Regular price $750.00

On March 17, 1897 at Carson City, Nevada world heavyweight champion James J. Corbett finally defended his title against Robert Fitzsimmons. According to Corbett�s 1926 autobiography, Roar of the Crowd: The Rise and Fall of a Champion, early plans to hold the fight in Arkansas and Texas in 1895 were blocked by authorities. Nevada legalized boxing in order to permit this fight. The bill to legalize the sport passed the Assembly by a 20-9 vote, with one abstention, and the Senate by a 9-6 vote. Governor Reinhold Sadler signed the bill into law on January 29, 1897. The fight took place on Saint Patrick's Day.The purse was $15,000 and the stake was $10,000. Wyatt Earp and four other men with revolvers were in Corbett's corner, and an equal number of gunmen were in Fitzsimmons's corner to ensure "fair play." Fitzsimmons was a 10 to 6 underdog. A crowd of 4,000 produced a gate of $22,000. The film of the fight was a tremendous commercial success for the producers and fighters. (Corbett and Fitzsimmons each received 15 percent of the profits, and promoter Dan Stuart received 25 percent). It generated an estimated $750,000 in income during the several years that it remained in distribution. The film also is deserving of a footnote in the technical history of motion pictures. Producers of early boxing films protected their films from piracy by engineering film printers and projectors that could only accept film stock of a proprietary size. The film prints of the fight were manufactured in a unique 63mm format that could only be run on a special projector advertised as "The Veriscope." Corbett entered the ring as world champion and outweighed his opponent by 17 pounds (184 lbs to 167 lbs.). The following is from "Corbett Lost Title To Fitzsimmons In Wild Boxing Drama" by Bill Brauchner: The fight appeared to be Corbett's right up to the 14th and last round. He dealt Fitz terrific punishment. In the sixth round, Fitz, groggy from body blows, dropped to the floor. Crouching, he wrapped his arms around Corbett's legs. There was a situation for George Siler, the referee! Corbett called to him to count. If he allowed a foul, guns would roar across the crude ring. If he broke Fitz's grip on the champion's legs, there would be just as heavy a barrage. He hesitated for just a few fleeting seconds�then Fitz let go and sat down. And Siler began to count. At Siler's "nine" a refreshed Fitzsimmons arose. Afterward, Corbett insisted that Fitz was on the floor fully 15 seconds. As he got up Fitz covered. Corbett tried to pry him from his shell, but he stayed the round. Corbett had shot the works on the chance for a knockout. When he came out for the seventh he was tired. But he continued his punishment of the freckled Welshman, who kept trying continually for Corbett's body. Fitzsimmons tried desperately for a punch that would land effectively. He swung from the floor with lefts and rights, staking his chances on one wild shot finding Its mark. Finally one did. A long swing caught Jim in the pit of the stomach. Corbett, still conscious, went down. He reached vainly for the ropes, and fell on his face. Bob Fitzsimmons was the winner and the new champion. Offered here is an exceptionally rare souvenir pin which was issued of the two fighters for this event. When Corbett finally was able to begin breathing again, he was like a tiger. He rushed at Fitzsimmons, demanding another fight. But after that. Ruby Bob let Gentleman Jim strictly alone. Offered here is a large format photograph which depicts action during the fight.
This is a large format photograph, with image taken in 1897 and this copy dating to some time after the fights, no later than 1920's. The image is bold and clear. Not creased. Heavy wear at lower left corner. Light stain at upper left corner. No creases. Mounted on heavy border. Neatly identified at bottom in white ink. 18" x 22." An exceptional image.

Size: 18 x 22

Condition: good