Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 82
Date: 99-05-09 01:48:00 EDT
The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
Edited by J Michael Kenyon
Issue Number 82
Sunday, May 9, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A
IN THIS ISSUE: MARCIANO LEAVES COCKELL IN A HELPLESS, BATTERED
STATE IN TITLE GO
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MARCIANO BELTS OUT THE CHALLENGER
(Associated Press, Tuesday, May 17, 1955)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Heavyweight champion Rocky
Marciano ripped England's Don Cockell with a
combined attack to the head and body Monday night,
floored the bloody but game fat man three times and
won a technical knockout at :54 seconds of the ninth
round of their title fight.
Cockell, who had hoped to be the first native-born
Englishman to win the world's heavyweight crown,
made a courageous but futile bid against unbeaten
Marciano, who registered his 48th straight professional
victory in chilly Kezar Stadium.
Cockell, scaling 205 pounds to Marciano's 189, took a
terrfic beating before referee Frankie Brown listened to
the shouted pleas of many spectators and stopped the
fight. As he raised Marciano's right hand aloft in token
of victory the crowd gave both men a full-throated
Cockell, with blood flowing down his face from a gash
high on the forehead, was knocked halfway through the
ring ropes onto the apron with a right hook to the back
of the neck just before the bell rang to end the eighth
round. The count had reached three when the bell
Chunky Don's trip through the ropes was made almost
in his own corner. When the bell rang at the count of
three, his handlers assisted him back into the ring and
helped him to his stool.
In the ninth round Rocky went all out to put him away
before he himself tired from throwing so many punches
at the surprisingly rugged Briton.
The swarthy, dark-haired champion from Brockton,
Mass., landed a terrific left hook on Don's chin and
knocked him down backward toward the ropes.
A right to the chin drove Cockell back onto his heels
and a left hook dropped him to his knees. He was up at
the count of seven but almost helpless on his feet.
Again Rocky went after him and drove him into the
ropes. Cockell pitched forward from the ropes without
being hit at the time and fell to his knees. He regained
his feet at the count of five, but Rocky was on him
immediately and was battering him across the ring when
the referee stepped in.
Cockell, 26, suffered his first defeat in his last 11 bouts.
It was his 11th defeat in 73 professional bouts and the
sixth time he was stopped.
Cockell gave a brief indication that he might be able to
outpoint the champion in the second round. That was
the only round he won on any of the ring officials'
scorecards. Judge Jack Downey favored the British
challenger in the second round and Judge John
Bassenelli of Sacramento called it even. The United
Press favored Cockell in the second round, but in no
In the second Cockell kept at long range and landed
several hard left jabs and a few rights as he sought
Rocky's nose. Rocky was missing badly in that session
and landed only one good right to the head.
Marciano's nose, which had suffered an inch split in his
last previous fight with Ezzard Charles last September,
withstood Monday night's slight punishment without
losing a single drop of blood.
Cockell was much less fortunate. He bled from a cut on
his forehead and from a gash on the right side of his
Cockell, who had been a 10-1 underdog and who had
been expected to fold quickly under the champion's
body blows, took a battering that was reminiscent of
Ezzard Charles' punishment in Ezzard's first title fight
with the Brockton blockbuster.
Cockell was staggered at least once in every round
after the second.
In the dressing room, Cockell's manager, John
Simpson, yelled at the room attendant, "get these men
out of here in a hurry. They are cold-blooded murdering
Then, turning to the sports writers, he said, "You have
done everything to my poor kid, including trying to
murder him with a bloody sledge hammer."
However, Cockell did not share his sentiments. Cockell
said, "I would like to fight Marciano again any place any
time. He's not the hardest hitting man I ever fought. He
just hits more often."
An unofficial estimate by the promoters placed the
crowd at 25,000 but they made no estimate of the gate
which was believed to exceed at least $200,000.
BEATEN BRIT ASKS FOR ANOTHER SHOT
(Associated Press, Tuesday, May 17, 1955)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Bombed out Don Cockell said
Monday night he wants another shot at Rocky
Marciano but added he would also have to "take a while
to think out my strategy this time."
The doughty Briton, who took everything The Rock
threw during a courageous stand in the eighth and part
of the fatal ninth, also refused to classify Marciano as
the hardest puncher he ever fought.
"A chap called Johnny Barton, who felled me about
eight times while beating me in 1948, hit harder than
Marciano," Cockell said as he sat glumly on a bench in
his stuffy dressing room. "but I must say that Rocky is
the most persistent fellow I ever fought."
Cockell was the calmest man in the dressing room and
manager John Simpson, who has a heart ailment, the
"Don't let them in here," the spry little pilot exploded
when he saw a group of reporters waiting for his boxer.
Then he exploded at the American press, "you men
have been terrible to this boy while he was in training
and hit him with everything including a bloody sledge
In a calmer mood, Simpson lashed the officiating by
referee Frankie Brown, claiming that Brown let
Marciano get away with using "elbows and wrists"
against Cockell and "not once" doing anything about it.
"That gash in Don's head was caused by a butt in the
fourth round," Simpson said. "Marciano continuously
was ducking below the waist line, something that is
forbidden in England. Don is not used to boxing against
positions like that."
Simpson, backed by London promoter Jack Solomons,
explained that the British forbid bobbing below the waist
because it increased the possibility of a butt when the
fighter straightened up.
"Butts, wrists and elbows -- they wouldn't get away with
that at home," Simpson declared. "Then on top of that
Marciano got away with hitting Don twice after the sixth
While Simpson talked, Cockell sat in his light blue
bathrobe and stared at the floor. A few feet away,
sparring partner Don Harman waited to go on with his
4-round bout against Bill Mathis in a preliminary which
followed the main event.
"I'm sorry that Don lost," Harman said, "but I did not see
the fight. I was getting ready for my own in here."
Solomons pushed forward at one point and asked
Cockell if he would like a drink of brandy.
"No," the British fighter said, shaking his scarred head,
"just a glass of water."
COCKELL APOLOGIZES TO BRITISH FANS
(Associated Press, Tuesday, May 17, 1955)
LONDON -- Thousands of disappointed Britishers
hunched over their radios in the chilly dawn Tuesday
and heard Don Cockell apologize for failing to win the
heavyweight championship from Rocky Marciano.
Cockell, battered into submission in the ninth round of
the title fight in San Francisco, told listeners of the
British Broadcasting Corp.:
"I promised I would not let you down, but I hoped to do
better than that."
Then Marciano came to the microphone and said:
"England should be proud of its boy, Don Cockell. He
took some of my best punches. I don't know why the
American public underestimated him."
COCKELL 'TOPS AMONG THE BRAVE'
(Associated Press, Tuesday, May 17, 1955)
SAN FRANCISCO -- England's Don Cockell rates in
Rocky Marciano's book as "tops among the braven
men I have fought -- and I have fought quite a few."
The Brockton Blockbuster had nothing but good to say
about the British challenger he had just pounded into a
bloody, reeling hulk -- too dazed to fight but too
stubborn to quit.
Hemmed into a corner of his dressing room by a
pressing crowd of shouting sportsswriters, the Rock
from Massachusetts showed little evidence that he had
just fought nine tough rounds to retain his title.
He was absolutely unmarked. The nose that was split
open by Ezzard Charles and repaired by plastic
surgeons was as good as new.
Marciano sucked on half an orange and grinned when
he was asked about the schnozollo. "Yeah, he hit me
on the nose. Quite a few. But it never hurt a bit."
Speaking with considered emphasis, the champ made it
clear several times in the after-fight interview that he
was an admirer of Cockell's courage.
"He's got lots of guts," Marciano said. "I don't think I
ever hit a man so many times before putting him down -
- unless it was Ezzard Charles. In fact several times he
hit me the hardest right after I belted him with a half
dozen punches in a row."
Rocky admitted he started out slowly in Monday night's
battle and confessed he didn't know why.
"He was pushing me around and I let him do it," he said.
"I don't know why."
According to Rocky, Cockell is a vastly underrated
fighter. "He throws a good left hook and he made me
miss a lot in the early rounds," he said.
FIGHT FIGURES UNDER INVESTIGATION
(Associated Press, Tuesday, May 17, 1955)
PHILADELPHIA -- Boxer Harold Johnson, number one
light heavyweight contender, three handlers and
matchmaker Pete Moran Monday were accused of
covering up a "fake" boxing match.
The charges were leveled by the Pennsylvania State
Athletic Commission at the second session of an
investigation into boxing ordered by Gov. George M.
Leader. The governor last week suspended boxing in
the state for 90 days following the Johnson-Julio
Mederos bout May 6.
Johnson collapsed after two rounds of the nationally
televised bout and Mederos, a Cuban heavyweight, was
awarded a technical knockout victory. Examination by
physicians and a police investigation disclosed Johnson
was drugged. Traces of a barbiturate were found in the
Named with Johnson and Moran in the commission's
charges were the fighter's handlers, Clarence (Skinny)
Davidson, Joseph Roland and Lou Gross. Johnson's
manager of record, Tommy Loughrey, was not cited.
Additionally, Moran was cited for allegedly owning an
interest in Johnson, violating commission rules that a
promoter or matchmaker cannot have a financial
interest in a fithter. Moran is matchmaker for Promoter
Herman Taylor who staged the Mederos-Johnson
Alfred Klein, a member of the commission, said the
state had the evidence on hand and would prove its
Two physicians, Dr. Alfred Ayella and Dr. Wilbur
Strickland, testified that in their opinion, judging frrom
the clinical picture presented, Johnson was not "faking"
or "malingering," but was drugged by some type of
Dr. Ayella told the commission that he did not believe
Johnson adminstered to himself the barbiturate drug
which caused his collapse.
Dr. Strickland said that when he examined Johnson
after the fight, the boxer's eyes were 40 per cent dilated
but responded to light, indicating only partial control of
the body. The physician said he believed Johnson was
Dr. Strickland also testified to a conversation he had
with Johnson at Hahnemann Hospital after the fighter
had been removed from the arena on a stretcher.
"I asked Harold a number of questions to ascertain if he
was coherent and orientated. But all he kept saying
was, 'This orange is bitter, Skinny, this orange is better,
Skinny. This is the bitterest orange I have ever tasted in
my life, Skinny."
Because of Pennsylvania's primary election Tuesday,
the hearing was recessed until Wednesday.
EX-HEAVY KINGS BACK BOXING CONTROLS
(United Press International, July 7, 1965)
By Daniel F. Kelly
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former heavyweight
champions Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney came out
yesterday for federal controls to restore the good old
days when a fighter had to be flat on his back to admit
he was licked. Rep. (D-Calif.) John V. Tunney, a son of
Gene Tunney, is a co-sponsor of a bill that would
provide such control.
The 70-year-old Dempsey, his hair iron grey, told the
House Commerce Committee he didn't know anything
much about the Clay-Liston fiasco that prompted the
But he said it was his personal thought, after watching
the films, that Sonny Liston, who went to the canvas
after a minute in the ring with champion Cassius Clay,
"didn't have any desire to fight."
Dempsey recalled how he fought his way to the title by
beating everybody in sight, starting with the Colorado
barroom where as a youth he nightly offered to lick any
man in the house.
One of the many troubles with the fight game now,
Dempsey said, is that nobody fights much. And back of
that he said is the fact that "boxing today is controlled
by certain people and you can't get a fight without doing
business with those people."
Dempsey endorsed a proposal by chairman Oren
Harris (D-Ark.) and Rep. Tunney to set up a federal
boxing commission and ban broadcast of fights the
commission believes are fixed or controlled by
Dempsey said there is nothing necessarily wrong about
fights that are over in a hurry. He won one himself once
in 18 seconds, he said. But he said in the old days
there was more incentive and will among fighters to
"In the real fight game," he told the committee, "the only
way to finish is on your back. You never quit."
Tunney, in a statement prepared for the committee and
entrusted for delivery to his son, also said he favored
creation of a federal boxing commission.
Tunney also deplored the current low state of the fight
game. He said that if Harris' bill had been law earlier,
"We would not have had the sorry spectacles produced
in the last four so-called heavyweight championship
"The American people were bilked out of at least 30
million dollars to witness these fiascos through closed
circuit TV and live gate," the ex-champion said. "These
matches were promoted by people who, on the whole,
had no interest in the quality of matches they presented
. . . "
The committee is considering proposals to establish a
three-member federal boxing commission to oversee
the sport on a nationwide basis. Although the Clay-
Liston fight sparked the hearing, there was no
immediate indication whether either would testify.
The lead-off witness was chairman E. William Henry of
the Federal Communications Commission.
Boxing commissioners from New York, Colorado,
Indiana and Virginia also have been asked to give their
BOXING PROBE ENDS IN D.C.
(United Press International, July 9, 1965)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The House, concerned about
a "long series of flagrant abuses" in boxing, yesterday
ended its hearings on a bill to create a federal boxing
commission. Witnesses agreed such a panel was
needed with enlarged powers.
Former heavyweight champions Gene tunney, Jack
Dempsey and Rocky Marciano endorsed the measure
during their testimony before the House Commerce
Committee. Each strongly suggested that the proposed
commission of three members be given authority to
supervise the sport from top to bottom.
Rep. (D-Calif.) John V. Tunney, a son of former
heavyweight champion Gene Tunney, is a co-sponsor
of the bill that would provide federal control.
Other witnesses included the New York State boxing
commissioner, former heavyweight champion Floyd
Patterson's ex-manager, the editor of Ring Magazine
and the president of a closed-circuit television firm.
They all supported the commission as a necessary first
step to rid the sport of racketeering and persons
interested only in exploiting the fighters.
Committee members during the three days of testimony
repeatedly were told the commission should have the
power to license managers, trainers, promoters and
boxers and other persons directly connected with the
As proposed by Rep. Oren Harris, D-Ark., the
commission's three members would be appointed by the
President. If the commission found that bribery,
collusion or racketeering influences were connected
with a fight, it could prohibit its broadcast over radio and
television, including closed-circuit wires.
EX-BOXING CHAMP DIES AFTER SHOOTING
(Associated Press, Sunday, July 25, 1965)
LONDON -- Freddie Mills, former world champion light
heavyweight boxer, died early today from a gunshot
wound. He was 46.
Police reported he was found in his auto, shot in the
face. A weapon was found in the car which was parked
in a dimly lit alley of warehouses near his club, the
Freddie Mills Nite Spot, in Charing Cross Road.
Mills was dead on arrival at Middlesex Hospital.
Police cordoned off the alley and the night club and
questioned customers at the night spot. Mills was found
shot shortly after 1 a.m.
Mills was a one-fight champion, winning the title from
Gus Lesnevich of the United States in London, July 26,
1948, and losing it to Joey Maxim in his first defense,
also in London, Jan. 24, 1950.
Maxim, from Cleveland, knocked out Mills, then 31, in
the 10th round and shattered his jaw. Mills retired the
following day and later had five slivers of bone removed
from his jaw.
Mills, who made his way from the carnival circuit to the
world title, resisted every offer and every effort to lure
him from England.
He never fought outside England and turned down
reported offers of $25,000 and $30,000 to fight Harold
Johnson in Philadelphia and another of $80,000 to
meet Lesnevich in Cincinnati.
Mills turned pro in 1936 and had 96 fights. He won 73,
including 52 by knockouts, drew six and lost 17.
He was married to Chrissie Broadribb, the daughter of
his manager, Sept. 30, 1948.
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