Wednesday’s “Learn from the Fight” looked at two title bouts in 1952. One thing that connected these two fights from a fight analysis perspective was the way two outboxers dealt with spoilers. Such tactics rarely make for overly aesthetically pleasing fights, but they happen a lot. Jimmy Carter had to contend with Lauro Salas’s dominant style of swarming. Archie Moore was up against Joey Maxim, an outboxer known for his jab and his iron chin. Maxim’s jab seemed to be very ineffective to Moore’s own out-boxing skills and so the champion decided to clinch as often as possible.
Jimmy Carter versus Lauro Salas 14.05.1952
Lauro “The Lion of Monterrey” Salas was born on 28th August 1928 in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. He turned professional in 1946 and had an above average if prolific record over his first year of fighting, where he won more times than he lost. He fought 150 fights in 15 years. His early fights were in his hometown and a few other places in Mexico as well as Texas State, but the majority of his fights were in California, quite a few times in Hollywood. On 27th August 1948 he won the Texas State Featherweight Championship and mainly fought within this division until 1952 when he fought and lost a majority decision to Art Aragon on 4th March. Up to this point he had collected the California State Featherweight Championship, lost it, regained it and then successfully defended it once. Prior to this he had been considered for the heavier division, challenging Sandy Saddler for the NBA version of the World Super Featherweight Championship and losing in the ninth round to a TKO. Less than month after his defeat at the hands of Aragon, and his only fight in the lightweight division, Salas was given a shot at the undisputed World Lightweight title held Jimmy Carter.
For the first 10 rounds, Carter was comfortably ahead on the scorecards. Then Salas launched a late rally for the remaining five, eventually scoring a two-count knockdown in the final round. This may have not been enough to snatch victory – Carter won by unanimous decision – but it earned Salas a rematch.
Again at the Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, where he had faced Aragon and Carter previously, Salas entered the ring sporting patches above his eyes (something allowed under California authorities). He was 5’6” tall with a 67” reach. His style of fighting best fits that of a swarmer and often described as a brawler. He is noted for what is described as “tireless punching” and by this it is meant that he wore down his opponents in this way. He was the 4-1 underdog.
- Carter appeared to take charge early with quick combinations, snatching the first round. However, it should be noted that Salas did well to spoil a lot of Carter’s out-boxing work with clinches and was beginning to pick up pace just ahead of the bell.
- A right uppercut from Salas early on in this round began to tip the scales in his favour in this otherwise very close round.
- Carter worked off the back-foot and tried to keep outside of Salas’s swarms in an effort to regain control.
- A more even round with Carter doing well to keep out of Salas’s clinches.
- Carter upped the aggression this time, fighting in from the pocket and caught Salas with a range of circular punches. This included a bolo punch. However, Salas landed a telling left hook that made the wily champion move back his more comfortable long range and score from there. He took the round.
Rounds 8 and 9 are missing from this recording, but for the most part Salas scored a convincing victory with Carter appearing to be quite sluggish. It wasn’t an amazing display of boxing ability on either fighter’s behalf, but it was Carter’s lethargy that ultimately gave Salas his well-earned victory as the new Lightweight Champion of the World. The two would meet again for a rubber match.
Archie Moore versus Joey Maxim Undisputed Light Heavyweight Championship 17.12.1952
1952 continued to be a good year for Archie Moore. After his victory over Jimmy Slade, Archie Moore knocked out Bob Dunlap in round six of their match. This was followed by a unanimous 10 -round decision over Clarence Henry and then he stopped Clinton Bacon in round four with a TKO. He was now in position to challenge the current Light Heavyweight Champion, Joey Maxim.
The title match-up was scheduled six months after Maxim’s win over Sugar Ray Robinson. Robinson had collapsed due to heat exhaustion and failed to come out in 14, and then retired from professional boxing to pursue a career in showbusiness. Maxim, who had also lost 10lbs during the bout, was also badly affected.
Moore entered the fight at 172lbs and Maxim at 175lbs. Moore took on the role of the aggressor and Maxim as the spoiler.
- Moore came out on the front foot and Maxim sought to intercept with clinches. He then threw uppercuts upon the breaks. Towards the end of the round Moore scored with a telling right hook to the head.
- Moore dominated and Maxim spent a lot this round clinching in reaction.
- Moore dominated again, scoring with a lot of body shots that Maxim had trouble defending.
- Although Moore scored with a right, a low blow cost him the round. However, Maxim also showed better work with his famous jab.
- It has been suggested that Moore butted Maxim during one of the clinching clashes, albeit by accident, and the champion certainly appeared to be wary of the challenger. Nevertheless, there was less clinching at this stage of the fight and Moore began landing more rights.
- Moore scored with an overhand right and sought to finish the fight in this round. Maxim returned to clinching and used it to prevent being knocked out.
- Moore was now going to the body again and the damage was showing on Maxim.
- Maxim’s famous chin held firm to the very end with Moore’s extra work-rate clearly undertaken more to impress the judges than to get a knockout.
At age 39, Archie “The Old Mongoose” Moore had overcome the odds and become Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. He would remain a familiar face in both this division and the heavyweight division for the rest of the decade, bridging two great eras in boxing history.