Fitzsimmons-Maher Prizeﬁght, Langtry Texas 1896
In order to evade a law that barred prizefighting, Judge Roy Bean held a unique boxing match at this location in 1896. At this time, boxing was outlawed in Texas. At the same time, boxing was popular and illegal bouts were frequent. Bean decided to skirt the law's prohibition by bringing the press and spectators to a sandbar near this marker on Mexico's side of the Rio Grande where Texas authorities had no jurisdiction. The bout was far shorter than most boxing exhibitions in this era. Much to the consternation of spectators that made a long journey to the sandbar, Fitzsimmons knocked out Maher in 95 seconds and won the heavyweight championship while standing on a sandbar on the border between two nations.
Backstory and Context
Bob Fitzimmons vowed to fight Maher and rightfully win the heavyweight championship but he needed to find a way around the boxing ban. The press and others suggested a number of outlandish venues, including fighting in the basket of a hot air balloon. Judge Roy Bean recognized the buzz as an opportunity to stage a fight the world would never forget. Bean told the press and spectators to meet him at the rail station in El Paso for a train to Langtry, Texas, a small town on the border of Mexico. The fight was to take place on a sandbar on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. Workers constructed a makeshift bridge for the spectators along with an canvas arena. The spectacle did not last long. Bob Fitzsimmons knocked Maher out in 95 seconds, capturing the heavyweight championship of the world in one of the oddest boxing fights in history.
Braudaway, Doug. The Fitzsimmons-Maher Prizefight The World Heavyweight Championship Bout of 1896. Val Verde County Historical Commission. Accessed June 24, 2017. http://vvchc.net/marker/prizefight%20on%20rio%20grande.html. Overview of the prize fight
Rumble on the Rio Grande. The Sweet Science. January 8, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2017. http://www.thesweetscience.com/feature-articles/15930-rumble-on-the-rio-grande.