Happy Trails: Boxing’s Swinging End to the Sixties

By Mike Casey on January 2, 2016
Happy Trails: Boxing’s Swinging End to the Sixties
Quarry was brimming with confidence as he answered the first bell against Joe Frazier.

Thank goodness for boxing, eh? Through it all, the ancient game did what it has always done for better or for worse…

I had to buy it, even though I’d heard only a couple of tracks. The band had such a cool name and the psychedelic artwork on the cover was really ‘out there’ in the parlance of the times. Happy Trails, released in 1969, was the second album of San Francisco band, the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Its dreamy cover features a cowboy on his horse, doffing his hat and waving goodbye to his girl as he speeds off through the canyons of a mystical Wild West bathed in bright sunshine. He and his horse appear to be airborne. Well, it was acid rock and a quite different world.

Then the real world suddenly crashed and fell to pieces, the misguided dream of eternal happiness obliterated by hard reality. War wasn’t going to stop. It never does. Greed wasn’t going to be expunged. It never is. Good people and bad people with hunger and ambition were never going to get high and let the world drift pleasantly past them. And not all the hippies were peaceful and loving souls.

It seemed that everything got cancelled out in 1969, as if the gods had grown tired of their latest experiment and decided to wipe the slate clean and invent a new game. The spirit and inspiration of Neil Armstrong was followed by the savagery and cynicism of Charles Manson. The happy trails evaporated and the strawberry fields weren’t forever.

Thank goodness for boxing, eh? Through it all, the ancient game did what it has always done for better or for worse. It carried on rocking in its own private and uniquely detached universe. And what a magnificent universe it was during that final year of a turbulent decade.

The official heavyweight champion of the world was in fistic limbo as he battled through the courts against Uncle Sam’s determination to ship him out to Vietnam for a wholly different kind of fight. Holding the fort for Muhammad Ali on the boxing front was a reserve team that wasn’t at all shabby. It included Joe Frazier, Jimmy Ellis, Leotis Martin, Sonny Liston and Jerry Quarry, as well as a clutch of young prospects who were trying to muscle their way into the picture. And that was just the heavyweights!

I remember BBC commentator Harry Carpenter asking Ali around that time if boxing missed him or if he missed boxing. With his usual assuredness, Ali said he believed the former to be the case. But boxing, like any other sport, never misses anyone for that long; not even a special fighter who transcends his sport and becomes bigger in the public eye than any president or prime minister. Fresh blood is always being pumped in to the beating heart. The tail wags the dog for a while, but then the dog learns how to do without it.

As go the heavyweights, so goes boxing. It’s an old saying, but in 1969 there was just as much excitement in the lower divisions.

Fantastic

The fantastic emergence of Mexican bantamweight bomber Ruben Olivares was one of the highlights of the year. Olivares would prove himself to be one of the greatest bantams of all time. At his peak, he was exciting and explosive and would have given even the mighty Eder Jofre a life-and-death struggle. Ruben surged through the ranks and had roared to a 53-0 record by the time he challenged Australia’s Lionel Rose for the world championship on August 22 at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles.

The classy Rose was a natural talent, a fluent boxer who could also mix it with the toughest of customers. He caused a sensation in February 1968 when he traveled to Japan and won the championship from the great Fighting Harada on a unanimous decision. It was the beginning of a magical year for the gifted young Australian, who was just 19. He defeated Tommaso Galli and Joe Medel in non-title matches and turned back the title challenges of top quality contenders Takao Sakurai, Chucho Castillo and Alan Rudkin.

Only against the gritty Liverpudlian Rudkin did Lionel get the chance to defend his championship before his fellow Australians at the Kooyong Tennis Stadium in Melbourne. He had previously returned to Japan to beat Sakurai before a torrid 15-rounds war with Chucho Castillo in Los Angeles. Rose eked out a split decision victory over the Mexican firecracker that didn’t go down too well with the natives.

Don Fraser, writing for The Ring, reported: “Several hundred Castillo followers among the crowd of 15,342 felt that their idol was jobbed and started a riot which included the burning of seats, throwing of bottles and the over-turning of several cars in the parking area.”

Against Olivares, Rose didn’t need the judges. He needed a baseball bat. The manner in which Ruben stalked the champion and set him up for the kill was masterful. Things didn’t look too bad for Lionel in the opening round as he held center ring and looked his usual relaxed and elegant self. Olivares, gloves held high, was content to circle Rose for a while and get the lay of the land. But when Lionel made his first aggressive move, Olivares looked ominous as he countered viciously to head and body.

The second round was thrilling as Olivares opened up with fast and beautifully delivered punches, constantly switching his attack up and down. Rose fought back courageously but was already being overwhelmed and went down from a flurry of punches. Lionel was bleeding from a cut inside his mouth and had his mouthpiece knocked out in this round, as well as in the third and the concluding fifth. Ruben was also wreaking a lot of damage to the champion’s body with ripping left hooks.

Rose tried to settle and find his rhythm in the fourth round, but the relentless Olivares gave him little time to rest. Then Ruben began to seriously connect, hurting Rose with powerful left hooks. Lionel never stopped gamely firing back but he simply couldn’t contain the little Mexican powerhouse. When Olivares battered Rose in a corner in the fifth round, it was the beginning of the end. Caught in the perfect storm, Lionel was chopped down twice and his crown was lost. Olivares, the bullish little knockout king, had knocked out the champion of the world.

At the tail end of 1969, Ruben defended his crown against perennial contender Alan Rudkin, who had given Fighting Harada a terrific challenge over 15 lively rounds back in 1965. Alan then had to wait patiently for four years before getting his second crack at the title against Rose in Australia. Once again, Rudkin was left frustrated as he lost a split decision.

Against the furious Olivares, however, the rugged Rudkin was smashed to defeat in two rounds and had nothing but praise for his Mexican conqueror in the aftermath. “Olivares will find little to do if he continues in the bantam class,” said Alan. “I have fought all over the world and met some great punchers. But this Olivares boy is tops.”

Lock

While Lionel Rose was no longer a world champion, the Australians still had a lock on the featherweight championship in the form of the clever Johnny Famechon, nephew of Ray Famechon, who years earlier had failed to lift the coveted crown from the great Willie Pep. In January 1969, Johnny went one better than Uncle Ray when he dethroned the flashy Jose Legra on a tight decision at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The verdict was disputed by many, but referee George Smith gave the fight to Famechon by one round —  correctly so in my opinion.

In the welterweight division, the rangy Texan Curtis Cokes had been a worthy champion since Emile Griffith had moved up to the middleweights and snatched the crown from Dick Tiger in 1966. But while Cokes was a highly skilled craftsman, he lacked Griffith’s presence and popularity. The 147-pound division needed a leader whose talent blended with glamor and dynamism. It found that man in the Cuba-born Mexican ace, Jose Napoles. In April 1969, Napoles, who had lost just four times in 64 fights and had campaigned mostly as a junior welterweight, stepped up in style with a thoroughly commanding performance to stop Cokes after 13 rounds of a one-sided match at the Inglewood Forum.

The battered Cokes was pulled out of the fight by his manager Doug Lord, and the lopsided scorecards of the three officials reflected the dominance of Napoles. Referee George Latka had Jose leading the fight 11-1, judge Joey Olmos had the same score, while judge John Thomas was a little kinder to Curtis with a tally of 10-2 for Napoles.

The counterpunching Cokes just couldn’t get untracked against the crafty and fast punching Napoles and was constantly kept off balance by Jose’s busy left hand. “I couldn’t get off,” Cokes later explained, believing he had suffered an off night and could even the score in a return match. But Curtis knew he had been in the ring with a special talent and gave Napoles his due, albeit with a little sting in the tail: “He’s the top man I ever defended against, but I would rate Luis Rodriguez as a better fighter at the time I met him.”

Cokes might well have been right about Rodriguez, who has always been somewhat underrated among the welterweight champions. But Curtis was quite wrong about suffering an off night against Napoles, who was quite clearly the superior technician. Two months later, Jose and Curtis returned to the Inglewood Forum for the rematch and once again Cokes was forced to retire, this time after 10 rounds.

Secured

Napoles secured the fighter of the year honor in October when he registered another comprehensive victory. Former champion Emile Griffith came to reclaim his old crown after finishing a 1-2 loser in his trilogy of middleweight championship duels with Nino Benvenuti. After sampling the best of Napoles, Emile was soon heading back to the middleweights. Jose beat Griffith to the punch again and again and gave him quite a body beating into the bargain. A clubbing right to the head from Emile in the ninth round caused Napoles some discomfort but it was a fleeting success. Griff’s manager Gil Clancy praised Napoles as one of the best fighters he had seen and the scorecards — 11-4, 11-3 and 9-4 — reflected the champion’s emphatic superiority.

Unlike Napoles, Italy’s middleweight champion Nino Benvenuti couldn’t allow his title defense against a feisty Luis Rodriguez to go the full distance. Coming out for the eleventh round at the Palazetto dello Sport in Rome, Nino’s slight lead was in danger of becoming redundant as he bled heavily from a badly cut left eye and cuts on his nose. The Roman faithful were deeply worried. Their Nino was in grave danger of being stopped and losing his crown.

Then it happened. After one minute and eight seconds of the round, Nino delivered the big bomb that would send Rome into a frenzy of unbridled joy. Stepping inside a Rodriguez right hand, Benvenuti — always a potent left hooker — delivered his pet punch with perfection and put Luis out for the count. “It was a lucky shot, one in a million,” Rodriguez protested.

Alas, his sentiments were not shared by ringside observers, who praised the shattering knockout blow for its immaculate timing and delivery. “I think I’m going to take it easy for a while,” said Luis. Lucky punches do tend to induce a desire to rest.

Circumstances

Inevitably, whatever the year and whatever the circumstances, everything turns full circle and comes back to the heavyweights. It always does. Even when deprived of an undisputed king, as was the case in 1969, the dreadnoughts continue to have the heaviest impact on the general public. Far from suffering from the loss of the charismatic and exiled Muhammad Ali, the men in waiting seemed to flourish in their new and open environment. The prized bauble was up for grabs and the top contenders clashed like warring rams as they sought to settle the issue of supremacy.

Top honors for the fight of the year, rightly so, went to the wonderful battle waged by Joe Frazier and Jerry Quarry at Madison Square Garden in June. Smokin’ Joe, recognized as the world champion by the New York State Athletic Commission, was making the fourth defense of his portion of the crown, while Quarry was coming off a unanimous victory over Buster Mathis in March.

The Mathis win put Jerry right back in the championship picture. It was both skillfully executed and commanding. Mathis, a giant of the age at 234½ pounds, was pitting his deceptively skillful bulk against Quarry’s 196. Mathis had scored six victories since losing to Joe Frazier the year before, including a bloody and emphatic points win over George Chuvalo just a month before meeting Quarry.

Buster was a 12 to 5 favorite over Jerry, but Quarry clearly wasn’t bothered by his underdog status. Establishing his authority from the outset with a charging two-fisted attack, Jerry settled down to fashion an aggressive but intelligent performance. Piece by piece, he took Buster apart, switching the attack from head to body.

When Mathis split his black velvet trunks down the back in the second round, it was the least of his problems. A left hook to the side of the head from Quarry sent shudders right through Buster’s body. He hovered momentarily in his dazed state and then dropped to one knee near the ropes. Jerry saw his chance to end the fight early but was too eager in his subsequent attack and failed to find the payoff punch before the bell. He didn’t have the KO but he had Buster’s number.

It was a virtuoso performance on Quarry’s part. He capped it by bloodying Buster’s nose in the tenth and taunting him in the eleventh.

The fight wasn’t a shutout for Jerry, but it was the next best thing. Judges Jack Gordon and Tony Castellano tabbed it 10-1-1 for Quarry, while referee Johnny Colan saw it 9-2-1.

Nat Fleischer, editor of The Ring, wrote: “I saw Quarry, a 12 to 5 second choice, take Mathis apart the way a top flight automobile mechanic will unscramble the components of a delicately made Ferrari. Not that Buster is delicately made.”

Confidence

Quarry was brimming with confidence as he answered the first bell against Frazier. But it was a confidence that bred a reckless game plan. Jerry — glorious Irish Jerry — wanted a good old-fashioned Irish fight. Frazier, one of the greatest street fighters of all, was more than willing to oblige as the two men came together like a couple of raging bulls.

The epic first round, the round of the year in the opinion of most, was a peach as both boys slammed away to the head and body at close quarters. Quarry was firing all the time in his attempt to shut down Frazier and give Joe as little punching room as possible. The second round was another thriller and the fight was still evenly balanced after four. Joe, however, was a relentless punching machine in the prime of his life and Jerry couldn’t find the appropriate spanner to throw in the works.

From the fifth round, Joe took control as he switched his buzzsaw attack from head to body and back again. How must Jerry have felt? There is nothing more dispiriting than hitting a man with the best you’ve got and sensing that he is actually enjoying it. Only Quarry’s courage and famously stubborn streak kept him in the fight thereafter. His right eye swollen and cut, Jerry was ruled out by the ring doctor in the seventh round, but he had played his part magnificently in an engrossing battle of skill, strength and quality punching.

Was Jerry’s mind still on the disappointment of the Frazier fight when he returned to the Garden to meet George Chuvalo in December? Now there was a bizarre affair. Chuvalo, never knocked down and never knocked out, was one of the toughest men in boxing history. But George’s success against the top men of the division was only moderate. All Quarry had to do was jab, move, counter and did what the elite boxers usually did to game George — cut him up and outpoint him. Muhammad Ali, Ernie Terrell, Floyd Patterson and Zora Folley had all done it. Even Pete Rademacher had done it. And Joe Frazier had chopped up Chuvalo so badly that George was rescued after 16 seconds of the fourth round.

Quarry seemed to be on his way to a points win against Chuvalo until the bizarre seventh round when never-say-die George, puffy-eyed and with a split cheek, unleashed a long left to the temple. George Girsch, assistant managing editor of The Ring, wrote: “Jerry appeared to be off balance and did not go down immediately. He sort of backed up for a couple of seconds, then plopped backward to the canvas on the seat of his bright green trunks.

“He rose almost immediately, then decided to take the mandatory eight count on one knee. Had he remained standing, there would have been no problem. Referee Zack Clayton picked up the count at five from timekeeper Tony Perez. Quarry seemed to be in possession of all his faculties as the ring official continued the count. It appeared Jerry was waiting to hear ‘nine’ before rising to continue the fray.

“But when Clayton reached ‘ten’, there was Quarry with his knee still touching the floor. Then he quickly rose. But Jerry had missed the count.”

Quarry was enraged and he was still a spouting volcano when he got back to his dressing room. “Nobody knocks me out,” he protested. “I wasn’t hurt. I was looking at the clock and I couldn’t hear the count because the crowd was yelling so much. I got gypped. I got ruined. That destroyed me. I could have gotten up. I couldn’t tell the count by his (referee Clayton’s) fingers.”

Chuvalo wasn’t going to win the fighter of the year award, but the quote of the year certainly belonged to him. Hearing of Jerry’s complaints, George quipped, “It must have been a good punch if he couldn’t tell the difference between nine and ten.”

Mighty

The mighty were falling as the Swinging Sixties kept swinging and causing mayhem during that last crazy month of their reign. Six days before Jerry Quarry’s hypnosis by arithmetic, we had witnessed something that we never quite believe would ever happen. We saw Sonny Liston, albeit an old and slower Sonny Liston, being legitimately knocked into dreamland. Not faking it but genuinely taking it. In the aptly surreal setting of Las Vegas, Sonny crashed to the canvas for the full count in the ninth round of a grueling battle with a tough and gnarled journeyman in Leotis Martin. An honest, old school fighter from Philadelphia, Martin didn’t dance, didn’t do fancy tricks and didn’t throw corkscrew punches of apparently numbing power. He simply stuck around, rolled with his changing fortunes and then found the punch of his life.

Martin was shrewd enough not to bait Liston in the early rounds. Leotis was making Sonny chase him, countering when possible, but looking for the most part like a capable ‘opponent’ heading towards an honorable defeat.

That impression gathered momentum when Sonny decked Leotis for a mandatory eight count in the fourth round. By the end of the fifth, Liston had accumulated a substantial points advantage and was apparently cruising. But age and laziness had come to collect their dues and were now eating into Sonny’s old body by the second. The sixth stanza was one of those strange, tell-tale rounds. Nothing overly dramatic happened, but suddenly Liston looked to be tiring as Martin upped the pace and enjoyed some success with left and right counters. Leotis had matured into a good old pro who could read the signs, and the signs told him that Liston could be taken. The underdog was no longer back-pedaling and making do with slim pickings. He was taking the fight to Sonny and mixing it.

The tempo of the bout increased in the seventh as Martin’s accurate shots brought blood from Liston’s nose. One wondered what Sonny was thinking as he headed for the guillotine. Did he sense the end was nigh? Did he still believe he could make it to the finish line? In the old days, he didn’t have to concern himself with such trivia. Few men had dared to cuff him about and mess him around like this guy Martin.

In the eighth round, Sonny was given a further reminder of his shrinking status as a man of terror. Trying to turn back the clock, he drove Leotis into a corner with a barrage of lefts and right to the head and body. The bully boy was back on the block, putting the young upstart in his place. But Martin would have none of it. The greatest victory of his life was now within his reach and he fired back confidently to force Liston back into mid-ring. Blood trickled from Sonny’s mouth as the welcome bell gave his some much needed respite. He still had the points in the bag, but now it seemed that the gods were dragging the end zone beyond his reach.

The shock of the ninth round still reverberates to this day.The two men exchanged hard punches before Leotis hit the jackpot with a perfectly drilled right to the chin. Liston stopped and wavered slightly as the blow registered and could do nothing about the following left hook that made him lurch sideways and the final right to the jaw that sent him tumbling.

Liston the villain, Liston the man of few words, Liston the destroyer, had finally been laid to rest as a major fighting force. No doubt many celebrated that fact, but it was still as sad to watch as it was spectacular. For Sonny Liston, whatever kind of man he might have been, was a real fighter in a world that had become decidedly unreal over the last 10 years. This growling bear of a decade was finally in sight of its final curtain and the Bear himself would only outlast it by a year and eighteen days before his untimely death.

Mike Casey is a Boxing.com writer and Founder & Editor of ALL TIME BOXING at https://sites.google.com/site/alltimeboxingrankings. He is a freelance journalist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

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  1. Michael Cannon 06:57am, 01/02/2017

    Great reading Mike.

    I have always felt the tail end of 69 and up to say 74 were the best years for our sport, not withstanding all the great fighters you mentioned in your fine article, we also had, Foster, Monzon, and a emerging Duran.

    Don’t get much better than that IMO.

    First post of a 63 year old man that loves Boxing.

  2. Mike Casey 04:11am, 01/14/2016

    The general scene at that time was certainly beginning to take on a more international flavour - a trend that steadily continued. In the seventies came the introduction of U.S. national championships, which of course America had never needed before.

  3. nicolas 12:06pm, 01/13/2016

    What is more interesting for me about the tail end of the 1960’s, in really the brief end of US dominance in boxing. The heavyweight and light heavyweight continued on with US dominance, but not the other divisions. The 60’s started out with Fullmer and Pender, but for the most part was dominated by non US born fighters. Only American born champ in the welterweight division was Cokes, and that was by winning a vacated title. The 50’s and 60’s were certainly decades were the boxing landscape had changed. Great article though by Mr Casey. I do get a kick though in his response to Peter regarding the quality of fighters back then. I know that Nat Fletcher at the time would have disagreed.

  4. Mike Casey 11:30am, 01/06/2016

    I don’t really see how.

  5. tuxtucis 11:06am, 01/06/2016

    Olivares and Ortiz are too distant in time. Imaginary fights between Oliavres against Jofre or Zarate are very challenging…

  6. Mike Casey 12:58am, 01/06/2016

    Speaks volumes for the quality around then, eh Peter? Very glad you enjoyed it.

  7. peter 07:02pm, 01/05/2016

    Each paragraph of this excellent Mike Casey article is star-studded with the name of at least one brilliant fighter. Each paragraph evokes colorful memories. Thank you!

  8. Mike Casey 01:12am, 01/05/2016

    Thanks, Beau. Yes, you’re right about comparing fighters from different eras. It’s very difficult! But a match between Olivares and the brilliant Manuel Ortiz would have been a real treat.

  9. beaujack 09:01pm, 01/04/2016

    Great article Mike Casey…Speaking of Buster mathis I saw Mathis decision
    Joe Frazier in the 1964 Olympic trials in Flushing, Ny. For a big man Buster moved pretty good. I watched the film you posted of Reuben Olivares koing the tough Lionel Rose by his relentless left hooking attack on Lionel Rose who sure was some tough dude to survive as long as he did. Olivares has to be one of the greatest Bantamweights of all-time, and I wonder how would he fared against a great Mexican Bantamweight champion from my youth
    Manuel Ortiz ? Never saw Ortiz ringside but saw one film of him and he
    looked sensational…We can never know about fighters from different era’s.
    Can we ?...

  10. Mike Casey 10:58am, 01/04/2016

    Great fights, Bill, and spectacular finishes from Nino and Leotis!

  11. Bill Angresano 10:53am, 01/04/2016

    The two fights (oh I’m sure there are many more if I think about it) that grabbed my gut and “disabled” my ability to eat dinner in their aftermath, were, Benvenuti v Rodriguez and Liston v Leotis Martin. Both fights live on WW or Sports and both fights I think I’ve discussed with Pete Wood who has and had his own list !

  12. Mike Casey 10:30am, 01/04/2016

    Fascinating stuff, FFC, and I’m very grateful for the enlightenment. Didn’t know any of this! Sad that such wrangling shuts out the general boxing public! Quarry-Mathis - I’m sure - was on the BBC here in the UK, but they recorded over many of their tapes in those days.

  13. Mike Casey 10:26am, 01/04/2016

    Glad you enjoyed it, Bill, and thanks for taking the trouble to say so. Best wishes.

  14. The Fight Film Collector 10:16am, 01/04/2016

    Quarry-Mathis is one of the holy grails for many video collectors, along with anything Harry Greb.  Never say never, but if there are any copies they are buried and forgotten in someone’s basement.  The networks commonly reused tapes of programs they did not expect to rebroadcast, and this was likely one of them.  In fact, we’re lucky to have Frazier-Quarry as it is, since the surviving tapes show all rounds but no prefight or between rounds.  A home recorded vhs is the one most often circulated that includes everything.  James Quarry told me the he approached the Mathis family for their copy, but they refused to share it. According to someone close the Mathis family, they never had copy anyway.

  15. Bill Angresano 10:16am, 01/04/2016

            LOVED this article loved those days ... thank you Mike Casey!

  16. Mike Casey 12:59pm, 01/03/2016

    No problem, Tux - we all misread things sometimes! Best wishes.

  17. tuxtucis 12:49pm, 01/03/2016

    @Mike Casey: sorry, I re-read the article and the other one (The last hurrah of the Little Emperor), and in both the controvorsial scoring you think it was right while most people think the opposite, is Famechon-Legra and not Famechon-Harada I. It’s obvious you think (rightly) the Japanese fighter won that one. Sorry.

  18. Mike Casey 07:21am, 01/03/2016

    Yes, Don, Sonny was ridiculously demonized back in those crazy days. He made his mistakes, but to treat him as Public Enemy Number One - which many did - was absurd. Unfair pressure on Floyd Patterson too, especially when Kennedy virtually appointed him David to slay Goliath.

  19. Don from Prov 06:56am, 01/03/2016

    I hated to see Liston knocked out—one of my favorite fighters and one of the most unfairly maligned IMO.  The man walked a difficult path.

  20. Mike Casey 06:28am, 01/03/2016

    You know, Eric, you’ve touched upon two mysteries there. Tiger-DePaula was one heck of a fight and I have never been able to find out whether it was filmed. I remember watching Quarry-Mathis on TV here in the UK when I was a teenager, but that’s another one that has seemingly been lost. I had a skip through Buster’s fights on YouTube this morning and even his ‘68 bout with George Chuvalo is there. But no Mathis-Quarry. Perhaps some of our other pals here can shed some light on that.

  21. Eric 06:03am, 01/03/2016

    Mr. Casey…Once again, another top-notch piece of writing. Two fights from the 60’s that I really want to see are Dick Tiger vs. Frankie DePaula and the Quarry-Mathis bout. I’ve read that the Tiger-DePaula bout was a pretty good scrap and that Quarry was at his finest in outpointing Buster. I’m not even sure a film of the Tiger-DePaula fight exist even though it was the 1968 Fight Of The Year.

  22. Mike Casey 04:14am, 01/03/2016

    With all due respect, Tux, I suggest that you re-read my article more carefully. I too thought Harada beat Johnny in their first fight, in which Willie Pep was clearly out of his depth as a referee. But I make no reference to that fight here. I state that I believe Famechon deserved the decision over JOSE LEGRA in their London fight for Jose’s title. I only refer to Harada in the context of his fights with Lionel Rose and Alan Rudkin.

  23. Tuxtucis 03:30am, 01/03/2016

    @Mike Casey: really I saw Famechon-Harada 1 and I have “Fighting” clear winner (as most persons had and have): but Casey, who’s a great historian, thinks the Australian deserved the nod. Anyway it’s a good occasion to pose to Casey and other fellow historians an interesting question: which was for you “a false robbery” of boxing history”?...I mean a virdict that usually is considered a fraud, but for you was correct. About me, I watched three times Toney-Tiberi, once 24 years ago and twice later…Even Toney now agrees he lost that fight…but for me he clearly won that fight by three points, exactly how scored the two judges who gave hime the match.

  24. Mike Casey 02:24am, 01/03/2016

    Yes, Mike, much the same situation for me here in the UK! Boxing coverage was dropping off dramatically and I remember waiting for Monday’s newspaper to get the Stateside results. Very frustrating but also strangely exciting as the suspense built!

  25. Mike Silver 10:10pm, 01/02/2016

    Wonderful story Mike. Your rich descriptions have the knack of putting us in a ringside seat. An era indeed worth remembering and honoring, I also remember the frustration of so many great fights that were never televised for the fans to see since boxing had left the U.S. networks in 1964. Could only read about the great Olivares but nevertheless thrilled by his spectacular talent.

  26. Mike Casey 11:18am, 01/02/2016

    They did indeed, OldSchool. There was so much quality action going on through all the weight divisions, and the likes of Ruben Olivares were great for the lower weight classes. Nice to hear from you as always.

  27. oldschool 10:27am, 01/02/2016

    Mike, thanks for the memories. Indeed the 1960s was an exciting time to be a boxing fan. The quality of era’s competition and the terrific matchups made the 1960s very special.

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