Terry Moore, fighter and referee

January 11, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Terry Moore, who refereed and judged boxing matches for 36 years after a distinguished career as a middleweight fighter in the late 1940s and 1950s, was struck and killed by a car Saturday night in East Baltimore.

The 65-year-old Mr. Moore -- his real name was Norman Theodore Barnes -- began boxing at age 15 after wandering into the Joe Gans Athletic Club gym.

He said he could throw the punch that boxing coach George "Bright Eyes" Whyte was having trouble teaching to a student. "All right, kid, let's see what you can do," the instructor told young Norman, according to a later newspaper story.

A year later, having never fought as an amateur, the 16-year-old Carver High School student stood in the ring of the Coliseum on Monroe Street and faced Tony Argo for his first professional fight. He knocked out Mr. Argo in the third round.

Called a young Archie Moore because of his graceful moves and dedicated training style, he adopted the ring name Teddy Moore. But a newspaper error identified him as Terry Moore, and he decided to stick with it.

"Terry was probably one of the better fighters to come out of Baltimore," said Ray H. Leonard Jr., chairman of the board of Veteran Boxers Association Inc., International Ring No. 101. "He fought high-caliber fighters and was known nationally."

He beat such well-known fighters as Holly Mims and Gene "Silent" Hairston in his best year, 1949, and made it into the top 10 among 160-pounders in ring industry ratings.

In 1950, he won the Southern Welterweight championship in a bitterly contested 12-round decision from rival Bobby Lee. He lost the next year to highly ranked Rocky Castellani.

Mr. Moore sparred with Sugar Ray Robinson and was a member of his boxing "stable" in New York.

One of the early TV fighters, he fought Chuck Hunter in 1951 on the "Gillette Cavalcade of Sports" and in 1953 fought several matches in Germany.

According to a boxers association biographical account, Mr. Moore suffered a bad eye cut in losing his last bout in 1956 against Boom Lester. The referee was said to have asked Mr. Moore, "Do you want me to stop this?"

"Is it bad?" Mr. Moore asked. The referee nodded, and the veteran fighter reportedly told him. "Better stop it, then."

"He was a good boxer and puncher -- he had it all," said Ray L. Klingmeyer, chief referee for the Maryland State Athletic Commission.

"You know, I had 65 fights but nothing ever thrilled me like winning that first one," Mr. Moore said on his 1975 induction into the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame.

In his 11-year ring career, which he finished as a light heavyweight, he had 41 wins, 15 losses and three draws.

He began training fighters and working as a referee in 1958 and was still a ring referee at his death.

"As a referee he was very sharp," said Dennis Gring, executive director of the Maryland State Athletic Commission. "He reffed as he had boxed -- smart."

Mr. Moore graduated from Carver in 1949. He worked as a parking lot attendant at the University of Maryland Medical Center complex in recent years, after 20 years as a factory worker for the M&T Chemical Co. He lived on Mount Holly Street in West Baltimore for many years.

Services were set for 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Joseph Brown Funeral Home, 1913 W. Baltimore St.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Dorothy Owens; three daughters, Terri Johnson, Najuma Yasin and Jerri Thomas, all of Baltimore; a brother, Russell Biddle of Baltimore; 14 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

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