View Full Version : Gus Lesnevich, the forgotten great...

jim glen
01-16-2006, 12:02 PM
What is the overall assessment of L-HW Champion Gus Lesnevich? Anything I've ever read about him is always complimentary and he is a HOFer.

The film I've got of him Mills 1 & 2 and Lesnevich vs. Bruce Woodcock, from all 3 of these fights it is very plain to see that Lesnevich is a "very" good boxer, a very capable rugged and hard hitting Champion, yet you don't ever hear much about him, even here at the CBZ or elsewhere for that matter (?).

So what's the scoop with Gus is he a forgotten great or what?

01-17-2006, 01:35 AM
Hi Jim -- I've always thought he was a HOFer but I just checked out the IBHOF and he's not there!

jim glen
01-17-2006, 09:41 AM
A Hall of Fame plea for Gus Lesnevich

Just found this over at Seconds Out, 17th Jan. this year 06.

By Walter Staab: The end of World War II ushered in a golden age of boxing that was never repeated. The great Ray Robinson was in his welterweight prime, as was lightweight Ike Williams. Joe Louis was past his prime but still active with plenty of punch. And there were the classic confrontations still remembered by those fortunate enough to see or hear them: the Rocky Graziano-Tony Zale trilogy and the four meetings between Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler.

All of these fighters are rightfully enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, as are other greats of the era such as Kid Gavilan, Beau Jack, Jake LaMotta, and Jersey Joe Walcott to name a few. There is one champion, however, who stood in popularity and pluck with these remarkable pugilists, but has yet to be recognized by the IBHF

Gus Lesnevich held the world light-heavyweight crown for eight years and was named Ring Magazine's Fighter of the Year in 1947. In that year, he knocked out Billy Fox, who at the time had a record of 50 KOs in 51 fights. He stopped Melio Bettina (a ranked heavyweight, No.7) in the first round, decisioned Tami Maurlello (another heavyweight contender, No.5), and then KOd Mauriello in a rematch.

In designating Lesnevich Fighter of the Year, Ring magazine cited his "performance in the ring, benefices to the game, and clean reputation."

Lesnevich amassed a record of 58-14-5 and was the cover subject of Ring on five different occasions. He was named to the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame in 1973.

He deserves equal recognition by the International Boxing Hall of Fame. It's time.

01-17-2006, 09:18 PM
Wow, I thought he was in the HOF as well.

01-18-2006, 07:35 PM
Not in the hall.

I shock.

I thought he was one of thsos guess that should be in the front seats of the hofers with Louis, Or Robinson.

01-18-2006, 09:08 PM
Cyber Boxing Champion
Gus Lesnevich

Born: February 22, 1915 Cliffside Park, NJ
Died: February 28, 1964 Cliffside Park, NJ
Career Record: 58-14-5 (22 Kayoes)

--- Won NY-Chicago Inter-City Golden Gloves
May 5 Justin Hoffman Brooklyn KO 2
May 19 Sid Cohen Brooklyn KO 3
May 29 Jimmy Calabrese Fort Lee, KO 1
Jun 9 Willie Kline Brooklyn W 6
Jun 16 Roy Frisco Brooklyn W 8
Jul 23 Tony Calabrese Jersey City, NJ KO 2
Sep 13 Nicky Williams Teterboro, W 6
Sep 22 Charlie Weiss Brooklyn W 6
Oct 3 Mark Hough Brooklyn W 6
Nov 3 Tom Chester Brooklyn W 6
Nov 24 Jackie Aldare Brooklyn L 6
Dec 8 Stan Willardson Brooklyn W 6
Dec 29 Jackie Aldare Brooklyn W 8

Jan 12 Bucky Lawless Brooklyn KO 2
Feb 2 Jackie Aldare Brooklyn W 8
Mar 2 John Andersson Brooklyn W 8
Mar 22 John Andersso New York D 8
Apr 13 Mark Hough Brooklyn W 8
May 4 Tom Chester Brooklyn W 8
May 25 Tony Celli Brooklyn W 8
Dec 17 Butch Lynch Newark, NJ W 10

Jan Billy Hood Miami W 6
Feb 4 Eddie "Kid" Whalen Jersey City, NJ KO 5
Mar 16 Frankie Caris Newark, NJ D 10
Apr 13 Frankie Caris Newark, NJ W 10
May 19 Sammy Christian Los Angeles W 4
May 29 Johnny Sykes Hollywood, CA KO 1
Jun 19 Lou Rogers Hollywood, CA KO 1
Aug 21 Ray Actis Hollywood, CA W 10
Oct 9 Carmen Barth Hollywood, CA W 10
Oct 23 Marty Simmons Hollywood, CA D 10
Nov 4 Young Stubley San Francisco KO 9
Nov 17 Freddie Steele Los Angeles KO by 2

Feb 20 Tony Celli New York W 8
Mar 12 Young Corbett III San Francisco KO by 5
May 14 Johnny Romero Hollywood, CA KO 7
Jun 22 Young Stubley Los Angeles W 10
Aug 24 Atilio Sabatino Los Angeles W 10
Sep 3 Alabama Kid San Francisco W 10
Oct 5 Allen Matthews Seattle D 10
Nov 19 Herbie Katz New York W 8

Jan 7 Joey Parks St. Louis D 10
Feb 8 Ben Brown Coral Gables, FL W 10
Feb 24 Jack Kirkland Miami Beach KO 1
Mar 23 Lou Brouillard New York W 10
Jun 1 Buddy Ryan New York W 10
Jun 16 Stanley Hasrato New York KO 1
Oct 27 Ron Richards Sydney L 15
Dec 6 Ambrose Palmer Sydney W 15

Jan 19 Alabama Kid Sydney KO 9
Feb 2 Bob Olin Sydney W 12
May 15 Larry Lane Trenton, NJ W 10
Jun 22 Dave Clark Nutley, KO 1
Nov 17 Billy Conn New York L 15
(For World Light Heavyweight Title)

Jan 1 Dave Clark Detroit W 10
Jun 5 Billy Conn Detroit L 15
(For World Light Heavyweight Title)
Jul 22 Wally Sears Garfield, W 10
Sep 5 Henry Cooper Garfield, KO 5
Nov 23 Al Delaney Brooklyn L 10
Dec 16 Jack Marshall Newark, NJ KO 4

Feb 27 Nathan Mann Detroit W 10
May 22 Anton Christoforidis New York W 15
(Wins Vacant NBA Light Heavyweight Title)
Aug 26 Tami Mauriello New York W 15
(Retains NBA, Wins World Light Heavyweight Title)
Nov 14 Tami Mauriello New York W 15
(Retains World Light Heavyweight Title)

Jan 30 Bob Pastor New York L 10
Mar 11 Jimmy Bivins Cleveland L 10

Oct 22 Joe Thomas Wilmington, DE Exh KO 3

Jan 11 Joe Kahut Portland, ME KO 1
Feb 15 Paul Crosby Danbury, CT Exh 5
Feb 22 Lee Oma New York KO by 4
May 14 Freddie Mills London KO 10
(Retains World Light Heavyweight Title)
Sep 17 Bruce Woodcock London KO by 8

Feb 28 Billy Fox New York KO 10
(Retains World Light Heavyweight Title)
May 23 Melio Bettina New York KO 1
Jul 30 Tami Mauriello Brooklyn W 10
Oct 31 Tami Mauriello New York KO 7

Mar 5 Billy Fox New York KO 1
(Retains World Light Heavyweight Title)
Jul 16 Freddie Mills London L 15
(Loses World Light Heavyweight Title)

Mar 3 Eldridge Eastman Newark, NJ KO 1
May 23 Joey Maxim Cincinnati L 15
(For Vacant American Light Heavyweight Title)
Aug 10 Ezzard Charles New York KO by 7
(For NBA World Heavyweight Title)

Walker Smith
01-18-2006, 11:15 PM
When I did some reserach for an all-time top ten LH list, I kept thinking to myself why Gus Lesnevich didn't fight anybody of significance after Billy Conn, except for, of course, Jimmy Bivins and Bob Pastor. And I always wondered how well Bivins did in the fight. On boxrec, it says that Bivins scored a knockdown. Was it a robbery or a just win or a close fight? And if it was a close fight, then why was there no re-match?

Either way, I can think of several fighters whom he could've fought as champion--Charley Burley, Ezzard Charles (whom he fought after he lost the title), Holman Williams, Archie Moore and, of course, Tony Zale.

Yet, when you see a guy like Billy Fox on his card (twice no less), it makes you wonder.

I guess my question is, was he sadly a legit great simply caught in a very corrupt period in boxing history, or was he very fortunate that he was fighting in a a very corrupt period in boxing history?

I must say that I had my doubts, but I've seen little footage of him and read hardly anything on him outside of a few internet clippings and some records.

Walker Smith
01-18-2006, 11:16 PM
Also, not to raise more doubt to Lesnevich's accomplishments, but whoever wrote that article calling for Lesnevich to get into the HOF obviously does not know who Billy Fox was, or he wouldn't have used him as proof of Gus's greatness. Fox was mobbed-up and some would say that virtualy all of those 50 or so wins on his record were from fixed fights. If Gus needed 10 rounds to beat Fox, in their first fight, it was either proof that Gus was in with the mob or that he wasn't that great of a boxer, as Fox found the canvas early in his fights several times later in his career.

01-19-2006, 08:22 PM
Gus was past his prime when he got out of the service (WWII) in 1946. He was basically inactive from March 1942 until January 1946. But, even past his prime he still racked up some impressive wins in 1946 and 1947.

I break Gus' career stages as follows:

Beginner - 1934
Pre-prime - 1935-1936
Prime 1937-1942
Post prime - 1946-1948
End of career - 1949