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Nevada was the first state to legalize professional boxing in 1897. The sport was supposed to bring money and economic development at a time when mining and ranching both struggled, and Nevada’s tiny population had started to shrink.

The relationship between boxing and the Silver State grew stronger with the addition of gambling. And although the sport has waxed and waned in popularity over the years, Las Vegas remains a center of boxing culture, and the site of many big fights.

The Main Event: Boxing in Nevada from the Mining Camps to the Las Vegas Strip will be released this spring by University of Nevada Press.

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Richard O. Davies, retired history professor, UNR

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