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Hurricane Carter Wins Unanimous Middleweight Decision over Ellis at MSG

Feb. 29, 1964 - Rubin (Hurricane) Carter of Paterson, N.J., defeated James Ellis, the Louisville neighbor of Cassius Clay, in their 10-round middleweight bout at Madison Square Garden last night. When the fight was over, Carter had a unanimous decision and a feeling of utter frustration. The fighter, a 3-1 favorite, provided all the action, including the bout’s only knockdown. That came in the fourth round. Ellis, who zigged and zagged most of the evening, zigged the wrong way and ran right into a vicious short right cross to the chin. He was stopped in his tracks and started to fall. It appeared that Carter, following through with his body, had pushed the Kentuckian to the ring floor. Ellis bounced right up at the count of two and took Referee Joe Lo Scalzo’s mandatory eight count, ended at six when the bell rang.

Ellis, a sparring partner of Clay’s, is a smooth-moving boxer, but the hard-hitting Carter banged him solidly with hooks and jolting short rights in the first round. Ellis got the idea then and there and spent the remainder of the bout dancing, dodging, and slipping punches. But Carter, ranked No. 1 challenger in the 160-pound division for Joey Giardello’s title, caught up with Ellis often enough to gain all the scoring points.

For the 26-year-old Carter, the victory was his 19th against four defeats. He has scored 12 knockouts. The 24-year-old Ellis suffered his third setback. He has won 14 bouts, five by knockouts. The bout marked Ellis’s Garden debut.


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