"Mo" in 1976
"Mo" in 2005
|Maurice "Mad Mo" Bell|
|Portrayed by|| KeiKabou Holland (1976) |
Dan Martin (2005)
Maurice "Mad Mo" Bell was an up-an-coming professional boxer who fought underclass fighter Jerry Stone on December 19, 1976. After enduring fifteen rounds, however, the fight turned tragic when Jerry died in the ring.
Mo's teen years included several run-ins with the law. By age fifteen he'd already been arrested nine times. He would also spend two years behind bars for beating his step-father into a coma.
Eventually Mo turned his energies to boxing and earned a reputation as a strong fighter, undefeated in twenty-two fights, with knock-outs in twenty-one of them. Despite his record, Mo was unable to find a top-five contender willing to give him a fight, however.
In 1976, boxing promoter Tommy Sugar approached Mo with an offer. A fight against an "underdog" fighter to capitalize on the popularity of the ficticious "Rocky vs. Apollo" fight in the then-recent movie "Rocky". Mo was extremely dubious about fighting Jerry Stone, after seeing him get pummelled by another fighter, and hearing of Jerry's mediocre record of 15-18-3, doubting that beating such a lesser fighter would do anything for him.
Tommy pointed out Jerry's bleeding face, however, and pointed fighting a "bleeder" like Jerry would raise Mo's stature even further. Hearing this, Mo agreed to the fight.
What few people knew, however, was that Mo eventually agreed to "take a dive" and let Jerry win in the first round. Jerry eventually found out about this and was curshed. He'd wanted to "go the distance" in a fifteen-round fight, rather than a quick, fixed one. To keep it from happening, he refused to even touch Mo once throughout the entire first round of the fight. When the fight round ended, Mo would have to fight Jerry for real. To ensure the fight would go on for fifteen rounds, Jerry had made a secret deal of his own. Jerry had bribed Sonny Carroll, the referee, $1,500 not to stop the fight, no matter how badly Jerry was hurt.
Mo, a vastly superior fighter, landed punch after punch on Jerry over the next fourteen rounds. Jerry's face was bleeding badly, but he refused to stay down, and even ignored his corner man, Father Pat McGuire, when he threw in the towel to stop the fight.
Mo was confused when Jerry yelled that he'd "took the ring back", despite being badly beaten by Mo. Mo was unaware that Jerry was referring to an engagement ring he'd originally bought for Sonny's daughter Gina Carroll. Sonny had never approved of Jerry dating his daughter, and Jerry, after learning Gina had knowingly bet on the fixed fight, had taken the ring back as part of the deal. Knowing that Sonny had never respected Jerry, Mo was surprised to see Sonny genuinely concerned for Jerry as the fight went on.
In the end, the fight went fifteen rounds despite Sonny pleading with Jerry to let him stop it. Moments after the bell rung, however, Jerry fell to the floor dead.
Mo was questioned by police, but as Jerry had clearly died in the ring, there was nothing to charge him with. For his part, Mo was shaken by having killed a man in the ring, and his once-promising boxing career would fall after this. By 2005, Sonny was running a gym, training younger fighters of his own.
That year, after the aging Sonny made a deathbed confession that someone had bribed him to keep the fight going (but dying before he could say who), Mo was questioned by Detectives Nick Vera and Will Jeffries about the fight. Jeffries pointed out that Mo had bragged at the weigh-in that he would "murder" Jerry and Vera reminded Mo that he played up some racial differences at the press conference. Mo downplayed both as pre-fight hype, along with his earlier run-ins with the law, when they brought them up.
Mo explained how skepitcal he'd been about fighting Jerry until he was sold on the idea by Tommy, who by 2005, had been Philly's top boxing promoter for the last twenty-five years. Mo also point out that the night of the fight "Tommy Sugar was born", putting himself on the map, leading the detective to suspect Tommy might have bribed Sonny.
Eventually, after it was learned that Jerry himself had bribed Sonny, Jeffries returned with Detective Lilly Rush to tell Mo what had really happened. Mo finally figured out that Jerry's cries that he "took the ring back" had really been meant for Sonny all along. Mo told them had he'd seen Sonny's view of Jerry had changed over the course of the fight, and Jerry's story was finally known.