Montreal Athletic Commission

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After a series of "rotten" boxing programs conducted in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in early 1922--starting perhaps with the January 24 Monument National show, when Hugh Shannon's boxing stable came to town from New York and put on a poor showing--the Montreal Athletic Commission was created to control amateur and professional boxing and wrestling. "The necessity of a boxing commission to control the sport in Montreal has been shown in three of the last five fights held in local rings, while previous to that American prize-fighters, not fearing suspension, have frequently come to Montreal to pick up 'easy money' by stalling and not trying to defeat local fighters in advertised championship bouts." March 24 The Gazette

The first meeting of the Athletic Commission was held April 7 at the City Hall Annex. Present were Chairman Alderman Louis Rubenstein, Alderman Bray, George Vandelac, Mr. Gabias, and Fred Richard. Elmer W. Ferguson, sports writer for the Montreal Herald, was appointed Secretary. Doctors P. P. MacCormack and M. Wiseman were appointed medical examiners. (Apparently other Commission members, not present, were Ald. Lalancette and L. Larivee.)

The Commission soon enacted rules and regulations modeled after those of the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) and Ontario Boxing Commission. They included:

  • Medical examination of all participants in boxing and wrestling matches.
  • Weighing-in of all boxers before appearing in the ring, and announcement of the weights publicly. (Prior to this, some boxers were claiming to be lighter than they truly were.)
  • A fee for licenses to referees, boxers and managers, with no one allowed to participate without being licensed.
  • A percentage tax on all boxing and wrestling shows staged in the city, excepting shows staged by bona-fide amateur organizations, for which a small nominal flat fee was charged.

The first card held under the auspices of the Montreal Athletic Commission occurred April 17. It also marked the debut of decision bouts--with referees and judges determining the winner of fights "going the distance." Prior to this, such bouts were declared "no decision" (ND), with no one declared the winner. (However, "newspaper decisions" were often made by ringside reporters and published in their paper.)

On May 18, the Montreal City Council made some internal changes to the Commission, by adding new members Alderman Damase Genereux and Frank Hogan. (Hogan would in time become its Chairman for many, many years. He became the President of the National Boxing Association in 1937.) Gabias had not offered his name again, while Lalancette failed to get a majority vote for reappointment. May 19 Gazette

By the late 1920s, the Montreal Athletic Commission had associated itself with the NYSAC, the National Boxing Association and the Ontario Boxing Commission--with each exchanging and recognizing each other's rulings, suspensions, and Champions.

See also [1]