This Day in Boxing

Harold Johnson Beats Eddie Machen This Day July 1, 1961


Harold Johnson Beats Eddie Machen This Day July 1, 1961


  • Harold Johnson 181 lbs
  • Eddie Machen 193 lbs
  • PTS in round 10
  • Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
  • Referee: Paul Cavalier 5-4
  • Unofficial AP scorecard: 7-3 Johnson



Harold Johnson, light heavyweight co-champion, narrowly outpointed Eddie Machen, second-ranking heavyweight contender, Saturday night in their nationally-televised, non-title fight but displayed little prowess which might earn him a shot at the heavyweight crown.

Referee Paul Cavaliere awarded the decision to Johnson of Philadelphia on a rounds basis, 5-4-1, and the 3,942 fans in the huge Convention Hall greeted the verdict with mingled cheers and boos. It was Johnson’s 15th consecutive victory.

Johnson had hoped that Saturday night’s performance against the No. 2 heavyweight contender would earn him the status of heavyweight challenger. However, it was a comparatively dull bout although spiced with several good exchanges.

Johnson, favored at 8 to 5 over Machen of Portland, Ore. and Redding, Calif., was bleeding badly from a gash on his right brow and from the nose at the finish.

Machen, 28, had a 12-pound advantage over 32-year-old Johnson. Eddie scaled 193 pounds to Harold’s 181. However, it was Johnson who did most of the forcing and landed more of the harder punches. But Harold appeared unable to sustain any effective attacks against his smart, good punching opponent.

There were no knockdowns but Machen almost slipped to the canvas in the sixth round while pulling away from a right to the body. Johnson landed two shots below the belt in the seventh round and was accused of thumbing by Machen in the fifth.

As he left the ring, Johnson said he strained his left shoulder blocking a right to the head early in the bout. He said the cut on his right brow, sustained in the fifth session, also handicapped him. He added, “I believe the 181 pounds was too heavy for me. I wasn’t as fast as I expected to be.” It was the heaviest he had weighed in his career.

A return bout contract, in case of a Johnson victory, provided for a rematch within 30 days. However, Johnson said he and Machen will fight within 40 days at San Francisco or Portland, Ore.

It was announced that Johnson and Machen would fight again on August 11, 1961, in Portland, Oregon, but Johnson withdrew after promoter George Chemeres offered him $20,000 to defend the National Boxing Association light heavyweight title against Eddie Cotton, the No. 4 contender, on August 29 in Seattle, Washington. Machen’s manager, Sid Flaherty, protested and the Portland commission suspended Johnson and asked the NBA to follow suit. Johnson, rather than face suspension, agreed to meet Machen on August 21, and the Cotton fight was moved to mid-September. However, shortly afterwards, Flagerty contacted Chemeres and offered to release Johnson from the Machen engagement, saying he realized a fight in Seattle in mid-September might run into bad weather and have to be cancelled


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