History Tales to feature John McNutt and Port Angeles "'Smokers"
John McNutt will talk about some of the early days of boxing in Port Angeles and Clallam County on Sunday, November 3, at 2:30 p.m. The North Olympic History Center/Clallam County Historical Society’s History Tales presentations are at the First United Methodist Church, 110 E. Seventh St. The program will be in the social hall; parking and entry are on Laurel Street.
McNutt will center his talk on one boxer in particular, “Battling Danny Mathews.”
Until early 1933 prize-fighting was illegal in Washington. But State law allowed private clubs to have “sparring or fencing for exercise” (boxing) among its members. That is why most early fights were held at the American Legion, Eagles, Elks, and private athletic clubs.
These events were called “smokers.” The name may have come from all the dense tobacco smoke swirling around the ring. Smokers were a mix of boxing and local social event.
Some local boxers went beyond “smokers” to become professional boxers.
McNutt is a descendant of pioneer families and is President of the North Olympic History Center’s board of directors.