Front Street Bout

One Hundred years ago this week, a spontaneous form of riparian entertainment occurred on Front St. that caused a lot of excitement for nearby spectators, except for one:

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner- August 30, 1917

Unscheduled Three Round Bout Between Sylvester Howell and “Wise Mike” Is Won by Judge Buckley

Differences of opinion among gentlemen lead to duels, elections, betting, lawsuits and sometimes to exhibitions of the noble fistic art. On Front street at high noon today a slight difference of opinion between “Wise Mike” Stepovich and Sylvester Howell, two mining men, caused the latter to give the former a short friendly lesson in the manly art. Unfortunately, Heartless Heine Gohres, good sportsman though he is, was forced, just because he had a “star” pinned to his vest, to stop a perfectly good bout and escort both gentlemen to the city hall where the stern faced and even more heartless Judge Buckley allowed the men to potlach $20 each toward the depleted city treasury.

People who witnessed the “affair of honor” say that Jake had more on Wise Mike than Benny Leonard ever had on Johnny Kilbane; and his style of fighting was very like that of the lightweight champion. In less time than it takes to tell it, Mike received a beautiful lamp, a cut lip and a few other scars. His opponent also is wearing a small piece of shin plaster on one of his cheeks. Oh, it was a good bout, and would have been better if Heine hadn’t butted in.

Note: Stepovich, Howell and Buckley were all members of Men’s Igloo No. 4. “Wise Mike” was the father of Territorial Governor Mike Stepovich. This history nugget has been proudly brought to you by Fairbanks Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.

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