Boxing in New Mexico, 1868–1940

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About the Book

On June 28, 1868, a group of men gathered alongside a road 35 miles north of Albuquerque to witness a 165-round, 6-hour bare-knuckle brawl between well-known Colorado pugilist Barney Duffy and “Jack,” an unidentified fighter who died of his injuries. Thought to be the first “official” prizefight in New Mexico, this tragic spectacle marked the beginning of the rich and varied history of boxing in the state. Oftentimes an underdog in its battles with the law and public opinion, boxing in New Mexico has paralleled the state’s struggles and glories, through the Wild West, statehood, the Depression, war, and economic growth. It is a story set in boomtowns, ghost towns and mining camps, along railroads and in casinos, and populated by cowboys, soldiers, laborers, barrio-bred locals and more. This work chronicles more than 70 years of New Mexico’s colorful boxing past, representing the most in-depth exploration of prizefighting in one region yet undertaken.

About the Author(s)

Chris Cozzone is a freelance boxing writer, photographer and historian. He has run NewMexicoBoxing.com since 2000. His work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and on websites, including Fightnews.com, The Ring and ESPN. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The late Jim Boggio of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was a journalist and chairman of the New Mexico Athletic Commission.

Bibliographic Details

Chris Cozzone and Jim Boggio
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 448
Bibliographic Info: 100 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6828-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9316-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Foreword by Bruce Trampler 1

Preface by Chris Cozzone 3

Part I. The Territorial Years, 1868–1911

 1. Bareknuckle, 1868 7

 2. Prizefighting Arrives, 1880s 13

 3. The Rise of Prizefighting, 1890–1895 25

 4. The Fall of Prizefighting, 1895–1896 55

 5. Outlawed, 1896–1911 66

 6. Hometown Pioneers, Pre–1912 93

Part II. First Golden Age of Boxing, 1912–1917

 7. The Boxing Explosion of 1912 111

 8. The First Golden Age, 1912–1916 132

 9. Rise of New Mexicans, 1912–1916 155

10. Fall and Rise, Fall and Rise—The Saga of Benny Chavez, 1912–1917 185

Part III. War, 1916–1922

11. Border Battles, Soldier Wars, 1916–1919 205

12. Veterans of the Ring, Veterans of the War, 1918–1922 226

Part IV. Second Golden Age of Boxing, 1922–1932

13. In Search of a Champion, 1922–1925 250

14. The House That Mack Built, 1925–1928 265

15. The Uncrowned Champion, 1929–1930 279

16. Mackless New Mexico, 1929–1930 295

17. End of an Era, 1931–1932 310

Part V. Final Golden Age of Boxing, 1932–1940

18. Three for One, 1930–1935 334

19. The Clouting Caballero, 1930–1939 361

20. The Big Scene Goes “Small,” 1935–1940 368

Finales 390

Glossary 399

Chapter Notes 401

Bibliography 419

Index 423

Book Reviews

“not only one of the most entertaining boxing books out there, but also one of the most informative…excellent”—Fightnews.com; “this book was surely a labor of love for its authors…recommended”—Journal of American Culture.