Archie Moore vs. Harold Johnson (5th meeting)

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Archie Moore sends Harold Johnson to the canvas in round 14

1954-08-11 : Archie Moore 173 lbs beat Harold Johnson 172½ lbs by TKO at 0:56 in round 14 of 15

  • Unofficial AP scorecard: 7-5 Johnson
  • Unofficial UP scorecard: 7-6 Johnson
  • Photo #2, Photo #3

"Champion Archie Moore came from behind Wednesday night to floor younger Harold Johnson of Philadelphia once and score a TKO at :56 seconds of the 14th round of their light-heavyweight title fight before 8,327 in MSG. Moore registered his 3rd defense of the 175 lb. crown and his 19th consecutive victory when he staggered the muscular young challenger from Philadelphia with two straight rights to the head, then battered him into a corner and dropped him for a count of four. He swarmed over the swaying challenger until Referee Ruby Goldstein stepped in and stopped the bout. Moore not only came from behind, but he survived a 10th round knockdown, when Harold dropped him to his gloves and knees near the bell." -United Press



CHAMP MOORE WANTS MARCIANO; MAXIM BOUT LIKELY

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (AP) — A spectacular "called shot" technical knockout over able Harold Johnson in the 14th round added luster to light heavyweight champion Archie Moore's great record today.

Now the 37½-year-old fistic marvel will seek to fatten his bankroll with a September 23 title fight in Omaha against either Joey Maxim or Jimmy Slade.

Maxim, beaten three out of three by the magnificent Moore, appears more likely to get the payday. His wily manager, Jack (Doc) Kearns, will meet sometime today with Charley Johnston, Moore’s manager, and members of the Omaha centennial committee to talk turkey.

After stopping the fast-punching, solidly built Johnson in a dramatic come-from-behind fashion for his 19th straight victory, Moore said he’d like to fight either heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano or Don Cockell, the British heavyweight king.

Manager Johnston, a realistic soul, said, “Marciano has that September 15 title fight with Ezzard Charles and I know Cockell doesn’t want any part of Archie. We want the dough and they're offering Archie $100,000 to fight in Omaha. We’re ready.“

Johnston told him to go out and "get" Johnson in the 14th.

"I'll knock him out in this round," Johnson said Moore calmly told him. He did in just 56 seconds.

The crouching champion tore after his tiring rival, staggered him with a right to the chin, and then rained blows on his sagging rival. Johnson fell on his back in his own corner.

The Philadelphia Negro climbed up at six but his legs were rubbery. Referee Ruby Goldstein, forgetting that the eight-count knockdown was not in force for this championship contest, continued tolling until eight.

Then the aroused champion smashed his stricken foe with both hands. As Johnson started to sag again, Goldstein stepped in and stopped the slaughter.

Although Moore was trailing going into the 14th (two of the three officials had him behind), the 175-pound ruler said he had no doubts about the outcome.

“I knew I’d get him,” said Archie. “He started to tire in the eighth. He got a little life back with the knockdown (in the 10th) but in the 13th I stung him and I knew I’d catch him in the 14th.”

Johnson decked Moore in the 10th with a right behind the ear to win the round. If the fight had been a ten-rounder, Harold would have won. All three officials had him ahead then. Goldstein had it 5-3-2, judge Bert Grant 5-4-1 and judge Arthur Aidala 7-3.

At the end of the 13th, Aldala (8-5) and Goldstein (6-5-2) still had the challenger in front. Grant called it even in rounds, 6-6-1, but had Moore ahead on points 9-8. The Associated Press had Johnson ahead, 7-5-1.

Johnson, who had piled up points with his superb counter-punching against the ever-pressing champion, caught Moore in the 10th as Archie was charging in. He clipped him behind the ear and Moore went down for the first time in five fights with Johnson.

Moore bounced up at three but Goldstein, erring on the eight-count rule, continued counting until the bell rang at six.

“I was off balance,” said Moore. “He didn’t hurt me with that punch. Ezzard Charles hit me solid there once and knocked me out. This one didn’t even hurt a little.”

Johnson, off fast while Moore fumbled around through the early rounds, built up his margin with fast counters while backing away for the most part. It was Archie moving in and Johnson popping back with jabs, hooks and occasional left-right combinations. Then midway in the scrap, Archie started the softening-up process with body blows.

From the seventh through the 13th, Moore won the majority of rounds and he could have won the fight via the decision route as Johnson was fading badly. The young challenger, who had lost three of four previous 10-rounders to Moore, was trying to go 15 rounds for the first time.

Notes

  • There was a rematch clause in the contract. If Johnson won, he would have had to give Moore a rematch within 90 days with a 30-30 purse split.
  • Moore had been a 2-1 betting favorite, but the odds narrowed to 8-5 by the day of the fight.
  • The fight was televised by CBS with New York blacked out.
  • Ticket prices at Madison Square Garden were $2, $4, $6, $8 and $10.
  • A crowd of 8,327 produced a gross gate of $34,024. The TV-radio fee was $50,000.
  • Moore received 40% of the net gate and TV-radio money. Johnson got 20%. Moore made about $29,751 and Johnson about $14,875.
  • Referee Ruby Goldstein erred during the two knockdowns during the fight. Forgetting that the 8 count knockdown rule was waived during a championship fight, during the 10th round when Johnson dropped Moore, Moore arose at "3" but instead of waving Johnson on, Goldstein took the count to "6" before the bell rang. Also, in the 14th round when Moore dropped Johnson, Johnson arose at "6" but Goldstein continued his count to "8". "You know how it is," he said afterwards." You handle so many fights with the eight-count that you forget."
  • There was almost a battle in Johnson's dressing room after the bout when Pete Moran, Philadelphia matchmaker, complained that the corner men made a mistake by telling the challenger to be careful "when he had the title in his pocket." Johnson said there were so many people giving him advice that he thought Archie must have been there, too.

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