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On November 4, 1924, California voters approved a measure to legalize professional boxing, a sport banned in the state for safety reasons since 1914. “Manly art is back,” reads a newspaper headline.
From 1914 to 1924, professional boxing had become a national phenomenonled by champions like heavyweight Jack Dempsey and lightweight Benny Leonard.
“Since the war,” wrote the Los Angeles Daily News, “boxing has reached a considerably higher level as a profession and its champions like Dempsey and Leonard are considered blue chip accounts by banks and investment agencies.”
The newspaper noted that the federal government’s sanctioning of sport in its large military camps during World War I created a change in the way the public viewed un sport considered barbaric. At the beginning of the 20th century, San Francisco was one of the centers of boxing in California.
“The boxing measure has safeguarded the public interest by licensing boxers, managers and promoters, who will at all times be under the observation of the state athletic commission, which is vested with authority to prevent the influx of undesirables,” the Daily wrote. News after the elections.