Frankie Campbell (33-4-2, 26 KO’s) Born: 1904, Died: 8-25-1930
This is one of the most horrific deaths in the sport. Campbell died after having his brain separated from the connective tissue inside the skull, a result of punishment sustained in a fifth round TKO loss to Max Baer. The injury is said to have occurred as early as the second round, when Campbell stated to his corner after taking some heavy shots, “Something feels as though it broke in my head”. In the fifth round, Campbell was knocked unconscious and being held up by the ropes while Baer continued to slug him “unmercifully”, nearly killing him on the spot before the referee intervened. Despite extensive medical care both in the ring and at the hospital later on, Campbell died as a result of “severe concussion of the brain”. The California State Boxing Commission suspended Referee Toby Irwin, Baer’s manager, J. Hamilton Lorimer, Campbell’s managers, Carol E. Working and Tom Maloney, and seconds, Tillie Herman, Ray Carlin, Frankie Burns, and Larry Morrison.
Davey Moore (59-7-1, 30 KO’s) Born: 11-1-1933, Died: 3-23-1963
Moore was a featherweight contender that passed a result of injuries sustained in his lone title shot on March 21st 1963 against Sugar Ramos, a fight that would crown the first WBA and WBC world champion. Moore was dropped in the 10th round of the scheduled 15 rounder, striking his neck on the bottom rope causing an injury to his brain stem; amazingly, Moore beat the count, finished the round, and gave a post-fight interview after the referee stopped the contest prior to the start of the 11th frame. He fell into a coma after returning to his dressing room and died two days later. Phil Ochs and music legend Bob Dylan both wrote songs about Moore that questioned who was to blame for his death, and in September of 2013 a bronze statue was erected in Moore’s hometown of Springfield, Ohio.
Ernie Schaaf (54-13-2, 23 KO’s) Born: 9-27-1908, Died: 2-14-1933
Schaaf was a heavyweight contender and New England heavyweight title holder who held victories over the likes of Tommy Loughran, Max Baer, and Young Stribling. Though he died following a knockout loss to Primo Carnera on February 10th 1933 at Madison Square Garden, many believe he came into that fight already injured as a result of punishment taken from the hands of Max Baer in a decision loss six months earlier where he was saved by the bell after getting knocked cold in the final seconds of the fight; he complained of headaches afterwards, but went on and fought three times before his final bout, going 2-1. Carnera knocked him out in the 13th round.
Pedro Alcazar (25-1-1, 14 KO’s) Born: 8-29-1975, Died: 6-24-2002
The former WBO super flyweight champs passing was the first of its kind, as Alcazar showed no signs of injury until collapsing two days after his loss to Fernando Montiel on June 22nd 2002. After being stopped in the sixth round, Alcazar was examined and said to be healthy by ringside doctors and even went sight-seeing in Las Vegas the day after the bout. He collapsed while packing for his return flight home and died later that day.
Tesshin Okada (0-1) Born 7-15-1992, Died: 1-6-2014
Okada was just 21 when he passed following a stoppage loss in his professional debut on 12-20-2013. The super flyweight fought Masafumi Kamiyama at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo; it was also the only career bout for Kamiyama. Writer Joe Koizumi wrote of the incident, “This reporter has no actual idea of countermeasure, but wishes that our trainers/instructors should teach young inexperienced amateurs more fundamentals to protect themselves with skills.”