Los Angeles, CA, USA
During the period of its existence from ca. 1886 to 1905, Hazard's Pavilion was the venue for the largest boxing shows in the Los Angeles area. From 1901 to 1904, the first great Los Angeles boxing promoter, Uncle Tom McCarey, staged his first boxing shows at the pavilion. It would be McCarey who put the Los Angeles area on the map as a major boxing venue.
Located on the northeast corner of Olive and Fifth Streets in Downtown Los Angeles, Hazard's Pavilion was a large wooden auditorium-type building with a capacity of 4,000. As the largest building of its type in Los Angeles at the time, it was a venue for conventions, political meetings, lectures, fairs, religious meetings, concerts, operas, balls, and sports events.
Many famous boxers fought at the pavilion. Future World Heavy Champion, Jim Jeffries, had only one fully recorded bout in his hometown when he fought Joe Goddard there in 1898. The man who would go on to be the first black World Heavyweight Champion of the World, Jack Johnson, fought in eight main events on cards staged by Tom McCarey at the pavilion during a period from 1902 to 1904. Other famous fighters who had bouts at Hazard's Pavilion include Kid McCoy, Joe Walcott, Dixie Kid, Sam McVey, Solly Smith, Frankie Neil, Denver Ed Martin, Hank Griffin, Frank Childs, Al Neill, Joe Bernstein, and Billy Woods.
In 1892, James J. Corbett fought in an exhibition bout with his sparring partner, Jim Daly at Hazard's Pavilion. Later in the same year, Corbett would go on to win the World Heavyweight Title from the then-champion, John L. Sullivan. Also at the pavilion, Ex-World Heavyweight Bob Fitzsimmons had one exhibition bout while Jim Jeffries had two, one of them as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Booker T. Washington, William Jennings Bryan, and Carrie Nation were among the famous people who spoke to crowds gathered at Hazard's Pavilion. The great Italian operatic singer, Enrico Caruso, performed there.
In late 1904, the Temple Baptist Church leased the pavilion at a time when churches were generally opposed to professional boxing. As a result, Tom McCarey was forced to find another venue for his boxing shows, a tough proposition because the site could not be located near residential areas, but it also had to be located near trolley lines. It would be late 1905 when McCarey staged his first card at a new pavilion located on North Main Street in the Naud Junction area.
In 1905, Hazard's Pavilion was demolished to make way for a new auditorium, which would later be known as the Philharmonic Auditorium. For a number of years during the 1910s, Billy Clune would show silent films at the auditorium, then called Clune's Auditorium. The landmark film, Birth of a Nation, had its world premiere at Clune's Auditorium on its way to be a massive blockbuster.
The Philharmonic Auditorium would be the home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for many decades before the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was built in the 1960s. It would be during the middle 1980s when the Philharmonic Auditorium was demolished. A parking lot is now on the site.
- Chuck Johnston