History | Dec 09 2016

On This Day: Archie Moore, the greatest light-heavyweight of all-time, dies aged 81

Archie Moore knocked out more men than any other fighter in history and was a true legend, writes Bob Mee
Archie Moore

ONE of the larger than life characters the sport has produced, ‘Ancient’ Archie Moore had to wait until he was 36 to win the world light-heavyweight title… but once on top, he stayed there for the next ten amazing years.

Moore’s age has been open to question since his days as champion. Some said he was born in 1912 or 1913, but the evidence provided by the 1920 US census shows 13th December 1916, the date he gave in his autobiography, is correct. That official record has him as a three-year-old living in St Louis, Missouri, with his uncle and aunt, Cleveland and Willie Moore. Archie’s birth name was Archibald Lee Wright but he was raised by his aunt and uncle and took their name.

He grew up in St Louis, was sent to Reform School when he went off the rails, following the death of his uncle and his older sister, and it was there that he began to box. He had his first professional fight when he was 19 in 1936. It was a long road from there to the light-heavyweight championship of the world.