Philly Boxing History

APRIL 11, 1966




On this day in 1966, South Philly's Percy Manning somehow won a ten round decision over former welterweight champion Luis Rodriguez. The fight was staged at the Arena before 4,018 fans. Rodriguez had the reputation of a real "Philly Killer". Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Luis dampened the dreams of a number of Philadelphia standouts including Charley Scott, Sugar Hart, Candy McFarland, George Benton, and Bennie Briscoe (twice). Rodriguez entered the ring against Manning with a stellar 71-4 record. Manning had been a good young prospect a couple of years prior, but recent KO losses to Dick Turner, Kitten Hayward, and Bennie Briscoe helped to label him as damaged goods with an "iffy" chin. Still his 16-3 record looked pretty good on paper, and his last fight, a decision win over Jose Stable, was nothing to sneeze at. However, anyone who knew these two fighters, truly believed that Rodriguez would steamroll the 23 year old Manning. But it didn't happen. 

Rodriguez pressed the fight and seemed to pile up the points, but his attack was only so successful. He seemed to be lacking his usual prowess and had to settle for single-punch-scoring as the fight wore on. To his credit, Manning did everything he could to survive - he held, he ran, he a threw a few punches. In the third round, Percy even slammed Luis with a few hard shots that backed up the Cuban. But overall, little action unfolded on this evening in Philly. The two danced the night away, and Percy escaped the chin test that most thought he would be ill prepared for.

After ten rounds, it appeared Luis would add another Philadelphian to his win log. But two of the three judges disagreed. Bob Polis scored the bout 5-2-3 for Manning, while Earl Vann penned Percy the winner with a 6-4 score. Only judge Jim Weston called Rodriguez the winner with his 6-2-2 tally. Officially it was a split-hometown-decision. 

A little more than a year later, the pair would face off again, this time in Caracas, Venezuela. In the second meeting Luis Rodriguez plowed his way through Percy in a single round for the steamrolling everyone expected before. For Rodriguez, things were making sense again. 


  1940 - Tony Morgano W8 Lew Feldman at the Olympia A.C. in South Philly

  1940 - Ellis Phillips KO2 Pat Celli at the Olympia A.C. in South Philly
  1946 - Billy Fox TKO7 Ossie Harris I at Duquesne Gardens in Pittsburgh
  1946 - Sandy Saddler W8 Johnny Wolgast at Atlantic City
  1946 - Santa Bucca W8 Doug Ratford at Atlantic City
  1947 - Billy Fox TKO7 George Kochan at St. Nicholas Arena in New York
  1960 - Isaac Logart W10 Candy McFarland at St. Nicholas Arena in New York
  1966 - Herbie Lee W6 Mario Saurennann at the Arena in West Philly
  1966 - Roger Russell KO1 Gene Welborn at the Arena in West Philly
  1967 - Joe Frazier KO5 Jefferson Davis at Miami Beach, FL
  1993 - 'Skinny' Jimmy Rothwell