View Full Version : Carmen Basilio
06-10-2006, 12:47 PM
06-10-2006, 01:03 PM
Had a conversation with him in the Rochester, NY airport in May. He was buying a paper and walking to his gate. He can't hear very well and is getting on in years but he was very feisty...and hale and strong. I walked up to him and he spun around, grabbed my arm in a vice and began play punching me about the torso.
At the time, on this site, we I believe were discussing Ray Leonard and Duran in another thread..and I mentioned the subject to him. He replied: "Duran was too small to ever beat me..the guys he fought weren't used to a guy like him..but a guy like him was a guy like me, except I was stronger than Duran ever was."
I asked him about Ray Leonard..his impression of him. "He was great but he wouldn't have been ready for me when he was champ. I'd have kicked his ribs in...guys like him didn't fight enough. He'd learn how to beat a guy like Duran but what happens if he fights 40 fights against solid guys..there'd be some losses there...he's great they say but great means shit against a guy like me. Us back then'd be greater than great now..I'd be welter champ forever weighing 16o pounds on fight night"
'he's great they say but great means shit against a guy like me.' I found it funny that the relativity of 'great' which I believe very strongly was reinforced by one of those that exemplified the theory.
Have a nice flight.
06-10-2006, 01:12 PM
Cyber Boxing Champion
Born: April 2, 1927, Canastota, NY
Record: 56-16-7 (27)
24 Nov Jimmy Evans Binghamton,NY KO3
29 Nov Bruce Walters Syracuse,NY KO1
8 Dec Eddie Thomas Binghamton,NY KO2
16 Dec Rollie Johns Syracuse,NY W6
5 Jan Johnny Cunningham Binghamton,NY D6
19 Jan Jay Perlin Binghamton,NY D6
25 Jan Ernie Hall Syracuse,NY KO2
19 Feb Luke Jordan Rochester,NY W6
20 Apr Elliott Throop Syracuse,NY KO1
2 May Connie Thies Rochester,NY L6
8 May Jerry Drain Syracuse,NY KO3
18 May Johnny Clemons Syracuse,NY KO3
7 Jun Johnny Cunningham Syracuse,NY KO2
12 Jul Jesse Bradshaw Syracuse,NY KO2
21 Jul Sammy Daniels Utica,NY W8
2 Aug Johnny Cunningham Utica,NY L8
17 Aug Johnny Cunningham Syracuse,NY W8
7 Sep Tony DiPelino Rochester,NY W8
30 Sep Jackie Parker Syracuse,NY KO3
10 Jan Sonny Hampton Buffalo,NY W8
24 Jan Cassill Tate Buffalo,NY W8
7 Feb Adrien Mourguiart Buffalo,NY KO7
6 Mar Lew Jenkins Syracuse,NY W10
27 Mar Mike Koballa Brooklyn,NY L8
12 Apr Gaby Ferland New Orleans,LA D10
5 May Gaby Ferland New Orleans,LA KO1
21 Jun Guillermo Giminez New Orleans,LA KO8
31 Jul Guillermo Giminez New Orleans,LA KO9
28 Aug Eddie Giosa New Orleans,LA L10
15 Dec Vic Cardell New York,NY L10
9 Mar Floro Hita Syracuse,NY W8
12 Apr Eddie Giosa Syracuse,NY W10
29 May Lester Felton Syracuse,NY L10
18 Jun Johnny Cesario Utica,NY L10
17 Sep Shamus McCray Syracuse,NY W8
26 Sep Ross Virgo New Orleans,LA L10
4 Feb Emmett Norris Wilkes-Barre,PA W10
28 Feb Jimmy Cousins Akron,OH W8
31 Mar Jackie O'Brien Wilkes-Barre,PA W10
29 May Chuck Davey Syracuse,NY D10
16 Jul Chuck Davey Chicago,IL L10
20 Aug Billy Graham Chicago,IL L10
22 Sep Baby Williams Miami,FL W10
20 Oct Sammy Guiliani Syracuse,NY KO3
18 Nov Chuck Foster Buffalo,NY KO5
12 Jan Ike Williams Syracuse,NY W10
28 Feb Vic Cardell Toledo,OH W10
11 Apr Carmine Fiore Syracuse,NY KO9
6 Jun Billy Graham Syracuse,NY W12
25 Jun Billy Graham Syracuse,NY D12
18 Sep Kid Gavilan Syracuse,NY L15
(For World Welterweight Championship)
28 Nov Johnny Cunnignham Toledo,OH KO4
19 Dec Pierre Langlois Syracuse,NY D10
16 Jan Italo Scortichini Miami,FL D10
17 Apr Pierre Langlois Syracuse,NY W10
15 May Italo Scortichini Syracuse,NY W10
26 Jun Al Andrews Syracuse,NY W10
17 Aug Ronnie Harper Fort Wayne,IN KO2
10 Sep Carmine Fiore New York,NY W10
15 Oct Allie Gronik Syracuse,NY W10
16 Dec Ronnie Harper Akron,OH KO4
21 Jan Peter Muller Syracuse,NY W10
10 Jun Tony DeMarco Syracuse,NY KO12
(Won World Welterweight Championship)
10 Aug Italo Scortichini New York,NY W10
7 Sep Gil Turner Syracuse,NY W10
30 Nov Tony DeMarco Boston KO12
(Retained World Welterweight Championship)
14 Mar Johnny Saxton Chicago,IL L15
(Lost World Welterweight Championship)
12 Sep Johnny Saxton Syracuse,NY KO9
(Regained World Welterweight Championship)
22 Feb Johnny Saxton Cleveland,OH KO2
(Retained World Welterweight Championship)
13 May Leo Owens Longview, OR Exh 3
14 May Leo Owens Spokane, WA Exh 3
16 May Harold Jones Portland,OR KO4
27 Jun Leo Owens Jeanette, PA Exh 3
23 Sep Ray Robinson New York,NY W15
(Won World Middleweight Championship)
(Gave Up World Welterweight Championship)
25 Mar Ray Robinson Chicago,IL L15
(Lost World Middleweight Championship)
5 Sep Art Aragon Los Angeles,CA KO8
1 Apr Arley Selfer Augusta,GA KO3
28 Aug Gene Fullmer San Francisco,CA KOby14
(For NBA Middleweight Championship)
29 Jun Gene Fullmer Salt Lake City KOby12
(For NBA Middleweight Championship)
7 Jan Gasper Ortega New York,NY W10
11 Mar Don Jordan Syracuse,NY W10
22 Apr Paul Pender Boston L10
(For World Middleweight Championship)
06-10-2006, 01:16 PM
CBZ INTERVIEW WITH CARMEN BASILIO FROM THE IBHOF INDUCTIONS 1997
Carmen Basilio Interviewed
by Dave Iamele
Forty years ago in da Bronx at the house that Ruth built a young onion farmer from Canastota, NY shocked the boxing world. Carmen "the Canastota Clouter" Basilio won a razor thin split decision over one Walker Smith, better known as Sugar Ray Robinson after 15 gruelling rounds. That night (September 23, 1957) saw world welterweight champion Basilio take on Sugar Ray for his middleweight title. Carmen entered Yankee Stadium that night a 4 to 1 underdog but he left as the new middleweight champion of the world.
Fast forward 40 years and Carmen is back in his old hometown being honored on the anniversary of arguably his greatest victory by his friends and family at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Basilio's achievements led him to be inducted in 1990 as one of the first group of fighters enshrined. In his 79-fight career spanning from 1948 to 1961 he won 56 (27 by KO), lost 16, and had 7 draws. He was a two time welterweight champion and also, as mentioned above, won the middleweight belt from Robinson. In Ring Magazine's 1997 Boxing Almanac Carmen is listed as #40 of the top 50 fighters from the last 50 years. He was also involved in 6 of the 100 greatest title fights of all time,(24,27,29,46,69,92). The Robinson bout was #24 followed by DeMarco II, Fullmer, Gavilan, DeMarco I, & Saxton II respectively. Basilio was also fighter of the year from 1955 thru 1959, the longest stretch ever consecutively held by any boxer.
I was lucky enough to get a few words with Canastota's greatest champion as he signed autographs for the hundreds of fans who came to meet, greet, and pay tribute to this gritty pugilist of the 50's. Carmen is a marvellous guy who underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in June shortly after attending the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
DI: "When did you get out of the Marine Corp?"
CB: "November 22, 1947."
DI: "How did you happen to chose boxing as a profession?"
CB: "Well ever since I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a fighter. My father was a fight nut. The only time he ever let us stay up after 8:30 at night was on Friday nights to listen to the fights with him at 10:00. He bought us boxing gloves and we were always boxing. Not only that, but I boxed on the high school boxing team. That's the only reason I went to high school, because they had that boxing team. Without that, I wouldn't have gone to school. That's all I ever wanted to be was a fighter. Then I went in the Marine Corp. and I boxed in the corp., got out boxed (as an) amateur for about a year, then turned pro."
DI: "You turned pro in November of 1948 at the age of 21 and KO'd Jimmy Evans in your first bout. Can you remember anything about that night? How you felt? Were you nervous because this was your first pro bout?"
CB: "I felt great that I won, I was in good shape, and I was confident that I could beat him. I'd seen him fight before as a pro, he'd been around a long time, he was an old timer but he wasn't aggressive enough. I don't know whether he's still living or not, he was quite a bit older than me. I was 21 and he was about 33 or 34 years old. The fight was in Binghamton, NY. I was nervous before every fight. I don't care when it was. If you're not nervous, you're in trouble. If you're nervous, then you're sharp and alert."
DI: "On March 6, 1950, you beat former lightweight champ Lew Jenkins in your first 10 rounder. Do you feel this was your first bout against a 'name' opponent, being as he was a former champ?"
CB: "Well, I had been fighting quite often at that time and I was in great shape - there was no problem going 10 rounds. But I really thought I looked busy that night, I won the decision, but I wasn't at my best."
DI: "In January of 1953, you decisioned Ike Williams and you've stated that he was the hardest puncher you ever fought. Do you still feel this way?"
CB: "Well, no, Robinson was a harder puncher than him. But he was, at that time, the hardest puncher I had faced. He was a great puncher. I got in close with him and he hit me two shots in my forearms that picked me off my feet, I said to myself, 'he's not going to hit me again tonight'. He didn't, I took 10 out of 10 rounds from him. He just died last year. He was a great fighter, he was lightweight champion for about seven years, he fought a lot of great fighters. He even went 15 rounds with Sugar Ray Robinson."
DI: "After a couple of bouts with Billy Graham, winning the NYS title along the way, you fought Kid Gavilan in Syracuse. You were the first boxer to ever put him on the canvas when you knocked him down for a nine count in the second round. The fight went 15 rounds and you lost a very close split decision. Being that the bout was held in Syracuse, why didn't you get a hometown decision?"
CB: "Well, I'll tell you - they imported the officials, they imported the judges and the referee from New York City. They were there to protect him and they over protected him. That's what happened. Which is all right, in the long run, because I had to wait two more years but I had some good fights during that time and then I won the title. They bypassed me (Gavilan) and went down to Philly and fought Johnny Saxton. Saxton upset him and beat him. Now Saxtons group didn't want any part of me so they bypassed me and fought Tony DeMarco. DeMarco upset the apple cart by KOing Saxton in the 14th round. But the boxing commission said that the only way they'd approve that match (DeMarco/Saxton) was that the winner had to fight me within 90 days. Tony had to fight me, and I knocked him out in 12 rounds."
DI: "They called that fight, 'a wild, bloody brawl'. What are your thoughts on that?"
CB: "No. I didn't bleed. He did the bleeding. (laughs) No, it was a rough, tough fight. He was a good puncher and he was dangerous and we fought the full 12 rounds. Well, actually after about the ninth or tenth round, he started to slow down, and I started nailing him with good shots."
DI: "When you lost the title to Johnny Saxton on March 14, 195 in Chicago most ringsiders felt you won the bout easily but Saxton was awarded the victory. Was this some mob funny business conducted by Saxton's 'manager' Blinky Palarmo?"
CB: " Well - I don't know what that was but the thing was, that I had hit him on the chin and staggered him in the 3rd round, and when he came out in the fourth round, the stuffing was coming out of his glove. They had taken a razor and slit his glove and they stopped the fight for 20 minutes to get a new glove on him, and then he ran for his life the rest of the fight."
DI: "I think Angelo Dundee picked up on that trick. (laughs)
CB: "Angelo was in my corner."
DI: "He must've learned something that night."
CB: "I think he learned a lot working with me. (laughs) I remind him about it too because I was the first champion he ever worked with. He worked with me a lot of fights and he was a good cornerman but he never trained me. My manager was John DeJohn, and I trained myself. I'd had so many fights before that I didn't need a trainer, so there was no problem there, I knew how to train."
DI: "During your heyday, there was a lot of mob corruption in the fight game. Did anyone ever approach you to take a dive or otherwise throw a bout?"
DI: "You were never approached?"
CB: "No, because I put the word out that if anyone was to approach me, I'd punch 'em in the mouth and have 'em arrested. So they never came near me."
DI: "You fought Saxton three times. If you knew he was a 'connected' guy with the wise guys why not avoid him?"
CB: "Because he had the title and he had us right by the balls so the only way I'm gonna get the belt is by beating the guy."
DI: "Then in '57, you moved up to middleweight to fight Robinson. How did this fight come about?"
CB: "He didn't have a legitimate opponent in the middleweight division at the time, and I had just fought my last fight with Saxton, and I was having trouble making 147 lbs. They were looking for an opponent, we got the opportunity and we thought it was a great idea. We drew a big, big crowd and it was a good pay day. So we went to Jim Morris and MSG and we set up the fight."
DI: "It's been said that you had an intense dislike for Ray, why?"
CB: "That's right."
CB: "Because he didn't like me." (laughs)
DI: "Well, that's a good reason, I guess."
CB: "That's one thing. But in 1953, I was walking in front of the hotel right across from the Times Square building (NYC). I think it was the Statelier, but anyway, he pulled up with his entourage with his big Cadillac, right in front of the hotel, he got out and I was walking past so I decided to go over and introduce myself. I said, "Hi Ray, I just fought Billy Graham the week before, the #1 welterweight. I'm Carmen Basilio.' He gave me the brush off, and I felt about an inch high, and I said one of these days I'm gonna fight this guy and I'm gonna kick his ass. (laughs) It took me four years but I got 'im."
DI: "I want to read you a quote from the '97 Ring Almanac and get your reaction: 'In a huge surprise, welterweight champion beats middleweight champion by split decision. Robinson unexpectedly fights flat footed, guaranteeing plenty of action. Basilio, spotting Sugar Ray 6 1/2 lbs., relies on his unparalleled conditioning and steel chin. The punches fly for all 15 rounds, with both fighters absolutely certain they deserve the verdict."
CB: "He thought he won, but I chased him all night long. I was the aggressor, he could think what he wanted to at the time, but he knew I won that fight. He would never admit that he lost, naturally."
DI: "Now in the rematch in Chicago in '58, you said that you got 'stupid' that night and that Ray kept throwing the right uppercut and about the fifth time he hit you in the eyebrow your eye closed completely in about the sixth round. I've seen the pictures of you after that bout, and I'm amazed you could have went the rest of the distance with your eye like that. It's one of the worst eye injuries I've ever seen. Yet you lost a very close split decision with the referee scoring for you and the two judges giving Ray the nod. You stated that after the bout you walked to your dressing room but they had to carry Ray to his. Do you feel you won that bout?"
CB: "I thought I coulda won it, you know, but it was close. But I think that because my left eye was closed, it upset my timing and judgement of distance and that ugly eye swung the judges a bit. But I thought I won the fight and he knew it too. You know why? Because he would never fight me again."
CB: "Because he was afraid of me, that's why."
DI: "He needed the money, he should have made the third bout."
CB: "He was stupid he thought....you see this guy never liked to be introduced as champion of the world. 'Ray Robinson, middleweight king’, he wanted to be a king see and.."
At this point Ed Brophy interjects and reminds Carmen that he has to sign about fifty more items yet for the Hall and that we had better wrap it up (Carmen being a true Italian, has trouble talking without the use of his hands).
DI: "You feel ok after the surgery? You look great."
CB: "Oh yeah, I'm feeling great. I had a great surgeon, great care at the hospital, and people were just fantastic to me."
DI: "Do you still watch the fights?"
CB: "Oh yeah."
DI: "Who do you like to watch?"
CB: "Gatti. He's an impressive kid. He's aggressive. I like his style, it's similar to mine."
DI: "You saw the Tyson fight where he bit Evander in the ear. What would've happened had that taken place in your heyday in the 50's? Would it have been such a big deal?"
CB: "Sure, why not? You can't bite a guy. He surprised me, I was disappointed in him. I was really pulling for him.."
My partner in crime, Joe "Canastota" asks Carmen if anyone ever bit him while he was active.
CB: "I had a guy bite my ear. He bit my ear, he bit my shoulder and I kicked the shit outta him. But I don't know what he (Tyson) was thinking. I really thought he was gonna win that fight if he fought a legitimate fight. I don't know what he had in his mind to bite the guy, but he intended to because he took his mouthpiece out to bite him good 'cause it would be kinda tough to bite him all the way through with the mouthpiece in. I still haven't figured out why or what he was thinking to do something like that. Maybe he didn't have confidence that he could win the fight legitimately. I thought he could....it didn't happen that way."
I had a few more questions for the champ but IBHOF director Ed Brophy needed "the Canastota Clouter" to resume signing items and when Ed says, 'jump' at the Hall you better say, ‘how high?', or you'll find yourself across the street interviewing the kid flipping burgers at McDonalds!
I want to thank Carmen for being so generous with his time and also I'd like to apologise to Ed "pull the plug" Brophy for taking up too much time. I would also like to thank all the cyber boxing fans reading this. Keep that e-mail coming. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
06-10-2006, 01:19 PM
Carmen Basillo and Johnny Saxton
07-03-2006, 11:02 PM
Carmen Basilio ko's Tony DeMarco , 1955
07-04-2006, 03:22 PM
Carmen Basilio vs Gaspar Ortega
07-05-2006, 12:00 PM
Man do we need a Carmen around. They do not make them like that any more. That right hand on Demarco is a beautiful shot. I've consider it as a tatoo. Thankfully I'm not as stupid as I look.
While I'm here, I wonder about that Leonard-Basilio bout. Sounds about as even as you can get. I am leaning toward Ray because of his ability to take a shot, fight in and out, just just plain ol fighting spirit. I can probably can be swayed.
09-13-2006, 09:14 AM
Tony DeMarco vs Carmen Basilio
09-29-2006, 08:00 PM
Carmen Basilio vs Kid Gavilan
10-12-2006, 08:02 PM
Carmen Basillio vs Johnny Saxton--1957
Carmen Basillio vs Johnny Saxton--1956
12-05-2006, 10:09 AM
01-29-2007, 12:10 PM
01-29-2007, 12:29 PM
01-29-2007, 12:51 PM
Never seen that one before.its great, thanks for posting it.
01-29-2007, 01:07 PM
it is directly linked from Ebay, so perhaps I ought to save it to its own file before it disappears from that site.
01-31-2007, 05:39 PM
01-31-2007, 09:57 PM
02-09-2007, 02:08 AM
02-09-2007, 03:41 AM
02-09-2007, 03:05 PM
04-06-2007, 01:17 PM
05-26-2007, 04:26 PM
At 80, Carmen Basilio struggles to recall his 1950s boxing feats
By BEN DOBBIN
Associated Press Writer
IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. -- Snug under a blanket in his basement shrine, Carmen Basilio watches himself clobber Sugar Ray Robinson with 34 straight punches in the 11th round of their classic middleweight title duel in 1957.
"I gave him all the fight he wanted," the 80-year-old says from his armchair, jutting his chin at the grainy video. "Every round was a war."
Just as nation-riveting boxing bouts in the black-and-white television age have faded with time, so too have Basilio's memories of his ferocious battles with the likes of Kid Gavilan and Tony DeMarco _ and his bitter wait for a breakthrough in a sport dominated by organized crime half a century ago.
At times, his reflexive wit is as nimble as the left hook he throws playfully at a visitor's ribs. He can still conjure up dates of championship fights, the size of a purse, the name of a referee he loathed.
But the mental finesse evident just a few years ago is now largely hidden, and the round-by-round combat of his climb to the top of the welterweight and middleweight ranks is a blank.
Basilio's wife, Josie, traces his decline to heart-bypass surgery in 1992. An MRI revealed no brain damage from his prizefighting days, which even Basilio acknowledges went on too long. But old age has left deep grooves: He'll repeat an anecdote several times, with no improvisation and without seeming to notice.
"If somebody mentions something, it might make me remember. That's all," he says. "I remember the names of the fighters but I wouldn't remember all the fights."
With his crouching style, the 5-foot-6 1/2-inch slugger bored relentlessly into opponents, wearing them down with body blows. He had a straight-up, knuckle-rimmed uppercut all his own, a malevolent hook and an ability to withstand terrible punishment. He rarely took a step backward.
"I gave them action, they loved to see action. I moved in on fighters all the time," he says, still filled with delight at earning The Ring magazine's "Fight of the Year" five years in a row, with the two savage, seesaw 15-rounders against Robinson forming the capstone of his fame.
Outside the ring, Basilio was genial and well-spoken, a farmer's son whose droll humor could light up a town. His paeans to family and churchgoing fastened his "people's champion" tag. Above all, he loved winding people up.
Trainer Angelo Dundee remembers a cold day in Chicago waiting for Basilio, the first of his 15 world champions, to finish a morning run when a cop drove up and threatened to book him for loitering. As he turned to go, Dundee caught sight of Basilio in the back of the patrol car, cracking up.
Basilio's picaresque journey began on an onion farm in Canastota in central New York's muckland, one of 10 children of Italian immigrants. "My mother had six girls and four boys _ that was before television," he cracks. From age 5, he worked the rich black soil in all weathers.
"If you're big enough to eat, you could work," he says. "Today you put a kid 5 years old to work on a farm, they'd arrest you. But them days is different."
"He was in the fields planting onions, so he was bending over developing these thighs and stomach muscles without even knowing it," author Gary Youmans, who is finishing a biography titled "The Onion Picker," said during a stop-off at Basilio's modest ranch house in the Rochester suburb of Irondequoit.
After a stint in the Marines, Basilio turned pro in 1948. His early career was littered with setbacks: broken bones in his hand, mononucleosis, cuts to his craggy eyebrows. He took a factory job in Syracuse, adopted two nephews and, despite his fill of losses, told anyone who'd listen he would someday be No. 1.
Finally honing his physical prowess, he drew his first title shot in 1953 against Gavilan. He floored the Cuban great for the first time in his career, only to lose on a split decision. A rematch never came. Basilio ran into two years of gangland roadblocks.
The Fifties were a golden age for boxing when thrice-weekly "fight nights" helped sell TV sets. But it was also a dark diversion directed by mob bosses. Basilio wouldn't deal with them and, despite his growing supremacy as a welterweight, was repeatedly passed over.
Helped by a political outcry, his second chance finally arrived against newly enthroned DeMarco in 1955 _ and more than just childhood dreams were at stake. When he stopped DeMarco in the 12th round, Basilio knelt in his corner, repeating "I did it, I did it, I did it."
His real measure emerged in the rematch. A left hook from DeMarco almost lifted Basilio off his feet. He pirouetted, his legs buckled but somehow he stayed up. He KO'd DeMarco in the 12th.
Basilio stepped up to the 160-pound middleweight class against Robinson on Sept. 23, 1957. Four years earlier, after wresting the state welterweight title from Billy Graham, Basilio was walking down Broadway in New York when he spotted Robinson with his entourage and introduced himself.
"He gave me a brush-off, and I lost my respect for him right then and there," he says. "People come up to speak to you, you have to be happy because it's people that make you what you are. He was an arrogant guy."
He carried that grudge into their epic encounter in Yankee Stadium. During the referee's instructions, Basilio was startled when Robinson leaned in snarling, baring his teeth like a wildcat's. He went back to his corner and burst out laughing, and it loosened him up.
"I was the aggressor all the time. Don't give him the pleasure of moving forward. He was a vicious puncher," Basilio says, shaking his head as he peers at the old footage. "I see mistakes that I could have taken advantage of."
"You're talking about the finest boxer of all time and Carmen outboxed the guy, he beat him soundly," Dundee says. In the 11th, "he had him pinned against the ropes. I don't know what kept Robinson up because Carmen nailed him some real good shots."
Robinson rallied in the 12th but was hanging on at the end, and Basilio won on a 2-1 vote. Only one other welterweight champ had ever hoisted the middleweight belt _ Robinson in 1951.
In the rematch in March 1958, Robinson regained his title on another razor-edge decision. Basilio's eye ruptured in the fifth round and swelled to the size of a baking potato. "I had to change my stance a little bit so I could see him, but I thought I won the fight that night," he insists.
Robinson's refusal to fight a third time undermined Basilio's conditioning, and his career (56-16-7 with 27 knockouts) petered out in 1961 after three unsuccessful title shots against Gene Fullmer and Paul Pendor.
He moved on to teach physical education at Syracuse's Le Moyne College for 21 years and marketed beer for Rochester's Genesee Brewing Co. His gift as a raconteur won him legions of new fans at charity banquets, and even old foes came to revere him.
When DeMarco's son died in a car crash in 1975, Basilio showed up for the funeral in Boston. "You don't forget things like that," DeMarco says.
Their first bout, considered one of the century's finest, "made us closer," DeMarco says. "I lost my championship and the guy I lost to happens to be not only a great fighter but a great human being."
Few fighters could match his fearlessness, yet he's always been "very sociable, very gentle, a little lamb," his wife says as she looks over dozens of photographs lining their basement walls _ shots of Basilio in his prime posing with Rocky Marciano, Joe DiMaggio or the pigeons in Times Square.
To be a champion, Dundee says, "you gotta cross that fine line and Carmen crossed that line many times. He belongs in any era, any time. I would have to put him as one of the best."
While his determination looked bottomless, a recurring nightmare was Basilio's susceptibility to cuts.
"Carmen says he made me the greatest cut man on earth because he used to bleed for me," Dundee says. "He bled at press conferences."
The most serious moment came at around 3 o'clock on the morning after the Robinson rematch. After hours of icing, Dundee noticed blood seeping from the corner of Basilio's eye and rushed him to the hospital. "Thank God we saved the eye," he says.
They meet every June at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota _ it opened in his honor in 1989 _ and lap up the memories, almost to the point where Basilio's mental failings seem to evaporate, his wife and friends say.
"He's not the jitterbug he was that beat Robinson," Dundee says with a fond laugh. But while boxing "naturally takes its toll, there's no sad songs for Carmen Basilio."
They shared a sometimes dastardly sense of fun.
"In boxing, you go through the history books, and that element of getting along was the element of winning," Dundee says. "You can excel because it's a happy thing."
09-19-2007, 02:56 PM
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09-19-2007, 03:12 PM
10-05-2007, 07:46 PM
10-05-2007, 07:56 PM
That is such a great shot, hard to beat that!
10-05-2007, 08:27 PM
you got that right! A very cool pic, takes you right to the moment and the era. The ring lights, the KO'd fighter with his handlers tending to him.. the winner and his jubilant seconds. Pretty awesome shot. The magic of black and white.
10-05-2007, 08:29 PM
Now if I could just find that overhead shot with Robinson where each is coiled to throw a shot..another great photo.
10-08-2007, 10:31 AM
Is this the one?
10-08-2007, 04:09 PM
no. Though that is a good shot as well.
It is a shot from above the two fighters. Basilio on the right is cranking a right hand, and Robinson, on the left is cranking a left. Both guys are facign each other ready to shoot a punch.
10-09-2007, 11:21 AM
Here is another shot.... but I don't have the full photo.
10-09-2007, 05:53 PM
That would be it. Love that pic. Thanks.
12-26-2007, 07:28 PM
06-17-2008, 07:12 PM
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