A Punch Out By Cat’s Paw

Down goes Frazia! ~ Down goes Frazia! ~ Down goes Frazia

It was one of the biggest boxing battles of all time. Could it also have been the first apparent application of the Marquis of Queensbury rules in a cat fight? We’re talking about the largest gate of nearly 60,000 people that paid to see the big fight at the Catstrodome in Las Vegas back on August 7, 1954 ~ the heavyweight championship cat fight between Cautious Catius Claye and Smokey Joe Frazia!

Today’s featured photo shows how the fight ends, but here’s the audio from the national radio broadcast on how the brief less than one round match played its way out forever into our imagery of why this particular cat fight contributed so much to our appreciation of what really charged athletic competition is all about. All the fearless cool cats were in house that night to see it – and you can take it to the bank – there wasn’t a mouse among them.

The broadcaster that night – the voice on our audio – was a guy known for his descriptive, cynical, and baritone-ringing “New Yawk” accent and precise choice of words – and ones that were used repetitively when a fighter was either in trouble – or a knockout path that had just been landed by a decisive punch.

Now gone to wherever the most judgmental of us go whenever our lives on planet earth are spun and done, our audio guide for this little moment is someone the elder among us all remember as Humble Howard Catssell. ~ “Take it away, Howard!”

Glad to do so, Billy, and isn’t it wonderful today – in 2018 – that something like a 64-year old audio tape can be programmed to actually allow a dead person like me to thank a totally live person – or maybe I should say technically live person like yourself – for the opportunity to handle this segue with all the finesse and gracious deference of the stellar personality I once had in unfair numbers above all others in my field? ~ OK, here’s the fight description – all of it transcribable in italics – for the sake of time clarity:

Good evening from the Catstrodome in Las Vegas, cat boxing fans! – This is Humble Howard Catssell bringing you the scheduled 15 round heavy weight cat fight championship match between champion Cautious Catius Claye and challenger Smokey Joe Frazia!

No soul in his right mind thinks this fight is going to go anywhere close to the distance. Both fighters are undefeated – Claye at 25 and 0 – Frazia at 21 and 0 – and all wins by both of these ferocious felines have been by the hard knock out route. 

Someone must fall tonight! – And one man’s fall will be the other man’s adornment of even higher placement on the historic wall of fighter respect. – The bell for round one has now sounded and we’re about to find out as observers to history in the making. – We may be only fly specks on the wall of history, brave listeners – but even flies draw attention – if they land in the right place – at the right time. – Just ask me. – I’ve made a career of it.

Claye goes into his peek-a-boo dance in the middle of the ring. – Frazia from Philly stalks in – like a longshoreman closing in on an open roll call for work on the docks.

Claye dances in a circle around Frazia – sending out left jabs like love pats. – Frazia moves in the middle of the circle – like the fulcrum of a watch that anchors and rotates its time-telling appendages. – Joe keeps a close watch out for any second-hand movements from Claye.

There’s a right to the belly of Claye by Frazia! – But Claye seems to both inhale and take a two-step leap backward simultaneously – softening the blow from Frazia – as Joe takes a clumsy fall forward as the end reaction to Claye’s quick escape from contact harm.

Now they’re on the ropes. – Joe is two-fisted pounding away at the taller Claye’s middle – but Claye is using the ropes famously to ease the contact harm from body fist pounding – – and he’s also extending his arms across his chest – with his elbows perpendicular to the floor to deflect many of the hard Smokey Joe blows.

Now they are at mid ring – when out of the blue – liked greased lightening – here comes a hard and high arching left to the chin of Frazia by Claye – and Frazia’s down! – Frazia’s down! – Frazia’s down!

Frazia’s not moving! – The ref is counting him out! – They’re dragging Frazia to his corner! – And the cat that stings like a bee is now dancing around the ring like a butterfly!

The winner – and still heavyweight champion of the Cat Fight Boxing Association world – its Cautious Catius Claye!

Back to you, Billy! ~ That’s all I’ve got from 1954, and besides, it’s time for me to get back to my very long nap!

Thank you, Howard! ~ And thanks too, cats in the picture, for reminding us of a time in which boxing was alive and thriving. Now they are simply a barely holding on relic of what they used to be as a once major sport – plus the everyday reminder that their sport is one of the few that still values concussion as a successful outcome.

Professional sports also need to remember that boxing exists today as a reminder to all the current most popular sports groups that none of them either should ever make the mistake of taking athlete participation or fan support for granted.

Times come and go. And people change.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle








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