an urban working class to support boxing. Poor rural folks and coal miners were not likely to support big time fights.

    Culture might have also played a role. Horse racing seems to have been bigger, especially in the border states like Kentucky.

    And while it is hard to judge the cause and effect exactly, the major venues were lacking. The baseball teams and parks were all in the North, and so was the NFL. The only major outdoor venues in the South would have been college football stadiums, but I can't think of a big fight ever staged at an on-campus college venue.

    Also, the population of the South was far lower. I just looked up the 1930 census, and the largest Southern city was New Orleans at #16. Atlanta was #32. Just not the population base. The top three were NYC, Chicago, and Philadelphia.