Written by Rob Scott
Atlantic City – On December 7, 1963, Lou Duva, Murray Goodman and Garden State Sports Corporation Inc. brought Dick Tiger vs. Joey Giardello to Convention Hall in Atlantic City for the WBA/WBC Middleweight Championships Of The World.
Third Time Around
This was the third meeting between the Nigerian born, Dick Tiger (47-17-3, 22KOs) and the Brooklyn born Philadelphia resident, Joey Giardello (91-23-8, 31KOs). Each scored unanimous decision victories over the other when they clashed in 1959, with Tiger winning the first meeting and Giardello scoring victory the second time around.
How Time Changes
The time frame since their 1959 clashes to their fast forwarded 1963 third meeting had brought changes in the careers of both fighters.
After his victory over Tiger in their second meeting, Giardello challenged Gene Fullmer for his NBA World Middleweight championship five months later, but failed to bring home the belt after that war was declared a draw. Giardello fought seventeen times in all since his last win against Tiger, winning ten, drawing twice and losing five. Of those ten wins, one was a 10 round unanimous decision over an aging “Sugar” Ray Robinson. Giardello, the number three contender at the time, even floored the pound-for-pound great for a nine count in the fourth round of their bout.
Dick Tiger fought a total of fourteen times since his loss to Giardello, losing once, drawing once and winning twelve. Of those wins for Tiger, one was a challenge to Gene Fullmer for his WBA, Formerly NBA, Middleweight championship. Tiger walked away with the 15 round unanimous decision victory and the belt. In a return bout four months later, both Tiger and Fulmer fought to a draw. They fought a third bout almost six months after the second meeting, with Tiger’s WBA belt, along with the vacant newly formed WBC middleweight title on the line. Tiger was declared the TKO winner when Fulmer’s handlers asked for the bout to be stopped after the 7th round.
It turned out to be Fulmer’s last bout of his career, but it set up a third meeting for Dick Tiger and Joey Giardello which took place four months later.
Fight three in AC
In this third meeting, Dick Tiger tried to be aggressive, swinging with knockout intentions, but Giardello fought a more controlled and calculated fight. The challenger used his legs well, moving around the ring often making Tiger miss with his hard blows. Giardello made his opponent pay for his over extension, countering the Nigerian native on many occasions.
No man was seriously hurt in the bout, but the Giardello’s style and effectiveness caught the eye referee, Paul Cavalier, who was the lone official scoring the bout. At the end of 15 rounds, Cavalier scored 8 round for Giardello, 5 rounds for Tiger and 2 rounds even.
With the scores, Giardello was declared the new WBA/WBC middleweight champion of the world to the delight of a roaring and supportive crowd.
One More Time
Dick Tiger and Joey Giardello did face one another twenty-two months later for yet a fourth and final time, with Tiger regaining the championship by unanimous decision in October of 1965.
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