George “Tex” Rickard was the greatest boxing promoter of all time. “Tex” Rickard dropped out of school at the age nine. He would become a cowboy, town marshal, rancher, miner, mine owner, gambling hall owner and the greatest boxing promoter of all time.
After selling his mine in Alaska, Tex Rickard came to Goldfield, and opened the now famous Northern Saloon.
At the time Goldfield was the largest town in Nevada, boasting a population of 15,000 to 20,000. The miners were thirsty for entertainment, and Goldfield’s who’s who wanted to put Goldfield on the map.
Even though he had never promoted a sporting event of any kind, Tex Rickard risked his entire fortune at the time to promote the Lightweight Championship fight. The date was set for Labor Day September 3, 1906.
The Gans-Nelson fight was a huge success, and was the beginning of Rickard’s promoting many more fights in Nevada and throughout the United States.
In 1910 Tex Rickard would promote the “Fight of the Century” between Heavyweights Jack Johnson and Jim Jefferies. The fight was held in Reno on July 4th, 1910.
The fight would be the first Heavyweight Championship Fight between a black and white opponent. A special arena was built on 4th and Toano Street in Reno for the Heavyweight Championship fight. Over 25,000 would attend the fight.
In 1921 Tex Rickard would promote the Jack Dempsey-Georges Carpentier Heavyweight Championship Fight near Jersey City. The fight would be the first fight to have gate receipts over one-million dollars.
Tex Rickard’s promoting style was to play upon controversy in his fights by playing the good guy against the bad guy or black against white. This style of promotion is still used by modern day boxing promoters to enhance the interest in their fights.
Nevada gave Tex Rickard his start in boxing, and Tex Rickard gave Nevada its start as a boxing venue which would grow to make Nevada “The Boxing Capitol of the World.”
About the Author: Martin T. Smith
Besides being an authority on the Nevada state flag, Martin is the creator of 'The Nevada Trivia Game', author of 'The Nevada Outhouse Trivia Book' and longtime owner of 'The Flag Store Sign & Banner' in Sparks, Nevada.