On this date in 1958, the Old Mongoose, Archie Moore, fought to a draw with journeyman heavyweight Howard “Honeyboy” King. From 1952 to 1962, Moore held the light heavyweight championship while campaigning frequently in the heavyweight division. This decade has to rank as one of the most impressive stretches of any boxing career. Moore would fight multiple times a year, bouncing from the 175-pound, light heavyweight limit up to between 195 and 200 pounds for his heavyweight battles. At the time that he captured the light heavyweight crown, he was 36 and had been fighting as a professional for 18 years.
Moore began his career as a middleweight and was a ranked contender there before World War II. Following the war, he moved up to light heavyweight, capturing the world title from Joey Maxim in 1952.
In a career that ultimately stretched to nearly three full decades, Moore compiled a professional record of 185-23-10, with 131 knockouts. No professional boxer in history is believed to have knocked out more opponents than Moore. He had a minor acting career throughout the 1960s, including a portrayal of the run-away slave, Jim, in a film adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn, a performance which earned Moore considerable praise from the critics.
King is a fighter almost entirely forgotten today, but he was a significant fixture in the heavyweight division during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he fought many of the top contenders on multiple occasions. His professional record of 39-29-8 is not exactly eye-catching and he was knocked out more times than he knocked out opponents (14 to 13), but the names on his resume were a who’s who of the division during that era.
King fought Moore six times, losing all five of the other bouts. He faced such contenders as Eddie Machen, Bob Satterfield, Harold Johnson, Zora Foley and Karl Mildenberger. He lost twice to heavyweight champion Sonny Liston and actually split in two fights with the extremely rugged Canadian heavyweight, George Chuvalo. King also recorded a victory over notable contender Tommy “Hurricane” Jackson.