The 1950's were a very special decade in boxing. It
saw the dawn of an era of great TV bouts, along with their sponsorships,
like Gillette and Pabst Blue Ribbon, which introduced fighters across
the world in a new medium. As the decade closed, a preview to the 1960's
was on tap -- where boxing would go onto a new elevated level.
1959 was a transitional year in the boxing annuals that saw a few
upsets and a couple of introductory champions start their reign. As
prospects like Emile Griffith and Jose Torres were on the upswing, fans
were seeing the last prime days of Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Miceli,
and Archie Moore among others. And unbeknownst to many current fans,
there was rumors that Rocky Marciano wanted to come out of retirement to
face champion Floyd Patterson, and those rumors proved correct, although
the comeback never materialized. 1959 also produced a huge upset
when on 26th of June, at Yankee Stadium, as Ingemar Johannson's
sledgehammer right hand stopped Champ Floyd Patterson in his tracks,
depositing him on the canvas six times, en route to a 3rd round TKO and
an undisputed heavyweight championship.
"Ingo, It's Bingo" as the NY headlines in
the paper on June 27, 1959.
Patterson-Johannson was the Upset Of The Year, The Round of The Year,
the 3rd, and it was Ingo's only fight of the year, a rather impressive
outing for the handsome star from Gothenburg, Sweden, who was dubbed as
"boxing's Cary Grant."
The Fight Of the Year occurred in Daly City, California on
August 28, 1958 when two heated rivals mixed it up for 14 brutal rounds.
Gene Fullmer, West Jordan Utah, former middleweight champion, stopped
Carmen Basilio, Canastota, NY, former welterweight and middleweight
champion, for the vacant NBA middleweight crown. Fullmer fought the
entire bout from the outside, punishing Basilio until the referee
stopped the bout early in the 14th.
Basilio dukes it out with Fullmer
Other notable happenings in 1959 included the emergence of jr
welterweight Carlos Ortiz, becoming the champion with a three round
stoppage of Kenny Lane. Lane, who was dropped in the second and cut in
the third, could not continue. Ortiz would later be a dominant
lightweight champion for most of the next decade.
Flyweight champion and legend Pascual Perez loses for the first time
in 51 fights, a 10 round decision to Sadio Yaoita in Japan. Perez would
then fight three more times in Japan, a non title win over Kenji
Yonekura, then a title defense win over 15 rounds against Yonekura,
which set the stage for a rematch with Yaoita, where on Nov 5, 1959, in
Perez avenged his only loss with a KO over Yaoita in 13 rounds.
As Perez ruled the flyweights, Archie, "The Ol' Mongoose"
Moore ruled the
light heavyweights. Providence's Harold Gomes led the jr lightweight
division, and Don "Geronimo" Jordan was the welterweight elite. Joe Brown
was the best at lightweight and the featherweight class belonged to
AS '59 turned to 1960, a dawn of new champions were ready to be
crowned in what proved to be a dynamic era in its own right.
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Last updated: 06/19/17.