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From the Archives: Manuel Ortiz regains bantamweight title

From the Archives: Manuel Ortiz regains bantamweight title
March 11, 1947: Manuel Ortiz, left, throws a blow that glances off the face of Harold Dade late in their bantamweight title bout. (Phil Bath / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA)

Manuel Ortiz regained the bantamweight boxing crown by dethroning champion Howard Dade in March 1947. Two months earlier, Dade had beaten Ortiz to grab the title.

This photo appeared in the March 12, 1947, Los Angeles Times. Writer Cal Whorton reported:

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Manuel Ortiz, 30-year-old Mexican farmer who was shorn of his world bantamweight championship two months ago in San Francisco, recaptured it last night at the Olympic, where he pounded out a close but unanimous 15-round decision over champion Harold Dade, former amateur king from Chicago.

The photo finish thrilled a turn-away crowd of 10,400 wildly cheering fans, who contributed to a record Southland indoor gate of $48,017.93.

At the finish, referee Frankie Van had Ortiz one point ahead. Judges Reggie Gillmore and Benny Whitman each favored the winner by two. …

Dade, a cagey guy and about as shifty as a flea with a hot-foot, jumped into an early lead. He danced lightly around the ring, flicking a steady left into Ortiz's face. The blows did little damage, but they were sufficient to antagonize the Mexican veteran and bewilder him slightly. At times, Ortiz missed wildly in his anxiety to put across a punch.

Both boys, after a cautious beginning, opened up in the fifth. They kept after each other in the sixth, a rather torrid round that cost Ortiz one penalty point when he accidentally hit Dade a low blow.

Trailing midway in the bout, Ortiz found out that his foe could be tagged. The little Mexican endeavored to work his way inside, and from this vantage point, he scored repeatedly with solid left hooks and right uppercuts to the head. …

The final round was a head-to-head slugfest, and at the final bell, Dade was nursing a swollen right eye. Ortiz was unmarked.

Ortiz retired from professional boxing in 1955 with a record of 99 wins, 28 loses and three draws. In 1996, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Dade had a professional boxing record of 76 fights with 39 wins, 31 losses and six draws.

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