REFEREE RECORD SKETCH

In the boxing era of William “Billy” Irwin few states allowed public prize fighting within their borders, either because of the mayhem that occurred within the ring or because of the gangs of unsavory gamblers and assorted cheats that seemed to congregate at ringside. In the words of one sports journalist, who attended the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight on March 17, 1897, the attendants were “a large proportion of pugs, gamblers, newspaper reporters, scrubs, whores and sons of bitches in plenty.”

 

The “flim flam”, also known as the “hippodrome”, was a prize fight in which the result was fraudulently pre-arranged. Most Colorado pugilists of repute, during the 1890’s and turn of the century, fought honestly and to the best of their ability. However there was enough of the corrupt element, looking for windfall profits for a sure bet, to give boxing overall a rather dubious reputation.

 

To assure the boxing fans that a fight was not a “flim flam” or “hippodrome” the matched boxers placed substantial “side bets” on themselves so that if they lost the match their “side bet” money was lost also.

 

Also to assure the fans that a fight was “on the square” the referee was chosen at ringside. The fans, by popular demand, chose the referee that they felt was honest and impartial. Once satisfied with the choice of referee the bettors felt more comfortable placing their bets knowing that the referee was on the “up and up.”

 

Billy Irwin, with a reputation of being “upright and honest to a fault,” was chosen at ringside to referee a number of matches as follows:

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin

Referee: Billy Irwin