Explore Palm Springs: TKO on Boxing

Promoter's bid to hold boxing match at Riviera Hotel in January 1964 is denied by Palm Springs City Council.

Renee Brown History

in January 1964, Palm Springs City Council members were surprised to hear of a boxing match scheduled at the Riviera Hotel.

In January 1964, Palm Springs city council members were surprised to discover a legal notice had been published in the Desert Sun for a boxing event Feb. 3 at the Riviera Hotel.

Palm Springs’ resident Jim Canfield applied to the California Athletic Commission for a promoter’s license. City Council member Harry Paisley informed the council that the boxing match was scheduled in just two weeks, and the city council hadn’t even been approached on the subject.

Paisley insisted these matches were not even legal in the city of Palm Springs. City Attorney Jerry Bunker said the convention hall at the Riviera sits on land zoned for guest ranch use. Anyone wanting to hold such events in the hall would have to first apply for a conditional use permit, he said. No one has done so, and therefore no one can possibly hold a boxing match at the Riviera Feb. 3, Bunker ruled.

Paisley and council member Earle Strebe voted to send a letter stating the facts to the State Boxing Commission. They were outvoted by council member George Beebe, Kenneth Kirk, and Ted McKinney. McKinney made a motion, which carried, that a letter should be sent to the promoters. “They can’t put this match on without our permission, so let’s not make somebody mad. I don’t think we should step on what a local businessman does,” McKinney said.

There is a multitude of ways to Explore Palm Springs, which turns 80 in 2018. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring Palm Springs history. The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive.

Visit for more information.