Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Boxing legend "Upstate Onion Farmer", Carmen Basilio dies at 85

Another legend left the boxing world grieving this year.

Carmen Basilio (born April 02, 1927 in Canastota, New York) passed away Wednesday morning due to pneumonia complications at Rochester Memorial Hospital.

 He was one of the most ferocious welterweight and middleweight boxer in 1950's and highly regarded because of his crouching style in the ring. His straight uppercuts, vicious hooks, and body blows made him one of the most exciting boxers of his generation. He rarely steps backward from his opponents and can withstand punishment.

His win with Tony Demarco in June 10, 1955 earned him his first championship belt in welterweight division. He was also the first champion under Angelo Dundee's tutelage, a Hall of Fame trainer.

The most impressive win, and perhaps the fight that defined his career, was his middleweight championship fight against one of the most elite boxers in the world, Sugar Ray Robinson. In September 23, 1957 at Yankee Stadium, he lifted his second belt by defeating Robinson in a highly contested matchup of 15 rounds.

In the rematch in March 25, 1958, he would lose the belt in Chicago. The fight was equally brutal and exciting as the first. This cemented Basilio's legacy as a true warrior in the boxing world. He would later retire as a professional boxer with 56 wins, 27 knockouts and 16 defeats in a 13-year career.

In 1990's, he was inducted as a member to the first class of boxing hall of fame together with other greats that included Muhammad Ali, Jake LaMotta, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Robinson.