Philly Boxing History
August 06, 1962
Yes, There IS a Georgie
Georgie Benton, the man, finally caught up with Georgie Benton, the legend, last night and the two walked out of Convention Hall together.
After 13 years of frustration and unfulfilled promise, the gifted North Philadelphia middleweight finally tore loose from his personal treadmill to win the biggest fight of his career with a solid decision over veteran contender Joey Giardello.
Benton accepted his triumph with the calm perspective of a man who knew he couldn't have done it alone. With congratulations gushing from all sides, Georgie got up from his perch on a rubbing table to grasp the hand of Marty Kramer, the promoter who had launched his comeback ten months ago at the Blue Horizon Arena.
"This was your night, too, Marty," the fighter declared. "You brought me back to life when every other promoter was willing to forget me. I won't forget you for that.
"I've waited a long time for recognition," he said, "but it couldn't be this satisfying if I didn't know I had to beat a good fighter to earn it. I beat a real good fighter tonight. Joey is the smartest and the toughest I ever fought. He surprised a lot of people, I think, including me."
This was a profound truth. Although Joey did most of his shooting on the run, he jabbed and hooked smartly and scored with more right hand punches than the artful Benton had ever taken in any one fight. Giardello was always in the fight and in some rounds he dominated it with supreme industry.
In fact, Benton's corner was convinced that Georgie needed the last round big to win the fight. To his credit, the guy who often had been accused of blowing the big ones went out and took that round big. Although Joey rallied with him furiously, Georgie punished him with booming shots throughout the round.
When the scores were tabulated, it became obvious that Benton hadn't really needed the tenth, but that was only as the officials saw it. Even the most dedicated Benton partisans among the crowd of 9,449 paid were willing to concede that Giardello had been shorted on the scorecards.
Judge Jim Weston saw it 46-45 for Benton, which seemed eminently fair, but judge Lou Tress gave it to Georgie by 48-44, and referee Zach Clayton, who had worked an excellent fight, was incomprehensively out of balance with 48-43.
This ringsider agreed with Weston's 46-45 score and with the belief in Benton's corner that George needed the tenth. United Press International and colleague Larry Merchant also scored it for Benton by 46-45, or five to four and one even in rounds. Clayton apparently gave Giardello only two rounds and called one even while Tress also must have seen only two rounds for Joey and two even.
Joey took the opening round by stabbing authoritatively while Benton seemed content to measure him for later offensive efforts. Georgie landed with crisper shots to win the second, but Joey held him even in the third, lost the fourth by a slim edge and came back to win the fifth and sixth by setting the pace and distributing his punches more evenly throughout both rounds.
Georgie pulled ahead again by employing a persistent, punishing jab to take the seventh and eighth, but Joey recovered from an early barrage on the ropes in the ninth to win that round on hustle and smartly - placed punching.
"I thought I could win it if I took the ninth and tenth," Joey disclosed, "and I honestly thought I won both those rounds even though he did land some sharp punches in the tenth. I can't argue with anyone who gave it to George by a point, but I'm damn sure I didn't lose by any 48-43."
Benton admitted he was most surprised by the effectiveness of Giardello's overhand right, against which punch Georgie has always been considered next to untouchable.
"He's got a sneaky-fast right, certainly the best I've ever come up against," Georgie conceded. "There was one time there when I think he would have floored me with it if I hadn't been in such good shape."
Both fighters finished in good shape physically and financially, Giardello with only slight nicks above and below the right eye and $12,815.74 and Benton with a slight swelling outside the left eye and $9,611.80. It was the fourth-highest purse of Giardello's 118-bout career and Georgie's best ever in 64 pro fights. Promoter Herman Taylor, who counted a $51,511 gross admitted he'd be delighted to let both fighters go for big money again in an October rematch.
Benton was no more enthusiastic over that prospect than was Giardello.
|OTHER FIGHT RESULTS ON THIS DATE:|
|1918 - Jack Britton W6 Soldier Bartfield at Shibe Park in North Philly|
|1930 - Leroy Haynes KO2 Tony Randolf at Ocean Park, CA (Haynes' debut)|
|1930 - Dick Welsh W8 Billy Landers II at Virginia Beach, VA|
|1931 - Dick Welsh W8 Benny Schwartz at Virginia Beach, VA|
|1952 - Bob Satterfield W10 Harold Johnson I at Chicago Stadium|
|1953 - Bobby Brandt TKO1 Joe Rowan at Toppi Stadium in South Philly|
|1953 - Tommy Marciano W6 Charley Scott at Toppi Stadium in South Philly|
|1958 - Sonny Liston KO1 Wayne Bethea at Chicago Stadium|
1962 - Ike White W6 Johnny Alford at Convention Hall West Philly
|1968 - Emile Griffith W12 Gypsy Joe Harris at the Spectrum in South Philly|
|1968 - James J. Woody KO4 Roger Russell at the Spectrum in South Philly|
|1973 - Tyrone Everett W10 Joe Valdez at the Spectrum in South Philly|
|1973 - Cyclone Hart KO2 Doc Holiday at the Spectrum in South Philly|
|1976 - Jeff Chandler W4 John Glover at Convention Hall in Atlantic City|
|1998 - Meldrick Taylor W6 Rafael Salas at Chicago, IL|
|1907 - Al Rowe|