Boxing Simulation All-Time Middleweight Champion Part 2 Basilio v. Cerdan & Griffith v. McCoy

About a computer simulation ran to determine the all-time middleweight championship boxer of the world, the preliminary round featuring Basilio vs. Cerdan and Griffith vs. McCoy.

The All-Time Middleweight Championship of the World

The Preliminaries


Background: Carmen Basilio won the middleweight championship from Sugar Ray Robinson in 1957 in a 15-round split decision, then lost it back to him in 1958. He had previously won the welterweight title twice. A tough, unorthodox slammer, Basilio would wade in weaving and throwing leather, willing to take 20 punches to get in one bomb that could end it all.

Marcel Cerdan, French boxing legend, KO'd the supposedly unbeatable Tony Zale in 1948 to win the middleweight title, but a dislocated shoulder forced him to surrender it to Jake LaMotta in 1949. Cerdan, who lost only 4 of 113 professional bouts, was killed in a plane crash on his way back to the U.S. for a rematch with LaMotta.

The Fight: Cerdan's speed and clever, whirlwind style made Basilio miss in the 2nd round. Cerdan floored him in the 3rd and Basilio counterattacked, putting the Frenchman down twice. A right to the head and left to the jaw took Basilio out in Round 4.

Winner: Cerdan, KO 4.


Background: Born in the Virgin Islands, Emile Griffith came to New York and began a boxing career that gave him the welterweight championship 3 times and the middleweight crown twice between 1961 and 1968. In one of the tragedies of the era, Benny (Kid) Paret died of cerebral injuries following his KO loss to Griffith in '61, a bout that gave Emile the welterweight championship.

The flamboyant turn-of-the-century boxer Kid McCoy, who inspired the saying "The Real McCoy," was actually a mild-mannered Indiana farm boy named Norman Selby. "Kid McCoy" was born in the minds of newspapermen, one of the earliest examples of the synthetic creation of a "celebrity." Norman Selby, a handsome, somewhat tubercular-looking chap, had lightning feet and hands and he won fights. Because he lacked the lumpy muscles, hairy torso, and flattened nose that stereotyped the boxer in the public's imagination, a legend was created: Kid McCoy, a sensitive, milk-skinned pretty boy, who could fight because he had run away from home at 13 and had battled his way through the most ferocious hobo jungles in the country, learning the basics of survival as he went. Supposedly he had mastered every trick in the book, and this included his infamous "corkscrew punch," a left hook that he would twist as it landed in order to cut the skin.

Unfortunately, Norman Selby attempted to live up to the legend. After 10 marriages and a career as a championship fighter, restaurateur to the stars and motion picture actor, in the 1920s Selby was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a girl friend and for that and other offenses was sentenced to 48 years in prison.

The fight: In his bout with the tough Griffith, McCoy gave almost as much as he got. He danced and jabbed, landed the corkscrew and had Griffith bleeding at both eyes. But Emile came back strong in the final 2 rounds to win a close decision.

Winner: Griffith, D.

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