Eddie Machen

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Name: Eddie Machen
Birth Name: Edward Mills Machen
Hometown: San Francisco, California, USA
Birthplace: Redding, California, USA
Died: 1972-08-08 (Age:40)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 183cm
Reach: 191cm
Pro Boxer: Record

Manager: Sid Flaherty
Trainer: Al Silvani
Eddie Machen Gallery

Biography (from The Ring)

[Eddie Machen] was born Edward Mills Machen in Redding, CA, on June 15, 1932. His father, Norman Machen, was a contract mail carrier in Redding. His mother, Carrie, was a housewife. The family consited of the parents and six brothers, two younger, three older than Eddie. Paul Machen was the only brother with the craving for a fight career who started as an amateur in 1955 and continued as professional in 1959.

Eddie attended Shasta Union High School in Redding but quit after his second year. He was a varsity fullback and a member of the regular basketball team but boxing was in his blood even in high school. Football was his major interest and when the coach of his high school team shifted to a Junior College in nearby Yuba City, Eddie and the rest of the team went with him. However, the coach was fired in a dispute and Eddie and the team again went with the coach.

It was then that he decided to stick to boxing. He used to fight a lot as a kid - in school competition and in the streets. He followed the careers of Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson and it grew in him. He fought so much, the family decided he might as well be a fighter and get paid for it.

His uncle, Dave Mills, was a heavyweight champion of South America and beat Luis Angel Firpo. Mills was quite a fighter - an American who made Chile his home. He started to teach young Eddie and became his first manager. They disagreed and split up. Eddie tied up with Christie Louis, who trained him, and in 1951 he began his career.

Things did not work, however. He had only three amateur fights, winning two by knockout, with one ending in a draw. He was convicted of armed robbery in 1952 and served three years in prison. It was not until he turned professional in 1955 that Machen laced on another glove in recognized competition. He simply went to work with his father delivering the mail, and cut down trees. While his fistic career languished for four years, his strenght grew. As a boy, he had been a pinsetter in a bowling alley and had sold newspapers. He lost his interest in boxing, he was too young for the service and working with his father and in the woods was fun and healthy. It was Lee Hughes who got him back into boxing.

Machen in 1956

Hughes had known about this strapping youth. Early in 1955, he talked Machen into becoming a professional. He won his first ten fights by knockout. Hughes, meanwhile, had brought Machen to Syd Flaherty, a prominent Coast manager. They made a deal and Flaherty became Machen's pilot. Flaherty also had Carl (Bobo) Olson, then world middleweight champion. He did not neglect Machen, however, but moved him slowly. It was not until the next year, 1956, that Machen became a national figure.

The Ring, July 1956, by Murray Goodman, (as edited)

Obituary (from The Ring)

Machen's 64-bout career started on March, 22, 1955, in Sacramento, CA, with a one-round kayo over Raul Flores.

He went on to win his first 24 bouts before boxing a draw with Zora Folley in 1958. His biggest wins prior to the Folley draw were dicisions over Julio Mederos twice, Joey Maxim twice, Bob Baker, Benny Wise and Johnny Summerlin. He scored kayos over Howard King, Tommy Jackson and Johnny Holman, but his greatest moment during this period were his two wins over Nino Valdes, according to Eddie who stated, "It made me feel that I belonged in the big time".

Machen's biggest dissapointment came in his bout with Ingemar Johansson in 1958, Gothenburg, Sweden, where he suffered his first defeat, a kayo in one. That defeat knocked him out of a title bout against Floyd Patterson. Johansson instead got the shot and the crown. Machen had signed a contract for a rematch but it did him no good. The courts ruled in his favor, but this didn't stop the Patterson-Johansson title contest in 1959.

From 1959 to 1963 Machen engaged in 26 bouts, winning 22, losing three, drawing in one. Eddie scored over Pat McMurtry, Willi Besmanoff, Billy Hunter, Wayne Bethea, Brian London, Doug Jones, and Roger Rischer, and twice over Mike DeJohn. His defeats were against Sonny Liston, Harold Johnson, and twice by Zora Folley. His draw was with Cleveland Williams. Eddie picked no stiffs.

Eddie Machen was admitted to the Napa State Hospital in 1963 after threatening suicide. At the end of the year he was released and signed with a new manager. From 1964 to 1966 he went to the post ten times, winning only four, drawing one, losing five. The only wins came over Duke Sabedong, George "Scrap Iron" Johnson, Joey Orbillo and a big upset over an up-and-coming Jerry Quarry.

Eddie was defeated by Floyd Patterson over 12 rounds in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1964, by Ernie Terrell on a 15-round decision for the WBA heavyweight title, the only time he fought for any sort of championship. He dropped nods to Manuel Ramos and Karl Mildenberger, was stopped in ten by Joe Frazier in Los Angeles in November, 1966.

Machen filed a bankruptcy petition in 1966 and then went on to finish out his career with two bouts in 1967. He lost to Henry Clark in 12, and was kayoed by Boone Kirkman in his last bout, on May 26th. During 1968 Machen was arrested for the second time in his life for brawling with a policeman.

Machen was married and had been employed as a longshoreman until his death. His career was 50-11-3, scoring 27 kayos. He was 40 years old.

The Ring, Nov. 1972, p. 36, by John Ort (as edited)


  • Named The Ring magazine Progress of the Year fighter for 1956.
  • Machen announced his retirement in July of 1967. Although scheduled to fight Dave Zyglewicz in Houston on August 1st, Machen notified promoters that he was done with the game.
  • Machen died in San Francisco by falling from an apartment window.