The light heavyweight division, dominated by the kingly Archie Moore, is not overly talented on this side of the ocean. Six of its top 10 contenders, if that is the word, are from abroad. Harold Johnson, who doesn't get to fight much, and Tony Anthony, who dreams of being a heavyweight, are the only superior American fighters ranked in the division.
But now looms the powerful figure of a 20-year-old terrorist, Jesse Bowdry, a St. Louisan in the stable of Virgil Akins, new welterweight champion. Bowdry became one of the most exciting prospects of the year when, making his TV debut a couple of months ago, he won handily from the competent Clarence Hinnant.
Bowdry goes on TV again at Louisville on the Fourth of July (a Friday) against Jerry Luedee, a tree surgeon who may find himself out on a limb. There is no recent form on Luedee, who has not fought this year, but in 1957 he won two, dropped three. Bowdry is rightly favored, and the bout's principal interest lies in a chance to see again his superior jab and punishing, chopping rights.
The 6-foot Luedee, who learned how to throw a left hook from Tommy Gibbons while campaigning successfully for the All-Army middleweight title, can take punishment, provided he is in shape after such a long layoff, but he may be on the way to his first knockout defeat. Bowdry has won 18 of his 24 professional fights by knockout, though none of them against ranked opposition. He has been brought along carefully, but has lost twice, once by knockout, to Sonny Ray, whom he had beaten previously. Bowdry's friends attribute the knockout to carelessness and the defeat by decision to a foul penalty.
The Wednesday night (July 2) TV show pits Isaac Logart, whom Virgil Akins knocked out of the race for the welterweight title, against a lightweight, a factor which makes the skilled Logart a favorite with the oddsmakers. But the lightweight is Don Jordan, a West Coast sensation who fights welterweights as a matter of course, largely because most lightweights want no part of his fast hands and murderous punch. One of these punches knocked out and broke the jaw of Paddy DeMarco, former lightweight champion. He has scored four one-round knockouts in Mexico, where he is very popular, partly because of his fluent Spanish and excellent guitar playing.
Throwing out of the reckoning Jordan's January loss to Dave Charnley, British lightweight champion, in which he received demerits for slugging Charnley after the eighth-and ninth-round bells, one might be tempted to go against the odds and pick Jordan. But a bout with Logart is quite a step up in class for him. Logart should win. The fight will be held at the Hollywood Legion Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Floyd Patterson-Roy Harris heavyweight title fight, scheduled for August in Los Angeles, has run into a snarl. The California boxing commission, which wants the fight, does not particularly want Al Weill, Rocky Marciano's onetime manager, as co-promoter with the Hollywood Legion Stadium. Looking into Weill's current activities, the commission found he had been in recent communication with Mobster Frankie Carbo, renewing old friendship. Just a couple of weeks ago they met at the Agua Caliente race track.
Cus D'Amato, Patterson's manager, quickly signaled the very independent promoter Jack Hurley to stand by as replacement for Weill, and the fight now seems set for August 18.
BOWDRY, in white trunks, landing a hard right to the head of Clarence Hinnant, first came to national TV prominence in this bout, which he won handily by a decision.