Geraldine Moore and Sugar Ramos. Photo: Mike Foley.
Fifty years ago, the death of featherweight champion boxer Davey Moore after a match at Dodger Stadium was a big story in Los Angeles. His hometown of Springfield, Ohio unveiled a statue in his honor this month. Ultiminio "Sugar" Ramos, the opposing boxer on the night Moore was fatally injured in the ring, traveled from Mexico City for the ceremony. From NPR and WBUR in Boston:
As a teenager, Moore earned a spot on the 1952 U.S. Olympic team. In 1959, he won the professional featherweight title and defended his belt 23 times over the next four years.
“He wasn’t flashy; he wasn’t loud and brash; he was the consummate professional,” said sports historian David Davis, who documented the 50th anniversary of the fight in a recent piece for Columbus Monthly. “He was considered among the top contenders for that mythical, ‘the best pound for pound boxer.’”
In 1963, Moore, 29, and Ramos, 21, fought as part of a card billed as the first nationally televised set of boxing matches.
Ramos eventually took control in the 10th round. When he knocked Moore down, the champ’s neck hit the bottom rope.
“He was amazingly able to finish the round but then his cornermen stopped the fight,” Davis said. “Davey actually gave an interview in the ring.”
“It just wasn’t my night,” Moore told Ellis.
In his dressing room, Moore soon began complaining that his head hurt. He was rushed to the hospital, fell into a coma, and died three days later. Moore’s death led to calls for boxing to be banned and songs of protest including one from Bob Dylan, which included the line, “Who killed Davey Moore, why and what’s the reason for?”