- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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"The crowd enjoyed the fight. I enjoyed it. I think the future will mold itself."
The future may well mold itself into a return match, if only to resolve the question raised by that stunning second round when Archie Moore stood for a flimsy few moments on the brink of the heavyweight championship. Had a bemused referee, working in his first heavyweight championship fight, stopped counting at two—which was when Champion Rocky Marciano rose with heedless, instinctive courage to his uncertain feet—would Archie have finished the champion? Perhaps. But Referee Harry Kessler went on counting to four. For a little significant while, Referee Kessler seemed to have forgotten that the mandatory eight-count does not apply in championship fights. For a little significant while Archie Moore hesitated to push this fuddled symbol of authority aside and get on with his work.
While Archie soothed himself with Village jazz and left the future to its own inscrutable devisings, his conqueror paced the kitchen of a Bronx hotel suite. Where Archie's right eye was closed and swollen, Rocky's left eye was damaged. While Archie shrugged off tomorrow, Rocky fought it. He could not decide what tomorrow would be. He wondered whether to quit the prize ring undefeated and thus—like any other normal Brockton, Massachusetts young man—spend more than a few weeks of the year with his family. His father, mother and wife asked him to quit. They scored heavily with Rocky, who has been conscience-stricken that his 3-year-old daughter did not at first recognize him after his long training period.
But his manager, Al Weill, to whom a scruple still weighs as little as it did in Roman times (1/24th of an ounce), quashed this qualm with a few words.
"He ain't quittin'," Weill snapped. "That's just talk."
"It's just talk," Rocky agreed. Next day at his press conference he was obediently firm that he would defend his title, perhaps after an elimination tournament among such dubious hopefuls as Nino Valdes, Bob Baker (both beaten previously by Moore), the preposterous Hurricane Jackson and even the very young and still very light Floyd Patterson. To Weill, and thereby to Rocky, the future loomed only as a golden imperative.
February and Miami appealed to the International Boxing Club ( James D. Norris, president) as the time and place for a rematch, but Weill would just as soon let Archie grow a year older. Time, he calculates, is on his side.
THE CORINTHIANS DINE
The 60,000 fight fans who saw Rocky Marciano knock out Archie Moore included a fair sprinkling of the famous—John Foster Dulles and Lauren Bacall, for instance. But for concentration of eminence the gathering at Yankee Stadium was far outshown two evenings before when a mere 300 gentlemen in dinner jackets sat down at the famous old Cafe Royal on Regent Street, London, to dine, wine and see a few fights. These were members of London's famed old (since 1891) National Sporting Club, and they were meeting for the first time since World War II in quarters suited to the fastidious tradition of their organization. Their intent: to enjoy a good dinner and then settle down with brandy and cigars to the quiet contemplation of fist fighting. It would be quiet because the Club rules forbid unseemly shouting or any applause beyond the patter of hands between rounds.
"They are," explained 61-year-old John Harding, general manager of the Club, "the last of the Corinthians." He adjusted his monocle to define a Corinthian as "a man who does everything for the sake of sport, who fosters sport but who is upright and honest and makes no illegal profit from sport." Lord Byron, he decided, was a fine example of the "perfect Corinthian."