NYS Boxing History

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May in New York State Boxing History

On May 19, 1977, Ken “The Fighting Marine” Norton defeated unbeaten heavyweight prospect Duane Bobick via TKO in the very first round of their scheduled 12-round bout at Madison Square Garden. Norton pummeled his opponent with right hands before the referee stopped the bout with only 58 seconds gone by. For Norton, this bout followed a unanimous decision loss to Muhammad Ali at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx the previous year in the grudge match of their great trilogy in which he also lost the NABF Heavyweight title. In their first match in 1973, Norton famously broke Ali’s jaw before Ali won the rematch later that year. Norton was known for fighting the very best heavyweights of his day, including Larry Holmes and George Foreman, on top of Ali, and fought a total of four times in the Empire State, including his last match, a one-round knockout loss at the hands of Gerry Cooney in 1981 at the Garden. Norton finished his professional career with 42 wins (33 by KO), seven defeats and one draw.


On May 28, 1942, the great Sugar Ray Robinson fought Schenectady, NY’s own Marty Servo for the second time at Madison Square Garden in a middleweight clash. Unlike the first fight for these two rivals, in which Robinson won a unanimous decision, it was Servo who improved upon his past performance in a remarkably close fight, but he still narrowly lost an unpopular split decision. Ringside observers thought Servo had won and many fans in the crowd of 15,000 vociferously disapproved of the decision. Robinson fought a whopping 41 times in New York State in locales that also included The Polo Grounds (in Manhattan) and Yankee Stadium (in The Bronx), as well as bouts in Brooklyn, Albany and Buffalo. Robinson made his professional debut at Madison Square Garden in 1940 and finished his illustrious career with a record of 173 wins (108 by KO), 19 losses, six draws and two no contests.