Philly Boxing History

APRIL 20, 1960


Joey Frustrated In Middleweight Title Bid

Joey Giardello finally got his long awaited crack at the title on this day in 1960. But the long wait and the long trip out to Bozeman, Montana proved to be a big frustration for the South Philly contender.

Going into the fight, champion Fullmer was the 12-5 betting favorite and was expected by some to even score a stoppage over Giardello. But Joey made the trip with every intention of bringing the belt back to the east coast with him. Although he failed to do that, Giardello came about as close as he possibly could in his first-ever 15 round encounter.

By all accounts of the nationally televised contest, the fight was rough and tough, filled with head butts, mauling, wrestling, and even some punching.

Joey jumped out to a pretty good start, winning several of the early rounds. But Fullmer was never that far behind. The fourth round was particularly nasty as both fighters landed seemingly intentional head butts.  In the middle rounds, Giardello coasted a bit, perhaps saving himself for the never-never-land of the coming championship rounds. In that final third of the bout, a refreshed Joey started quickly and began piling up the points. However, Fullmer staged a late surge to take the final few rounds.

The official scorecard was deadlocked. Referee Harry Kessler had it 144-142 for Joey. Judge Jay Evans scored the bout 145-142 for Fullmer. Finally, judge Billy McFarland called it a 145-145 draw. The decision was disputed by many, but just as many felt that Fullmer pulled the draw out with his final rush. With the split decision tie, Fullmer retained his NBA middleweight crown and assured Joey, who proved himself to be a little too tough for his own good, another long wait for a second championship chance.

Giardello fought 16 more times over the next three years before finally being granted another title fight. On December 7, 1963, Giardello took the crown from Dick Tiger in Atlantic City.

  1939 - Bob Montgomery W8 Eddie Guerra at Waltz Dream Arena in Atlantic City
  1942 - Bob Montgomery W10 Joey Peralta I at the Arena in West Philly
  1964 - Chico Veliz W10 Len Matthews II at the Arena in West Philly
  1964 - Leotis Martin W6 Dave Russell at the Arena in West Philly
  2013 - Tyson Fury KO7 Steve Cunningham at Madison Square Garden Theater in New York
  1923 - Billy Fox