Although inscribed as the “Championship of America” belt, this beautiful artifact was, in reality, presented to “Professor” Michael Donovan by friends from San Francisco in recognition of his “gentlemanly conduct as a boxer.” From 1866 to 1891, Donovan, a middleweight, fought with gloves. He was known as “The Professor” because he was an advocate of the science of boxing and he would later become one of the foremost teachers of the sport. He turned to boxing after the Civil War and, in 1868, he defeated John Shanssey in a bout refereed by the legendary Wyatt Earp. Donovan twice boxed four-round fights with the great John L. Sullivan, in 1880 and 1881, and fought to a six-round draw with middleweight champ Jack Dempsey. Donovan secured a post-career job in 1884 when he defeated Walter Watson for the right to become the boxing instructor at the New York Athletic Club. He was a longtime friend of President Theodore Roosevelt with whom he sparred occasionally.