Westerners bet on anything that moved–how fast it could go and how high it could jump. They had foot races, boxing matches, flea-jumping contests, frog-jumping contests, bear and bull matches, dog fights, cock fights, as well as cow-boy tournament events such as saddle bronc riding.
While horse racing was wildly popular, a close second was boxing. This sport wasn’t exactly the refined version we have today. Boxers wore no gloves and round lasted until one of them was knocked down–and no limit to the number or rounds. As long as both fighters could throw a punch, the match was active. The winner took the purse which could be as much as $10,000.