Carmen Basilio

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Carmen Basilio
Carmen Basilio.jpg
Basilio (left) with Jack Dempsey, 1958.
Statistics
Nickname(s)The Upstate Onion Farmer
Weight(s)Welterweight
Middleweight
Height5 ft 6 12 in (169 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1927-04-02)April 2, 1927
Canastota, New York
DiedNovember 7, 2012(2012-11-07) (aged 85)
Rochester, New York
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights79
Wins56
Wins by KO27
Losses16
Draws7

Carmen Basilio (Born Carmine Basilio, April 2, 1927 in Canastota, NY – November 7, 2012) was an American professional boxer who was the world champion in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions, beating Sugar Ray Robinson for the latter title.[1][2] An iron-chinned pressure fighter, Basilio was a combination puncher who had great stamina, and eventually wore many of his opponents down with vicious attacks to the head and body.

Basilio was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. The Ring magazine named him Fighter of the Year in 1957, while the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) named him Fighter of the Year in 1955 and 1957. In 2002, Basilio was voted by The Ring magazine as the 40th greatest fighter of the last 80 years.[3]

Boxing career[edit]

Journeyman[edit]

Basilio began his professional boxing career by meeting Jimmy Evans on 24 November 1948 in Binghamton, New York. He knocked Evans out in the third round, and five days later, he beat Bruce Walters in only one round. By the end of 1948, he had completed four bouts.

He started 1949 with two draws, against Johnny Cunningham on January 5, and against Jay Perlin 20 days later. Basilio campaigned exclusively inside the state of New York during his first 24 bouts, going 19-3-2 during that span. His first loss was at the hands of Connie Thies, who beat him in a six-round decision on 2 May 1949. He fought Cunningham three more times during that period. Basilio won by knockout in two rounds on their second meeting, Cunningham won by a decision in eight in their third fight and Basilio won by a decision in eight rounds in their fourth.

In the middle of that 24 bout span, 1950 rolled over, and Basilio met former world champion Lew Jenkins, winning in a 10-round decision.

For fight number 25, Basilio decided that it was time to campaign out West so he went to New Orleans, where he boxed his next six fights. In his first bout there, he met Gaby Farland, who held him to a draw. He and Farland had a rematch, Basilio winning by a knockout in the first round. He also boxed Guillermo Giminez there twice, first beating him by knockout in eight, and then by knockout in nine. In his last fight before returning home, he lost by a decision in 10 to Eddie Giosa.

For his next seven bouts, Basilio only went 3-3-1, but he was able to avenge his loss to Giosa by winning a ten-round decision over him in Syracuse.

In 1952, Basilio went 6-2-1. He beat Jimmy Cousins among others that year, but he lost to Chuck Davey and Billy Graham. The draw he registered that year was against Davey in the first of the two meetings that year.

Rise in the ranks[edit]

In 1953. Basilio started winning big fights and rose in the Welterweight division's rankings. He secured his first world title fight, against Cuba's Kid Gavilán for Gavilán's world welterweight championship.

Before fighting against Gavilan, he beat former world light-weight champion Ike Williams, and had two more fights with Graham, avenging his earlier loss to Graham in the second bout between them with a 12-round decision win, and drawing in the third. Basilio lost a 15-round decision to Gavilan and went for a fourth meeting with Cunningham, this time winning by a knockout in four. Then, he and French fighter Pierre Langois began another rivalry, with a 10-round draw in the first bout between the two.

In 1954, Basilio went undefeated in eight bouts, going 7-0-1 with 2 knockouts, and defeating Langois in their rematch by decision.

World Champion[edit]

In 1955, Basilio began by beating Peter Müller by decision. After that, Basilio was once again the number one challenger, and on June 10 of that year, he received his second world title try, against world Welterweight champion Tony DeMarco. Basilio became world champion by knocking out DeMarco in the 12th round. Basilio had two non-title bouts, including a ten-round decision win over Gil Turner, before he and DeMarco met again, this time with Basilio as the defending world champion. Their second fight had exactly the same result as their first bout: Basilio won by a knockout in 12.

For his next fight, in 1956, Basilio lost the title in Chicago to Johnny Saxton by a decision in 15. Saxton's manager, mafioso Frank "Blinky" Palermo",[4] was later jailed along with his partner Frankie Carbo for fixing fights. Basilio said of losing his title to the referees' decision, "It was like being robbed in a dark alley."[5] In an immediate rematch that was fought in Syracuse, Basilio regained the crown with a nine-round knockout, and then, in a rubber match, Basilio kept the belt, by a knockout in two.

After that, he went up in weight and challenged ageing 36- year-old world Middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson, in what may have been his most famous fight. He won the Middleweight championship of the world by beating Robinson in a 15-round decision, September 23, 1957. The day after, he had to abandon the Welterweight belt, according to boxing laws. In 1957 Basilio won the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year.

Decline[edit]

In 1958, he and Robinson met in a rematch on March 25 and Robinson barely regained the title with a 15-round controversial decision. Basilio's left eye was totally swelled shut from the 6th round on and still many of the ringside press thought Basilio won this second fight.[citation needed] This too was a split decision just as their first fight was.

From that moment, and until his retirement in 1961, he fought only sporadically, but 3 of his last fights were attempts to recover the world's Middleweight title, losing twice to Gene Fullmer; by a TKO knockout in 14 at San Francisco; and by a TKO knockout in 12, in Fullmer's home state of Utah (in Salt Lake City), and then also later, when he lost a 10-round decision to defending world champion Paul Pender.

In between those fights, he was able to beat Art Aragon, by knockout in eight, and former world Welterweight champion Don Jordan, by decision in ten. His fight with Pender for the title, was also his last fight as a professional boxer.

Basilio retired with a ring record of 56 wins, 16 losses and 7 draws, with 27 wins by knockout.

Post-boxing life[edit]

After his retirement, Basilio worked for a time at the Genesee Brewery in Rochester, NY. Later Carmen, a high-school dropout, taught physical education at Le Moyne College in Syracuse.[6] Basilio, who was also a member of the United States Marine Corps at one point of his life, was able to enjoy his retirement. Carmen was associated with a sausage company, frequently confused with a separate sausage company run by his brother Paul, for which he was a salesman. During the 1970s, his nephew Billy Backus became world's welterweight champion after having a shaky start to his own boxing career, and Basilio declared on the day that Backus became champion, that to him, Billy winning the title was better than when he won it himself.

In 1990, Ed Brophy decided to build the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York to honor the two world champions who were born there: Basilio and his nephew. Although Backus isn't a member of the Hall Of Fame, Basilio is, along with many of the fighters he met inside the ring.

In the late 1990s, Basilio became seriously ill, and he required triple bypass heart surgery. Doctors were able to repair his heart.

Basilio was interviewed for an HBO documentary on Sugar Ray Robinson called "The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion". He mentioned that although he respected Robinson's talents in the ring, he did not like him as a person.

In 2010, "Title Town USA, Boxing in Upstate New York" by historian Mark Allen Baker was published by The History Press in 2010 and identifies Canastota as the epicenter of Upstate New York's rich boxing heritage. The book includes chapters on both Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus. The introduction was written by Edward P. Brophy Executive Director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He died aged 85 in 2012, and is survived by his wife Josephine Basillio.[7]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
79 fights 56 wins 16 losses
By knockout 27 2
By decision 29 14
Draws 7
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
79 Loss 56–16–7 United States Paul Pender UD 15 Apr 22, 1961 United States Boston Garden, Boston For The Ring and lineal middleweight titles
78 Win 56–15–7 United States Don Jordan UD 10 Mar 11, 1961 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
77 Win 55–15–7 Mexico Gaspar Ortega UD 10 Jan 07, 1961 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
76 Loss 54–15–7 United States Gene Fullmer TKO 12 (15) Jun 29, 1960 United States Derks Field, Salt Lake City For NBA middleweight title
75 Loss 54–14–7 United States Gene Fullmer TKO 14 (15) Aug 28, 1959 United States Cow Palace, Daly City For vacant NBA middleweight title
74 Win 54–13–7 United States Arley Seifer TKO 3 (10) Apr 01, 1959 United States Bell Auditorium, Augusta
73 Win 53–13–7 United States Art Aragon TKO 8 (10) Sep 05, 1958 United States Wrigley Field, Los Angeles
72 Loss 52–13–7 United States Sugar Ray Robinson SD 15 Mar 25, 1958 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago Lost The Ring and lineal middleweight titles
71 Win 52–12–7 United States Sugar Ray Robinson SD 15 Sep 23, 1957 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx Won The Ring and lineal middleweight titles
70 Win 51–12–7 United States Harold Jones TKO 4 (10) May 16, 1957 United States Auditorium, Portland
69 Win 50–12–7 United States Johnny Saxton TKO 2 (15) Feb 22, 1957 United States Arena, Cleveland Retained The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
68 Win 49–12–7 United States Johnny Saxton TKO 9 (15) Sep 12, 1956 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse Won The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
67 Loss 48–12–7 United States Johnny Saxton UD 15 Mar 14, 1956 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago Lost The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
66 Win 48–11–7 United States Tony DeMarco TKO 12 (15) Nov 30, 1955 United States Boston Garden, Boston Retained The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
65 Win 47–11–7 United States Gil Turner MD 10 Sep 07, 1955 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
64 Win 46–11–7 Italy Italo Scortichini UD 10 Aug 10, 1955 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
63 Win 45–11–7 United States Tony DeMarco TKO 12 (15) Jun 10, 1955 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse Won The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
62 Win 44–11–7 Germany Peter Müller UD 10 Jan 21, 1955 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
61 Win 43–11–7 United States Ronnie Harper RTD 3 (10) Dec 16, 1954 United States Armory, Akron
60 Win 42–11–7 United States Allie Gronik UD 10 Oct 15, 1954 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
59 Win 41–11–7 United States Carmine Fiore UD 10 Sep 10, 1954 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
58 Win 40–11–7 United States Ronnie Harper TKO 2 (10) Aug 17, 1954 United States Fort Wayne
57 Win 39–11–7 United States Al Andrews UD 10 Jun 26, 1954 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
56 Win 38–11–7 Italy Italo Scortichini UD 10 May 15, 1954 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
55 Win 37–11–7 France Pierre Langlois UD 10 Apr 17, 1954 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
54 Draw 36–11–7 Italy Italo Scortichini PTS 10 Jan 16, 1954 United States Dinner Key Auditorium, Coconut Grove
53 Draw 36–11–6 France Pierre Langlois PTS 10 Dec 19, 1953 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
52 Win 36–11–5 United States Johnny Cunningham KO 4 (10) Nov 28, 1953 United States Civic Auditorium, Toledo
51 Loss 35–11–5 Cuba Kid Gavilan SD 15 Sep 18, 1953 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse For The Ring and lineal welterweight titles
50 Draw 35–10–5 United States Billy Graham PTS 12 Jul 25, 1953 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
49 Win 35–10–4 United States Billy Graham UD 12 Jun 06, 1953 United States Memorial Stadium, Syracuse
48 Win 34–10–4 United States Carmine Fiore TKO 9 (10) Apr 11, 1953 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
47 Win 33–10–4 United States Vic Cardell UD 10 Feb 28, 1953 United States Sports Arena, Toledo
46 Win 32–10–4 United States Ike Williams UD 10 Jan 12, 1953 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
45 Win 31–10–4 United States Chuck Foster TKO 5 (10) Nov 18, 1952 United States Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo
44 Win 30–10–4 United States Sammy Giuliani KO 3 (10) Oct 20, 1952 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
43 Win 29–10–4 Cuba Baby Williams UD 10 Sep 22, 1952 United States Auditorium, Miami Beach
42 Loss 28–10–4 United States Billy Graham UD 10 Aug 20, 1952 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago
41 Loss 28–9–4 United States Chuck Davey UD 10 Jul 16, 1952 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago
40 Draw 28–8–4 United States Chuck Davey PTS 10 May 29, 1952 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
39 Win 28–8–3 United States Jackie O'Brien MD 10 Mar 31, 1952 United States South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre
38 Win 27–8–3 United States Jimmy Cousins UD 8 Feb 28, 1952 United States Armory, Akron
37 Win 26–8–3 United States Emmett Norris UD 10 Feb 04, 1952 United States South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre
36 Loss 25–8–3 United States Ross Virgo UD 10 Sep 26, 1951 United States Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans
35 Win 25–7–3 United States Shamus McCray PTS 8 Sep 17, 1951 United States War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse
34 Loss 24–7–3 United States Johnny Cesario UD 10 Jun 18, 1951 United States McConnell Field, Utica
33 Loss 24–6–3 United States Lester Felton UD 10 May 29, 1951 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
32 Win 24–5–3 United States Eddie Giosa UD 10 Apr 12, 1951 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
31 Win 23–5–3 Cuba Floro Hita PTS 8 Mar 09, 1951 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
30 Loss 22–5–3 United States Vic Cardell SD 10 Dec 15, 1950 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
29 Loss 22–4–3 United States Eddie Giosa PTS 10 Aug 28, 1950 United States Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans
28 Win 22–3–3 Argentina Guillermo Gimenez RTD 8 (10) Jul 31, 1950 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans
27 Win 21–3–3 Argentina Guillermo Gimenez RTD 7 (10) Jun 21, 1950 United States Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans
26 Win 20–3–3 Canada Gaby Ferland KO 1 (10) May 05, 1950 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans
25 Draw 19–3–3 Canada Gaby Ferland PTS 10 Apr 12, 1950 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans
24 Loss 19–3–2 United States Mike Koballa UD 8 Mar 27, 1950 United States Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn
23 Win 19–2–2 United States Lew Jenkins MD 10 Mar 06, 1950 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
22 Win 18–2–2 France Adrien Mourguiart TKO 7 (10) Feb 07, 1950 United States Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo
21 Win 17–2–2 United States Cassell Tate MD 8 Jan 24, 1950 United States Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo
20 Win 16–2–2 United States Sonny Jim Hampton UD 8 Jan 10, 1950 United States Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo
19 Win 15–2–2 United States Johnny Parker RTD 2 (8) Sep 30, 1949 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
18 Win 14–2–2 United States Tony DiPelino UD 8 Sep 07, 1949 United States Red Wing Stadium, Rochester
17 Win 13–2–2 United States Johnny Cunningham PTS 8 Aug 17, 1949 United States MacArthur Stadium, Syracuse
16 Loss 12–2–2 United States Johnny Cunningham SD 8 Aug 02, 1949 United States Bennett's Field, Utica
15 Win 12–1–2 United States Sammy Daniels UD 8 Jul 21, 1949 United States Bennett's Field, Utica
14 Win 11–1–2 United States Jesse Bradshaw TKO 2 (6) Jul 12, 1949 United States MacArthur Stadium, Syracuse
13 Win 10–1–2 United States Johnny Cunningham KO 2 (6) Jun 07, 1949 United States MacArthur Stadium, Syracuse
12 Win 9–1–2 United States Johnny Clemons KO 3 (6) May 18, 1949 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
11 Loss 8–1–2 United States Connie Thies PTS 6 May 02, 1949 United States Sports Arena, Rochester
10 Win 8–0–2 United States Elliot Throop KO 1 (6) Apr 20, 1949 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
9 Win 7–0–2 United States Jerry Drain TKO 3 (6) Mar 18, 1949 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
8 Win 6–0–2 United States Luke Jordan PTS 6 Feb 17, 1949 United States Sports Arena, Rochester
7 Win 5–0–2 United States Ernie Hall KO 2 (6) Jan 25, 1949 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
6 Draw 4–0–2 United States Jimmy Parlin PTS 6 Jan 19, 1949 United States Kalurah Temple, Binghamton
5 Draw 4–0–1 United States Johnny Cunningham PTS 6 Jan 05, 1949 United States Kalurah Temple, Binghamton
4 Win 4–0 United States Rolly Johns SD 6 Dec 15, 1948 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
3 Win 3–0 United States Eddie Thomas KO 2 (6) Dec 08, 1948 United States Kalurah Temple, Binghamton
2 Win 2–0 United States Bruce Walters KO 1 (4) Nov 29, 1948 United States State Fair Coliseum, Syracuse
1 Win 1–0 United States Jimmy Evans KO 3 (4) Nov 24, 1948 United States Kalurah Temple, Binghamton

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". Cyber Boxing Zone. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Boxing Champs". Cyber Boxing Zone.
  3. ^ Andrew Eisele. "Ring Magazine's 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years". About.com Sports.
  4. ^ "BLINKY PALERMO, MOBSTER WHO RAN BOXING DIES!". Ring Talk. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  5. ^ Acevedo, Carlos. "STRANGE DAYS: The Johnny Saxton Story". The Cruelest Sport. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  6. ^ "Carmen Basilio Dies at 85; Took Title From Robinson" NYTimes November 7, 2012
  7. ^ John Rawling (November 9, 2012). "Carmen Basilio obituary | Sport". The Guardian. London. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  8. ^ "Honorees". Cauliflower Alley Club. Retrieved September 27, 2020.

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Tony DeMarco
World Welterweight Champion
June 10, 1955 – March 14, 1956
Succeeded by
Johnny Saxton
Preceded by
Johnny Saxton
World Welterweight Champion
September 12, 1956 – September 23, 1957
Vacates
Succeeded by
Virgil Akins
Preceded by
Sugar Ray Robinson
World Middleweight Champion
September 23, 1957 – March 25, 1958
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Robinson