• Indeed, Moore is the only boxer to have fought both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali, although both were heavyweights and he as a light heavyweight. At the age of 42, he knocked down Marciano in the second round before being knocked out in the ninth. At the age of 49, he was knocked out in the fourth round by Ali.
• Most of Moore’s success came amazingly late in his career. He did not fight for a world title until he was 39 years old when he defeated Boxing Hall of Famer Joey Maxim in a unanimous, 15-round decision on Dec. 17, 1952, in St. Louis. Incredibly, it was Moore’s 158th career professional fight.
• He held that light heavyweight world championship for nine years, another boxing record.
• Moore fought all over the world, in Australia, in England, in Panama, in Germany, in Mexico, in Brazil, in Uruguay and, famously, nine times in Argentina, where, for a time, he lived in the palace of Eva and Juan Peron.
• When other boxers, such a Marciano avoided him, Moore waged publicity campaigns, soliciting the support of influential sports writers such as Red Smith to help him secure fights.
“When he was a world champion, he taught himself to type because he was writing so many letters to various people around the country,” son Billy Moore said.
After retirement, he founded the Any Body Can (ABC) Youth Foundation in San Diego, using boxing as a lure to inspire and educate inner city youth and prevent them from falling into dangerous lifestyles.
“My dad saw the gang and drug problem that was happening with inner city youth all over this country,” said Billy Moore, who now runs the ABC Foundation. “He believed in prevention rather than incarceration.”
Archie Moore met with three U.S. Presidents – Eisenhower, Reagan and the elder George Bush –to discuss his ideas for saving America’s inner city youth.
Want more? Archie Moore also became an accomplished Hollywood and TV actor late in life. He played, to positive reviews, the role of Jim, the runaway slave, in the Hollywood’s adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He acted in several other movies and TV shows such as Perry Mason, Wagon Train, Family Affair, and Batman.
Archie Moore has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He has been ranked by various publications as the No. 1 light heavyweight of all-time. He is in various San Diego, St. Louis and California halls of fame, and, come Saturday, he will be in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
And what would Archie Moore think of that?
“He’d be damned proud,” Billy Moore says. “He wouldn’t say a whole lot, but he’d have a big smile on his face and he’d be damned proud.”
The Article was originally published on Archie Moore: recognized, finally, by his home state.