Category: Archive

Fix was in during ’83 Boston bout

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Irish-American supporters of a Galway boxer battling toward the world middleweight title in 1983 were behind a mystery power blackout that saved him from almost certain defeat against a U.S. fighter, a television documentary revealed last week.

The up-to-now mysterious stoppage in Boston gave the bout to Connemara-based Sean Mannion.

The truth has been revealed last Thursday by the documentary "Blackout Saved a Knockout" by RTE’s Irish-speaking TV channel, TnaG.

At the time, Mannion was trying to overcome the challenge of an aggressive American boxer named Danny Chapman in a world title preliminary.

Chapman landed a ferocious body blow on Mannion in the fourth round that fractured two ribs and punctured a lung. From then on he was struggling and in tremendous pain.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

Fearing their man was about to see his career ended — if he lost a fight, he lost his place on the ladder to the top — his supporters decided to intervene and pull the plug. No doubt large bets were also riding on the outcome.

They found a fuse box and pulled the plug on the power in the 10th round. When the arena was plunged into darkness, the fight was stopped.

Mannion was ahead on points when lights and boxing were restored and, rested, he fought two more rounds and got the decision. He had advanced another rung up the contender’s list toward a world title shot.

The short circuit and resulting power outage — and just who was responsible — have become part of boxing legend. There was a lightning storm in Boston at the time and it was blamed.

"Fans pulled the plug to keep Mannion on course for the world title tilt," the program found.

Mannion had moved to Boston in the 1970s and built up a huge following in the Irish-American community.

Unfortunately, the piece of fixing by his supporters never did result in a world title. In 1984 in Madison Square Garden, Jamaican Mike McCallum beat the Galwayman.

Roisin Ni Eadhra of TnaG said Mannion had been the hero of her teenage years and the documentary is a tribute to a man who left Rosmuc to become a hero among other emigrants in the U.S.

"Sean laughs about it," Ni Eadhra said. "He says he would have preferred his fans hadn’t intervened, as he was in tremendous pain.

"He came before the era of Barry McGuigan and Steve Collins, so Ireland did not get a chance of seeing him in action in the glory years when he was fighting his way to the top of the world rankings."

Mannion now works with 200 other Irishmen on the Big Dig public works project.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese