1951-08-22 Joey Maxim w pts 15 Bob Murphy, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1951-08-22 Joey Maxim w pts 15 Bob Murphy, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Ruby Goldstein. Scorecards: 10-3, 10-5, 10-5. Favoured by many to become the new champion, the hard-punching Murphy (174½) was outboxed in every round bar the opener when he staggered the champion with a long left hook. Stabbing out the left jab almost endlessly into Murphy’s face, Maxim (173½) was the master of the situation and by the eighth the challenger’s right eye was closed shut. Tied up at close range where he was expected to be at his best, Murphy was on the end of a boxing lesson throughout and although he never gave up, and was never floored, even the rounds that went his way were extremely close.

The collapse of a proposed Maxim v Don Cockell fight, due to the latter’s defeat at the hands of the unheralded Jimmy Slade, followed by Harry Matthews refusing to meet Maxim in New York, saw the champion under a lot of pressure to finally defend against Archie Moore. Unsurprisingly, Moore, who was considered a non-drawing card according to Maxim’s management, was shunted sideways yet again to allow for a big-money fight against Sugar Ray Robinson, the world middleweight champion.

Although Matthews remained among the top-rung of challengers until May 1953, following a win over Rex Layne and a heavyweight title eliminator against Rocky Marciano, to all intents and purposes he was fighting in the latter weight class from June 1952 onwards.