I just wanted you to see the photo I wrote about in my column in today’s newspaper.
The story was about Davey Moore - the legendary Olympian and world featherweight champ from Springfield - who died from a freak brain injury suffered in a nationally-televised title defense at an amped-up Dodger Stadium in 1963.
Moore is being honored this Saturday night when the five-week, multi—event Punchers & Painters festival kicks off with a free, open-to-the-public reception/ party at the. Color of Energy Gallery, (7 to 9 p.m.) at 16 Brown Street in the Oregon District.
Saturday night’s gathering will feature an ongoing exhibit of boxing photos, Greg DeGroat artwork, Moore memorabilia and a stunning, eight-foot statue of the boxer that was done by nationally-acclaimed sculptor Mike Major and one day will be displayed in downtown Springfield. . Major, who also will showcase some of his other work, will be at the reception, as will Geraldine and some of her children.
Sidebar , whose patio connects to the Gallery, will provide appetizers and libations. . Next week the statue — which will be bronzed when the project’s funding is completed - will be on display at Drake’s Downtown Gym, where the following Saturday (July 16, 7:30 p.m.) Punchers & Painters will continue with “Drake’s Fight Night,” a free outdoor boxing show on Fourth Street between Patterson and St. Clair.
In the weeks that follow, Punchers and Painters also will include “An Evening with Buster Douglas,” the former world heavyweight champ and the first conqueror of seemingly-invincible Mike Tyson and a Dayton Dragons fight show at Fifth Third Field.
Meanwhile, back to Moore.
A 2-1 favorite in his title defense against the Angelo Dundee trained Sugar Ramos, he was caught by a a series of punches in the 10th that sent him tumbling backwards to the canvas . His neck caught the bottom ring rope - which was actually a rubber-coated steel cable - and the whiplash injured his brain stem. Even so, he was up at the count of three, but soon got caught again and was folded over the top rope when the round ended, prompting manager Willie Ketchum to stop the fight . In the dressing room afterward, Moore sat on a rub down table and talked with reporters and that’s when the above photo - one of the most haunting in boxing history - was snapped.
With his hands extended and palms up, he’s explaining what happened. The only visible mark on him - an old scar on his forehead - has nothing to do with boxing. It’s a souvenir of a childhood fall against a rocking chair when he lived on Chestnut Street in Springfield.
After talking awhile, he told reporters he had a bad headache, lay down and went into a coma. Two days later the 29-yeart-old Moore was dead. The autopsy surgeon said it was “a one in a million” accident.
That last photo appeared full page in Look Magazine beneath the headline “He Fought, Talked, Then Died.”Tweet