Name: Harry 'Kid' Matthews
Nationality: US American
Birthplace: Emmett, ID
Hometown: Emmett, ID/Seattle, WA
Age at Death: 80
Managers: George Blake (1940?-43), Bert Forbes (1946-1949?), Jack Hurley (1949-1956)
Middleweight, Light Heavyweight & Heavyweight Contender
Matthews originally came out of Emmett, Idaho, which is near Boise, and hooked up with famous Los Angeles manager George Blake. Matthews eventually migrated to Seattle where he established himself as a main event fighter. He established himself as a contender in the Middlewight division with a victory over former Middleweight champion Al Hostak, which he then followed up with a draw in a rematch. After this he ventured to California and suffered back-to-back losses to Middleweight contenders Jack Chase and Eddie Booker. Matthews then joined the U. S. Army during World War II and did not box again until 1946.
Despite winning regularly after the war, Matthews was unable to make much progress with his career. He had two problems: the first being there was no outstanding promoter in Seattle who could build him up following the retirement of Nate Druxman, and secondly his style, which was to jab and dance around the ring, was simply not that entertaining to most fans.
Later Career with Jack Hurley
In 1949 he hooked up with the colorful Jack Hurley, who tweaked his boxing style and got him to sit down on his punches more and fight as a counter puncher in the style Hurley fighters usually used. Hurley's philosophy on Matthews could be summed up in his quote "Speed is detrimental. Slow it down to one punch. If you’re moving fast, you’re also moving your opponent fast." Hurley who was a master of promoting the talents of his fighters, kept Matthews busy in the Northwest in 1950 before sending him off to New York City in 1951.
In his first New York appearance Matthews scored an impressive win over "Irish" Bob Murphy to establish himself as a leading contender in the Light Heavyweight division. Hurley had bigger ideas, however, and set his eyes on trying to earn Matthews a shot at the Heavyweight title, claiming that Matthews couldn't make the Light Heavyweight limit anymore. This was despite the fact that Doc Kearns, the manager of Light Heavyweight champ Joey Maxim, was willing to give Matthews a title shot. Even while Hurley was publicly claiming that Matthews was a Heavyweight, he was secretly negotiating for a Middleweight title fight with Sugar Ray Robinson. Hurley set his sights on the Heavyweight crown though, going as far as using Washington's United States Senator Warren Magnuson to argue the "injustice" being done to Matthews.
Matthews's first notable win over a heavyweight came against Freddie Beshore in 1951. He followed this with a win over Rex Layne in 1952 at Portland, this would set him up for what would prove to be his most famous bout.
On July 28, 1952, Matthews was matched in a heavyweight title eliminator in Yankee Stadium against Rocky Marciano. After winning the first round in the eyes of most, he was knocked out by Marciano in the second stanza. For a whole month prior to that fight, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sports Editor Royal Brougham had written daily articles covering the Marciano fight. These articles had created a demand for Matthews in his adopted hometown of Seattle, where he had yet to become the attraction that his talent merited.
Matthews would face Don Cockell in Seattle in the summer of 1953, losing a close decision after being knocked down three times in the ninth round. Cockell would defeat Matthews in two rematches in 1954, which led to Matthews retiring. Matthews would return in late 1955, and win four more fights, including one over a faded Ezzard Charles.
After his boxing career ended, Matthews owned and operated a welding shop in Everett, Washington, USA. He also began training Everett Heavyweight Ibar Arrington in July 1978. He would die in Everett in 2003.