[image-3]Promotional materials for a June 12 evening of fisticuffs at Kezar Pavilion headlined by San Francisco's own Karim "Hard Hitta" Mayfield jubilantly announce "Pro boxing returns to San Francisco."
This is the first hometown fight for Mayfield, who grew up in the Western Addition -- after all, for pro boxing to "return" to San Francisco, it had to leave at some point. That brings up an interesting question: When, exactly, did San Francisco cease to be a boxing town?
to bowls of clam chowder served in hollowed-out sourdough rolls. Jack Johnson -- the first black heavyweight champ, not the musician -- trained at the Cliff House in 1910 prior to knocking out Jim Jeffries, the first of many Great White Hopes. In later years, Rocky Marciano defended his heavyweight title here in 1955, in a fight held at Kezar Pavilion.
were the days when the average man on the street certainly knew who the
world heavyweight champ was (If you care to make that determination, try to make sense of this list of champs).
But now, with fans -- and potential boxers -- instead focusing their
attentions on both more conventional sports and combat competitions far
more primal than even boxing, "the sweet science" is very much a niche
sport. Determining when the last boxing matches were held in San
Francisco was not an easy task. We phoned the California State Athletic Commission and asked.
The helpful man on the other end of the line did not have a computer, but instead a sheaf of files (perhaps he had a rotary phone and was working out of a Sacramento supply closet). He was able to confirm there weren't any files in his pile relating to recent state-sanctioned boxing matches in the city. Later, we got a call back from Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the state Department of Consumer Affairs (which oversees the Athletic Commission). He had some answers.