For many years some of the biggest fights have taken place in Las Vegas "Boxing Capital of The World". Tyson vs. Bruno, Bowe vs. Holyfield and Corrales vs. Castillo just to mention a few. However, boxing in Nevada is far from a new thing. In fact the first match was held over a century ago.
The First Real Fight - James J Corbett vs. Bob Fitzsimmons
When Nevada legalized boxing in 1897, promoters were no longer forced to call the games athletic contests, exhibitions or carnivals. Instead they could promote the title fight between Fitzsimmons and Corbett using its real name a boxing match.
On March 17, challenger Fitzsimmons (Fighting Blacksmith) and champion Corbett (Gentleman Jim) stepped into the ring.
Fitzsimons hailed from Heston, Cornwall in England but at the age of nine he and his family (parents plus 11 brothers and sisters) emigrated to New Zealand. There he slowly started his boxing career, but it wasn,t until he moved to Australia he began boxing professionally.
Moving on to the United States in the early 1880s, Fitzsimmons fought and stole the middle weight champion title from Jack Dempsy. He also managed to beat Jim Hall and Tom Sharkey before he went to fight for the heavy-weight title in Las Vegas.
James J Corbett
Rumours said that Corbett was a well educated young man, but in fact he never went beyond grammar school. He had a scientific approach to boxing, however, and is called the "Father of Modern Boxing." Prior to the fight against Fitzsimons, this San Francisco son was mostly famous for beating the great John L. Sullivan although he had won a number of bouts.
So, how did the first "legal" fight in Las Vegas end?
Watch the video below to find out.