On Oct. 7, 1915, Colorado native Jack Dempsey, left, took on Andy Malloy in a 10-round boxing match at the Gem Theater in Durango. The Gem was located at the corner of 10th Street and Main Avenue, across from Olde Tymers Café. Dempsey and Malloy fought three times, the third being in Montrose just 16 days after the Durango fight. Dempsey won all three bouts. Within four years of the Durango fight, Dempsey was the world heavyweight boxing champion. He reigned for seven years and was the wealthiest and most popular sports figure of the day, rivaled only by Babe Ruth. While going on to a successful life after boxing, the same cannot be said of Malloy. Malloy went back to his occupation as a muleskinner and miner in the camps of Southwest Colorado. On Dec. 16, 1919, after a day of heavy drinking, Malloy got into an argument with well-liked miner and alleged bootlegger Gio Oberto at a rooming house in Ophir. Malloy said Oberto threatened to get a revolver, and as he turned to leave, Malloy shot him three times, killing him. He was arrested, charged with murder and taken to Telluride to await trial. Malloy reached out to Dempsey for help, and Dempsey had his Salt Lake City attorney take over the case. However, on Jan. 17, 1920, Malloy was given a razor to shave. He instead used it to commit suicide in his jail cell. He was 40 years old. Read more local history at durangoherald.com/westishistory.
Ed Horvat for The Animas Museum, email@example.com