The Ring

Flashback: October 1966


This is the second in a new monthly series of Flashbacks on, a look at a past issue of THE RING magazine. Today: October 1966.

COVER STORY:“How Did Mildenberger Get There?” J.A. Tree introduces European champion Karl Mildenberger, a German heavyweight who was challenging young world champion Cassius Clay, in a story that details Mildenberger’s brief encounter with Clay at Frankfurt Airport. Mildenberger was believed to be the first southpaw to challenge for the heavyweight title. Tree compared Mildenberger to another German heavyweight who once fought for the heavyweight title, writing “Mildenberger is approximately the same weight and height as fellow countryman Max Schmeling, who won the world title in 1930 with a win over Jack Sharkey. He does not smoke or drink.” Tree also felt compelled to further emphasize what a quality husband Mildenberger was and how he’s a clean fighter. Tree did not forget to state that Mildenberger had feather fists, stopping only 11 in his previous 54 bouts.

Shortly after this issue went on sale, Mildenberger gave a valiant effort against the champ before being stopped for the first time in his career in the 12th round. The Mildenberger victory was the fourth of five fights for Clay in 1966, which included a three-fight European tour for the champ. Mildenberger went on to fight seven more times, losing three of his last four bouts, with two of the three defeats coming against Oscar Bonavena and Henry Cooper. He concluded a 62-fight, 10-year career with a 53-6-3 (19 knockouts) record and never fought for the heavyweight title again.

“Clay Draft Appeal Now Hot Potato”by Dan Daniel goes into Cassius Clay’s conscientious objector’s appeal to prevent his induction into the U.S. Army. The story uses the name “Cassius Muhammad Ali” and states, “it would appear that the authorities have no desire to press the case and do not want to stir up the Black Muslims.” The story goes into how “Clay-Muhammad” had his draft status changed to 1-A and how Clay is “getting special treatment.” Ali fought three more times after stopping Mildenberger. The “special treatment” soon stopped and Ali was arrested for refusing induction into the U.S. Army on April 28, 1967. He was in exile for three years during the appeals process.

“Griffith Victor Over Archer by Good Margin Says Fleischer” by Ring Editor Nat Fleischer was his account of Emile Griffith’s world middleweight title defense against Joey Archer at Madison Square Garden. “In order to win, Griffith had to make use of everything he ever learned in boxing. In was a rough battle in which Griffith was guilty of skull and shoulder work, but aside from the infractions, he fought all the way like a champion,” Fleischer wrote.

“Schmeling KO’d Joe Louis on Times Square, Says Grayson” is an interesting recount by Harry Grayson who, on his way to the dentist in Times Square came upon an old-time manager, Tom O’Rourke, and introduced him to Max Schmeling, then training for his first Joe Louis fight. It was O’Rourke who unlocked the key to beating the undefeated Louis, stressing to the German heavyweight “bend to your right and keep your head down.” This was supposed to lure Louis forward and create an opening Schmeling could exploit. It worked. But O’Rourke never saw it. He collapsed and died in Schmeling’s dressing room prior to the Louis fight – his sound advice the last words he ever said.

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