The Fight of the Century
Photo courtesy of Carleen Clark
On this site on July 4, 1910, Reno hosted ‘The Fight of the Century,” a heavyweight championship boxing match between John Arthur Jack Johnson, the African American title holder, and James J. ‘Jim’ Jeffries, a former champion seeking to regain the title he had vacated in 1904. Jeffries had refereed a previous championship bout between Marvin Hart and Jack Root at this site on July 3, 1905, but the promotion of the ex-champion as “The Great White Hope’ focused worldwide attention on his 1910 contest with the talented Johnson, known as the “Galveston Giant.” Gamblers had their money on Jeffries, but Johnson easily handled his opponent and Jeffries’ trainers called the fight in the fifteenth round to save their man from the disgrace of a knockout.
Organized by famed promoter Tex Rickard, the fight brought over 30,000 fans to Reno, some 22,000 of whom packed the arena here on the day of the fight.
STATE HISTORICAL MARKER NO. 220
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
THE WASHOE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
THE NEVADA CORRAL WESTERNERS INTERNATIONAL