Moore's last hub was Buenos Aires. Argentine president Juan Peron loved him and wanted him to settle there. "Perón had been a light heavyweight in his youth," Moore explains. "He had the face and demeanor of an athlete."
Finally, in 1952, Moore got his title shot, against Joey Maxim, and B.A. and Toledo had to share him with the rest of the world. Nearly two decades in the wilderness, putting his nimble brain on the line. When Moore did get to be the light heavyweight champion, in "52, he was old, either 35 or 38. "Sometimes," Red Smith wrote, "he has seemed to be a play-actor and sometimes the pitchman in a tent show and sometimes a Hindu fakir and sometimes a circuit-riding evangelist and sometimes a bum." And Jim Murray wrote: "The man was a genuine American artifact, like the Liberty Bell, the Spirit of St. Louis, Franklin's kite, Fulton's Folly."
No man ever adored a woman so much as Moore did boxing. No one ever dedicated himself with such passion to a cause. No priest ever worshiped so powerfully. "Boxing is magnificent," Moore intones, closing his eyes in reverie. "It's beautiful to know. Oh, the price can be very dear. You've got to marry it. And so I did. Boxing was my lover. It was my lady."
Archie Moore was not the greatest boxer who ever lived, not pound for pound, not any which way. But he was the most devoted sweetheart the ring was ever lucky enough to embrace.
Now, before proceeding further, we must dispense with the subject of Archibald Lee Wright's age. Or: How old is Archie Moore? When did the Mongoose (called that because he moved with such quick, deft strikes) first draw a breath of life in this vale of tears?
Moore would be wounded if this issue were not dealt with sufficiently. Indeed, when young whippersnappers interview him he is lying in wait for them to inquire into the particulars of his nativity. In fact, the Mongoose gets a trifle irritated when he is not grilled on the subject of his age.
"Well," he hums, twiddling his thumbs, "'now that you've complimented me on my health, I must assume that you are preparing to bring this interview to a climax by inquiring about my true age."
"No?!?" (How can this be?)
No, but why have you always been so inscrutable about your birth date?