The Pope vs Boxing: When the Pope wanted to end Boxing

The Pope vs Boxing: At that time the Pope wanted to ban boxing over the death of one of the greatest legends of boxing.

Staff Reporter
New Update
The Pope vs Boxing: When the Pope wanted to end Boxing | Sportz Point

No, not the one we have right now, this happened back in the times of John XXIII, after a tragedy that left the fans of sports, sports betting, and especially boxing marked for life.

Boxing has always been considered a violent and life-and-death type of sport. In fact, some studies have shown that, in the last century, over 1600 boxers lost their lives in the ring; and that means that around 13 boxers die every year!

The first ever recorded death in the ring was that of Andy Bowen in 1894, at 27 years old. Bowen hit his head on the wooden canvas when his opponent knocked him down in the 18th round. Sadly, he never woke up again and passed away in the hospital the next morning.

The excess of violence in a sport that some people consider "barbaric," coupled with a high death rate, is what motivated Pope John XXIII to try to ban boxing back in 1963, after the death of the legendary boxer Davey Moore.

The man, the Athlete

Moore was born in Kentucky, USA, in 1933, and he was made for success. People first started noticing him due to his performance on the Olympic boxing team in 1952, but it was only on May 11 of 1953 that he made his professional debut, beating rival boxer Willie Reece after 6 rounds. That year he fought 8 times in total, with a record of 6 wins, 1 loss, and 1 no-contest.

Moore was a short guy, and people often underestimated him for it, which is considered to be his opponents' biggest mistake. The critics considered Moore a fantastic athlete due to his 18 consecutive wins out of 29 fights, ending that streak only with his loss to Carlos Morocho in 1960 by a technical knockout.

A Man's Last Fight

March 21, 1963, was a day like no other for Moore, not only because he lost his world title, but because it would be his last, dying after his fight against Ultiminio Ramos, also known as Sugar Ramos. When the Ramos X Moore fight was announced, the excitement was so high that the match was moved to Dodger Stadium, which could accommodate the expected public of over 50,000 guests.

It was a very difficult match, but by the 10th round, Ramos managed to take the lead. And it was at this moment of the fight that Ramos hit Moore so hard that Moore fell right through the ring ropes onto his neck. Moore still managed to get up and finish fighting the round, but Ramos won the fight at the end and became the new champion.

A Dreadful Night

Afterward, Moore went to his dressing room and told one of his team members that his head hurt badly. He collapsed moments later and was rushed to White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. In only a few hours, the former champion fell into a coma, and three days later he passed away at the age of 29, leaving a widow, Geraldine, and five children.

The weight of what he had done quickly fell on Ramos' shoulders, and heavily, even considering that it was not his fists that killed Moore. Doctors later came to the conclusion that the boxer died from brain damage, which was caused when his neck hit the steel ropes of the ring. This hit to the base of Moore's skull caused his brain to swell and that is what caused his death.

However, even this professional diagnosis was not enough to minimize Ramos' guilt and image in the public eye and stained the image of boxing as a whole.

The Pope Steps in

Soon after, Pope John XXIII was one of the first to condemn boxing as being a barbaric practice, saying that fights like these go against natural principles. Later on, Pat Brown, the governor of California at the time, joined this wagon to call for a ban on boxing, with many religious figures supporting him.

This whole media circus around Moore's death destroyed Ramos' career and life until his last days. However, despite the efforts to ban the sport, it never happened, although we must note that it was censored on the national network.

Thankfully, the security measures were improved and boxing still exists today. Fans of boxing, sports, and sports betting, in general, can still enjoy it, especially with some nice tips from professional tipsters. And we can only hope that such sad things do not repeat themselves.