Celebrating Black History Month: Archie Moore

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A gregarious gentleman who loved food to the point where he would sometimes have trouble making weight, Archie Moore fought for 27 years, racking up 219 fights in the process. Moore turned pro a year after Joe Louis did. His second-to-last fight came against Muhammad Ali. “The Old Mongoose,” indeed.

Rocky Marciano celebrates his win over Archie Moore in 1955 at Yankee Stadium.

Moore is regarded as one of the greatest 175-pound fighters of all time, having reigned over the division for more than nine years. Yet he didn’t get his first shot at the title until 1952, at age 36—a time when many other boxers would be in their decline, if not retirement.

He fought at both 175 pounds and heavyweight after that, squaring off against Rocky Marciano in 1955. Moore was only the second (and last) man to knock down Marciano.

After 1961, Moore fought exclusively at heavyweight, and in his last real fight, took on former protégé Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay). Ali moved into Moore’s fight camp, the Salt Mine, in 1961, but quit after just two weeks. Moore had Ali washing dishes more than training.

When they met in the ring in November 1962, the 20-year-old Ali knocked out the 45-year-old Moore in four rounds.

It wasn’t the last time the two would be linked, though. They went into the International Boxing Hall of Fame together in the institution’s inaugural 1990 class.

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