Philly Boxing History

August 11, 1954


Champion Rallies to Keep Title

NEW YORK - (UPI) - Archie Moore with his light heavyweight title fast slipping from his grasp, roused himself to stop speedy Harold Johnson on a technical knockout Wednesday night in 56 seconds of the 14th round at Madison Square Garden.

The 37-year-old champ, fighting in the Garden for the first time in his 142-bout career, swarmed over Johnson in a savage attack as the 14th round began.

Archie the Gypsy, who has a new home town every week, drove home a right to the jaw, a left, a right and another left in rapid fire action and the stunned Philadelphian sank on his back in his own corner.

Johnson, dazed and bewildered, managed to scrape himself off the canvas as about the count of six before Referee Ruby Goldstein carried the count to eight before he let Moore go after him again. Apparently he forgot that the automatic eight-count rule was not in effect in a title scrap.

With a chance to save his title, Moore moved in on the bewildered Johnson with both hands. When it was obvious Johnson was in no shape to continue, Goldstein called a halt.

In the tenth round the champ had been on the deck from a right hand punch. Although he appeared to be up at three or four, the count mounted to six before the bell rang.

The sudden ending stunned the crowd of 8,327, which paid $34,024, for Johnson, although tiring, had been able to handle Moore in the earlier rounds. A fast moving target with his cobra-quick hands, the 26-year-old challenger piled up points and tied up the always aggressive Moore.

The fast-stepping Johnson, who had lost three of four previous non-title bout to Moore, had an 8-5 edge on the card of Judge Artie Aidala and a 6-5-2 margin on Referee Goldstein's sheet going into the 14th. Judge Bert Grant had it even in rounds 6-6-1 with Moore ahead on points 9-8. The Associated Press score showed Johnson on top 7-5-1.

Moore, 2-1 favorite, had surprised the experts by coming in at 173 pounds after scaling 189 1/4 as recently as June 7. Johnson weighed 172 1/2, also a bit lighter than expected.

Johnson's quick jab and his fast hook in the jaw got him off to a fast start while Moore, always moving in, was missing with his overhand, cleaver right. At one stage Archie swung so hard and missed so badly that he spun in mid ring, stumbled and his right glove grazed the floor.


Archie Moore: "I stung him in the 13th and I thought I'd catch him in the 14th. I did. I'll give up the title if I can get a signed shot at Rocky Marciano. This is the best Johnson I ever faced. He's going to win the title sometime."

Harold Johnson: "I don't know what hit me but he followed it up. I knew what was going on, I probably could have danced around and got out of it. I thought I was ahead. I guess my mistake was in backing up. I knocked him down with an overhand right."

  1904 - Jack Williams W6 Peter Maher at Broadway Athletic Club in South Philly
  1919 - Benny Leonard W6 Patsy Cline at Phillies Ball Park in North Philly

  1937 - Dick Welsh TKO8 Sammy Crocetti at Norfolk, VA

  1941 - Jimmy Collins W8 Johnny Forte at Baltimore
  1976 - Cyclone Hart KO2 Matt Donovan at Wagner Ballroom in Northeast Philly
  1990 - Meldrick Taylor W10 Primo Ramos at Caesars Tahoe
  1932 - Jesse Smith