September in New York State Combat Sports History

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On September 1, 2016, Mixed Martial Arts became legal in New York State.

On September 8, 1897 at The Alhambra in Syracuse, NY, Tommy Ryan, who was born in Redwood, NY, fought to a NO Contest against Charles (Kid) McCoy in a middleweight bout. No contests were not unusual for the era, but this one was one of the strangest occurrences in the squared circle in the State of New York at the time. The Syracuse Evening News reported that Ryan, although at his best at 145lbs, surprisingly agreed to enter the ring at 154lbs with McCoy, who came in at 158lbs. Politics and police interference saw the fight halted during the fifth round with neither man badly hurt, despite Ryan suffering damage to his left eye. Press reports stated that it was rumoured prior to the fight that the police would enforce a stoppage in the fifth or sixth rounds, but that could not be substantiated. When asked why he stopped the fight, Police Inspector O’Brien said that he had seen Ryan beginning to land heavy blows to McCoy’s kidney region and felt that those punches were unacceptable. Referee George Siler said there was no reason for the police to have intervened in the bout. It was generally thought that Ryan was ahead at the time of the stoppage and would have gone on to win.

On September 8, 1950, in the third of their four epic fights, Sandy Saddler defeated Willie Pep by an 8th round TKO at Yankee Stadium to regain the World Featherweight Championship.

On September 12, 1952, Floyd Patterson made his pro boxing debut at St. Nicholas Arena in New York City, knocking out Eddie Godbold in the 4th round.

On September 15, 1983, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini knocked out challenger Orlando Romero in the 9th round at Madison Square Garden to retain his WBA Lightweight Title.

On September 17, 1950 at New York’s Yankee Stadium, Ezzard Charles retained his World Heavyweight title with a fifteen-round unanimous decision over former world champion and one of the greatest heavyweights ever, the Brown Bomber Joe Louis. Although Charles was officially the World Heavyweight champion at the time (he had held the title since June 21, 1949) of this defense, many boxing fans still viewed Louis, for sentimental reasons, as the real world Heavyweight champion. Charles was recognized universally after defeating Louis. Charles finished his career with 93 Wins (52 Knockouts), 25 Defeats (7 knockouts), and 1 Draw.

On September 18, 1953, Ray "Kid Gavilan won a 15-round split decision over the Carmen "The Upstate Onion Farmer" Basilio from Canastota, NY at the War Memorial Auditorium in Syracuse, NY, to retain his World Welterweight Title.

On September 18, 2001, two-time former World Featherweight Champion Sandy Saddler and best known for his four-bout series with Willie Pep, passed away at a nursing home in New York State. Although born in Boston, Saddler fought over 45 times in the Empire State during his career, including in Buffalo, Long Beach, Schenectady and New York City. He finished with a career record of 144 wins (103 by KO), 16 losses and two draws.

On September 20, 1972, Muhammad Ali scored a 7th-round knockout over Floyd Patterson in Floyd's final fight.

On September 21, 1955, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, World heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano came off the canvas to score a ninth round knockout of Moore, the Light Heavyweight Champion who had moved up in weight. This marked the final bout in Marciano's
career and to this day he remains the only Heavyweight Champion to retire undefeated, finishing at 49-0.

On September 24, 1935, Joe Louis knocked out Max Baer at Yankee Stadium in the 4th round. In his autobiography, he considered this victory as the finest performance of his career.

On September 27, 1956, undisputed Middleweight Champion Tony Zale defended his title against New York’s own Rocky Graziano at Yankee Stadium in the first of their three fights, one of the more sensational trilogies in boxing history. This bout, widely regarded as the Fight of the Year in 1946 by many boxing aficionados, ended when Zale knocked out Graziano in the sixth round. In the third round, Graziano sent Zale through the ropes. Later, on the verge of defeat and ready to collapse, Zale managed to drop Graziano with a body shot. Then in the sixth round Zale caught Graziano with a left hook that dropped him hard to the canvas; this time Rocky wasn’t able to cover from the punch in time to beat the count and Tony Zale retained the title.

On September 29, 2001, Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins squared off against Felix Trinidad at Madison Square Garden in a matchup that caught the world’s eyes for many reasons. First, the fight would crown the first undisputed middleweight champion since Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987, as both Hopkins and Trinidad held respective middleweight titles, so the hype had been explosive from the time the bout was first announced. The fight, originally scheduled for Sept. 15, 2001, was the most anticipated event of the boxing year, and due to Hopkins’ taunts and derisive actions against the younger Trinidad, tension was high as fight week began. And then, on the morning of Sept. 11, everything changed as New York City suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history. Suddenly, sports were an afterthought. But as New York and the nation attempted to get back to normal, or at least a semblance thereof, the fight was rescheduled for two weeks later for the 29th, and by the time it got under way, the tension generated by the bout's promotion and the events of the previous two weeks was palpable. In the ring, the old master Hopkins dominated, before finally dropping Trinidad midway through the 12th, at which point the Puerto Rican's father-trainer Felix Sr. entered the ring to stop the fight. Hopkins is still active and his record stands at 53 Wins (32 Knockouts), 6 Defeats (0 knockouts), and 2 Draws.