The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports was an American radio-turned-television program by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) that ran from 1942 to 1960……as the program included broadcasts of a variety of sports….albeit is primarily remembered for its focus on boxing matches…..which was a program that was “must see TV” for Pops and his three boys, Lil Wally, Bone Daddy and Runt during the decade of the 1950’s…..cuz you could bet that the family TV would be turned to the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports at 8pm sharp….as the boys would be excited to see “The Mongoose” (Archie Moore)….”The Rock”(Rocky Marciano).…”Sugar Ray” (Robinson)….Rocky Graziano…..Willie Pep….Jake LaMotta….and more….for these Friday nights spent together with Pops and the boys in front of the black and white television with rabbit ears antenna were the times that great memories are made of….especially for a future Sportsphile like Bone Daddy.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – ESPN Sports Century Special – Archie Moore “The Mongoose”
Archie Moore (December 13, 1916 – December 9, 1998) was an American professional boxer….who was the longest reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion of all time….while holding the crown from December 1952 to May 1962. He had one of the longest professional careers in the history of the sport….after competing from 1935 to 1963…..who was nicknamed “The Mongoose”…..and then due to his extremely long career spanning 219 professional fights, he became “The Old Mongoose” in the latter half of his career, Moore was a highly strategical and defensive boxer….with a great chin and durability. Archie Moore ranks 4th on The Ring‘s list of “100 greatest punchers of all time”…..while having 131 KO’s in his career. The Mongoose is rated by prominent boxing website BoxRec as the 2nd greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all-time. Moore was also a trainer for a short time after retirement….who trained Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and James Tillis.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special – Archie Moore’s 132 KO’s & Crossed Guard Explained – The Old Mongoose Technique Breakdown
A native of Benoit, Mississippi, Moore was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in poverty. A victim of racism for much of his career, Moore was denied a shot at the world title for over ten years, and spent many of those years fighting on the road with little to show for it. An important figure in the American black community, he became involved in African American causes once his days as a fighter were over. He also established himself as a successful character actor in television and film.
Boxing – 1951 – Light Heavyweight Bout Highlights – Embrell Davidson Vs Archie Moore
Around 1933 Moore joined the Civilian Conservation Corps….while working for the forestry division at a camp in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Determined to become a boxer, he decided to make his work at the camp a form of training…..when he later recalled that the other boys constantly kidded him about one daily exercise….while standing upright in the bed of a truck as it drove along primitive forest roads…. and waiting until the last possible moment before ducking or weaving away from tree branches. The captain of the camp permitted him to organize a boxing team…..which competed in Golden Gloves tournaments in southern Missouri and Illinois…..when many of his fights occurred in a racially charged atmosphere….of which he later described one of them, against a white boxer named Bill Richardson in Poplar Bluff:…. saying “I knocked him down with a volley of head punches about one minute into round one. His brother … was the referee. He was furious at me and told me to keep my punches up. Since I had been hitting Bill in the head I would have missed him altogether if I threw my punches any higher. But the referee said I had fouled him. … I got steamed at this and offered to fight [the referee], too. I resolved not to hit Bill any place but his head. … In the second round I dropped him with a left hook that spun his head like a top. … I heard a man at ringside say, ‘For two cents I’d shoot that nigger.'”
Boxing – 1940 – Light Heavyweight Bout – Ron Richards Vs Archie Moore – Fight II In 1944, he had nine bouts….while going 7–2….when his last bout that year marked his debut on the Atlantic Coast….and the level of his opposition began to improve…..as he beat Jimmy Hayden by a knockout in five…..then lost to future Hall of Fame Charlie Burley by a decision….and to Booker by a knockout in eight.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special Career Highlights – “The Mongoose” Archie Moore
He won his first eight bouts of 1945….while impressing Atlantic coast boxing experts…..and earning a fight with future IBHOF inductee Jimmy Bivins…..who defeated Moore by a knockout in six at Cleveland. He returned to the Eastern Seaboard to fight five more times before that year was over…..when he met, among others, future IBHOF inductee Holman Williams during that span….while losing a ten-round decision…..but then knocked him out in eleven in the rematch.
Boxing – 1951 – Heavyweight Bout Highlights – Jimmy Bivins Vs Archie Moore – Fight V
1952 was one of the most important years in Moore’s life…..when after beating Johnson….along with heavyweight contenders Jimmy Slade, Bob Dunlap, and Clarence Henry….plus, light heavyweight Clinton Bacon….as Moore was finally given an opportunity at age 36 to fight for the title of World Light Heavyweight Champion against Joey Maxim….who had just defeated the great Sugar Ray Robinson by a technical knockout in 14 rounds….while forcing Robinson to quit in his corner due to heat exhaustion. Against Maxim, Moore consistently landed powerful right hands….while hurting him several times en route to a fifteen-round decision…..and after sixteen long years, he had finally achieved his dream.
Boxing – 1952 – Light Heavyweight Title Highlights – Joey Maxim Vs Archie Moore – Fight I
The next year, Moore won all nine of his bouts, including a 10-round, non-title win against then fringe heavyweight contender Nino Valdez of Cuba….along with a 15-round decision over Maxim in a rematch to retain the belt….then he had two more bouts in Argentina before the end of the year. In 1954, he had only four fights, retaining the title in a third fight with Maxim, who once again went the 15 round distance, and versus Johnson, who he knocked out in 14. He also beat highly ranked heavyweight Bob Baker.
Boxing – 1953 – Heavyweight Bout Highlights – Nino Valdes Vs Archie Moore – Fight 1
In 1955, Moore again beat Valdez, who by that time was the no. 1 heavyweight contender, and defended against Bobo Olson, the World Middleweight Champion and future Hall of Fame…. who was coming off a decision victory over Joey Maxim, by a knockout in three.
Boxing – 1955 – Light Heavyweight Title Fight Highlights – Bobo Olson Vs Archie Moore
“The Mongoose”, received two cracks at the heavyweight championship of the world…..when on September 21, 1955, he faced future Hall of Fame Rocky Marciano at New York’s Yankee Stadium….. which was in the closest that Archie came to wearing the heavyweight championship belt…..when a Moore surprise right hand in the 2nd round sent Marciano down for the second and final time in his career…. which set the stage for a legendary battle…..but it also created controversy as far as a shared memory…..as in subsequent years Moore made a great deal of Referee Harry Kessler’s handling of the pivotal moment. A half-decade later on in Archie’s autobiography, he describes in detail the referee had thought that Rocky arose at the count of “two”….while continuing a superfluous mandatory eight-count….“Kessler went on, three, four. The mandatory count does not apply in championship bouts (1955)…and my seconds were screaming for me to finish him….so, I moved in to do so….but Kessler carefully wiped off Rocky’s gloves and giving him another few seconds…then he gave him a sort of stiff jerk…..which may have helped Rocky clear his head.” Moore admits to being angry enough at what he saw as interference….that he went recklessly after Marciano….“blind and stupid with rage”…..while going for the knockout, toe-to-toe. This resentment toward referee Kessler appears only to have grown more entrenched…..and by the time of a recorded interview with Peter Heller in October of 1970, Archie had this to say….“(Kessler) had no business refereeing that match because he was too excitable. He didn’t know what to do…He grabbed Marciano’s gloves and began to wipe Marciano’s gloves and look over his shoulder…I’ll never forget it. It cost me the heavyweight title.”
Boxing – 1955 – World Heavyweight Title Fight Special film – Archie Moore Vs Rocky Marciano
This grudge, however, was not mutual. In his own autobiography, Harry Kessler indeed recounts Marciano-Moore with a great excitement, frequently employing exclamation marks in his punctuation, going so far as a direct comparison to the donnybrook between Jack Dempsey and Luis Firpo. Yet, the third man is evenhanded in his praise, taking time over most of a chapter on the bout, to laud Moore. His praise for Moore include the following quotes….“Archie had exuded a stalwart confidence from his training camp…while having more punches in his arsenal than Robin Hood and all his Merry Men had arrows in their quivers…Archie Moore was probably as sure a fighter as ever set foot in the ring…No one ever questioned Archie Moore’s courage”. As for the knockdown, described here also in detail, Kessler offers a perspective directly contradicting Moore’s, saying “I didn’t bother to wipe Marciano’s gloves on my shirt before I waved them back to combat; that early in the drama, there was no resin on the canvas.” As opposed to any blind rage, Kessler states that “Archie hesitated a couple of seconds before he came in.” …..then with humor and without malice, Kessler even recounts the 38-year-old Moore poo-pooing any talk of retirement at the post fight press conference…..when he was sitting in on bass fiddle at a hot spot in Greenwich Village until 5 A.M.!!
Boxing – 1955 – World Heavyweight Title Fight – Archie Moore Vs Rocky Marciano
Examination of the original, uncut closed circuit broadcast from 1955, shows no excesses in referee involvement. Marciano arises at “two”, but the voice of Al Berl, assigned the counting for knockdowns, continues to “four”. In harmony with Archie’s further 1960 description, Marciano has moved to the ropes and rests an elbow. Moore is already moving toward him…..as Kessler flashes onscreen quickly, then away again…..as though he had meant to separate the fighters…..while he is perpendicular to Marciano’s chest…..and his right hand waves rapidly near Rocky’s left glove….then Kessler reverses out as fast as he has come into frame….with no wiping of Marciano’s gloves….and the action resumes. Marciano recovered, and went on to knock Moore down five times, finally knocking him out in the ninth to retain the belt. It was Marciano’s sixth and last title defense, before retiring in 1956.
Boxing – 1956 – Heavyweight Championship Title Fight – Archie Moore Vs Rocky Marciano – Last 3 Rounds of Fight
In 1956, Moore fought mostly as a heavyweight….but did retain his Light Heavyweight title with a ten-round knockout over Yolande Pompey in London. He won 11 bouts in a row before challenging again for the World Heavyweight Championship. The title was left vacant by Marciano, but Moore lost to Floyd Patterson by a knockout in five.
Boxing – 1956 – World Heavyweight Title Fight Highlights – Floyd Patterson Vs Archie Moore
Moore won all six of his bouts during 1957. Among those wins was an easy 10-round decision over heavyweight contender Hans Kalbfell in Germany…..plus a knockout in 7 rounds over highly ranked Tony Anthony to retain the light heavyweight title…..along with a one-sided 10-round decision over light heavyweight contender Eddie Cotton in a non-title bout…..which was followed by a 4th-round knockout of future top ten heavyweight contender Roger Rischer.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special – Archie Moore – ” Defensive Slips & Rolls”
In 1958, Moore had 10 fights….while going 9–0–1 during that span…..as his fight with Yvon Durelle in particular was of note…..when defending his world light heavyweight title in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he was felled three times in round one….and once again in round five…. but then dropped Durelle in round 10 and won by a knockout in the 11th.
Boxing – 1958 – World Light Heavyweight Title Highlights – Archie Moore Vs Yvon Durelle – Fight 1
1959 was his last full year as uncontested champion….which was another rare low-profile year…..when in his two fights, he beat Sterling Davis by a knockout in three….and then Durelle again, also by a knockout in three…..as he once again retain his World Light Heavyweight title.
Boxing – 1959 – World Light Heavyweight Title Highlights – Yvon Durelle Vs Archie Moore – Fight II
In 1960, Moore was stripped of his World Light Heavyweight title by the National Boxing Association (NBA)….but continued to be recognized by most major boxing authorities including the New York State Athletic Commission and The Ring Magazine….as Moore won three of his four bouts in 1960…..with one by decision against Buddy Turman in Dallas…..while his lone loss came in a ten-round decision versus Giulio Rinaldi in Rome.
Boxing – 1998 – Special Interview With Archie Moore – “The Heart Of San Diego”
In 1961, he defeated Turman again by decision in Manila, Philippines before defending his Lineal World Light Heavyweight Championship for what would be the last time…..while beating Rinaldi by a 15-round decision to retain the belt. In his last fight that year, he once again ventured into the heavyweights, and met Pete Rademacher, a man who had made history earlier in his career by becoming the first man ever to challenge for a world title in his first professional bout….when he lost to Patterson by a knockout in six…..as Moore beat Rademacher by a knockout in nine.
Boxing – 1961 – World Light Heavyweight Title Fight – Giulio Rinaldi Vs Archie Moore
In 1962, the remaining boxing commissions that had continued to back Moore as the World Light Heavyweight Champion withdrew their recognition…..after which he campaigned exclusively as a heavyweight from then on…..while beating Alejandro Lavorante by a knockout in 10 …..and Howard King by a knockout in one round in Tijuana. He then drew against future World Light Heavyweight Champion Willie Pastrano in a 10-round heavyweight contest. On the posters advertising that fight, Moore was billed as the World Light Heavyweight Champion…..as the bout took place in California…. which had not yet withdrawn recognition from Moore at the time the Moore-Pastrano fight was signed. By the time the bout took place, the California commission, like New York, Massachusetts, the EBU and Ring Magazine, had recognized Harold Johnson….who had beaten Doug Jones 16 days earlier….as the new Light Heavyweight Champion. Johnson had reigned as the NBA (WBA) Champion since February 7, 1961.
Boxing – 1962 – Light Heavyweight Title Highlights – Willie Pastrano Vs Archie Moore
Then, in his last fight of note, Moore faced a young heavyweight out of Louisville named Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali). Moore had been Clay’s trainer for a time….but Clay became dissatisfied and left Moore because of Moore’s attempts to change his style…..along with his insistence that Clay do dishes and help clean gym floors. In the days before the fight, Clay had rhymed that “Archie Moore…Must fall in four.” Moore replied that he had perfected a new punch for the match: “The Lip-Buttoner”…..nonetheless, as Clay predicted, Moore was beaten by a knockout in four rounds…..as The Mongoose is the only man to have faced both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. After one more fight in 1963, a third-round knockout win over Mike DiBiase in Phoenix, Moore announced his retirement from boxing, for good.
Boxing – 1962 – Heavyweight Bout Highlights – Muhammad Ali Vs Archie Moore
Despite retiring, Moore couldn’t escape the limelight….as he received numerous awards and dedications….when in 1965, he was given the key to the city of San Diego, California….and in 1970, he was named “Man of The Year” by Listen Magazine….while receiving the key to the city of Sandpoint, Ohio…..then he was elected in 1985 to the St. Louis city Boxing Hall of Fame…..and he received the Rocky Marciano Memorial Award in the city of New York in 1988. In 1990, he became a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, being one of the original members of that institution.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special – Archie Moore “The Old Mongoose”
At one point the oldest boxer to win the World’s Light Heavyweight Championship…..as he is believed to have been the only boxer who boxed professionally in the eras of Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali…..and is one of only a handful of boxers whose careers spanned four decades….while retiring with a final record of 185 wins, 23 losses, 11 draws and 1 no contest….with 131 official knockouts.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special Highlights – Archie Moore’s Top 5 Knockouts
During the 1960’s he founded an organization called Any Boy Can….which taught boxing to underprivileged youth in the San Diego area. In 1974 he helped train heavyweight boxer George Foreman for his famous “Rumble in the Jungle” title bout in Zaire against Muhammad Ali. In 1976 he served as an assistant coach for the Nigerian Olympic boxing team. Actively involved in efforts to teach children about the dangers of drug abuse, he worked during the 1980’s as a youth boxing instructor for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, assigned largely to ghettos in San Diego and Los Angeles. “I try to pass on the arts I know: self-control, self-reliance, self-defense,” he told a reporter. In the early 1990’s he again worked as a trainer for George Foreman.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special – Tribute To Archie Moore – Part 1
In 1960, Moore was chosen to play the role of the runaway slave Jim in Michael Curtiz’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960 film) of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, opposite Eddie Hodges as Huck. Moore garnered positive reviews for his sympathetic portrayal of Jim….which some viewers still consider the best interpretation of this much-filmed role…..and although he did not choose to pursue a full-time career as an actor…..but he did appear in 1960’s films such as The Carpetbaggers (1964), The Hanged Man (1964) and The Fortune Cookie (1966)….and on television in episodes of Family Affair, Perry Mason, Wagon Train, The Reporter, Batman (episode 35) and the soap opera One Life to Live. He also appeared in the critically acclaimed TV movie My Sweet Charlie. His later film appearances included the crime film The Outfit (1973)…. as a chef in Breakheart Pass (1975) with Charles Bronson….and a cameo role as himself in the 1982 film Penitentiary II, along with Leon Isaac Kennedy and Mr. T.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special – Tribute To Archie Moore – Part 2
It is obvious by our tribute story to Archie Moore here at ImaSportsphile, that he was more than deserving of his showcase herewwith….and for the many memories that Pops and the Three Brothers shared of nights spent around the black and white television with the “rabbit ears” antenna while watching The Friday Night Gillette Cavalcade of Sports….as The Mongoose Archie Moore performed on a regular basis in the ring.
Boxing – 1935 To 1963 – Special – Tribute To Archie Moore – Part 3