This Day in Boxing

Joe Frazier Dropped ! – But Beats Oscar Bonavena This Day September 21, 1966



Joe Frazier Dropped ! – But Beats Oscar Bonavena This Day September 21, 1966


  • Joe Frazier 203½ lbs
  • Oscar Bonavena 205 lbs
  • SD in round 10 of 10
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Referee: Mark Conn 6-4
  • Judge: Nick Gamboli 5-8
  • Judge: Joe Eppy 5-4
  • Unofficial UPI scorecard: 6-4 Frazier
  • Unofficial AP scorecard: 6-3-1 Frazier




Bull-like Oscar Bonavena, the burly, plodding fighter with the big mop of hair who calls himself “Ringo” and the “South American Beatle,” has left Joe Frazier with wary memories of a “Hard Day’s Night.”

The lumbering 205-pounder from Buenos Aires doesn’t have Frazier’s potential of eventually becoming a classy fighter—but the 2-1 underdog gave Frazier the fight of his 14-month pro career Wednesday night before losing an unpopular 10-round split decision.

Bonavena decked Frazier twice in the second round but couldn’t keep him there. The 203½ pound Frazier came back gamely with a relentless, punishing attack that gave him the close decision in the eyes of the judges, although most of the 9,069 fans at Madison Square Garden, who were Bonavena fans, booed the decision.

It was close enough to go either way with referee Mark Conn giving it to Frazier 6-4 in rounds, while judge Joe Eppy had Frazier 5-4-1. But judge Nick Gamboli had it 5-5 in rounds and Bonavena 7-5 on points. United Press International scored it 6-4 for Frazier.

It was unbeaten Frazier’s 12th straight victory and kept him on his current timetable that he hopes eventually will lead to a shot at heavyweight champion Cassius Clay.

But unlike fighters who are always screaming for a shot at the champion, Frazier, the 1964 Olympic champion, still figures he’s 18 months away from being ready for Clay.

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