Posts Tagged ‘Rocky Graziano’

Boxers of Yesteryear 1940’s Era

The 1940’s were difficult years for boxing in Europe and in many ways reflected worldwide situations that affected other endeavors as well. World War II raged early in the decade.

Because of the war, many world championship divisions were frozen. Sometimes, a title bout was held five years after the last title bout in that division had been held.



In the 1940’s notwithstanding the war years, boxing in America was in its heyday and was big money, mainly because of gambling, and was ruled by gangland boxing czar Frankie Carbo.

In Europe it was a different story for boxing – The European Boxing Union went through difficulties during World War II. Because one of the organization’s most important rules is that every fighter that fights for an EBU title must be a national and a resident of a European country, and all fights must be held in Europe, it became very hard, if not almost impossible, for the European Boxing Union to stage fights. As a consequence, the European Boxing Union suffered financial difficulties during this period.


Joe Louis


Joe Louis was the heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1948, in part because major boxing titles were frozen from 1941 to 1946 as four thousand professional boxers joined the military. Louis not only enlisted, he donated over $100,000 to war relief efforts in 1942. Sugar Ray Robinson, Ike Williams and Willie Pep were other big names in boxing. (Louis defended his title 25 times)



Boxing Highlights of the 1940’s

1941 – January 13 – Anton Christoforidis becomes the first Greek world boxing champion in history, beating Melio Bettina by a fifteen round decision for the National Boxing Association’s vacant world Light-Heavyweight title, in Cleveland.

Christoforidis was born in Messenia prefecture, Greece. His first bout was against Francisco Garcia Lluch in Paris, France which he won by decision. He made his United States debut on January 5, 1940 in Madison Square Garden defeating Willie Pavlovich. At that point Christoforidis settled in Geneva, Ohio.


1941 – May 23 – In an extremely controversial bout, Joe Louis retains his world Heavyweight title with a seventh round disqualification win over Max Baer’s brother, Buddy Baer. After the bell to end round six, Louis landed a blow that dropped Baer. Said time-keeper Billy Dechard: Joe hit Baer at least three seconds after the bell sounded. Looking for a disqualification win, Baer’s manager announced his fighter would not come out for round seven, and Baer wound up getting disqualified instead. The controversial fight took place in Washington, DC.

Louis’s cultural impact was felt well outside the ring. He is widely regarded as the first African American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States, and was also a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II.


1941 - July 29 – Freddie Cochrane wins the world Welterweight title, defeating Fritzie Zivoc with a fifteen round decision, in Newark.

Cochrane turned pro in 1933 and was considered the World Welterweight champion in 1941 after beating Fritzie Zivic. Although he technically held the title for more than four years, he did not successfully defend it once due to World War II. In 1945 he fought a war with legendary Rocky Graziano in what was proclaimed 1945 Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine.


1942 – June 20- Freddie Mills conquers the British version of the world Light-Heavyweight title with a second round knockout over Len Harvey, in London.

Although Mills was not a stylish boxer, he had the necessary talent to gain the world light-heavyweight championship. In handing out punishment he was often prepared to take much punishment himself, something that boxers cannot continue to do over a long career. To make matters worse, he was often matched against heavyweights, conceding large weight advantages to his opponents.


1943 – February 5- In their second of their classic six fight rivalry, Jake LaMotta defeats Sugar..Ray..Robinson by a ten round unanimous decision, in Detroit. This fight would be portrayed 37 years later in LaMotta’s biographic movie, Raging Bull.

LaMotta, who compiled a record of 83 wins, 19 losses and four draws with 30 wins by way of knockout, was the first man to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, knocking him down in the first round of their first fight and then outpointing him over the course of 10 rounds during the second fight of their legendary six-bout rivalry.


Jackie Paterson 1943 – June 19- Jackie Patterson wins the world’s Flyweight title with a first round knockout of defending champion Peter Kane, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Jackie Paterson (5 September 1920, Springside, Ayrshire – 19 November 1966) was a Scottish boxer who was world flyweight boxing champion. He was also British champion at flyweight and bantamweight.

He was a southpaw with a knockout punch in either hand, his most lethal weapon being his left hook. He was comparatively broadly built for a flyweight, and often struggled to make the eight stone flyweight limit. In the latter stages of his career, he fought as a bantamweight.


1944 – March 3 - The third chapter of the Bob Montgomery-Beau Jack rivalry, as Montgomery beats Jack by a fifteen round decision, at New York.

1944 – August 4 - Beau Jack wins a ten round decision over arch-rival Bob Montgomery in New York. A few w Joe Louis eeks later, they were both drafted on the same day by the Army.

1945: because of the events of World War II during this year, there were only two world championship boxing bouts in 1945.

1945 – February – Willie Pep retains his world Featherweight title with a fifteen round decision over Phil Terranova, in New York.

Guglielmo Papaleo (September 19, 1922 – November 23, 2006) was an Italian-American boxer who was better known as Willie Pep. Pep boxed a total of 1956 rounds in the 241 bouts during his 26 year career, a considerable number of rounds and fights even for a fighter of his era. His final record was 229-11-1 with 65 knockouts.


1945 – September 28- Rocky Graziano stops Harold Green in two rounds at New York. Green later claimed he was paid to lose the fight.

1946 – December 20- Sugar Ray Robinson becomes world champion for the first time, defeating Tommy Bell by a fifteen round unanimous decision for the vacant world Welterweight championship, in New York.


1947 – July 16- Rocky Graziano becomes world Middleweight champion, knocking out Tony Zale in round six of the second chapter of their boxing rivalry.

Rocky Graziano, born Thomas Rocco Barbella in New York City (1 January 1919 – May 22, 1990), was an outstanding Italian-American boxer. Graziano was considered one of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, often displaying the capacity to take his opponent out with a single punch. He was ranked 23rd on Ring Magazine’s list of the greatest punchers of all time.


1947 – December 5- Joe Louis retains his world Heavyweight title for the 24th. time, with a fifteen round split decision over Jersey Joe Walcott, in New York.

1948 – February 20- Tragedy strikes, as Ezzard Charles defeats Sam Baroudi in Chicago, by a knockout in round ten. Baroudi died as a consequence of the blows suffered, on February 21.

1948 – June 25- Joe Louis retains his world Heavyweight title for the twenty-fifth and final time, this time knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott in round eleven of their New York rematch. Louis would retire, officially leaving the title, in 1949.


1948 – September 23- Marcel Cerdan conquers the world Middleweight title with a twelfth round knockout win over Tony Zale, in Jersey City.

Marcellin “Marcel” Cerdan (July 22, 1916 – October 28, 1949 ) was a French pied noir world boxing champion who was considered by many boxing experts and fans to be France’s as well as Europe’s greatest boxer, and beyond to be one of the best to have learned his craft in Africa. His life was marked by his sporting achievements, social

lifestyle and ultimately, tragedy.Cerdan’s record was 113 wins and 4 losses, with 66 wins by knockout.


1949 – June 16- Jake LaMotta wins the world Middleweight championship, knocking out Marcel Cerdan in ten rounds, at Detroit.

LaMotta, who compiled a record of 83 wins, 19 losses and four draws with 30 wins by way of knockout, was the first man to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, knocking him down in the first round of their first fight and then outpointing him over the course of 10 rounds during the second fight of their legendary six-bout rivalry.

October 27 – Marcel Cerdan dies when his plane, an Air France Constellation, crashes over the Azores when he was returning to the United States for a rematch with Jake LaMotta.


1949 – July 11- Sugar Ray Robinson retains the world Welterweight title with a fifteen round unanimous decision over future world champion Kid Gavilan, in Philadelphia.

Robinson was named the greatest fighter of the 20th century by the Associated Press, and the greatest boxer in history by in 2007. The Ring magazine rated him the best pound for pound boxer of all-time in 1997, and its “Fighter of the Decade” for the 1950s. Muhammad Ali, who repeatedly called himself “The Greatest” throughout his career, ranked Robinson as the greatest boxer of all time.


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Boxers Of Yesteryear – Rocky Graziano

altRocky Graziano was born Thomas Rocco Barbella in New York between (January 1, 1919 to  January 22, 1919) the fifth child of Nick and Ida (Scinto) Barbella.

Graziano (Italian-American) is considered as one of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history often demonstrating the potential to take his opponent in one fell swoop. He finished twenty-third Ring Magazine list of greatest punchers of all time.

The young Barbella did not have a happy childhood and the relationship with his father was strained and filled with anger. When Rocky was as young as 3 years of age, his father would make him and his brother Joe (who was three years older) fight almost every night in boxing gloves. All the washed-up boxers from around the neighborhood would go to the Barbellas’ house to drink and watch the two brothers fight…………

……….Graziano immediately began compiling an impressive record in his professional career with a string of knockout wins against his opponents. Overall Graziano racked up sixty-seven wins—fifty-two by knockout—ten losses, and six draws over the next ten years. The high point of his career came in a three-match duel for the title of World Middleweight Champion with Tony Zale between 1946 and 1948. Zale, the son of Polish immigrants known as “The Man of Steel,” had served in the military during World War II. In addition to his status as a war veteran, Zale was regarded as a much more skilled boxer than Graziano. The popular favorite………

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