Final bell rings for boxing promoter
On this day in 1929, boxing promoter George Lewis (Tex) Rickard died of complications following an appendectomy. He grew up in Sherman, Texas, and as a youth worked the family cattle ranch. He was elected city marshall of Henrietta at age twenty-three, and during this time he also secured his reputation as an excellent poker player. His penchant for gambling drove Rickard’s business dealings for the rest of his life. He moved to Alaska and set up gaming houses in the Klondike but lost money in worthless gold claims. Subsequently he moved to California and then Nevada, where he had his first taste of professional boxing promotion. He staged his first title fight in 1906 and earned a profit from his second endeavor in 1910—a heavyweight bout between Jack Johnson and James J. Jeffries. A match at New York’s Madison Square Garden achieved an indoor gate record of $156,000 in 1916, and during the 1920s Rickard promoted a series of five matches featuring Jack Dempsey. All topped $1,000,000 in receipts. Rickard set up the Madison Square Garden Corporation and opened the new Madison Square Garden in 1925, acting as director of the sporting facility until his death.