Tony Zale

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Tony Zale
Tony Zale 1940.jpg
Tony Zale in 1940
Statistics
Real nameAnthony Florian Zaleski
Nickname(s)Man of Steel[1]
Weight(s)Middleweight
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Reach69 in (175 cm)
NationalityUnited States American
Born(1913-05-29)May 29, 1913
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
DiedMarch 20, 1997(1997-03-20) (aged 83)
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights87
Wins67
Wins by KO45
Losses18
Draws2
No contests0

Anthony Florian Zaleski (May 29, 1913 – March 20, 1997), known professionally as Tony Zale, was an American boxer.[2] Zale was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, a steel town, which gave him his nickname, "Man of Steel".[3] In addition, he had the reputation of being able to take fearsome punishment and still rally to win, reinforcing that nickname. Zale, who held the world middleweight title multiple times,[4] was known as a crafty boxer and strong body puncher who punished his opponents and steadily wore them down before knocking them out.[5]

World middleweight title match against Georgie Abrams, November 1941[edit]

Tony Zale in 1941
Zale getting married, March 1942

Zale met Georgie Abrams in Madison Square Garden in a world middleweight championship match on November 28, 1941, before a crowd of nearly 10,000. Despite knocking Zale down in the first round, a poke in the eye from Zale's glove left him with pain and blurred vision. From the fourth round on, Abrams fought with his left eye nearly closed. Blood from a cut opened above his right eye in the third from an accidental head butt from Zale caused additional vision problems from blood that dripped from the wound. Despite fighting half blind, Abrams fought courageously for fifteen rounds. The Associated Press judged Abrams the winner with eight rounds to Zale's seven. Abrams lost in a close match, due to the incessant body attacks of Zale in the late rounds, particularly the ninth where he received a severe two handed attack to the midsection.[6][7]

Bouts against Rocky Graziano, 1946–48[edit]

Zale was a two-time world middleweight champion and made The Ring's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. Zale is best remembered for his three bouts over a 21-month period with Rocky Graziano for the middleweight crown. These three bouts were among the most brutal and exciting middleweight championship matches of all time. The first match took place in Yankee Stadium, New York City. Zale had served in World War II, was thirty-three years old, and had been inactive for about four years. Graziano was on a winning knockout streak and seemed to be in his prime. In their first match (September 27, 1946), after flooring Graziano in the first round, Zale took a savage beating from Graziano, and was on the verge of losing the fight by TKO. However, he rallied and knocked out Graziano in the sixth round to retain his title. The rematch, a year later in Chicago (July 16, 1947), was a mirror image of their first fight. Graziano was battered around the ring, suffered a closed eye and appeared ready to lose by a knockout, then rallied and knocked Zale out in the sixth round, becoming middleweight champion of the world.

Their last fight was held in New Jersey the following year (June 10, 1948). Zale regained his crown, winning the match by a knockout in the third round. The knockout blows consisted of a perfect combination of a right to Graziano's body, then a left hook to Graziano's jaw. Graziano was knocked unconscious. This fight was Zale's last hurrah. His age and the many ring wars he fought seemed to catch up with him in his next fight against European Champion Marcel Cerdan later that year, who stopped him in the eleventh round to win the middleweight championship of the world (September 21, 1948). Graziano commented that years later he would wake up in a cold sweat having had the recurring nightmare of being back in the ring with Zale, who he said really was a man of steel.

Edith Piaf, who at the time was having an affair with Cerdan, was in the audience, praying to Saint Therese for his victory. Two of the three Graziano fights and the Cerdan fight were named The Ring magazine Fight of the Year.

Zale was a 1991 inductee to the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF). In November 2015, his championship belts were stolen[8] from the IBHOF. The belts were on loan from Zale's family, and have yet to be returned.

Zale was originally cast to play himself in the movie Somebody Up There Likes Me. According to director Robert Wise, Paul Newman (playing Graziano) was hesitant to fully engage Zale during rehearsal, fearing that Zale might reflexively knock him out if Newman inadvertently hit him too hard. As Newman had to appear aggressive against Zale in the film, Wise felt it was necessary to replace Zale with actor Courtland Shepard for the final fight scene.[9]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
87 fights 67 wins 18 losses
By knockout 45 5
By decision 22 13
Draws 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
87 Loss 67–18–2 Marcel Cerdan RTD 11 (15) Sep 21, 1948 Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S. Lost NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring middleweight titles
86 Win 67–17–2 Rocky Graziano KO 3 (15) Jun 10, 1948 Ruppert Stadium, Newark, New Jersey, U.S. Won NBA and The Ring middleweight titles
85 Win 66–17–2 Lou Woods KO 3 (10) Mar 19, 1948 Arena, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
84 Win 65–17–2 Bobby Claus TKO 4 (10) Mar 8, 1948 Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
83 Win 64–17–2 Al Turner KO 5 (10) Jan 23, 1948 Armory, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
82 Loss 63–17–2 Rocky Graziano TKO 6 (15) Jul 16, 1947 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Lost NBA and The Ring middleweight titles
81 Win 63–16–2 Cliff Beckett TKO 6 (10) May 8, 1947 Arena, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
80 Win 62–16–2 Al Timmons TKO 5 (10) Apr 1, 1947 Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.
79 Win 61–16–2 Tommy Charles KO 4 (10) Mar 20, 1947 Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
78 Win 60–16–2 Len Wadsworth KO 3 (10) Feb 12, 1947 Forum, Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
77 Win 59–16–2 Deacon Logan TKO 6 (10) Feb 3, 1947 Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
76 Win 58–16–2 Rocky Graziano KO 6 (15) Sep 27, 1946 Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained NBA, NYSAC, and The Ring middleweight titles
75 Win 57–16–2 Eddie Rossi KO 4 (10) May 2, 1946 Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
74 Win 56–16–2 Ira Hughes KO 2 (10) Apr 12, 1946 City Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
73 Win 55–16–2 Bobby Claus KO 4 (10) Feb 26, 1946 Houston, Texas, U.S.
72 Win 54–16–2 Oscar Boyd KO 3 (10) Feb 7, 1946 Coliseum, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
71 Win 53–16–2 Tony Gillo KO 5 (10) Jan 17, 1946 Municipal Auditorium, Norfolk, New Jersey, U.S.
70 Win 52–16–2 Bobby Giles KO 4 (10) Jan 7, 1946 Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, U.S.
69 Loss 51–16–2 Billy Conn UD 12 Feb 13, 1942 Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
68 Win 51–15–2 Georgie Abrams UD 15 Nov 28, 1941 Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained NBA middleweight title;
Won vacant NYSAC, and The Ring middleweight titles
67 Win 50–15–2 Billy Pryor KO 9 (10) Aug 16, 1941 Juneau Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
66 Win 49–15–2 Ossie Harris KO 1 (10) Jul 23, 1941 Chicago Stadium Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
65 Win 48–15–2 Al Hostak KO 2 (15) May 28, 1941 Chicago Stadium Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Retained NBA middleweight title
64 Win 47–15–2 Steve Mamakos KO 14 (15) Feb 21, 1941 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Retained NBA middleweight title
63 Win 46–15–2 Steve Mamakos PTS 10 Jan 10, 1941 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
62 Win 45–15–2 Tony Martin TKO 7 (10) Jan 1, 1941 Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
61 Win 44–15–2 Fred Apostoli PTS 10 Nov 19, 1940 Civic Auditorium, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
60 Loss 43–15–2 Billy Soose UD 10 Aug 21, 1940 Civic Stadium, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
59 Win 43–14–2 Al Hostak TKO 13 (15) Jul 19, 1940 Civic Stadium, Seattle, Washington, U.S. Won NBA middleweight title
58 Win 42–14–2 Baby Kid Chocolate KO 4 (10) Jun 12, 1940 Idora Park, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
57 Win 41–14–2 Ben Brown KO 3 (10) Mar 29, 1940 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
56 Win 40–14–2 Enzo Iannozzi KO 4 (10) Feb 29, 1940 Rayen-Wood Auditorium, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
55 Win 39–14–2 Al Hostak UD 10 Jan 29, 1940 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
54 Win 38–14–2 Babe Orgovan KO 3 (8) Dec 8, 1939 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
53 Win 37–14–2 Eddie Meleski TKO 1 (10) Nov 13, 1939 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
52 Win 36–14–2 Al Wardlow KO 3 (10) Oct 31, 1939 Rayen-Wood Auditorium, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
51 Win 35–14–2 Sherman Edwards TKO 3 (6) Oct 6, 1939 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
50 Win 34–14–2 Milton Shivers KO 3 (10) Aug 14, 1939 Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
49 Win 33–14–2 Babe Orgovan PTS 6 May 23, 1939 Madison Square Garden, New York, U.S.
48 Win 32–14–2 Johnny Shaw KO 5 (8) May 1, 1939 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
47 Loss 31–14–2 Nate Bolden PTS 10 Jan 2, 1939 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
46 Win 31–13–2 Enzo Innazzi PTS 6 Nov 18, 1938 Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
45 Win 30–13–2 Jimmy Clark KO 2 (8) Oct 31, 1938 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
44 Win 29–13–2 Tony Cisco UD 10 Oct 10, 1938 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
43 Loss 28–13–2 Billy Celebron PTS 10 Aug 22, 1938 Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
42 Draw 28–12–2 Billy Celebron PTS 10 Jul 18, 1938 Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
41 Win 28–12–1 Jimmy Clark TKO 8 (8) Jun 13, 1938 Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
40 Win 27–12–1 Bobby LaMonte TKO 5 (8) May 16, 1938 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
39 Win 26–12–1 King Wyatt PTS 8 Mar 28, 1938 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
38 Loss 25–12–1 Jimmy Clark KO 1 (8) Feb 21, 1938 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
37 Win 25–11–1 Henry Schaft PTS 8 Jan 24, 1938 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
36 Win 24–11–1 Nate Bolden SD 8 Jan 3, 1938 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
35 Win 23–11–1 Nate Bolden PTS 5 Nov 22, 1937 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
34 Win 22–11–1 Leon Jackson PTS 6 Nov 10, 1937 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
33 Loss 21–11–1 Nate Bolden PTS 5 Nov 1, 1937 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
32 Win 21–10–1 Bobby Gerry KO 2 (4) Oct 18, 1937 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
31 Win 20–10–1 Billy Brown KO 1 (4) Oct 11, 1937 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
30 Win 19–10–1 Elby Johnson TKO 3 (4) Sep 17, 1937 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
29 Loss 18–10–1 Manuel Davila PTS 4 Aug 16, 1937 Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
28 Win 18–9–1 Elby Johnson PTS 4 Jul 26, 1937 Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
27 Draw 17–9–1 Jack Moran PTS 5 Apr 13, 1936 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
26 Loss 17–9 Dave Clark PTS 5 Jul 2, 1935 Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
25 Loss 17–8 Johnny Phagan KO 6 (8) May 6, 1935 Midway Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
24 Loss 17–7 Roughhouse Glover TKO 9 (10) Mar 27, 1935 Music Hall Arena, Cincinnati, U.S.
23 Win 17–6 Max Elling PTS 8 Mar 11, 1935 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
22 Win 16–6 Young Jack Blackburn PTS 6 Feb 25, 1935 Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
21 Loss 15–6 Joey Bazzone PTS 6 Dec 28, 1934 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
20 Loss 15–5 Jack Gibbons PTS 10 Dec 17, 1934 Midway Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
19 Loss 15–4 Kid Leonard PTS 10 Nov 26, 1934 Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
18 Win 15–3 Jack Charvez PTS 8 Nov 5, 1934 Midway Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
17 Win 14–3 Jack Schwartz TKO 4 (8) Oct 29, 1934 Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
16 Win 13–3 Frankie Misko KO 6 (8) Oct 22, 1934 Midway Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
15 Win 12–3 Young Jack Blackburn PTS 8 Oct 8, 1934 Midway Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
14 Win 11–3 Mickey Misko KO 4 (8) Sep 17, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
13 Loss 10–3 Mickey Misko PTS 8 Sep 3, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
12 Win 10–2 Wilbur Stokes PTS 8 Aug 27, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
11 Loss 9–2 George Black PTS 6 Aug 15, 1934 Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
10 Loss 9–1 Billy Hood PTS 6 Aug 13, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 Bruce Wade KO 3 (4) Aug 7, 1934 Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 Bobby Millsap PTS 4 Jul 30, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 Einar Hedquist TKO 4 (4) Jul 16, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 Lou Bartell PTS 4 Jul 9, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 Ossie Jefferson KO 3 (4) Jul 2, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 Johnny Liston KO 3 (4) Jun 25, 1934 White City Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 Bobby Millsap KO 1 (4) Jun 21, 1934 Bacon's Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 Johnny Simpson PTS 4 Jun 15, 1934 Northwest Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 Eddie Allen PTS 4 Jun 11, 1934 Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tony Zale, Boxing's 'Man Of Steel,' Dies At 82 – tribunedigital-chicagotribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. March 21, 1997. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  2. ^ "Zale Is Still A Quiet Worker". NYTimes.com (August 4, 1982). Retrieved on September 11, 2017.
  3. ^ Bob Mee (March 24, 1997). "Obituary: Tony Zale | Obituaries | News". The Independent. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ "Effect of War On Tony Zale". NYTimes.com (August 15, 1982). Retrieved on September 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Silver, Mike (2016). Stars in the Ring, Jewish Champions. Rowman and Littlefield, Guilford, Connecticut. pp. 103–105. ISBN 1630761397.
  7. ^ Abrams came close to winning the fight according to the AP in "Zale, King of 160 pounders Licks Abrams", The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, p. 63, November 30, 1941
  8. ^ Stein, Jeff (November 14, 2015). "Theft of a Boxer's Championship Belts Devastates His Upstate Hometown". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  9. ^ Wise, Robert. "Somebody Up There Likes Me". afi.com. Retrieved January 14, 2018.

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by NBA Middleweight Champion
July 19, 1940 – July 16, 1947
Succeeded by
Preceded by NYSAC World Middleweight Champion
November 28, 1941 – July 16, 1947
Vacant
Title last held by
Freddie Steele
The Ring Middleweight Champion
November 28, 1941 – July 16, 1947
Vacant
Title last held by
Mickey Walker
World Middleweight Champion
November 28, 1941 – July 16, 1947
Preceded by The Ring Middleweight Champion
June 10, 1948 – September 21, 1948
Succeeded by
World Middleweight Champion
June 10, 1948 – September 21, 1948