How Many Rematches That Should Have Been Made But Were Not?
By Ken Hissner: One of the most horrible airplane crash deaths that shocked the boxing world happened on October 27, 1949. Former world middleweight champion France’s Marcel Cerdan was en route to America for a rematch with Jake “Bronx Bull” LaMotta when his plane crashed in the Azores Mountain’s causing his death at the age of 33.
Cerdan had lost his title to LaMotta on June 16th, 1949, due to a shoulder injury at the end of the ninth round. He and LaMotta fell to the canvas during a first round scuffle, and he fought one-armed until he retired in his corner after the tenth round. He ended with a 110-4 record with 65 stoppages.
Back in 1981, upon meeting IBHOF trainer Cus D’Amato and his boxer Kevin Rooney in Scranton, PA, this writer was invited to the Catskills by D’Amato. Upon arriving in New York, I met up with manager Jim Jacobs who worked with D’Amato, and we had lunch.
Jacobs, known for his “Greatest Fight Films of the Century,” told me, “of all the films I have and watched, the worst decision was Willie Pastrano’s taking the light heavyweight title from the world champion Harold Johnson by split decision.”
The odd thing was, though, Johnson never got a rematch, but D’Amato’s fighter Jose “Chegui” Torres did and destroyed Pastrano, knocking him down in the sixth, and he wasn’t able to come out for the tenth round.
On that trip to Catskills, D’Amato told me how he wouldn’t allow his fighter Floyd Patterson to fight Johnson. He also said the mob had Pastrano and told him the only way they’d fight Torres was if he didn’t work the corner.
That’s when he worked up the system of calling out numbers to the trainer filling in of how Torres was to perform.
This writer told Jacobs the worst decision I ever witnessed and in person was in November of 1976 when Philadelphia’s unbeaten southpaw Tyrone Everett lost a split decision in a world title fight to WBC World Super Lightweight champion Puerto Rico’s Alfredo “Petro” Escalera, setting an indoor record with a crowd of 16,019 in attendance at the Philadelphia Spectrum.
This writer scored it 13-2 in rounds for Everett. The Mexican referee had it for Everett while the Puerto Rican judge for Escalera and the Philadelphia judge Lou Tress for Escalera. Tress would never judge a fight again. I gather he was paid enough to retire.
Four months later, in March of 1977, Escalera defended his title against Ronnie McGarvey, while two months after that, Everett was shot to death in May after posting a pair of wins. He was never able to get a return match with Escalera.
Another Philadelphia boxer Joey Giardello attempted to win the NBA middleweight title from champion Gene Fullmer that ended in a split decision draw in April of 1960 in Bozeman, Montana. Fullmer, known for his rough tactics, wouldn’t give Giardello a rematch.
In December of 1962, Fullmer lost his title to Dick Tiger. In a rematch, they fought to a draw, and in a third match, Tiger stopped Fullmer, ending his career.
In August of that year, Giardello lost to fellow Philly boxer George Benton. Four wins later, he won the title from Tiger in December of 1963. This writer remembers Benton being introduced in the ring before a fight going up to Giardello as if putting money in his trunks for a rematch he would never get.
After a pair of non-title wins, Giardello, almost a year to the day after winning the title, defeated Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in December of 1964.
Carter had defeated Benton by split decision in May of 1963, squashing his chances of a title fight with Giardello. Though Carter several fights later lost to Joey Archer, he scored three wins and got his title fight with Giardello losing by decision.
In September of 2017, WBC, WBA, and IBF World middleweight champion Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin was held to a split decision draw with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Golovkin, in this writer’s opinion, was behind 3-2 in rounds when he chased a running Alvarez around the ring for seven rounds in which he should have won a decision. Judge Adalaide Byrd had it 118-110 for Alvarez and was suspended for a month.
While Alvarez was sitting idle, Golovkin eight months later knocked out Vanes Martirosyan awaiting Alvarez to be ready for their rematch. Four months later, Alvarez took a majority decision win in September of 2018, a year after their first fight.
Instead of Alvarez giving Golovkin a rematch like he was given, he chose to move up to super middleweight three months later in December, stopping Rocky Fielding for his WBA title.
In May, Alvarez dropped back to middleweight. Instead of giving Golovkin a rematch in May of 2019, he defended against Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs, whom Golovkin had defeated prior to his first fight with Alvarez. Why not a rematch with Golovkin instead of one of his victims?
The following month in June after Alvarez defeated Jacobs, Golovkin stopped Steve Rolls weighing 163. In October, he re-won the vacant IBF middleweight title defeating Sergiy Derevyancheko.
The following month in November, Alvarez decided to abandon his two middleweight titles and jump up two weight classes to knockout Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev in November for the WBO light heavyweight title.
A year later he returns to super middleweight making four defenses never considering a rematch with Golovkin.
We can go on and on about rematches and I’m sure there have been worse one’s but the previous stick out in the mind of this writer.
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