Graham Houston: A Life in Boxing

After turning 80 at the weekend, royalties of IBHOF and boxing press Graham Houston reflects on a life in the fighting game with memories of Muhammad Ali, Carlos Monzon, Salvador Sanchez, Floyd Mayweather and more.

Here’s something you might not know about me. I don’t celebrate birthdays. I don’t even keep track of how old I am. (As 1950s Western film actor Peter Brown once told an interviewer who asked his age, “I refuse to admit it.”)

But I was around a long time. So many years writing about boxing, around this sport, watch it. How many years?

Well, here’s an idea how long. My first published article was in US publication Boxing illustration in February 1961. So if I’m celebrating a major milestone in 2022, what about 60 years (give or take a year) as a boxing writer?

That first published paper was actually an entry in a writing competition. The BIEN the editor invited readers to submit their analysis of “Fights We Want to See”. The best entries will have their articles published and receive a free one-year journal subscription. I am one of the winners.

Here are the five battles:

  • Sonny Liston vs Floyd Patterson
  • Joey Giardello and Gustav Schol
  • Archie Moore vs Harold Johnson (a championship rematch between the two that never happened)
  • Gene Fullmer vs Paul Pender
  • Ingemar Johansson vs Henry Cooper (rematch)

The only one of those battles that actually took place was Liston vs. Patterson. Liston of course won KO in the first round and repeated that result in a rematch. My choice? “I find Patterson will have to kneel before the 13th round.” Well, 12 rounds are over, but at least Liston by KO is the right pick. And the odds were pretty close for that first encounter, believe it or not. “Although the final odds were reported as 7 ½ to 5 Liston, the fact that in Chicago, where most of the last minute action took place, bets were so high on Liston that the odds skyrocketed to 2 eat 1,” Sports Illustrated reported.

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