EVEN though he was 17 years into his career before receiving his first crack at a world title, boxing fans hadn’t seen Archie Moore’s masterpiece yet. Turning pro in 1935, Moore honed his craft against the avoided mob known as ‘The Murderer’s Row’, taking colours from everyone’s palette along the way to paint a picture of an extremely dangerous man.
After beating Joey Maxim for the title, ‘The Ol’ Mongoose’ remained highly active, defending his belt while pitting his wits against the best heavyweights of the day. Making his seventh defence in his sixth year of his reign, Moore travelled to Montreal to face the Canadian and British Empie (now Commonwealth) champion Yvon Durelle.
‘The Fighting Fisherman’ was ranked the number three contender but not seen as a threat to Moore, a 3-1 favourite. Even with his age disputed by the press, with United Press International saying ‘he was either 42 or 45’, Moore was seen as a heavy favourite, and was aiming to break a long standing record held by Young Stribling as the boxer with the most knockouts in history.