Kid Gavilan vs Billy Graham III

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CONTROVERSY RATING: 100%
The percentage of fan cards that disagree with an official result. Exclusively on EYE ON THE RING.
Kid Gavilan vs Billy Graham III
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Date: 
Wednesday, August 29, 1951
Location: 
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
Rounds Scheduled: 
15
Contracted Weight: 
147
Titles at Stake: 
NBA Welterweight World Title
Referee: 
Mark Conn

Official Judging
Mark Conn 10 - 7
Arthur Schwartz 9 - 6
Frank Forbes 10 - 11

More:



Regarded as one of the most controversial decisions of all time. The crowd violently protested the decision. Referee Conn, who had cast the deciding vote in favor of Gavilan, had to leave the ring under police protection. Among critics, opinions were divided sharply over who deserved the decision. Some had Graham a clear winner, while others thought the decision was close enough to go either way.

"The writer scored the battle, nine rounds to six, for Gavilan. The champion was entitled to the first four, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh and the thirteenth. Graham won the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, the twelfth and, in a closing burst of brillant [sic] boxing, the fourteenth and fifteenth. ...Graham's superior boxing skill carried him through the rounds he won. In these sessions he outboxed the champion. After taking a drubbing through the first four rounds, Graham stung Gavilan to aimless fury with his clever boxing and sharp hitting through the three succeeding rounds. Repeatedly Graham reached the jaw over this span with sharp right-hand drives. He made Gavilan miss awkwardly with long lefts and rights while getting under the fire with solid rights to the heart or left hooks to the head. With the eighth round the tide of battle turned Gavilan's way. He forced the fighting, swarmed all over Graham, charging in against Billy's best blows and raked the East Sider about the head with rights and lefts. In the twelfth Graham's punches were cleaner and sharper and he grazed the jaw several times with rights. Through the fourteenth and fifteenth rounds Graham, throwing all caution to the winds, reached the champion's jaw repeatedly with grazing rights and left hooks. He frequently beat Gavilan to a left jab to the face. However, the earlier lead accumulated by Gavilan could not be overcome by this closing rush of the challenger." (James P. Dawson, New York Times)

Attendance: 8,137; Gate: $34,419;
Gavilan received universal recognition as champion after this fight.
Unofficial scorecards:
AP - 7-5-3 Graham
UP - 8-6-1 Graham
Ringside poll conducted by the UP of 15 boxing writers had 12 favoring Graham and 3 favoring Gavilan.




Fan Cards: Kid Gavilan vs Billy Graham III


scorecard by BOXING KNOWLEDGE
Round
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Total
KID GAVILAN
9
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
142
BILLY GRAHAM
10
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
143


scorecard by MATCHROOM
Round
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Total
KID GAVILAN
9
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
142
BILLY GRAHAM
10
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
143


scorecard by NARUTO
Round
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Total
KID GAVILAN
9
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
142
BILLY GRAHAM
10
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
143


scorecard by BOXING PURIST
Round
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Total
KID GAVILAN
9
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
142
BILLY GRAHAM
10
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
143


scorecard by WHAT_IS_THE_DEFAULT_PASSWORD
Round
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Total
KID GAVILAN
10
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
10
9
9
10
10
9
143
BILLY GRAHAM
10
9
10
9
10
10
9
9
10
9
10
10
10
9
10
144


Comments

what_is_the_default_password's picture

The only fight between the two Welterweight greats available online.

what_is_the_default_password's picture

This fight came to my attention due to the controversy surrounding it, as well as cries of robbery heard even today on the internet.

It certainly possessed all the ingredients to cook a terrible decision. Gavilan was flashy and consistently the aggressor. Graham was conservative and consistently the defender. When Gavilan stalked forward wringing looping punches, Graham side-stepped and pecked with his jab. Gavilan's assault was eye-catching but of questionable effectiveness, meanwhile Graham's defense might be effective but was boring and difficult to notice. History has few pair of fighters as evenly-matched as these two; the match devolved into a back-and-forth grind-fest, although it was a good-showing of boxing ability from both participants.

In the end I had Graham edging out Gavilan by a razor-thin margin of one point. However, to suggest Graham won convincingly is unfounded, while he frustrated Gavilan at various points of the match he did not dominate his foe to win an unanimous decision. With that being said, I do think the official 10-7 and 9-6 decision is quite unfair to Graham.

"Some fans at Madison Square Garden pelted the ring with debris when the decision was announced."
-The New York Times

Supposedly, one of the judges called Artie Schwartz said to Graham's manager years after this fight: "You know, Irving, I've got to get this off my mind because you are a very decent fellow. When I voted for Gavilan against Graham, I had to do it. The boys ordered me to do it. I couldn't help myself, and it's bothered me ever since. I'm sorry, Irving, for what I did to you and Graham."

Who were the 'boys'?

Boxing Purist's picture

No idea to your question. However I'd like to say, you are a natural at expressing your feelings and opinions on here. You make the classic fights of the past even more enticing, and after reading your account of the fights you judge I'm always ready to follow. Your write up for Tony Canzoneri vs Kid Chocolate was exceptional.

what_is_the_default_password's picture

Thanks, the classic fights deserve more love here.

what_is_the_default_password's picture