The Walker Law -- New York

(enacted 1920, in effect with revisions to this day)

The Walker Law, which returned decision bouts to New York State in 1920, after no legal boxing for three years and no-decision bouts for the previous 20 years, saw Tex Rickard begin the final stage of his remarkable promotional career. As president of the Madison Square Garden Sporting Club, Rickard oversaw 24 boxing programs in the "old" Garden (Madison Square), 23 which were his own and another for which the Garden was leased, free of charge, by a French war relief charity.

Over the winter season, there appeared seven members of today's International Boxing Hall of Fame (Jack Dempsey, Jack Britton, Kid Lewis, Johnny Dundee, Frankie Genaro, Benny Leonard and Peter Herman). Plus another 30 or so who were top-notchers in their day (such as Johnny Buff, Rocky Kansas, Joe Lynch, Pinky Mitchell and Georgie Ward).

Every card comprised four bouts, with the opener usually a six-rounder. There were never less than 22 rounds of actual boxing, and the 24 cards averaged in excess of 36 actual rounds -- something any promoter would relish amid the paucity of boxing talent today.

Of course, there were oodles of stand-up fighters living in New York 78 years ago. When they weren't working at a dozen or so New York City-area clubs, the better ones were in demand for main events across the land. They fought often and, for the most part, they fought well. Seldom were their bouts anything less than entertaining.

Almost all of the fighters of the time competed in six weight divisions (lightheavies and flyweights were few and far between, and their respective titles hadn't received anything approaching universal acclaim). Rickard, in that first Walker Law season at MSG, put on five world title bouts (missing only the featherweight division). The French relief show featured Benny Leonard in yet another lightweight title defense, his second of the winter at the Garden.

Rickard had invested some $18,000 into refurbishing the old palace, which then had been around more than 30 years. By late October, he had in place the innovation of elevated ringside seats (gently sloping risers being used for the first time). He said the capacity was 12,000, but several of the shows exceeded that total by a thousand or two customers.

Even allowing for the customary hyperbole of newspapermen eager to dramatize the shows, attendance probably averaged right around 10,000 for the 24 shows, stretching from September 17 to May 2. Fully six weeks of the season were lost, as would always be the case, to the annual spring invasion of the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey circus.

Rickard's top ticket was the $25 charged for ringside at Jack Dempsey's first New York title defense (against journeyman Bill Brennan, and for which Dempsey received lukewarm notices). The regular, "popular prices" ranged from $1 general admission to a $5 ringside top.

The Dempsey-Brennan bout lured some $150,000 into the coffers, leaving Rickard with an approximate, $15,000 net profit (Dempsey's manager, Jack Kearns, took a $100,000 guarantee off the top).


Walker Law boxing -- Madison Square Garden

Promoter -- George L. (Tex) Rickard,
Madison Square Garden Sporting Club


Friday, Sept. 17, 1920 -- 12,000

Sammy Nable W6 Bobby Hansen, bantams
Andy Chaney W10 Tommy Noble, feathers
Joe Benjamin W10 Pete Hartley, lights
Joe Welling W15 Johnny Dundee, lights


Tuesday, Sept. 28, 1920 -- 12,000

Chuck Preevy D6 Louis Herman
Buddy Dempsey W6 Eddie Fletcher
Abe Attell Goldstein W15 Patsy Wallace, bantams
Joe Lynch D15 Jack Sharkey, bantams


Friday, Oct. 8, 1920 -- 6,000

Johnny Clinton D6 Dave Medar, lights
Danny Frush W10 Artie O'Leary
Panama Joe Gans W12 George Robinson, middles
Tommy Noble W15 Johnny Murray, feathers


Friday, Oct. 15, 1920 -- 8,000

Frankie Genaro W3 (dq) Joe Colletti, flys
Freddie Reese W2 (dq) Johnny Reisler, lights
Joe Lynch D15 Jabez White, bantams
Jack Sharkey W15 Charley Ledoux, bantams


Friday, Oct. 22, 1920 -- 8,000

Johnny Summers W10 Steve Latzo, welters
Paul Doyle D10 Jack Perry, welters
George Ward W10 Willis (KO) Loughlin, welters
Louis Bogash W10 Marty Cross, welters


Friday, Oct. 29, 1920 -- 10,000

Dave Astey W6 Eddie Anderson, bantams
Dan Lynch W10 Buddy Sprague, middles
Billy DeFoe W10 Ralph Brady, lights
Willie Jackson TKO10 Eddie Fitzsimmons, lights


Friday, Nov. 5, 1920 -- 

Billy Stearns W6 Johnny O'Gatty
George Chaney KO1 Georgie Brown
George Ward W10 Phil Bloom, welters
Joe Lynch KO11 Abe Attell Goldstein, bantams


Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1920 -- 10,000

Tony Caponi W6 Lew Snyder, lights
Billy Murphy W10 Eddie McKenna, feathers
Eddie O'Hara W10 Len Rowlands, middles
Mike O'Dowd W15 Jeff Smith, middles


Friday, Nov. 26, 1920 -- 12,000

Harvey Bright W6 Johnny Powers
Jack McGuire W10 Jeff Duffy, middles
Panama Joe Gans KO3 George Christian, middles

Benny Leonard TKO4 Joe Welling, lights


Thursday, Dec. 2, 1920 -- 12,000

Frankie Olson D6 Willie Herman, welters
Jimmy Burns W10 Sammy Nable, bantams
Midget Smith KO1 Phil Franchini, bantams
Joe Lynch KO15 Jack Sharkey, bantams


Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1920 -- 15,000

Marty Farrell W6 Frank McGuire, middles
Charlie Weinert W10 Bartley Madden, heavies
Kid Norfolk W10 Bill Tate, heavies

Jack Dempsey KO12 Bill Brennan, heavies


Wednesday, Dec. 22, 1920 -- 15,000

Georgie Thompson W6 Willie Spencer, bantams
Roy Moore KO1 Jimmy Martin, bantams
Johnny Buff W10 Midget Smith, bantams

Joe Lynch W15 Pete Herman, bantams (won title)


Wednesday, Dec. 29, 1920 -- 9,000

Dick Atkins D6 Packey O'Gatty, bantams
Charles Pilkington W10 Tommy Elm, lights
Panama Joe Gans W10 Sailor Darden, middles
Roy Moore TKO11 Jack Sharkey, bantams


Friday, Jan. 7, 1921 -- 

Johnny (Red) Allen KO3 George Sharkey, bantams
Pete Hartley W10 Ned Fitzgerald, lights
Sammy Sieger KO2 Johnny Murray, feathers
Willie Jackson D15 Pinky Mitchell, lights


Friday, Jan. 14, 1921 -- 12,000

Jack McClelland W6 Jack Stone
Bobby Michaels NC6 John Reisler, feathers
Johnny Curtin D10 Billy Marlowe

Benny Leonard TKO6 Richie Mitchell, lights


Monday, Jan. 17, 1921 -- 10,000

Tim Kelly D6 Franklin Fleming, middles
Earl Baird W10 Joe Mooney, feathers
Johnny Gill W10 Tillie (Kid) Herman, lights
Andy Chaney W15 Charley Beecher, feathers


Wednesday, Jan. 26, 1921 -- 8,000

Frankie Conifrey W6 Sammy Mossberg, lights
Paul Doyle W10 Barney Adair, welters
Roy McCormick W15 Johnny Howard, lightheavies
Pal Moore W15 Young Montreal


Monday, Feb. 7, 1921 -- 10,000

Farmer Sullivan W6 Eddie Nugent, middles
Midget Smith TKO2 Dick Atkins, bantams
Pete Hartley W12 Ned Fitzgerald, feathers

Jack Britton W15 Ted (Kid) Lewis, welters


Tuesday, Feb. 15, 1921 -- ("filled to overflowing')

Tony Caponi W6 Sammy Greenspan, lights
Abe Attell Goldstein W10 Frankie Daly, bantams
Earl Baird D10 Frankie Daly, feathers
Sammy Seiger D15 Billy DeFoe, feathers


Friday, Feb. 18, 1921 -- 9,000

Whitey Allen KO1 Bob Sweeney, heavies
Homer Smith KO4 (Wild) Bill Reid
Kid Norfolk W2 (dq) Pinkey Lewis, heavies
Bill Brennan W15 "Fighting" Bob Martin, heavies


Friday, Feb. 25, 1921 -- ("packed to the rafters")

Eddie James W8 Billy Murphy, feathers
Sailor Darden KO3 Soldier Jummy Wright, middles
Hugh Hutchinson W10, Kid Dube
Willie Jackson W15 Johnny Dundee, lights


Thursday, Mar. 17, 1921 -- 12,000

Jimmy Tomasulo D6 George Kitson, bantams
Joe Gorman D10 Earl Baird, feathers
Vincent (Pepper) Martin W10 George (Young) Erne, lights

Johnny Wilson W15 Mike O'Dowd, middles


Monday, Mar. 21, 1921 -- 13,000

Sammy Sieger W10 Artie Root, feathers
Kid Norfolk KO3 Jack Ward, heavies
Midget Smith D10 Jack Sharkey, bantams
Rocky Kansas W12 Willie Jackson, lights


Monday, May 2, 1921 -- 13,000

Eddie O'Hare W12 Johnny Howard, lightheavies
Andy Chaney W12 Sammy Sieger, feathers

Johnny Buff W12 Eddie O'Dowd, flys

Jack Sharkey W12 Midget Smith, bantams

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