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Black History Month: Celebrating Black Fighters

Archie Moore

Archie “The Old Mongoose” Moore is the only man in history who fought both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali.

In a career that fell three years shy of three decades (27, if you’re counting), Moore has more knockout victories–with the final tally at 141–than any other fighter who has ever laced up a set of gloves. Moore started boxing professionally as a Middleweight in 1935, but by 1945 he entered the Light Heavyweight division.

Some of Moore’s best work was in the Light Heavyweight division, but he was repeatedly passed over for a shot at the title. If not for the International Boxing Club of New York’s stronghold on the championship belts at the time, his inability to get a title shot was also attributed to his intimidating boxing abilities and constant mis-management by handlers.

In 1952, Moore’s luck in regards to his title shot drought would change for the better. Four days following his 39th birthday, Moore finally got his shot, battering fellow Hall-of-Famer, Joey Maxim by unanimous decision, lifting the title he would hold for the next nine years.

Three years in to that nine year reign, at age 41, Moore decided to try his luck at the Heavyweight title against the legendary Rocky Marciano. Marciano dropped “The Old Mongoose” several times throughout the fight, with Moore failing to get up in the ninth. He made another attempt at the Heavyweight title, the following year against Floyd Patterson, falling short again by knockout.

One of Moore’s most memorable bouts was a defense of his Light Heavyweight title in the summer of 1959 against Yvon Durelle. In a fight that saw Moore dropped three times in the first round, then once more in the fifth round; Moore suddenly turned the tables on Durelle by dropping him in the seventh and knocking him out cold in the 11th round.

Moore had a distinction in the way his career peaked at an age where most fighters would’ve hung them up years before.

Truly one of the greatest to ever participate in the sweet science, Moore claims a storied career that saw him face notable Hall-of-Fame contemporaries later in his career like Ali, Marciano, Patterson, Maxim, Bobo Olson and and Ezzard Charles.

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