Boxing writer Eddie Muller wrote about the sport he loved for 52 years, but at the time of his death he was afraid no one would remember the city’s glorious gloved past.
Before he died in 1982, Muller conceived an idea to create a boxing museum to remind locals that before Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Madison Square Garden, San Francisco was the uncrowned boxing capital of the world.
His son, E.J., fulfilled his father’s dream last Tuesday night when city officials, former boxers and fight fans turned out for the grand opening of the San Francisco Historical Boxing Museum.
“He said it would be nice for people to know the way the sport used to be,” recalled E.J., the museum’s chairman.
The San Francisco Civic Auditorium is the home for the museum, which features former champions’ gloves, faded championship robes, old boxing posters, fight photos and plaques of area fighters.
The long hall on the floor containing the museum rings of ghosts of champions past. Some of the local boxing legends memorialized in the museum include former heavyweight champions James J. Corbett and Max Baer and one-time middleweight champion Carl (Bobo) Olson.
Olson, who lost to Sugar Ray Robinson four times, was one of 150 people attending the ceremony. He called the museum “really wonderful.”
“Something like this is really good, brings memories back,” said Olson, who defended his title twice in San Francisco and once in Chicago against Kid Gavilan.
San Francisco Supervisor Wendy Nelder recalled talking to Eddie Muller about his dream and listening to his boxing stories. She, like E.J., vowed to continue the dream for a boxing museum.
Nelder, who sponsored the city legislation that enabled the museum to open, said the effort has helped chronicle “memories to a time when San Francisco was a real cradle of champions.”
Sammy Stein, a ring announcer for 50 years, said the museum “pays respect to a great fight town that’s gone down the drain because of (boxing) inactivity.”
“I think this is something that is long overdue for this city,” said Stein, who said he began announcing in 1935.
The museum will be open weekends from noon to 5 p.m.