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DEATH OF A CHAMPION
Morton Sharnik
April 01, 1963
Battered helpless by Sugar Ramos, Champion Davey Moore sits on the canvas at Dodger Stadium a moment after his head bounced off the ring ropes. An hour later Moore fell into a deep coma, and three days later he died, setting off new demands from California to Rome that boxing be outlawed
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April 01, 1963

Death Of A Champion

Battered helpless by Sugar Ramos, Champion Davey Moore sits on the canvas at Dodger Stadium a moment after his head bounced off the ring ropes. An hour later Moore fell into a deep coma, and three days later he died, setting off new demands from California to Rome that boxing be outlawed

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The often enervating practice of making weight, in which a fighter forces an already taut, strained body to lose another pound—or even five ounces—deserves a great deal of special research, particularly after what happened last Thursday night. It was an open secret that Moore had endured a frightful ordeal in making the 126-pound limit for his last few fights. Between fights, friends say, he had ballooned up above 150 pounds. While there are no scientific data that would connect Moore's brain injury with the dehydrating process of weight reduction, enervation may have helped open him to Ramos' attack. (Moore's hands began to drop from their usual defensive position as early as the fifth round.)

Emile Griffith may also be having trouble making weight. After his fight with Rodriguez his legs cramped, and he had to be helped from his dressing-room chair into the shower. His manager blamed "soft" ring padding, but this bothered no one else. Doctors agree that muscle cramps are a frequent sign of dehydration. Torres, knocked out by Cruz in the "junior" welterweight fight, also had trouble making the weight. In fact, before the weigh-in his camp talked of giving him a diarrheal pill to make him lighter for the scales. They finally decided against it. Again, no scientific study ever has been made of weight-reduction methods employed by boxers. One should, and a boxing commission is the obvious agency to authorize it. If the California commission hopes to benefit boxing, it will press for answers to some of the questions stated here.

In the meantime, the remarks uttered by Sugar Ramos when he heard of Moore's collapse must stand as the valedictory in this tragic affair.

"I did not want to hurt Moore," Ramos said. "In the ring the fighters are partners. They put on the match. Not to hurt or kill, but to show skill and win the challenge. After the fight my opponent is my brother. But this tragedy is a thing all fighters must live with. It might have been me who was badly injured. Knowing that it could happen, I accept it, and perhaps so did Moore. Perhaps yesterday was his destiny and mine some other day."

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