90 years after his birth, remembering Springfield legend Davey Moore’s life, fights

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Springfield boxing great Davey Moore was born 90 years ago today.

Moore was a world champion boxer whose 10-year professional career came to a tragic end after he collapsed and later died after a fight in 1963.

After losing his featherweight championship to Sugar Ramos in Los Angeles, Davey Moore slipped into the coma from which he would not emerge.

That made Springfield Daily News Sports Editor Bob Sullivan remember a remark Moore had made years earlier.

“Only 10 seconds separates me from being champion and being nothing,” Springfield’s pride and joy had said.

A partial chronology of his career offers snapshots of it from his Golden Gloves matches in Springfield’s Memorial Hall to his disappointment at the 1962 Helsinki Olympics to a world championship and fights in Paris and Tokyo:

Feb. 2, 1951: Little David Moore will occupy more than his share of the spotlight when the Golden Gloves boxing tournament is held in Memorial Hall on Feb. 14 and 21. Moore won the bantamweight championship of both the Golden Gloves and AAU tournaments last year, and from all reports is ready to duplicate that performance.

March 1, 1951: CHICAGO — "That was the hardest and the best fight I ever had. I hit him so hard, I jarred myself. He wouldn't go down."

David Moore … was talking as he lay on the rubbing table following his decision over Dick Sanchez, Denver, Colo., a victory that put him into the semi-finals of the 24th annual Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.

March 20, 1951: CHICAGO — Little David Moore, Springfield's bantamweight king, was picked today on the Chicago team for the March 19 … intercity bouts at New York despite his loss here last night to Nate Brooks in the championship match of the 24th annual Tournament of Champions.

June 18, 1952: KANSAS CITY — Davey Moore … sailed into the finals of the U.S. Olympic Boxing tournament here Tuesday night … as he decisioned Ricardo Martinez, Los Angeles, in his semi-final bout last night.

July 30, 1952: (Davey) Moore … pounded out a unanimous third round decision over Germany's Egon Schidan at Helsinki Tuesday in his first Olympic test.

July 31, 1952: Springfield's Davey Moore was eliminated from the Olympic Boxing Tournament Thursday afternoon when he lost a close split-decision to Korean Joon Ho Kong in Helsinki in a quarter-final match.

May 6, 1954: Davey Moore goes after his fifth straight victory Tuesday night when he faces Herky Kamensky of Pittsburgh in the feature event on Springfield's second professional boxing card to be held in Memorial Hall in the last two months.

Nov. 8, 1954: CINCINNATI (AP) — Sam Becker, local boxing promoter, said today the way has been cleared for Dave Moore, Springfield, and Eddie Burgin, Cincinnati, meeting here Nov. 20 for the featherweight championship of Ohio.

April 9, 1957: Miami, Fla. (AP) — Davey Moore, former National AAU champion, gets his first big opportunity as a professional boxer tomorrow night when he meets Gil Cadilli, the seventh ranking featherweight title contender, in Miami's Biscayne Arena.

November 9, 1957: WASHINGTON — Springfield’s boxer Davey Moore defeats Jose Cotero in Washington.

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Feb. 26, 1958: NEW YORK (AP) — Davey Moore … took over the No. 1 spot among the featherweight contenders from idle Cherif Hamia of France today in a reshuffling of the divisions rankings by Ring Magazine.

April 3, 1958: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fight Manager Willie Ketchum today challenged World Featherweight Champion Hogan (Kid) Bassey to battle his challenger Davey Moore of Springfield.

“We not only challenge Bassey, I say my guy will win the championship and he might even knock Bassey out,” the veteran New York pilot declared.

March 18, 1959: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sharpshooting Davey Moore brought the world featherweight championship title back to the United States tonight when he stopped Hogan (Kid) Bassey of Nigeria after 13 cruel rounds of fighting. Bassey's manager … called up to Referee Tommy Hart between the 13th and 14th rounds and asked him to stop the match because Bassey was blinded from his own blood.

March 20, 1959: State Auditor James A. Rhodes, a native of Springfield, and long-time admirer of Davey Moore, will be the speaker Tuesday night in Memorial Hall when Springfield officially salutes the local boxer, now the world's champion of featherweights.

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Aug. 29, 1960: TOKYO (AP) — Davey Moore battered Kazuo Takayama of Japan into a bleeding, staggering wreck and retained his world featherweight championship by a unanimous decision in a 15-round title bout tonight.

Dec. 2, 1960: The world’s featherweight boxing champ had a workout Saturday afternoon at the (Springfield) YMCA. Davey Moore, who arrived in the city last Friday to spend the Christmas holidays with his wife and family … was slated to fly to New York Monday and then go on to Paris.

Jan. 9, 1961: PARIS (AP) — Davey Moore … came off the floor to outpoint European Titleholder Grachieux Lamperti of France in a non-title 10-founder at the Palais Des Sports tonight. It was in a wild sixth round that … Lamperti moved in and decked Moore with a smashing left hook

March 23, 1963: COLUMBUS, O. (AP) — While boxer Davey Moore battles for his life in a Los Angeles hospital, his family waits in his home here to pray for his recovery.

March 31, 1963: Davey Moore, whose fists carried him from Springfield’s south side to fame as the featherweight champion of the world and then to his death, was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery. Mourners and spectators estimated at several thousand were on hand as the funeral rites started in Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

September 21, 2013: A statue of Davey Moore was unveiled at Gateway Wedge Park along South Limestone Street in Springfield.

Credit: Staff photo by: Ken-Yon Hardy

Credit: Staff photo by: Ken-Yon Hardy

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