|Real name||William Michael Petrolle|
|Nickname(s)||The Fargo Express|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Reach||70 in (178 cm)|
January 10, 1905|
Berwick, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||May 14, 1983(aged 78)|
|Wins by KO||66|
William "Billy" Michael Petrolle (January 10, 1905 – May 14, 1983) was a world lightweight boxing title contender. Boxing ran in the Petrolle family as his brothers Pete and Frank also shared his occupation. Statistical boxing website BoxRec lists Petrolle as the #18 ranked lightweight of all-time. Petrolle is member of the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame, the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Nicknamed "The Fargo Express", Petrolle is perhaps best known for challenging World Lightweight Title holder Tony Canzoneri. In 1932 the two met for the World Lightweight Title, and Canzoneri was "squarely at his peak: a Canzoneri so magnificently conditioned, so beautifully attuned that even the old-timers at the ringside admitted he was worthy to stand alongside the lightweight giants of the past." (United Press). Petrolle dropped a decision in the bout at Madison Square Garden.
Life after boxing
Petrolle retired during the Great Depression with $200,000 and an iron foundry in Duluth, Minnesota. He later owned a religious goods and gift shop in Duluth, and was the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pioneer National Bank.
Petrolle is mentioned in the novel Catch-22 during the trial of Clevinger. The quote reads "In sixty days you'll be fighting Billy Petrolle," the colonel with the big fat mustache roared. "And you think it's a big fat joke." In this context "fighting Billy Petrolle" was a metaphor for facing combat in World War II.
- BoxRec Biography - Billy Petrolle BoxRec.com Retrieved on 2014-04-30
- All-Time Lightweight Rankings BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-11.
- Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame - Billy Petrolle Archived May 31, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. MNBHOF.org Retrieved on 2014-04-30
- International Boxing Hall of Fame - Billy Petrolle IBHOF.com Retrieved on 2014-04-05
- "Billy Petrolle: The Fargo Express at Full Steam". Boxing.com. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
- "Catch-22 - you'll be fighting Billy Petrolle". Book Drum. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
- Billy Petrolle's Professional Boxing Record. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-18.