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Morning Briefing

Couture's Knockout Record Is Unbeatable

January 02, 1988

There are some records that never can be broken. Tony Dorsett, for instance, forever will be in the National Football League record book for his 99-yard run from scrimmage. Likewise, Al Couture will remain in the Ring Record Book for his 10 1/2-second knockout of Ralph Walton in a middleweight fight at Lewiston, Me., in 1946.

Couture, 65, of Glastonbury, Conn., told Bob Sudyk of the Hartford Courant: "It was a grudge fight. In our previous match, Walton had kneed me in the groin. I picked up a ring stool and went after him. A riot broke out. Police had to break it up. At the rematch, we almost had it out in the aisle before we got into the ring."

When the fight started, Walton's cornerman shouted, "Ralph, you forgot your mouthpiece." Walton turned his head, and Couture caught him with a left to the jaw, knocking him out.

"I really nailed him," Couture said. "He always complained afterward that I jumped the bell. That's sour grapes."

Russell Carroll, knockdown timekeeper for the bout, wrote later: "When it is called the world's quickest knockout, at 10 1/2 seconds, that is correct. The rules at that time permitted the knockdown timekeeper to start counting when a fighter hit the floor. Today, the referee initiates the knockdown count only after making sure the standing fighter is in a neutral corner. So that 1946 record will never be broken."

Add Couture: He had 296 fights, including one in which he knocked down former middleweight champion Paul Pender, but his face is unmarked.

"A plastic surgeon once asked me who did the surgery on me," said Couture, "and I said I did. I had hundreds of stitches, 38 around my mouth after one fight. After the cuts healed, I'd spend hours rubbing the marked area with wet sandpaper until the area was uniformly raw. Then I rubbed cocoa butter into it. Eventually, when the scab fell off, the cut marks were gone."

Trivia Time: Who was the skipper of Kookaburra III in the 1987 America's Cup? (Answer below.)

Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: Syracuse quarterback Don McPherson, who grew up on Long Island, told Dave Sell of the Washington Post that he switched to a high school with a stronger football program to help him land a college scholarship.

He continued to live at home but gave the address of his aunt, who lived in the district. School officials, doubting his story, staked out his aunt's home.

"It wasn't really a matter of beating a stakeout," McPherson said. "It was just a matter of getting up early enough so the guy didn't see me going into my aunt's house."

And what time was that?

"About 5 a.m.," he said.

Was it worth it?

"I'm here, aren't I?"

Said Michigan State Coach George Perles after inviting Magic Johnson to the team's last Rose Bowl workout: "He's our most visible, illustrious alumnus. He's certainly the richest."

Wrote Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, when the Celtics embarked on a swing through Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle and Oakland: "Larry Bird loves those West Coast trips, where the defense is casual and the official scorers hand out assists like Hershey's Kisses."

Trivia Answer: Iain Murray.

Quotebook

CBS analyst Pat Haden, after Notre Dame quarterback Terry Andrysiak was sacked in the Cotton Bowl: "Andrysiak went down like a British heavyweight."

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