There are sports stories and sports careers characterized by successes and achievements so relevant, engaging and unbelievable which seem to be written down in black and white to be published as a novel or created by the vivid imagination of a screenwriter to be used as a screenplay of a successful sports film. The life of Archibald Lee Wright, better known as Archie Moore, Nicknamed “The Mongoose”, and then “The Old Mongoose” could be definitely mentioned as one of these stories.
Archie was born in 1916 in Benoit, Mississippi. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, he became a professional boxer, fighting his first bout in 1936 when he was 20 years old. Throughout his career Archie has shown dedication, passion and commitment out of the ordinary to achieve his goals: to better understand this concept it is significant to know that he was used to go jogging for miles every day with heavy steel-toed boots.
During his professional life, which had the duration of twenty-seven years, Moore managed to set several records, he was the only boxer who, through the ages, had faced both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali, he is considered the most elderly champion in the history of boxing. He won 131 matches for KO, a record still unmatched in pugilism. He won in total 183 fights, among the 214 he had in his career.
In 1952, when he was thirty-nine, in what would have been an end-of-career match for any ordinary boxer, he won the light-heavyweight title by beating Joey Maxim in 15 rounds, and he has held the title for the following ten years!
His willingness to shake hands to fans, who greeted him everywhere, was a characteristic that set him apart from other boxers; It is said that, to leave the clubs he was used to go in Harlem, took no less than an hour while he was greeting all his fans.
Archie was used to say: “I don’t worry about growing old, because worrying is a disease”. Once, he was chatting with a friend in a Los Angeles gymnasium after a workout when he chanced to overhear a couple of young fighters discussing him. “That old man should quit” said one of the apprentices, nodding toward Moore. “He should get out and let us take over. Look at him with his old gray head!” Moore walked lightly over to where the two fighters were standing, and said, smiling, “It isn’t this old gray head that worries you young fellows, it’s this old gray fist”.
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