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Remembering a True Champion: Davey Moore

Davey Moore-1.jpg
Davey Moore-1.jpg

By Bill Tibbs

After winning the New York Golden Gloves from 1976 through 1979, Bronx, N.Y.-born and raised, Davey Moore turned pro on November of 1980. By the summer of 1981, the promising junior middleweight was 6-0. In his seventh fight, he stopped undefeated 15-0 (and future Mike Tyson trainer) Kevin Rooney in seven rounds. He finished off 1981 with a seventh round KO of 25-fight veteran Mike Herron. By February of 1982, despite only being 9-0, his fast ascension awarded him a shot at World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Tadashi Mihara. Moore stopped the undefeated beltholder, who was making his first defense of his title, in six rounds. Davey Moore was now a world champion. Between the spring of 1982 and January of 1983, Davey Moore would defend the title three times with all the wins coming by knockout. This led to an opportunity to face rugged Panamanian legend Roberto Duran.
Perhaps Moore took Duran lightly or thought the years had taken something away from the then-80-fight veteran. However, nothing can be taken for granted against a world-class fighter of Duran’s caliber with years of title fights among his 76 wins. On fight night, Moore learned very quickly that Duran had lots of gas left in the tank. Despite being the underdog, in front of a roaring Madison Square Garden crowd, Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran chopped down the champion, who showed tremendous heart, in eight brutal rounds (the win vaulted Duran into a unification fight against middleweight great and then-Undisputed Champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler in his next outing).

Moore rebounded from the vicious pounding he took from Duran nine months later, stopping Monte Oswald in three rounds in Atlantic City. In his next fight, Moore would add another legend to his résumé, dispatching Wilfred Benitez in two rounds in July of 1983 in Monaco. In his following bout, he was disqualified in the ninth round against Louis Acaries in Bercy, France. After taking 1985 off, Moore returned with a win in April of 1986. This led to Moore’s second world title shot against International Boxing federation (IBF) champion Buster Drayton who was defending his belt for the first time. In a competitive fight, the south Philadelphia native dispatched Moore in the 10th round.
Over 1987, Moore would go 1-2, including bouts against future world champions John David Jackson (who would win the vacant WBO junior middleweight title two fights later) and future world champion Lupe Aquino (who Jackson won said belt against). Moore kicked off 1988 with two KO wins in March and April.
Sadly, a month after his final win, Moore was involved in a freak accident in his garage while working on his car. He suffered injuries from which he did not recover after being run over by his own vehicle. Moore died 25 years ago this month on June 2, 1988 at age 28. “The Big Apple’s” own Davey Moore, a great fighter and world champion. Gone but never forgotten.
Rest in Peace, champ!
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at
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