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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Charley Burley and Black Murder’s Row!

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By Ken Hissner: In 1944, Pittsburgh’s Charley Burley, 61-9-2, had future world champion Archie “Old Mongoose” Moore, 60-8-5, at the time, on the canvas four times, defeating him at the Legion Stadium in Hollywood, California.

At the end of Moore’s career, he was asked, “who was the best fighter you ever faced?” Everyone says Rocky Marciano, but I was 42 when we fought Muhammad Ali. I was 46, Eddie Booker broke my ribs, but Charley Burley gave me a boxing lesson!

Manager George Gainsford kept “Sugar” Ray Robinson away from Charley Burley “because his style such he would have counteracted Robinson’s.”

Writer Budd Schulberg coined “Black Murder’s Row” that included Holman Williams, 146-31-11, (Burley fought him seven times each winning three and a no contest), Eddie Booker, 66-5-8, Lloyd Marshall, 70-25-4, Jack Chase, 81-24-12, (Burley beat twice, once for California Middle title), Aaron “Tiger” Wade, 64-16-6, (Burley beat three times), Cocoa Kid, 178-58-11 (Burley beat him for Colored Welter title and drew with him) and Bert Lytell, 71-23-7 (split with Lytell).

Burley beat three future world champions in Moore, Fritzie Zivic (2 out of 3), and Billy Soose. Zivic’s manager Luke Carney bought Burley’s contract, so he didn’t have to fight Zivic again.

Legendary trainer Eddie Futch said, “Charley Burley was the finest all-around fighter I ever saw.”

Avoided by fighters of his weight class he had to move up to fight the likes of Ezzard Charles and Oakland Billy Smith, even Jay D Turner at 219 ½, to his 151.

Burley defeated Big Boy Hogue, 50-4-2, Antonio Fernandez, 53-6-12, Young Gene Buffalo, 78-20-8, Carl Dell 42-6, Jimmy Leto, 118-21-13, Joe Carter, 40-6-4, Leon Zorrita, 40-6-5, Chuck Higgins, 25-1 and drew with Georgie Abrams, 32-3-1.

Burley was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992 and previously Boxing Hall of Fame in 1987. He finished 83-12-2 with 50 knockouts and never stopped.

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