|Thursday, August 10
Couture's record for fastest KO still stands
GLASTONBURY, Conn. -- Aurele "Al" Couture, the former welterweight fighter who holds the record for the fastest knockout in boxing history, died Sunday. He was 77.
Couture had 296 professional fights and was once ranked sixth in the world in his division, ahead of Jake LaMotta.
But he was immortalized in the 10.5 seconds that he spent in the ring against Ralph Walton on Sept. 24, 1946.
The bell rang and both men leapt out of their corners. But Walton had forgotten his protective mouthpiece. When his cornerman yelled at him, Walton turned his head. At about the same time the bell rang, and Couture threw a left hook, the fight's only punch.
With Couture standing over the unconscious Walton, the referee immediately counted to 10, declaring the fight over 10.5 seconds after it started.
The record is not likely to be broken because under today's boxing regulations, Couture would have been required to return to his corner before the 10-count could start.
After Couture's boxing career ended, he went to work as a photographer for the Bridgeport Herald, and later was hired as the official state photographer by then-Governor John N. Dempsey, a job he kept through several different administrations.
"He was a great photographer, but also a wonderful, warm fellow," said former Gov. William O'Neill, for whom Couture took photographs for 10 years.
In 1996, Couture founded and served as president of The Neutral Corner Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization supported by former fans that has raised thousands of dollars for student scholarships, local police athletic leagues and for groups such as the San Juan Center of Hartford.
A memorial service is set for Saturday at the Central Baptist Church in Hartford.