Respect Harry "Kid" Matthews

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by The Undefeated Lachbuster, Dec 1, 2019 at 8:55 PM.


  1. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Idealism must not be staunched by safety Full Member

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    Harry Matthews was a man who successfully contended from middleweight to heavyweight, against many strong fighters and p4p legends in their own right. He has been overlooked in history, mostly due to his defeat at the hands of Rocky Marciano and a quote from Archie Moore calling him a west coast hype job, but today I want to look at the facts.

    Harry Matthews was a decorated fighter, he was the pride of the west coast during the 1950s boxing scene. He was 5'11 with a 75" reach and never weighed above 182lbs in his pro career. He had educated head movement and footwork, had a good jab, good counterpunching ability, and was always in terrific shape and had an athletic body. In my opinion he looks impressive in his fight with Nardico.

    Many forget that despite starting as a Middleweight, he beat many of the heavyweight ranked contenders, such as Freddie Beshore, Rex Layne, Phil Muscato and Danny Nardico. He even managed to take a win over past prime Ezzard Charles. He held #2 ranked contender Don ****ell to 2 close decisions in their 3 fight series. Clearly he had success at heavyweight despite being overblown and post-Marciano for most of it

    Below the open class, he had major success. In 1942, he notched a win and a draw against former Middleweight champ Al Hostak, the following year held black Murderer's rower Jack Chase to a very close decision. After his defeat at the hands of other black Murderer's rower Eddie Booker, he joined the army and did not see the professional ring again until 1946.

    His return to the ring saw a splendid run where he defeated another black Murderer's rower in Lloyd Marshall and #1 Light Heavyweight contender Bob Murphy. Murphy, whom was 55-3-1 (49KOs). Matthews outclassed both men, showing his prowess and ability to function and thrive in the light heavyweight division after his weight gain.

    All good things must come to an end however, and as you all know, if there's a talented fighter who's story ends tragically it's one of 3 things, drugs, brain damage or a bad manager. Matthews had the latter

    Matthews had trouble after his army service building a fanbase due to his outboxing, moving and jabbing style and lack of promoters in Seattle. This is when he fell in with a man named Jack Hurley

    Hurley only encouraged Matthews continual weight jumps and wanted Matthews to become a permanent heavyweight, even claiming that Matthews could no longer make light heavyweight despite only weighing 179! And yet, in secrecy, he was actually trying to set up a match at Middleweight between Robinson and Matthews. All while rejecting the less popular Joey Maxim's invitation to compete for his light heavyweight crown. Could Hurley have been infatuated with the spotlight? Or was he simply overconfident in Matthews' abilities? Whichever it truly was, this lead Matthews away from his much more promising weights and opportunities to become a very undersized heavyweight in a division which had lurking monsters at the time. One such monster was named Rocco Francis Marchegiano, better known as Rocky Marciano

    It was a grievous error by Matthews' handlers to match him with Marciano, though the agreement was that the winner of this bout would face Walcott for the title, guaranteed. A deal too promising for Jack Hurley to pass up.

    Marciano, a man used to giving up sizeable amounts of weight, was the larger man against the 179lbs former Middleweight in Harry Matthews. In the 1st round, Matthews used footwork to stay away from the Rock from Brockton, and landed flush counters to his chin, which seemingly didn't even land because Marciano was so unbothered by them. Matthews couldn't even get Rocky to reconsider moving forward. In the 2nd round Matthews was once again on the backfoot before a very unfortunate occurrence happened. Marciano sprang forward with surprising explosiveness and threw a 3 punch combination, a completely unorthodox combination consisting of 1 jab and 2 gazelle punch left hooks. The second one landed flush and, in typical Rocky fashion, sent Matthews tumbling to the canvas for the 10 count, completely bewildered by unnatural strength.

    Matthews' career never recovered, though it was truly buried by his series with Don ****ell. As aforementioned, he notched a victory over an overweight Charles before retiring. He is one of the most underrated fighters I've ever seen and could've possibly been a top 100 p4per if he had been managed better, at the very least he could've become champion in either middleweight or light heavyweight, simply too outgunned at heavyweight. A rare sight of a man who did not fear the black Murderer's row that Robinson refused to fight. I request that we not look at the undersized heavyweight who was beaten by Rocky Marciano, but a great middleweight and light heavyweight contender. A great talent, a great athlete, an untold story.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019 at 9:09 PM
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  2. Chuck1052

    Chuck1052 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Jack Hurley was one of the greatest boxing men ever and did a masterful job in managing Harry "Kid" Matthews. Before hooking up with Hurley, Matthews did have a fine record while using a "safety-first" boxing style, but he wasn't making much of living doing it. According to one source, Matthews made only $150. in his last bout before hooking up with Hurley. At first, Hurley was reluctant to take Matthews on because of Matthew's "safety-first" boxing style. But Matthews readily adopted the Hurley method of boxing with Hurley instructing him, which resulted in Matthews having an aggressive and a crowd-pleasing fighting style.

    Under Hurley's management, Matthews would go on to be one of the best gate attractions in boxing at the time, notably in the Pacific Northwest area. Even with Hurley getting fifty percent of Matthews' purses, Matthews was making a lot of money, much of it due to Hurley being a very tough negotiator. In fairness, Hurley paid the expenses out of his end of the purse.

    In regards to Matthews fighting in the heavyweight division as essentially an overblown middleweight, it paid off handsomely for both Matthews and Hurley in terms of making money. It is true that Matthews was knocked by Rocky Marciano in short order, but Matthews actually did quite well fighting heavyweight for most part. Even when fighting Don ****ell while being outweighed by about thirty pounds, Matthews was very competitive in those bouts and made a lot of money for the time.

    In regards to Matthews not fighting Joey Maxim for Maxim's world light-heavyweight title, Hurley was very wary about matching his fighters with opponents who had "safety-first" boxing styles. It wasn't necessarily that Hurley felt his fighters couldn't win against "safety-first" fighters like Maxim. Hurley simply didn't want his fighters to look terrible or to be in fights that stunk out the joint, something which would hurt his fighters as gate attractions.

    By all accounts, Matthews was very grateful to Hurley. As noted before, Matthews became a terrific gate attraction and made a lot of money while being managed by Hurley.

    - Chuck Johnston
     
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  3. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Idealism must not be staunched by safety Full Member

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    I appreciate the response but I believe that deep down every man would rather go down as an all time great than a slight bit richer, though I'm sure being champion would've given him plenty opportunities for money.
     
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  4. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Jack Hurley is considered to be one of the shrewdest managers of all time.He was offered a lhvy title shot against Maxim but, believing Mathews would lose to him opted for the bigger purse against Marciano.
    Mathews fought Muscato in 1950 , it was Muscato's last fight Muscato was briefly number 10 in 1947 3 years earlier he was unranked when he fought Mathews and having his last fight .Nardico was 176lbs for his fight with Mathews, hardly a ranked heavyweight!
    Marshall was37 years old having his last fight, having been ko'd in his previous 2, he was done. Mathews fought Beshore 3 times once in 51 and twice in 53,Beshore was not ranked at the time of any of the 3 fights. Mathews beat a still ridiculously ranked at no 2 Layne.Layne was never the same after the Marciano fight he had lost to nobody Willie James 11-2-1, 3 months earlier James floored him3 times! .Mathews beat an ailing Charles whom Marciano had also ruined.Charles had won just 2 of his last 5 fights against nobodies and would be slung out ot the ring in his next fight for persistent holding we was not only over the hill, he was halfway up the next one! Mathews never beat a ranked heavyweight.His best win was over crude but powerful Murphy as lightheavy.Mathews was never a great fighter . he was a good one who was hyped up carefully matched and then exposed when they went for the big $$$.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 9:59 AM
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  5. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Idealism must not be staunched by safety Full Member

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    Nardico was 176 and proved he could hang with anyone, he held Joey Maxim to a close decision and gave Charles Norkus (ranked in 1954) the fights of his life. Norkus was a fully fleshed Heavyweight.

    Layne definitely wasn't the man he used to be no doubt about it

    I stated Charles was past it and overweight.

    Matthews' domination over Muscato impressed me more than anything

    I think he should've taken the shot against Maxim, Matthews could handle himself fine and mightve had a good chance of winning (though I'd clearly favor the conditioning, activity and resume of Maxim)
     
  6. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Mathews had 104 fights and a weight advantage in 32 of them.You said Mathews beat ranked heavyweight contenders and named them,the only one who was ranked when he met them was Layne and he clearly shouldn't have been!Mathews is a lot like Lastarza ,his record, looks good superficially ,but close inspection showed he was very carefully managed. Charles was not ranked he had lost his end of year no10 ranking when he lost to McMurtry.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 10:25 AM
  7. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Idealism must not be staunched by safety Full Member

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    He wasn't carefully managed in the lower weights, or at all actually. He simply had good timing for some of his fights. No man who fights 3 of the black Murderer's row, an up and coming undefeated monster Rocky Marciano and gives a rematch to Al Hostak is overly concerned with a fancy record.

    He was not protected, and I never specified that they were ranked when Matthews fought them (though Charles was), only that (at one time) they were ranked, whether it be in the past or future. Give credit where credit is due, he had a good run.
     
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  8. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    He fought 3 of the Murderers Row he lost 2 of them and beat the other who was 37 had been ko'd in his previous 2 fights and having his last fight.You need to read John Ochs trilogy about Jack Hurley to get up to speed on Hurley and Mathews.
     
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  9. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Idealism must not be staunched by safety Full Member

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    Then you admit he wasn't safely managed his whole career? He literally faced Jack Chase and Eddie Booker back to back when most men wouldn't fight either. Btw he gave a great and competitive fight to Chase. Marshall was still Marshall and still feared

    I shall pick up his trilogy on Hurley at some point in time
     
  10. Seamus

    Seamus Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I have repeatedly read his contemporaries refer to him as a hype job... especially Archie Moore. But I'm going to get to the Matthews' years soon in the Hurley trilogy and am trying to keep an open mind.
     
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  11. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    The Chase fight was a snore bore in which Chase never really opened up.

    Jack Chase, Denver, today held a victory over the cagey Harry Matthews, Seattle, without even swinging into high gear in their bout at Legion Stadium last night. Chase and Matthews dodged each other and hedged for 10 rounds with Chase finally bagging the decision. Chase, 157 1/2, smashed Matthews to the canvas for a one count in the 9th and moved on to capture the 10th. Matthews, 161, landed a few jabs at Chase but Chase took the bout by forcing the fight throughout." -United Press
    Retrieved from ‘
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    . I highly recommend Springs Toledo's Murderers Row for the inside story on this era.
    This is his comment on the fight.
    "He was knocked out for the third time in as many fights that year.Harry Kid Mathews ,who didn't stand a chance against Murderers Row in the early 1940's,threw a short left hook at the same time Lloyd did, only Mathews was shorter and faster."
     
  12. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Idealism must not be staunched by safety Full Member

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    You're making excuses.
     
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  13. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Im giving you ringside fight reports and you don't want to believe them because they don't jive with your misguided opinion of a hyped West Coast fighter whose own manager told him," you don't know how to fight yet."

    I can make a fighter out of you.You've got to forget everything you think you know,and start from the bottom,It'll take months,many months,but if you do as I say,you'll be a fighter,which is more than you are now."
    Hurley told referee Harry Kessler ,"when I first saw Mathews,I told him,.The first thing you must do is learn is not to be afraid.That's why you've been running- you're afraid of getting hit.You started like that ,and in ten years it's grown on you.You don't know how to fight.You are a fencer and a runner,not a fighter,we'll start with fundamentals". Mathews had confined himself to 2 meals a day to keep his weight dow.Hurley put him on 3 and introduced staek into his diet.
    Hurley had taught Billy Petrolle and he applied the same methods to Mathews.tying his arm to his side, and tying his legs to improve his footwork,he basically rebuilt him. Hurley had his sights set on Lamotta, but Jake's brother Joey vetoed the match.
    You're impressed that Mathews beat a 37 years old Muscato having his last fight? Why? Muscato had only been briefly ranked no 10 and that was 3 years before! Jim Norris offered Hurley matches for Mathews against Maxim and Satterfield,[ Satterfield was without an opponent when Lamotta pulled out at the last minute.] Hurley turned down both fights.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 3:04 AM
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  14. KasimirKid

    KasimirKid Member Full Member

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    There is no doubt that Marshall was a shell of his former self. As McVey pointed out, it was his last fight and he had been losing as much as winning for the prior several years. So, there is no question Matthews' victory over Marshall should be discounted.

    I'll continue this post with comments about Harry's fights against Booker and Chase when I return from driving my wife to work. I didn't mean to post this yet, but inadvertently clicked something I shouldn't have.
     
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  15. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Idealism must not be staunched by safety Full Member

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    no, if Chase didnt give it his A game, then its the fault of Chase, though the write up belies what almost always happens when one fights a COUNTER PUNCHER. Any man who beats Hostak and fights well against Chase knows how to fight, clearly his manager was exaggerating. Look at the facts, thats the point of this ****ing thread, you came onto a Matthews respect thread to diss him. forshame.
     


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