Davey Moore was an American world junior middleweight champion boxer….the second of two professional champions who shared the name in the second half of the 20th century….with each dying around the age of thirty….the first Davey Moore (born 1933) as a result of punishment in a fight….the second in an accident at his home. The latter was born in New York during the championship reign of the first. As a boxer, he rose quickly through the junior middleweight ranks—perhaps too quickly, according to some boxing writers and critics. Davey Moore was another really good boxer (almost great)….who has the potential of being lost in the annals of boxing history….but was good enough to be remembered for his skills and talent…..trouble is, he was fighting during the golden age of boxing (1964 – 1995),,,,a time when there were dozens and dozens (maybe hundreds….as I haven’t stopped to count) of great boxers…..a couple of dozen of super great boxers….and double handfuls of legendary boxers that roamed the pages of boxing history during this golden age.
Davey Moore won five New York golden gloves championships….winning the 1977, 1978 and 1979 147 lb open championships. He was defeated in the 1980 147 lb Open division by Pedro Vilella….himself a three time New York golden gloves champion. Moore was trained at the Morrisania Youth Center in the Bronx, New York by Leon Washington….a former professional middleweight.
After turning professional….one of Moore’s early wins was in June 1981 over Kevin Rooney….who would later train Mike Tyson. Moore entered the fight with a 6-0 record, while Rooney was 15-0. Moore won by a TKO in the seventh round of an eight round fight. After winning eight professional fights with five by knockout….the WBA named him their No.1 challenger….and in February 1982, he traveled to Japan where he knocked out defending champion Tadashi Mihara in six….winning the WBA world junior middleweight title. In April 1982, he defended his world title against Charlie Weir in Johannesburg, South Africa….taking five rounds to knock him out. Then in July 1982 he fought former world champion Ayub Kalule….whom he stopped in ten. Moore started 1983 by beating challenger Gary Guiden by knockout in four. He had been scheduled to fight Tony Ayala Jr…..but Ayala was convicted of burglary and rape and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Next, Moore defended against former two-division world champion Roberto Durán….as Moore appeared to be overconfident against an aging ‘Hands of Stone’ Duran….as Duran totally outclassed him and dished out vicious punishment…..hammering shut one of Moore’s eyes and stopping him in eight brutal rounds at Madison Square Garden. The beating was so one-sided that Moore’s mother and girlfriend were both said to have fainted at ringside. Many knowledgeable observers believed that referee Ernesto Magana should have stopped the fight far earlier. This was proven to be correct by the fact that Moore was never the same fighter after this contest.
Moore won his next two fights, the second in Monte Carlo over Wilfred Benítez….as seen in this video herewith…..then he was disqualified in the ninth round against Louis Acaries in Paris in his next fight. In 1985, he won one more fight and was in line to challenge Carlos Santos for the IBF world junior middleweight title. That fight did not materialize, but eventually he did get to challenge for the IBF title against Buster Drayton in August 1986….which Moore lost by TKO in the tenth and only fought 5 more times, winning 3 and losing 2.
His opponent in this fight was Wilfred Benetiz….who definitely makes my super great list of boxers….because of being on the list with the best Puerto Rican boxers like Wilfredo Gomez, Hecto “Macho” Camacho, Miquel Cotto, Carlos Ortiz and Felix Trinidad…..and with all of that….he was the youngest world champion in the sport’s history…..earning his first of three career world titles in separate weight divisions at the age of seventeen…for Benetiz is best remembered as a skilled and aggressive fighter with exceptional defensive abilities….and he fought all of the all of greats in and around his natural weight class…Thomas Hearns, Maurice Hope, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Antonio Cervantez…..all world champions….I mean, just in that group alone are two legendary boxers…..Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard….and two really great champions….Cervantez and Hope….OH MY GOD DOG…..it was such a great time to be a boxing fan. Wilfred Benetiz was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996….and is considered still today among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time…which says a lot.
It is my lil ole Chiweenie Sportsphile’s love of boxing that makes me want to leave “shrines of time” for each of these pugilist who left an imprint on this exceptional era of boxing…..and I get great joy in watching these men at the top of their game.