Heavyweight Championship of the World


In 1877, the two boxers vying for the Heavyweight Championship of the world, Joe Goss (Wikipedia) and Tom Allen (Wikipedia), fought outside of Independence, where the fight was raided, prize fighting being illegal in Kentucky. So the two trains carrying fighters, trainers, spectators, gamblers, etc., moved on down the tracks to Walton, where the Boone County Sheriff attended, and enjoyed the rest of the fight.  Some of the worst riff-raff got on a train in Cincinnati, and the railroad, instead of taking them to the fight, took them down the Short Line to Worthville.  Why?  Because “The reliable characteristics of most of this crowd for robbing even a hungry dog of a meatless bone were so well known . . . that it was thought they could be sent well down into Kentucky, where their relentless ‘picking’ characteristics could be developed at the expense of the peasantry rather than at the expense of the ‘bloods’ and the ’suckers’ of the prize-ring.  Worthville, Sparta, and Sanders were terrorized, and a man was killed in Sanders, then called Liberty. Read the whole sordid, convoluted tale here.   (pdf)