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Archie Moore

Moore's Legacy

After the ABC program was opened to female participants, it changed its name to Any Body Can and continued to serve the youth of San Diego through the 1970s. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointed Moore to the Project Build program, which brought sports programs to public-housing residents. He was also honored with the Rocky Marciano Memorial Award in 1987. Moore suffered from declining health in the 1990s and underwent heart surgery that took away much of his physical prowess. In late 1998 he fell into a coma for two weeks and died in a San Diego hospice facility on December 10. He was survived by his wife, Joan, and eight children.

Any Boy Can: The Archie Moore Story

In 1962 I hung up my gloves after a match with Cassius Clay, now known as Muhammad Ali. I knew long before this that Clay was going to be a great fighter, probably one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, but for a while it looked like he wouldn't have a chance to prove it.

The reason I fought him in 1962 was not because of me wanting to fight him or trying to prove something, you understand. After all, I was almost fifty years old at the time, and no man that age belongs in the same ring with a youngster in his prime, especially one who had Clay's great talent. I was just fighting him because I had some paper hung on me, in the vernacular of the ring. A promoter had hung a $25,000 check on me that bounced. I had to make it good, and my money was tied up in my house and so on, and I had to come up with ready cash, and the quickest way I could get cash was to fight Clay. So I boxed him. I felt that if I could put together all the things I had learned in my many years in the ring that I stood a good chance of beating him in spite of the age difference, but he was just too much.

A lot of times I've been asked how I thought I would have done against Clay when I was in my prime. Well, truly, the only way I can answer that is to say I don't honestly know. I always went into the ring feeling that I could beat my opponent, but it didn't always happen that way. One thing I can tell you for sure—it would have been an interesting and exciting fight.

Source: Archie Moore and Leonard B. Pearl. Any Boy Can: The Archie Moore Story, 1971.

For his record of knockout punches—estimated between 129 and 144 knockouts in all—Moore was recognized as one of the greatest boxers the sport had ever seen. Although the number of knockout wins was impressive, most critics agreed with Moore's own claim that he was a consummate boxer who thought on his feet, not just a slugger like Rocky Marciano, Rocky Graziano, or Jake LaMotta, to name just a few of his contemporaries. Moore's career was also notable for its sheer length, lasting for twenty-seven years and including ten years as light-heavyweight champion. Unlike many former champions, Moore found lasting satisfaction in his post-professional days as a trainer and philanthropist. "Here I am, my ring days over, gray and balding, teaching young boys, doing what I can to fight juvenile delinquency, doing what I can to make this a better America for all of us," he wrote in Any Boy Can: The Archie Moore Story. "And when one of my boys makes it big I'm proud of him. I'm happy to have been given the opportunity to help…. That is what I am proudest of."

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Famous Sports StarsBoxingArchie Moore Biography - Grew Up In St. Louis, Makes Professional Debut, Chronology, Wins Light-heavyweight Title In 1952 - SELECTED WRITINGS BY MOORE: