RIP, Henry Hall

By Pete Ehrmann on June 6, 2016
RIP, Henry Hall
“You like to keep busy, that’s the best thing. Keep movin’, like in the ring.” (Pete Ehrmann)

In an early round, Hall said, “You better tie your shoe string.” Incredibly, the usually savvy Mongoose looked down at his feet…

Ranked second in the world as a light heavyweight in the late 1940s, Henry Hall beat Archie Moore, Bert Lytell and Bob Satterfield in his 16-year boxing career, and fought Harold Johnson, Holman Williams (with whom fought a draw), Rex Layne, Eddie Cotton and, in exhibition bouts, heavyweight champions Joe Louis and Ezzard Charles.

The soft-spoken, dignified Hall, who died in Milwaukee on May 25 at 93, was 78 and driving a school bus and working on a cement crew when I wrote about him for The Ring in 2001. “You like to keep busy,” he said, “that’s the best thing. Keep movin’, like in the ring.”

Hall moved pretty good among some fast ring company. “You had to pull a lot of tricks to beat me,” he said. But it was an old playground trick he pulled on the fifth-ranked Moore when they fought in New Orleans in 1948 that started Hall on his way to victory over the future 175-pound champion and boxing Hall of Famer.

In an early round, reported Jesse A. Linthicum of The Baltimore Sun, Hall suddenly pulled back from Moore and said, “You better tie your shoe string.” Incredibly, the usually savvy Mongoose looked down at his feet, and “Hall sent a crackling right from the floor to Archie’s jaw. Hall went on to win a 10-round decision, Moore failing to fully recover.” (It didn’t help, either, that Archie had two of the late rounds taken away by the referee for fouls. In a rematch in Baltimore a month later, Moore won a unanimous decision.)

In our interview 52 years after the first Moore bout, Hall’s memory of smacking the distracted Archie came with a smile as wide as the arc of the punch he threw.

“It was a bolo,” he said.

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  1. peter 02:15pm, 06/07/2016

    Nice tribute. BoxRec states his manager was “Jimmy Dupree”. That wasn’t Jimmy “The Cat” Dupree from Jersey City, was it?

  2. Bob 03:37am, 06/07/2016

    It seems like the list of Milwaukee “legends” is endless. Hall sounds like he was a great fighter and a wonderful man. Love the way he recalled tricking the old Mongoose. Reminds me a bit of Ted Lowry, who was also working well into his late eighties. In fact, Lowry’s last job was as a school bus monitor when he was close to 90. These type of fighters - and men - are American originals. Classy, dignified and incredibly decent. Thanks for bring Mr. Hall to my attention. “It was a bolo.” I love that line and can just imagine the smile when he said it.

  3. RonLipton 04:53pm, 06/06/2016

    Great stuff.  Sad to hear of his passing, what a gentleman and a warrior.

  4. oldschool 03:19pm, 06/06/2016

    Pete, thanks for remembering another terrific fighter from the past. Henry is another forgotten tough contender from a very competitive era in boxing.

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