By Clive Bernath: It is indeed excellent news that our former two weight undefeated world champion Ricky Hatton has been awarded the MBE in the New Year's honours list but there is still one name from the boxing world that has been consistently overlooked in the last 40 years
Unless you grew up in the fifties or sixties the chances are you will not have heard of Terry Downes. Terry became the world middleweight champion by scoring a 10th round stoppage win over American Paul Pender at the Empire Pool, Wembley on July 11, 1961. At that time there was only one recognised champion across the weights and the middleweight division arguably boasted the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Boxing greats such as the legendry Sugar Ray Robinson, Gene Fullmer, Dick Tiger, Joey Giardello and of course the tough as teak Paul Pender.
In a career that spanned just seven years the straight talking Londoner notched up a 35-9-(28)record, which included a 10 round points win over arguably the world's finest ever boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in September 1962.
But Downes will be remembered most for his thrilling trilogy with Paul Pender. Downes travelled to Boston, Massachusetts in January 1961 in an attempt to claim the American's middleweight title but was stopped in seven action packed rounds. Six months later Downes gained his revenge by scoring a 10th round tko win against at Wembley.
However' Downes may be Britain's oldest surviving world champion but his championship reign only lasted nine months because Pender decisioned him in the rubber match over 15 hard fought rounds in April 1962.
The main reason for me writing this article is not only to question as to why one of our finest ever world champions has never been honoured for his achievements but also to enlist the help of you the readers in trying to track down any film footage of Terry winning his world title against Pender in their second fight.
I'm reliably informed that there may have only been one copy of the title winning fight, filmed, and the last known keeper was ex promoter Mickey Duff's son, Gary. So Gary if you do read this article and you have a copy can you please get in contact?
Unfortunately Terry Downes has not been in good health lately. About a month ago he had a Malignant tumour removed from his bladder and he has been practically housebound ever since. I'm told Terry has lost some weight and is clearly very sick.
If anyone can help with any information at all as to the whereabouts of the missing film please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 2, 2007