Charley Burley

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Charley Burley
CharleyBurley.jpeg
Statistics
Real nameCharles Duane Burley
Weight(s)Middleweight
Welterweight
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1917-09-06)September 6, 1917
Bessemer, Pennsylvania
DiedOctober 16, 1992(1992-10-16) (aged 75)
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights98
Wins83
Wins by KO50
Losses12
Draws2
No contests1

Charley Burley (September 6, 1917 – October 16, 1992) was an American boxer who fought as a welterweight and middleweight from 1936 to 1950. Archie Moore, the light-heavyweight champion who was defeated by Burley in a 1944 middleweight bout, was one of several fighters who called Burley the greatest fighter ever.[1][2] Burley was the penultimate holder of both the World Colored Welterweight Championship and the World Colored Middleweight Championship.

Early life[edit]

He was born Charles Duane Burley in Bessemer, Pennsylvania on September 6, 1917 to a mixed-race couple: his father was a black coal miner and his mother a white Irish immigrant from County Cork.[3] Raised in Bessemer, the only son of seven children, the family moved to Pittsburgh when his father was killed in an industrial accident in 1925.

He began boxing at the age of 12 at a Boys Club and, as a lightweight, won city, state and national junior boxing titles and a Golden Gloves junior title. As a welterweight, he won a Golden Gloves Senior and lost the 1936 National Senior Championship finals. That same year, he refused an invitation to participate in the Olympic trials due to his objection to the Nazi regime. He did accept an invitation to attend a scheduled 'Workers Games' to be held in Republican Spain as a protest to the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, but the games were cancelled by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Burley had also excelled at baseball. He reportedly was offered a contract by the Homestead Grays, the local Negro leagues franchise.

Pro Boxing Career[edit]

The 5'9 ½ Burley fought at weights between 145 and 162 lbs. He made his pro debut on September 29, 1936, fighting as a welterweight at 150¾ lbs., at Pittsburgh's Moose Temple. He knocked out George Liggins in the fourth round of a four-round bout.[4] Less than two years later, on August 22, 1938, Burley met the Cocoa Kid at Hickey Park in Millvale, Pennsylvania for the World Colored Welterweight Championship. He won a unanimous decision in the 15-round bout, knocking the Kid to the canvas three times and defeating him decisively, taking his title.

Burley did not defend that title, possibly as part of a strategy to win a shot at Henry Armstrong's World Welterweight title. He won the World Colored Middleweight Title in a ninth round technical knockout against Holman Williams at Victory Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana on 14 August 1942. In their rematch for the title two months later at the same venue, Williams won a 15-round decision. Jack Kincaid of the Times-Picayune reported that Burley had won nine rounds of the fight and had been the aggressor throughout.

Burley was never granted a world title shot by any of the world welterweight and world middleweight champions of his era and was avoided by many of the top white contenders. Among the fighters who "ducked" Burley were Hall of Famers Billy Conn (who fought Joe Louis for the heavyweight title), Frenchman Marcel Cerdan (who was supposed to face Burley in his American debut) and even Sugar Ray Robinson, considered by many boxing historians as the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time.

Of course, not everyone ducked the slick Pittsburgh warrior. Burley won two out of three matches against future welterweight champion Fritzie Zivic, defeated the great Archie Moore by decision, and easily defeated future NYSAC middleweight king Billy Soose. Burley also faced future heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles, but dropped two 10-round decisions to him (the bouts were contested within a five-week period, sandwiching a fight against Williams). Another notable Burley fight was the one against heavyweight J.D. Turner, who outweighed him by around 70 lbs. "Turner, face beaten to raw beefsteak in six rounds, failed to answer the bell for the seventh." (The Ring, June 1942).

Burley himself was never stopped in 98 bouts. He compiled a record of 83 wins (50 by knockout) against 12 losses and two draws with 1 "no contest". He also battled financial problems at times during his career (which is why he's thought to have lost some of the fights he did) and was forced to work as an aircraft mechanic and garbage man in order to earn enough money to live off.

Legacy[edit]

Burley's second fight with Oakland Billy Smith in 1946 is the only known boxing film for him that is known to exist. It shows a conservative counter-puncher taming a much larger opponent with relative ease.[5]

Burley's former sparring partner A.J. "Blackie" Nelson offers this comparison: "I see a lot of Charley in this kid, Roy Jones Jr. Both had unorthodox styles, could hit you from any angle, both hard to hit. Charley jabbed more than Jones, if Jones would concentrate on boxing as Charley did, he would become an all-time great."

Eddie Futch, the great trainer, called Burley "the finest all-around fighter I ever saw."

Burley was named to the Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time, elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1983 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.

Burley was ranked 39th on Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years.

An exhibit at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at Pittsburgh's Senator Heinz History Center states that Burley was the model for the character Troy in August Wilson's play Fences.


Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
98 fights 83 wins 12 losses
By knockout 33 0
By decision 50 12
Draws 2
No contests 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
98 Win 83–12–2 (1) Uruguay Pilar Bastidas PTS 10 Jul 22, 1950 Peru Plaza de Toros de Acho, Lima, Peru
97 Win 82–12–2 (1) United States Buddy Hodnett KO 6 (8) Mar 02, 1950 United States Aragon Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
96 Win 81–12–2 (1) United States Chuck Higgins KO 1 (8) Feb 02, 1950 United States Aragon Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
95 Win 80–12–2 (1) United States Willie Wright PTS 8 Jul 25, 1949 United States Zivic Arena, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
94 Loss 79–12–2 (1) United States Charley Doc Williams PTS 10 Apr 03, 1949 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
93 Win 79–11–2 (1) United States Lonnie Craft KO 3 (6) Mar 24, 1948 United States Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
92 Win 78–11–2 (1) United States Larry Cartwright TKO 8 (10) Aug 08, 1947 United States Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
91 Loss 77–11–2 (1) United States Bert Lytell UD 10 Feb 17, 1947 United States Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
90 Win 77–10–2 (1) United States Bert Lytell UD 10 Aug 05, 1946 United States Zivic Arena, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
89 Win 76–10–2 (1) United States Charley Banks PTS 10 Jul 16, 1946 United States Zivic Arena, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
88 Win 75–10–2 (1) United States Oakland Billy Smith PTS 10 Apr 24, 1946 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
87 Win 74–10–2 (1) United States Paulie Peters TKO 2 (10) Apr 08, 1946 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
86 Win 73–10–2 (1) United States Charley Dodson TKO 3 (10) Mar 14, 1946 United States Aragon Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
85 Win 72–10–2 (1) United States Oakland Billy Smith PTS 10 Oct 08, 1945 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
84 Win 71–10–2 (1) United States Speedy Duvall KO 4 (10) Sep 28, 1945 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
83 Win 70–10–2 (1) United States Dave Clark KO 1 (10) Sep 04, 1945 United States Music Hall Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
82 Win 69–10–2 (1) United States Aaron Wade UD 10 Aug 20, 1945 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
81 Win 68–10–2 (1) United States Oscar Boyd KO 2 (8) Jul 26, 1945 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
80 Loss 67–10–2 (1) United States Holman Williams UD 12 Jul 11, 1945 United States Civic Stadium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
79 Win 67–9–2 (1) United States Joe Carter UD 10 Mar 12, 1945 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
78 Win 66–9–2 (1) United States Jack Chase TKO 12 (15) Sep 11, 1944 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S. Retained USA California state middleweight title
77 Win 65–9–2 (1) United States Young Gene Buffalo TKO 5 (10) Aug 28, 1944 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
76 Win 64–9–2 (1) United States Frankie Nelson TKO 7 (10) Jun 23, 1944 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
75 Win 63–9–2 (1) United States Al Gilbert TKO 4 (10) May 12, 1944 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
74 Win 62–9–2 (1) United States Archie Moore PTS 10 Apr 21, 1944 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
73 Win 61–9–2 (1) United States Jack Chase KO 9 (15) Apr 06, 1944 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S. Won USA California state middleweight title
72 Win 60–9–2 (1) United States Aaron Wade PTS 10 Mar 24, 1944 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
71 Win 59–9–2 (1) United States Bobby Berger KO 5 (10) Mar 03, 1944 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
70 Win 58–9–2 (1) United States Bobby Birch PTS 10 Jun 26, 1943 United States Lane Field, San Diego, California, U.S.
69 NC 57–9–2 (1) United States Herbert Lewis Hardwick NC 10 (10) May 14, 1943 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S. The referee declared the fight no contest after one minute of the 10th round because of inactivity
68 Draw 57–9–2 United States Herbert Lewis Hardwick PTS 10 Apr 19, 1943 United States Pelican Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
67 Win 57–9–1 United States Aaron Wade PTS 10 Mar 03, 1943 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
66 Win 56–9–1 United States Jack Chase UD 10 Feb 19, 1943 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
65 Win 55–9–1 United States Harvey Massey TKO 9 (10) Feb 03, 1943 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
64 Loss 54–9–1 United States Lloyd Marshall SD 10 Dec 11, 1942 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
63 Win 54–8–1 United States Cecilio Lozada TKO 2 (10) Nov 13, 1942 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
62 Loss 53–8–1 United States Holman Williams UD 15 Oct 16, 1942 United States Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. Lost world colored middleweight title
61 Win 53–7–1 United States Holman Williams TKO 9 (15) Aug 14, 1942 United States Victory Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. Won vacant world colored middleweight title
60 Loss 52–7–1 United States Ezzard Charles UD 10 Jun 29, 1942 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
59 Win 52–6–1 United States Holman Williams PTS 10 Jun 23, 1942 United States Crosley Field, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
58 Loss 51–6–1 United States Ezzard Charles UD 10 May 25, 1942 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
57 Win 51–5–1 United States George Wilson KO 2 (10) Apr 30, 1942 United States Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
56 Win 50–5–1 United States Joe Sutka KO 4 (8) Apr 24, 1942 United States Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
55 Win 49–5–1 United States Phil McQuillan KO 1 (8) Apr 20, 1942 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
54 Win 48–5–1 United States Cleo McNeal KO 5 (10) Apr 09, 1942 United States Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
53 Win 47–5–1 United States Jay D Turner TKO 7 (10) Mar 13, 1942 United States Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
52 Win 46–5–1 United States Holman Williams UD 10 Feb 26, 1942 United States Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
51 Win 45–5–1 United States Shorty Hogue RTD 6 (10) Feb 13, 1942 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
50 Win 44–5–1 Romania Milo Theodorescu TKO 4 (10) Feb 06, 1942 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
49 Win 43–5–1 United States Jackie Burke TKO 5 (10) Jan 23, 1942 United States Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
48 Win 42–5–1 United States Shorty Hogue TKO 10 (10) Jan 09, 1942 United States Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
47 Win 41–5–1 United States Jerry Hayes KO 4 (10) Dec 23, 1941 United States City Auditorium, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, U.S.
46 Win 40–5–1 United States Ted Morrison TKO 2 (8) Dec 12, 1941 United States Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
45 Win 39–5–1 Chile Antonio Fernandez PTS 10 Sep 25, 1941 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
44 Win 38–5–1 United States Otto Blackwell PTS 8 Aug 25, 1941 United States Gardens, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
43 Win 37–5–1 United States Young Gene Buffalo TKO 5 (10) Jul 14, 1941 United States Gardens, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
42 Win 36–5–1 United States Ossie Harris TKO 9 (10) Jun 02, 1941 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
41 Win 35–5–1 United States Eddie Ellis TKO 5 (8) Apr 18, 1941 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
40 Win 34–5–1 United States Babe Synnott TKO 5 (8) Mar 31, 1941 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
39 Win 33–5–1 United States Vince Pimpinella PTS 10 Nov 11, 1940 United States Turner's Arena, Washington, D.C., U.S.
38 Win 32–5–1 South Africa Ernest Peirce PTS 10 Oct 17, 1940 United States Butler Street Sports Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
37 Loss 31–5–1 United States Jimmy Bivins UD 10 Sep 03, 1940 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
36 Win 31–4–1 United States Kenny LaSalle UD 10 Aug 19, 1940 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
35 Draw 30–4–1 United States Georgie Abrams PTS 10 Jul 29, 1940 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
34 Win 30–4 United States Carl Dell PTS 10 Jun 17, 1940 United States Valley Arena, Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.
33 Win 29–4 United States Sam Edwards KO 2 (10) Apr 26, 1940 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
32 Win 28–4 United States Baby Kid Chocolate TKO 5 (10) Apr 12, 1940 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
31 Win 27–4 United States Nate Bolden PTS 10 Feb 12, 1940 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
30 Loss 26–4 United States Holman Williams PTS 15 Dec 01, 1939 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
29 Win 26–3 United States Mickey Makar KO 1 (10) Oct 23, 1939 United States Moose Temple, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
28 Win 25–3 United States Jimmy Leto PTS 10 Aug 28, 1939 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
27 Win 24–3 United States Fritzie Zivic UD 10 Jul 17, 1939 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
26 Loss 23–3 United States Jimmy Leto SD 10 Jun 20, 1939 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
25 Win 23–2 Canada Sonny Jones TKO 7 (12) Jan 10, 1939 United States Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
24 Win 22–2 United States Billy Soose UD 10 Nov 21, 1938 United States Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
23 Win 21–2 Kingdom of Italy Werther Arcelli KO 1 (10) Nov 03, 1938 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
22 Win 20–2 Puerto Rico Herbert Lewis Hardwick UD 15 Aug 22, 1938 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S. Won world colored welterweight title
21 Win 19–2 United States Leon Zorrita UD 10 Aug 02, 1938 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
20 Win 18–2 United States Fritzie Zivic UD 10 Jun 13, 1938 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
19 Win 17–2 United States Mike Barto TKO 4 (10) Jun 01, 1938 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
18 Loss 16–2 United States Fritzie Zivic SD 10 Mar 21, 1938 United States Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
17 Win 16–1 United States Art Tate KO 2 (6) Mar 03, 1938 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
16 Win 15–1 United States Carl Turner UD 4 Feb 10, 1938 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
15 Win 14–1 United States Johnny Folio PTS 4 Feb 03, 1938 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
14 Win 13–1 United States Tiger Jackson KO 2 (4) Jan 27, 1938 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
13 Loss 12–1 United States Eddie Dolan UD 8 Sep 09, 1937 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 United States Sammy Grippe TKO 6 (8) Aug 16, 1937 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 Mexico Remo Fernandez TKO 7 (8) Aug 09, 1937 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Mickey O'Brien PTS 10 Jun 24, 1937 United States Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Keith Goodballet TKO 2 (8) May 27, 1937 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Sammy Grippe PTS 6 May 03, 1937 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Ray Gray PTS 6 Apr 19, 1937 United States Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Johnny Folio TKO 5 (8) Apr 15, 1937 United States Palisades Rink, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Ray Collins TKO 5 (8) Feb 08, 1937 United States Oil City, Pennsylvania, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Ralph Gizzy KO 2 (8) Jan 22, 1937 United States K. of C. Hall, Oil City, Pennsylvania, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Eddie Wirko TKO 5 (6) Nov 09, 1936 United States Moose Lodge, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Ralph Gizzy PTS 6 Oct 22, 1936 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States George Liggins KO 4 (4) Sep 29, 1936 United States Moose Temple, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Cocoa Kid
World Colored Welterweight Championship
August 22, 1938 - Unknown
Succeeded by
Cocoa Kid
Preceded by
Unknown
World Colored Middleweight Championship
August 14, 1942 - October 16, 1942
Succeeded by
Holman Williams

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Charley Burley". Cyber Boxing Zone. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Charley Burley". cyberboxingzone.com. Boxing Cyber Zone. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Charley Burley". Cyber Boxing Zone. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ "Charley Burley". BoxRec. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Charley Burley vs Okland Billy Smith Part 1". YouTube. Retrieved 10 May 2015.