Talking Legends:📽️ Archie Moore

Relentless, menacing, driven, physically and mentally imposing, “The Mongoose” 🇺🇸Archie Moore (186-23-10, 132KO👊) cemented himself as a legend among legends, and was one of the best fighters of the Golden-Age in the 1950’s. Moore was well known for his cross-armed defense and relentless nature in pressuring fighters to systematically break them down round by round. He had impeccable power, evidenced by his 132 KO’s, which stands as the second highest knockout total in boxing history.

He was a very intelligent craftsman, and had excellent footwork inside to pivot and put his opponent in compromising positions while it enabled Archie to load up on his shot to drive the power home. As a long time World Champion… he represented it with class, and did so with a seriousness to his demeanor that fully embodied what his time at the top of the sport was all about.

Archie Moore was born in Benoit, Mississippi on December 13th, 1916. After getting an interest in boxing at a young age, he would enter the professional ranks in 1936, and made his debut to the scene as a Middleweight. He was raw, but had a lot of determination, and physical attributes that would carry him through as he went through his learning curve. He learned as much as he did in his early losses as he had in victories during that time period, and continued to gradually improve in every outing. After fighting his way through the ranks, he would enter the Light-Heavyweight division. In 1939, he would get his first real shot at the big time against Hall-of-Famer 🇺🇸Teddy Yarosz. While Archie had moments, Yarosz was too crafty for the contender and outpointed him to a 10 round decision. Though Archie had lost, he had impressed and gained the approval of Yarosz Head-Trainer, the legendary 🗣️Ray Arcel…who stated that in due time, Archie would become a great fighter once he gets some seasoning. Arcel obviously knew a thing or two about boxers, and he hit the nail on the head. After that fight, Archie continued to take on tough opposition and got better in the process, coming across the likes of fighters such as Eddie Booker, Jack Chase and the legendary 🇺🇸Charley Burley, losing to Burley but splitting fights with the others.

The year 1945 was a big year for Archie Moore as he fought multiple Hall-of-Famer’s, defeating 🇵🇷Cocoa Kid and getting a TKO victory over 🇺🇸Holman Williams in their second fight. In the first encounter, Williams on a close majority decision that could’ve went either way, and Archie taking a gamble up dropped a contest to 🇺🇸Jimmy Bivins up at Heavyweight who was too big for Archie to handle. Archie would then meet his soon-to-be rival, the great 🇺🇸Ezzard Charles back in Archie’s natural division at Light-Heavyweight, and they fought a total of 3 times. Charles got the better of Moore all 3 times, and knocked Archie out in their final encounter. In Moore’s rematch with Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Bivins however, Archie reversed his course and avenged that loss by retiring Jimmy in the 8th round after administering a sound beating. While Archie was holding his own against great boxers to be Future-Hall-of-Famer’s, he had his eyes set on finally becoming the Lineal Light-Heavyweight Champion of the World, and he would look to go full force down the stretch in his 30’s.

Typically especially during that time, once you hit the wrong side of 30, the mileage, as well as the wear-and-tear starts to catch up with a fighter, and they begin to gradually diminish, but such wasn’t the case for Archie, who continued to find levels in advancement of his own skill-set, and inched closer towards his goal after disposing of Jimmy Bivins once again (this time by Majority Decision). He would soon face Hall-of-Famer Harold Johnson, and did so 3 times in a 4 fight span, and Archie won that series 2 – 1, with Johnson winning the second bout, but Moore winning the first and the third contests. This propelled the Mongoose to finally get another crack at the World 👑Light-Heavyweight Crown, and he had to face another excellent fighter to get it.

At the time in 1952, 🇺🇸Joey Maxim held the Lineal Title which he had won against Bob Murphy a year prior and defended once in the very well chronicled Light-Heavyweight bout between himself and the immortal great 👑🇺🇸Sugar Ray Robinson. The fight was fought in closed quarters, and Archie hurt the Champion early in the first round with a right hand, which set the tone for the fight and in Archie gaining respect from the Champion. While Maxim was game, Archie fought fire with fire and outworked Joey to earn a 15 round UD victory and finally achieved his goal of becoming the Light-Heavyweight Champion of the world, and did so at the ripe age of 36 years old (there are disputes of what his actual age was).

Archie gave 🇺🇸Maxim a re-match one year later, and it was another evenly contested fight more-or-less, however Archie proved to have more in the tank to take to the fight. Archie won another UD against Maxim for what was his first official title defense, although it was a closer fight than what had resulted in their inaugural contest. With the feeling of Maxim faring off a little closer this time around, they would face each other again in the following year. While the second fight between Moore & Maxim was close, and contested, the third match was not. One year later in 1954, they would meet again, but Archie would completely dominate 🇺🇸Joey Maxim in a wide UD victory, one that had Archie flooring the former Champion in the 8th and 11th rounds and leaving no doubts as to whom the superior boxer was in that specific time period. That was Archie’s second title defense for Archie, who now at this point was on top of the world.

Once again, 🇺🇸Harold Johnson & Archie Moore would meet up for another fight, and another competitive scrap ensued. There was something about Johnson that got the best out of Archie, and there was something about Archie that got the best out of Johnson. With the ebbs and flow of the fight giving credence to another closely fought contest, the fireworks started when Johnson put Moore down for a count in the 13th. In the 14th round, Moore came out rejuvenated and pulverized Johnson, putting him down in devastating fashion. Johnson would get up, but Moore would punish him some more before the Referee stepped in to stop the fight, and Moore secured his 3rd title defense.

Reigning Middleweight Champion 🇺🇸Carl “Bobo” Olson was next up for The Ol’ Mongoose, and he would move up to challenge for Moore’s Light-Heavyweight Title. A very interesting fight it was for how long it lasted, with 2 highly technical warriors trying to out-think one another. In the fight, Olson was carefully placing well timed shots on Archie and seemed to get an upper hand. Everything fell apart for Olson though in the 3rd round when he fired a 1-2, but brought his left hand back low, so Archie did the catch-and-shoot, firing a right hand to Bobo’s jaw, staggered him, then knocked him out with a series of hard shots. Olson bravely tried to get up repeatedly, but the body didn’t respond to the minds advances, and he was counted out…another feather in the 🧢cap for Archie Moore who at this point was rising up the list of the greatest Light-Heavyweights of past times.

Archie early on appeared to have lofty ambitions, looking towards the Heavyweight division, so while he had his title, he immediately jumped up to face the King of the division at that time, and that was the undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the World, the “Brockton Blockbuster”, better known as 🇺🇸Rocky Marciano. With two of the greatest punchers in the sport meeting, one wondered how Archie would fare against the bigger man who seemingly had bricks for fists, and how Rocky would react if Archie were to land one clean on the chin. Late in 1955, answers were revealed. Moore struck first and put Marciano down with a well-timed right hand after Rocky misfired on his “Suzie Q” punch. Rocky got up quickly and got back to business, though he was now aware how hard the smaller guy of the 2 could hit. The Rock got his payback though, severely hurting Moore in the 6th round where he put him down twice. Moore was knocked down once again in the 8th, and everything started to fall apart for him. A brutal inside fight this was throughout…and Rocky finished the job by knocking out Archie in the 9th round, thus retaining his Heavyweight title, and his unbeaten streak.

After going back down and successfully getting in a title defense, Archie kept his ambitious nature in motion by going back up to Heavyweight. The title was vacant upon Marciano’s retirement, and Archie, now at the age of 39, was looking to become the oldest Heavyweight Champion of all Time, while his young opponent, future great 🇺🇸Floyd Patterson was looking to become the youngest Heavyweight Champion of all time at 21 years old – a wide stretch between the years, and either way, history was going to be made. You could immediately see the drastic speed advantage that Patterson had over Archie Moore, and it proved to be bothersome throughout their 5 round contest. Youth was served here as Patterson was able to take the Mongoose out via 5th round knockout. Archie’s Heavyweight ambitions had fallen short, but he still had his place as the Kingpin of the 175 lb division.

Fast forward to 1958, one of boxing’s wildest fights to ever take place happened between Archie Moore, and Canadian pugilist 🇨🇦Yvon Durrelle. Immediately in the first round, Durrelle raked Archie with a picture-perfect right hand that shook Archie at his core, but he was barely able to make the count. It was a right hand that would’ve ended the night for many fighters. Archie was severely staggered, and Yvon threw the 🛁kitchen sink at him to put Moore on the deck 1 more time in the first stanza. It was a miracle that the Mongoose even got out the round considering the type of condition he was in, but that spoke towards Archie’s guts and determination that made him a Champion in the first place. Moore quickly regained control of the fight, counterpunching and controlling the ring, however was put down once again in the 5th round. The wild fight continued as Archie gave his all and fought back to eventually turn the tables on Yvon, and had him in fits of trouble, putting Durrelle down to the canvas 4 times. A devastating knockdown came at the end of the 10th, and Archie finished his opponent off in spectacular fashion in the 11th round…a day where it all looked like his Championship run would end after what had taken place in the first round, he endured through hell from the fists of Durrelle to once again show the inner dog, for him to once again prove his Championship medal. After a fight like that, where there were 7 knockdowns, you have to re-match it, so they did next year in 1959. At this point, Archie Moore was 42 years old…but he could still fight. The rematch between Archie Moore & 🇨🇦Yvon Durrelle in many ways took on the same tone established in the first fight, and another war ensued. They got right back at it, and the same energy and effort was apparent from the opening 🔔bell. The second round was an excellent one, with each fighter taking turns landing bombs. The ballistics in the fight however took place in the 3rd round when Archie Moore took it to another level and started ransacking his opponent all across the ring and put him down 4 times in the round. The 4th knockdown proved to be the final one as Referee (and former Heavyweight Champion) Jack Sharkey administered the 10-count that Yvon could not beat. This was one of the signature moments in Archie Moore’s career, and subsequently, was his final great win of his long tenure in the sport of boxing.

Archie in 1960 dropped a non-title fight decision to Guilio Renaldi, however they had a rematch in he following year – this time with the Light-Heavyweight title on the line, and Archie got his revenge in what was a much sharper outing. In Baltimore, the Mongoose would face former Olympic Gold-Medalist 🥇🇺🇸Pete Rademacher, who although had his difficulties in the pros, did some very respectable work and beat some prominent fighters. Archie however had no issues with Rademacher and put him down 8 times in the fight, and eventually out for the 6th round TKO. In 1962, Archie would draw with future Undisputed Light-Heavyweight World Champion 🇺🇸Willie Pastrano. His next fight was up at Heavyweight against a young, brash super talent who (at the time) went by the name 🥇👑🇺🇸Cassius Clay, to be later known as Muhammad Ali of course. He made the prediction that “Moore will fall in 4”, and he made his prediction come true, as he completely battered and annihilated Archie to the point of no return, and stopped him in the 4th round by way of TKO…a fitting closing chapter to a warriors career such as Archie Moore’s, and in a small sense was a passing of the torch in terms of greatness for the next generation. He would fight one more time against a fighter making his debut, secured the victory, and got the send-off he wanted. There aren’t many careers that were as eventful and ambitiously drawn out as Archie’s, and his work will forever stand the test of time. He was also one of the most respected warriors ever, and it was reflected by many, including the likes of a young 🥇🇺🇸George Foreman, and fast forwarding to the likes of a 🇺🇸Bernard Hopkins who looked towards the old school to find subtle tricks lost in the time progression of boxing, and Archie had plenty in his bag of tricks to teach, and to learn from. One of the greatest Light-Heavyweights of all time wrapped up his 28 year professional career, and is still revered today with greatness reflected in its proper context. Here are a list of his accomplishments. 🖼️

 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS ⬇️
– 1X Undisputed Champion (Light-Heavyweight, 1952-1962)
– 1X Lineal Champion (Light-Heavyweight, 1952-1962)
– Won 11 Lineal Championship Bouts
– 12 Wins Over 6 Hall-of-Fame Boxers
– Ring 1954 Round of the Year (Moore vs. Johnson, Round 14)
– Ring 1955 Round of the Year (Moore vs. Olson, Round 3)
– Second Most Knockouts of All-Time (132)
– Longest Reigning Light-Heavyweight World Champion
– Heralded by Some as the greatest Light-Heavyweight
– International Boxing Hall-of-Fame (First-Ballot in 1990)

 

SIGNATURE MOMENT – Archie coming back from the brink of purgatory to defeat Yvon Durrelle in their first fight in 1958, defensing his Light-Heavyweight Title once again.

 

NOTABLE WINS – 🇺🇸Harold Johnson (4X), ♛🇺🇸Joey Maxim (3X), ♛🇺🇸Bobo Olson, 🇨🇦Yvon Durrelle (2X)🇺🇸Jimmy Bivins (2X)🇺🇸Holman Williams, 🇵🇷Cocoa Kid, 🥇🇺🇸Pete Rademacher, 🇺🇸Jack Chase (4X).

 

NOTABLE DRAWS –🇺🇸Willie Pastrano, 🇺🇸Eddie Booker (2X)🇺🇸Jack Chase.

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