by Ken Hesner: One of the most horrific deaths occurred in a plane crash that shocked the world of boxing on October 27, 1949. French former middleweight world champion Marcel Cerdan was on his way to America for a second bout with Jake “Bronx Bowl” LaMotta when his plane crashed in the Azores causing At his death at the age of 33 years.
Cerdan lost his title to LaMotta on June 16, 1949, due to a shoulder injury at the end of the ninth round. He and LaMotta fell to the canvas during the first round brawl, and fought with one weapon until he retired to his corner after the 10th round. He finished with a 110-4 record with 65 stops.
Back in 1981, upon meeting IBHOF coach Cus D’Amato and boxer Kevin Rooney in Scranton, Pennsylvania, this writer was invited to the Catskills by D’Amato. Upon arriving in New York, I met the manager Jim Jacobs who worked with D’Amato and we had lunch.
Jacobs, known for his “greatest movies of the century,” told me, “Of all the films I’ve watched and watched, the worst decision was Willie Pastrano’s take on the lightweight heavyweight title from world champion Harold Johnson by a split decision.”
The strange thing, though, was that Johnson never got a second bout, but D’Amato fighter Jose “Chegui” Torres did and destroyed Pastrano, dropping him to sixth, unable to make it out for the 10th round.
On that trip to the Catskills, D’Amato told me how he wouldn’t allow his fighter Floyd Patterson to fight Johnson. He also said that the mob had Pastrano and told him that the only way to fight Torres was if he didn’t run into a corner.
That’s when he worked on the coach’s call-up system to show how Torres was doing.
This writer told Jacobs that the worst decision I’d ever seen was in November 1976 when Southpaw unbeaten Tyrone Everett of Philadelphia lost a split decision in a world title battle to WBC World Super Lightweight Champion, Alfredo “Petro” Escalera of Puerto Rico. He scored with a crowd of 16,019 in attendance at the Philadelphia Spectrum.
This writer scored 13-2 in rounds for Everett. The Mexican referee was playing for Everett, while the Puerto Rican referee was in favor of Escalera, and the Philadelphia referee Le Tres was in favor of Escalera. Tris will never judge a fight again. I gather he got enough pay for retirement.
Four months later, in March 1977, Escalera defended his title against Ronnie McGarvey, while two months later, Everett was shot and killed in May after racking up a pair of victories. He was not able to get a rematch with Escalera.
Joey Giardello, another Philadelphia boxer, attempted to win the NBA middleweight title from champion Gene Vollmer which ended in a draw in a separate decision in April 1960 in Bozeman, Montana. Vollmer, known for his ruthless tactics, would not give Giardello a second match.
In December of 1962, Vollmer lost his title to Dick Tiger. In the rematch, they fought for a tie, and in the third match, Tiger Vollmer was stopped, ending his career.
In August of that year, Giardello lost to fellow Philly boxer George Benton. Then with four wins, he won the title from Tiger in December of 1963. This writer remembers Benton being introduced in the ring before the fight got to Giardillo as if he was putting money in his chest for a second match he’d never get.
After two no-title wins, Giardello, nearly a year after winning the title, defeated Robin “Hurricane” Carter in December of 1964.
Carter had defeated Benton by a split decision in May of 1963, crushing his chances of a title fight with Giardillo. Although Carter later lost several fights to Joey Archer, he had three victories and earned a fight title with Giardillo losing by decision.
In September of 2017, WBC, WBA, and IBF World Middleweight Champion Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin battled a split decision pull with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Golovkin, in this writer’s opinion, was 3-2 behind in rounds when he chased Alvarez running around the ring for seven rounds he was supposed to win by decision. Judge Adalaide Bird had a 118-110 in Alvarez’s favour, and was suspended for a month.
While Alvarez sat idle, Golovkin eight months later ousted Vaness Martirosyan waiting for Alvarez to be ready for the rematch. Four months later, Alvarez secured a majority decision in September 2018, a year after their first fight.
Rather than give Alvarez Golovkin a rematch as he had, he opted to move to super middleweight three months later in December, stopping Rocky Fielding for his WBA title.
In May, Alvarez slipped back into his middleweight. Instead of bringing Golovkin back in May 2019, he defended against Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs, whom Golovkin defeated before his first fight with Alvarez. Why don’t we rematch with Golovkin instead of one of his victims?
The following month in June after defeating Alvarez Jacobs, Golovkin halted Steve Rolls at 163 weight. In October, he again won the vacant middleweight title at the FIFA World Championships by defeating Sergei Derevyanchko.
The following month in November, Alvarez decided to give up his two middleweight titles and jump into two weight classes to beat Sergey “Krucher” Kovalev in November for the WBO light heavyweight title.
A year later he returned to the super middleweight to make four defenses he did not consider a rematch with Golovkin.
We can continue to talk about matches again and I’m sure there was a worse one but the former is still on this writer’s mind.