Bout with Moore made Durelle famous in Canada

Updated: January 6, 2007, 7:59 PM ET
Associated Press

MONCTON, New Brunswick -- Yvon Durelle, a former British Empire boxing champion whose 1958 fight against boxing great Archie Moore made him a Canadian star, has died. He was 77.

Family members said Durelle, who suffered a stroke on Christmas Day and also had Parkinson's disease, died in a hospital here on Saturday.

Durelle grew up in a small New Brunswick fishing village and was dubbed the Fighting Fisherman.

His light-heavyweight championship fight against Moore on Dec. 10, 1958, at the Forum in Montreal, gave him a passionate following -- even though he lost the bout in the 11th round.

He entered the fight as a 4-1 underdog, and knocked Moore down three times in the first round. Under today's boxing rules -- except those of the World Boxing Council -- the fight would have been stopped after three knockdowns in one round and Durelle would have been world champion.

Durelle was later inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame and the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. He once estimated he fought 295 professional fights during his 14-year career.

Durelle opened a nightclub, The Fighting Fishermen, in 1975. Two years later, Durelle became involved in a dispute with a customer and ended up fatally shooting the man.

He was charged with murder but his lawyer successfully argued self-defense. After the shooting, Durelle closed the club and retired.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press