• U.S.

Sport: Boxer v. Puncher

1 minute read

The promoters tried to bill it as the “fight of the century,” and barred radio and television from ringside, but the fans were not fooled. Only 31,188 customers turned up in Yankee Stadium to see Heavyweight Harry (“Kid”) Matthews, a pretty boxer who can’t punch, square off against “Rocky” Marciano, a rugged puncher who can’t box.

In the first round, Matthews nimbly danced away from most of Marciano’s bullish lunges, but caught a slam-bang one-two on the jaw just before the bell. The referee steered the Kid toward his own corner. In the other corner, Marciano’s manager then told Rocky: “Stop hooking. Jab first—then hook and double it up.” About two minutes later, Rocky applied the advice. Matthews went down on to the seat of his boxing trunks as if his ring record (unbeaten since 1943) had been pulled out from under him, took a count of 10. Mauler Marciano (42 victories, 37 knockouts) had won himself a crack, next September, at the heavyweight crown of elderly (38) but shifty Jersey Joe Walcott, who may get the same kind of rough treatment—if Rocky can catch him.

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