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The fight, the foul and the lawman

Wyatt Earp once refereed a heavyweight title fight. It was not his finest hour

Originally Published: October 26, 2013
By Kieran Mulvaney | ESPN.com

J.J. Groom and John Gibbs had a problem.

They were the promoters of a scheduled bout between Bob Fitzsimmons and Tom Sharkey, which they were billing as a contest for the heavyweight championship of the world. And yet, by noon on Dec. 2, 1896, with the fight slated to take place that evening in San Francisco's Mechanics' Pavilion, they didn't have a referee. Fitzsimmons' manager, concerned that the fix was in, had rejected every name the promoters put forward. Finally, afraid that ...

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