Technical Slugging (diary entry)

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Gene Fullmer versus Eduardo Lausse 25.11.1955

Lawrence Gene “The Cyclone” or “Mormon Mauler” Fullmer was born on 21st July 1931 in West Jordan, Utah, USA. Fullmer came under the management of Merv Jenson, who was known for encouraging West Jordan youth to enter amateur boxing. Fullmer began boxing as a professional in 1951 winning all 29 of his first fights, 19 of these coming by knockout. He then lost his first fight to Gil Turner by unanimous decision in New York before winning on points in their rematch in Utah. He won his next two fights to Del Flanagan and Al Andrews before losing to Bobby Boyd on a unanimous decision.

Eduardo Lausse was born on 27th November 1927 in Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He turned professional on 8th March 1947 with a technical knockout victory that was swiftly followed up 16 more wins all in the same year. He stopped 16 of his first 17 opponents inside the distance. He lost his 18th fight at the end of ’47 to Amelio Piceda, a vastly more experienced fighter. In ’52 he rose from the welterweights to middleweights and endured his first stoppage against Antonio Cuevas. It was a last round technical knockout in round 10 and the first time Lausse had fought at 160 lbs. By the time he was matched with Fullmer, Lausse had lost to Kid Gavilan in ’52. His performance against the Kid had caught the eye of manager Charley Johnson who offered Lausse a contract in the USA. Lausse took the contract after winning seven fights in his native country. He won all three of his contracted USA fights by stoppage and then returned to Argentina to knock out Antonio Frontado and then Cuevas in a round 6 rematch. Next he won the Argentinian middleweight crown after knocking out Mario Diaz in round 4. He also outpointed Tiger Jones and won his rematch with Kid Gavilan in ‘55.

Fullmer can be confidently placed in the slugger category but demonstrated a good ring IQ. He had the capacity to change styles when he mixed with the greats of his time, which we will see in future lessons. He was awkward, bullish, had a strong chin and remarkable overall strength to go with the power he possessed in both fists.

Eduardo Lausse was a left-handed boxer-puncher, often referred to as a southpaw but clearly fought in an orthodox stance during the match we watched. He was a technical slugger known for his slick defensive upper-body movement, using deft slips and rolls.

Fullmer weighed 157 lbs to Lausse’s 159 lbs. Fullmer was 5’7” with a reach of 69”. Lausse was 5’9”. Fullmer’s record at the time was 32-2-0. Lausse’s record was 63-6-1.

Round 1 – Both fights fought the centre of the ring, regularly circling with confidence. Lausse began to command the centre later on, dictating the pace with jabs and slipping Fullmer’s big punches. However, Fullmer unleashed a barrage that drove Lausse into the ropes. Lausse defended well and moved out of danger swiftly. The rest of the round saw Lausse take the lead again and act as a pressure fighter. Prior to the bell Fullmer landed a powerful double hook to the head that Lausse weathered.

Round 2 – Fullmer came out with far more aggression at the beginning of this round throwing heavy, clumsy looking hooks and overhands. This happened several times but Lausse managed them all well, either slipping or tying up his opponent before manoeuvring into a superior position. Lausse maintained the middle of the ring and then began to pressure Fullmer towards the ropes. Fullmer swung and did an able job of fending Lausse back a few times but Lausse scored with far crisper shots.

Round 3 – The fight began and proceeded with a more even pacing in the centre of the ring. Fullmer pushed in and didn’t look in trouble whenever he backed up, even against the ropes. At one point Fullmer over-balanced with one of his big shots and the fall was ruled a slip. Fullmer shook Lausse in a big right hand. He worked hard to capitalise on the punch but Lausse used good footwork and evasions to stay out of trouble.

Round 4 – Fullmer seemed to still be carrying the confidence he had picked up from the previous round, but Lausse was on his game. After a minute of Fullmer trying to bring the fight, Lausse began his familiar pressure tactics. Halfway through the round Fullmer began using a cross-arm guard to deflect his opponent’s powerful combinations. The round ended with the two battling it out on the ropes. Fullmer was in the more prone position but began using hard hooks from his cross-arm guard Archie Moore style.

Round 5 – The slugger’s aggressive tactics earned him an advantage in this round. He cut Lausse around his right eye. Lausse remained stoic and composed throughout the round, maintaining his tight guard, regular head movement and ring-cutting footwork. He managed Fullmer’s bulling raids and heavy overhands for the most part.

Round 6 – Lausse now began to up the aggression as he poured on vicious uppercuts and various hooks with his lead (yet dominant hand). He used his rear straights as a regular datum setter but also threw some hard hooks. Fullmer circled from the outside, timing his two-fisted clubbing assaults and covering with his cross-arm guard.

Round 7 – The round began with some tight circling. Fullmer seemed intent on not giving round or taking a back-foot. Tensions built as they both dropped their own short barrages of punches. After the two-minute mark the barrages became rallies and then it was an all-out war to the final bell. This round featured the famed slugfest between the two as neither gave quarter.

Round 8 – Fullmer was tiring but clearly digging in against his more technically proficient opponent. Early on his stumbled into a corner post. Lausse began to take full charge of the match. The press reported he dropped Fullmer but it looked a slip to me.

Round 9 – Lausse looked the more active of fighters now. Fullmer did well to reel off bunches of punches but did little dissuade he dogged opponent. Lausse’s avoided most of his opponent’s shots or nullified them at close range.

Round 10 – Probably realising he was behind on the cards Fullmer tried one last valiant effort to take the fight from Lausse. However, Lausse never looked short of controlling the fight at this stage dropping his own heavy, sharp shots.

The Associated Press had this to say about the fight:

“Eduardo Lausse, from Argentina, won his 30th straight bout tonight on a unanimous decision over Gene Fullmer of West Jordan, Utah, in a 10 round battle at MSG. Although the left-hooker from Buenos Aires was sliced around the right eye in the 5th round, and shaken by Fullmer’s right hand in the 3rd, he raked the American down the stretch. Lausse dropped Fullmer in the 8th round with a solid left hook and the knockdown counter got as high as ‘four’ before referee Mark Conn ruled it was no knockdown. It appeared to be a clean knockdown to most of the crowd of about 4,000 who paid app. $11,000 to see the nationally televised match. For one stretch of about 30 seconds in the 7th round, the two men stood up and traded punches freely without backing up a step. Through the last three rounds, Lausse rained steady punishment on Fullmer, a game lad who was losing his third fight in 35 starts.”

Eduardo Lausse won the fight by unanimous decision and, after defeating Johnny Sullivan by TKO, he would leave 1955 as Ring magazine’s number 3 contender for the middleweight title. Despite his strong record and performances, Lausse would be denied an opportunity to fight for the world title. He is now considered to be one of several great Argentinian prospects, not mention other South American boxers, who were badly treated by US judges and referees. After a controversial draw against the number 4 ranked-contender, Milo Savage, and a very controversial split decision loss to Bobby Boyd in ’56 he left to fight back in Argentina where he would fight all but two of his remaining 12 fights. He lost the Argentinian title in ’56 to Andres Selpa via TKO. The fight had been a rematch after Selpa had outpointed him in a non-title match. Within just one year Lausse went from being the number 3 Ring contender to being conspicuous by his absence from the top 10. However, in ’57 he beat his old enemy Cuevas in their rubber match by another knockout. Eduardo Lausse retired in 1960 with a record of 75 wins (62 by knockout), 10 losses (2 by knockout) and 2 draws. He ran a pizza parlor, a gym, a motorcycle agency and an appliance store after his boxing career finished, and died aged 66 on 8th May 1994.

It would be Gene Fullmer who would get an opportunity to prosper. He was number 7 in the Ring magazine contender rankings for the middleweight title. His next opponent would be the number five contender: Rocky Castellani.


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