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Thread: Tony Zale vs. Freddie Steele

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    Tony Zale vs. Freddie Steele

    Prime for prime who wins this and why?

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Where can I get a ticket for this one?

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Who would you pick Rocky111?

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Zale

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    it's interesting what the effects of "press" and 'recorded' history can do and does do in the way we see and approach certain people, and/or historic events. With that being said I want to say Zale because I feel I have to, or I should, and as we know the younger prime Zale summed up the end of the "middleweight muddle" when in 1941 he settled the arguement of the long middleweight mess with an effective win over Hostak and not long before running the course with Conn.

    This was also the same Hostak that shook up Steele and most of the great middles just preseeding Zale, however the same Steele whose prime was a few years before that even was one of the best of that GREAT bunch, but were they better than the next 'immediate' crop of middles (?), my heart tells me almost but not quite (most of them that is)!
    But then again the war and Frozen titles has propelled a lot of these men to very high "should have/could have been" stature...and for this man's money rightly so. If not for the war Boxing history would have been re-written!!!

    So who was better(?), don't ask me why but I have to go with Steele, I think Freddie Steele offered a little more than a good few of Zale's opponents, in terms of consistency and punching power, certainly much more than Graziano.

    And though I don't feel Steele was the best of his bunch, niether do I feel Zale was the best of his. I think 7 out of 10 times this pair would go to the cards with a knock-out possible for each fighter, but in both senarios pts. or KO wins, I think Steele bags it...and as I said I don't neccessarily place him the top of his crop.

    I would be more favorable of Apostili, McAvoy, Marshall and some of the others of Zale' crop to be regarded higher...and I like Zale!

    Thoughts, Corrections.
    Jim.

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Who wins? Jeez. Tough call. I think anybody at 160 who walks into a prime Tony Zale has problems. But the little Ive seen of Steele show hes a great puncher and a solid built guy. Theres so much going for Zale here as Tony is such a popular guy and his prime showed a great power puncher who had to be boxed carefully in order to beat him. I cant pick this one being fair to Steele. His prime just isnt recorded enough. Just give me the ticket and let me watch it and root for Tony.

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    I'm going with

    The Man of Steel.

    As opposed to the Man named Steele.

    I agree. This would be Super.....Man.

    (groan).

    Hawk

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    Hawk

    *Golf Clap* for that one....

    curious tho, what do you base your selection on?

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    Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    I don't know who would win, but one thing for (I think) sure it would end by knockout.
    Last edited by kikibalt; 03-27-2007 at 01:43 AM.

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    Colin

    Possibly it's more familiarity than anything else.

    My thoughts are that against an absolute prime Zale, you need to be a bit cuter. I see Steele going right at Tony here.

    Steele proved he could take out men who were rarely stopped and Zale had been frequently stopped earlier in his career. But at the top of his game, I think he was a very hard man to take out. Drop yes. But I think his will power as much as his toughness got him through.

    I also think the Apostali bouts weigh in a bit as well for me. I try to ignore the Hostack bout comparisons, but I admit it is tough.

    Certainly, If Steele got to Zale consistantly and cleanly, he COULD take Tony out. But I also see the opposite happening as well.

    Two freight trains. I'll take the one without the silent E.

    Hawk
    Last edited by hawk5ins; 03-28-2007 at 09:34 AM.

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    I do think that Freddie steele is a better than zale was. He was the first person to decisively beat Gus Lesnevich. He already beat Fred Asposti and lost because he broke his breastbone in the return match, which really wrecked his career. Before that he was unstoppable, dominating Very great boxers like overlin, Vince dundee, gorilla jones etc. He had supereior defense and some amazing wicked left hook power. I think he would break Zale down, although it woulnd't be easy...but he was alot more of a steady/consistant boxer than zale to me. At the time before his lost to freddie because of injury, he was on a streak of 56 fights in a row without a defeat! He was as close to unstopable as almost any middleweight in history. His defense would really keep Zale at bay, and i'm not sure tony zale had more power, (may be even). I see Steele giving him a clinic in boxing.

    no slight to zale but steele was destined to be maybe the best ever had he not suffered that injury. He really had everything.

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    Benny

    Steele DID previously beat Apostoli.

    Apostoli had half a dozen bouts under his belt at the time. Steele had been a pro for 8 years.

    Gus Lesnevich was stopped in his 3rd year as a pro by the 9 year vet Steele which was a HUGE jump in talent for Gus.

    These are NOT prime versions of the two fighters.

    Steele was very formidible and I have little issue with his placement alongside Zale. But let's be accurate about the value of certain "accomplishments" here.

    And from what I've read about the Return Apostoli bout, Yes, Steele did end up with a Damaged Breast bone. But it was the result of the beating Apostoli gave him. It was not as if Steele was winning and THEN suffered a freak injury. Apostoli put a severe whuppin on him and one of the results of that was the breast bone injury.

    I guess I liken the injury Steele sustained to the Obrital bone Fracture that Billy Backus suffered agianst Pipino Cuevas. Yes That hideous injury was what ended up deciding the early rounds blow out. But it was Cuevas who CAUSED the injury!

    Apostoli deserves the credit for the stoppage of Steele. He did the damage.

    Hawk
    Last edited by hawk5ins; 03-27-2007 at 04:40 PM.

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    Re: Benny

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk5ins
    Steele was very formidible and I have little issue with hiAnd from what I've read about the Return Apostoli bout, Yes, Steele did end up with a Damaged Breast bone. But it was the result of the beating Apostoli gave him. It was not as if Steele was winning and THEN suffered a freak injury. Apostoli put a severe whuppin on him and one of the results of that was the breast bone injury.
    Hawk, I may be somewhat inaccurate (or incomplete) because I can't recall all the details offhand, but I seem to remember reading Steele originally having his breast bone injured (fractured or cracked) while training in the late months in the year previous to facing Apostoli again, and in fact, I'm recalling that Steele had to put off the scheduled date for the rematch with Apospoli because of that very injury sustained in training.

    I believe it was in and around November of '37 when the breast bone injury first appeared, and for what it's worth, one of Steele's post fight comments after the rematch with Apostoli was that he "was bothered by an old injury" in that fight.

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Hawk, I found a little something to back up what I posted in my previous post;

    "Steele Not To Box Apostoli Nov. 12; Rib Injuries Cause Withdrawal

    Freddie Steele recieved permission of the New York State Athletic Commision to withdraw from his bout with Fred Apostoli, whom he had been scheduled to meet at Madison Square Garden on Nov 12." - NY Times, Nov 4th, 1937

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    Hmmmmmm

    The research, I have been perusing, states that there were financial disputes over the rematch happening and was the main reason it ended up being a non title affair as opposed to a Title bout. And after the rematch, Steele refused to face Apostoli for a third time altogether.

    How did he recieve the Injury to his chest?

    The Boxing Register and Peter Walsh's Men of Steel do not mention a Pre-existing injury going into the second Apostoli bout.

    And in John McCalums Encyclopedia of World Boxing Champions, I got this tidbit of Info:

    "Davey Ward, the referee from Tacoma, was one of Steele's cheif sparring partners for the Hostack fight. He told me that the truth behind Steele's (1st round) defeat has never been known.

    'Freddie was non tin the best of shape for Hostack. Ward said. 'Earlier in the year he'd broken his breastbone in the Apostoli scrap in New York. Then two weeks before he fought Hostack, there was the Solly Krieger match in Seattle and while tuning up for that fight, I rebroke the bone in Freddie's chest. But he told no one about it and fought Krieger anyway. Just before he fought Hostack, he admitted to me in the gym that the cracked bone still hurt.'"

    I am not disputing that there may have been a rib injury that Steele used to originally postpone the 2nd Apostoli bout. But the real reason behind the delays were actually financial. And from what I can find, the Breast bone Injury occured DURING the 2nd Apostoli bout. Not Prior to it.

    I will do some more poking around to see if I can find any more info.

    Thanks Yogi!

    Hawk

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    Re: Hmmmmmm

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk5ins
    I am not disputing that there may have been a rib injury that Steele used to originally postpone the 2nd Apostoli bout. But the real reason behind the delays were actually financial. And from what I can find, the Breast bone Injury occured DURING the 2nd Apostoli bout. Not Prior to it.
    Hawk, from what I gather from some quick reading, both the rib injury reported in Nov of '37 and the breast bone injury are one in the same, or are at least speaking of the same exact area of the body...

    When Steele approached the NYSAC about the postponement I alluded to, the commision had they're very own doctor examine Steele, and according to Dr. George Edson of the NYSAC, he found "definate evidence" that Steele had recieved cartilage damage right at the point where the right side ribs and breast bone meet, and had adviced Steele to take five weeks off before resuming his training schedule (Nov 3rd, 1937, Fresno Bee, Nov 4th, 1937, Charleston Gaztette, etc.).

    After the rematch with Apostoli, it was reported that Steele's "rib cartilage need time to heal after the battering taken from Apostoli". (Galveston News, Jan 26th, 1938)

    Further reading shows that on the day of his fight with Barth (post Apostoli rematch), Steele himself described the on-going and problematic injury he had as it being the "cartilage where my ribs join the breast bone" (from the Lowell Sun, Feb 19th, 1938, and also spoken in other newspapers at the time). Worth noting maybe, but again after the Barth fight, Steele was once again suffering from what was called in the post fight as a "broken breast bone".

    To answer your question in regards to how it initially happened, Steele himself is quoted in the Jan 26th, 1938, Galveston News, as saying that the problematic injury to his rib/breastbone first surfaced in his fight with Overlin, and not initially in training for the Apostoli rematch in November as I first posted.

    To me, my own reading makes it pretty clear that there was a pre-existing and problematic injury to Steele when entering the rematch with Apostoli, and Apostoli did not cause any new ones to the ribs, but instead just aggravated something that was already there.

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    Re: Hmmmmmm

    *edit: double post*

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    Thanks Yogi

    Very interesting stuff indeed.

    I love doing research such as this. And so you are clear, I do so to find out what ACTUALLY happened. Not to necessarily back up the conclusion I had come to earlier.

    Plus, what a way to learn about fighters from the past.

    I am indebted to Triple jab for starting this thread and to you for inspiring furhter research.

    With all of the recent retread threads I've been posting on lately, FINALLY a breath of Fresh air!

    Thanks!

    Hawk

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Tony Zale
    Sex Male
    Nationality US American
    Alias Man of Steel
    Birth Name Anthony Florian Zaleski
    Hometown Chicago, IL
    Birthplace Gary, IN
    Division Middleweight
    Date of Birth 1914-05-29
    Date of Death 1997-03-20
    Age at Death 82
    Stance Orthodox
    Height 5' 8
    Trainer Joe Niedwick
    W 67 (45 ko's) | L 18 | D 2 | Total 87



    Lb St:Lb Kg | Date | | Wiki





    date Lb opponent Lb wld last 6 location
    1948-09-21 159 Marcel Cerdan 158 106-3-0
    Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ, USA L TKO 12 15
    ~ Referee: Paul Cavalier ~
    World Middleweight Title
    1948 Fight of the Year - Ring Magazine
    Zale not out for 12th

    1948-06-10 158¾ Rocky Graziano 158½ 47-7-5
    Ruppert Stadium, Newark, NJ, USA W KO 3 15
    ~ Referee: Paul Cavalier ~
    World Middleweight title
    Graziano was decked for a 3-count in the first round and took a seven-count in the third before the knockout.

    1948-03-19 160 Lou Woods 162 26-5-0
    Arena, Toledo, OH, USA W KO 3 10
    1948-03-08 160 Bobby Claus 157 13-13-1
    Little Rock, AR, USA W TKO 4 10
    1948-01-23 161 Al Turner 159 2-2-0
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA W KO 5 10
    Turner was knocked out of the ring, and was unable to climb back in before the count of ten.

    1947-07-16 159 Rocky Graziano 155 45-7-5
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA L TKO 6 15
    ~ Referee: Johnny Behr ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    World Middleweight title
    On February 7, 1947, the NYSAC revoked Graziano's boxing license and threatened to bar him for life for his failure to report two $100,000 bribe offers.
    The NBA, which controlled boxing virtually everywhere in the U.S. outside of New York, did not recognize NYSAC's decision.
    1947 Fight of the Year - Ring Magazine
    Graziano was floored for no-count in the third round. In the sixth round, Zale took a barrage of over thirty punches while on the ropes, and the referee stopped the fight.

    1947-05-08 161 Cliff Beckett 164 13-12-2
    Youngstown, OH, USA W TKO 6 10
    Beckett "was refused permission to return to the ring in the 6th round" after being floored 6 times. (Coshocton Tribune)

    1947-04-01 162½ Al Timmons 171 8-12-2
    Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS, USA W TKO 5 10
    1947-03-20 162 Tommy Charles 167 15-13-5
    Memphis, TN, USA W KO 4 10
    ~ Time: 1:44 ~

    1947-02-12 162 Len Wadsworth 163½ 23-10-3
    Forum, Wichita, KS, USA W KO 3 10
    ~ Time: 2:13 ~

    1947-02-03 162½ Deacon Logan 164 26-12-2
    Auditorium, Omaha, NE, USA W TKO 6 10
    The crafty Logan "spoiled most of Zale's efforts with his ringwise tactics..It was a pier sixer all the way..In the sixth heat, Logan was on the receiving end of a sizzling body punch that spun him entirely around. In trying to regain his balance, he fell..and dislocated his right shoulder." The Ring, April 1947, page 51.

    1946-09-27 160 Rocky Graziano 154 43-6-5
    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY, USA W KO 6 15
    ~ Referee: Ruby Goldstein ~
    World Middleweight title
    Zale had to be propped up and led around the ring carefully as he waved to the crowd after his left-hook KO'd Graziano. He "looked like a man who had been in hand-to-hand combat with a buzzsaw." (AP) The following January 22, Zale would win the Edward J. Neil Memorial Award for doing the most for boxing in 1946. That trophy was awarded in memory of the Associated Press sports writer and war correspondent killed during the civil war in Spain in 1938.
    1946 Fight of the Year - Ring Magazine
    Graziano was down for a 5-count in the first round, Zale was on the floor at the bell for round two with the count reaching three. A right to the mid-section followed by a left ended the fight.

    1946-05-02 160 Eddie Rossi 155 16-14-3
    Memphis, TN, USA W KO 4 10
    ~ Time: 1:27 ~

    1946-04-12 163 Ira Hughes 168 9-42-6
    Omaha, NE, USA W KO 2 10
    1946-02-26 162 Bobby Claus 161½ 8-10-1
    Houston, TX, USA W KO 4 10
    1946-02-07 159 Oscar Boyd 166½ 15-12-1
    Des Moines, IA, USA W KO 3 10
    ~ Time: 0:34 ~

    1946-01-17 162½ Tony Gillo 165 14-35-9
    Norfolk, VA, USA W KO 5 10
    1946-01-07 162½ Bobby Giles 162½ 15-16-3
    Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO, USA W KO 4 10
    ~ Time: 1:33 ~

    1942-02-13 164¼ Billy Conn 175¾ 61-11-1
    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA L UD 12 12
    1941-11-28 158¼ Georgie Abrams 159 43-4-2
    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA W UD 15 15
    World Middleweight title
    Unified title. It was a sensational fight. Abrams was the outstanding challenger courtesy of three wins over former NY champ Billy Soose. Zale was knocked down in the 1st round.

    1941-08-16 163 Billy Pryor 161¾ 14-8-4
    Milwaukee, WI, USA W KO 9 10
    ~ Referee: Jack Dempsey ~
    Police estimated 135,000 fans turned out to see this outdoor free show. Thousands of delegates to the national convention of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, in session here, were among those in attendance at the affair, arranged for their benefit by a Milwaukee brewery.

    1941-07-23 161 Ossie Harris 161¼ 12-6-2
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 1 10
    1941-05-28 158¾ Al Hostak 158¼ 53-4-9
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 2 15
    ~ Time: 2:32 | Referee: Johnny Behr ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    Zale was down in the 1st for no count. Hostak was down eight times in the 2nd.

    1941-02-21 159 Steve Mamakos 157½ 26-8-1
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 14 15
    ~ Time: 0:26 | Referee: Tommy Gilmore ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    Zale was floored in the fifth round and Mamakos was actually ahead going into the 13th round. Then Zale made a terrific rally and floored Mamakos twice. Steve was still groggy when the 14th started and was soon sent down for the count.

    1941-01-10 163½ Steve Mamakos 161 26-7-1
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 10 10
    Mamakos was knocked down in the 4th and 9th rounds.

    1941-01-01 162 Tony Martin 162 39-6-6
    Milwaukee, WI, USA W TKO 7 10
    ~ Referee: Ted Jamieson ~
    Bout was stopped between the 7th and 8th rounds, when one of Martin's eyes swelled shut. No official weights were recorded, in order to preserve Zale's title.

    1940-11-19 161½ Fred Apostoli 163¾ 42-7-0
    Civic Auditorium, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    ~ Referee: Tommy Clark ~
    Apostoli was knocked down twice in the 6th, and again in the 10th as the bell rang with the count at seven.

    1940-08-21 161 Billy Soose 162 25-4-0
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA L UD 10 10
    ~ Referee: Joe McNamara ~

    1940-07-19 158 Al Hostak 158½ 50-3-9
    Civic Stadium, Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 13 15
    ~ Referee: Benny Leonard ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    Zale opened a ct over Hostak's left eye early in the eighth round, and one of Al's eyes were closed and the other badly puffed as the fight went along. Hostak was floored for a count of nine in the 12th round and again the 13th, shortly before the fight was stopped.

    1940-06-12 157 Baby Kid Chocolate 155 5-10-1
    Youngstown, OH, USA W KO 4 10
    1940-03-29 159½ Ben Brown 159¼ 43-7-4
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 3 10
    1940-02-29 162 Enzo Iannozzi 162 0-12-1
    Youngstown, OH, USA W KO 4 10
    1940-01-29 162 Al Hostak 162 50-2-9
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W UD 10 10
    ~ Referee: Dave Miller 53-47 | Judge: Rube Metz 53-47 | Judge: Livingston Osborne 54-46 ~
    Zale was knocked down in the 1st round. Hostak injured his left hand in the 5th round. Zale won the last five rounds according to the United Press.

    1939-12-08 161½ Ernest Babe Orgovan 160 4-13-0
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 3 8
    1939-11-13 159½ Eddie Meleski 159½ 3-2-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W TKO 1 10
    According to the Chicago Tribune, this fight occurred on November 13 instead of November 11, as usually listed.

    1939-10-31 158¾ Al Wardlow 162¼ 2-1-1
    Youngstown, OH, USA W KO 3 10
    1939-10-06 Sherman Edwards 0-4-0
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W TKO 3 6
    1939-08-14 163 Milton Shivers 159 14-4-0
    Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 3 8
    Shivers won the first two rounds only to fall victim to the knockout in the third.

    1939-05-23 161 Ernest Babe Orgovan 160 4-8-0
    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA W PTS 6 6
    1939-05-01 160 Johnny Shaw 158½ 0-2-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 5 8
    1939-01-02 160 Nate Bolden 154 11-5-1
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 10 10
    1938-11-18 158¾ Enzo Iannozzi 159 0-2-1
    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA W PTS 6 6
    1938-10-31 159 Jimmy Clark 158 16-14-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 2 8
    Clark was decked eleven times.

    1938-10-10 157 Tony Cisco 159 17-11-4
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 10 10
    1938-08-22 158 Billy Celebron 158 48-7-1
    Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 10 10
    1938-07-18 156 Billy Celebron 48-7-0
    Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, IL, USA D PTS 10 10
    The official scorecards were 50-50, 51-49 for Zale, and 51-49 for Celebron.

    1938-06-13 156 Jimmy Clark 160 16-10-0
    Marigold Gardens Outdoor Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W TKO 8 8
    Zale floored Clark twice in the first round, but Jimmy came back to lead the fight after six rounds. Tony scored a knockdown in the seventh and had Clark on the flood twice in the eighth before the referee called a halt.

    1938-05-16 Bobby LaMonte 4-14-3
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W TKO 5 8
    1938-03-28 159 King Wyatt 156 3-2-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 8 8
    Wyatt was down in the third and seventh rounds, but he had Zale groggy in both of the last two rounds.

    1938-02-21 160 Jimmy Clark 160 12-8-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA L KO 1 8
    "Jimmy Clark, speedy young middleweight from Jamestown, N.Y., smacked out a one round knockout over Tony Zale, of Gary, Ind., in the feature bout of a club card here last night. Zale stepped into a knockdown in the first punch and was counted out after hitting the canvas twice more." (Hammond Times)

    1938-01-24 159 Henry Schaft 154 34-5-3
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 8 8
    Zale "scored knockdowns in the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds." (Oshkosh Northwestern)

    1938-01-03 162 Nate Bolden 157¾ 5-1-1
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W SD 8 8
    1937-11-22 160 Nate Bolden 157 4-0-1
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 6 6
    1937-11-10 Leon Jackson 1-0-0
    Gary, IN, USA W PTS 6 6
    1937-11-01 160 Nate Bolden 156½ 3-0-1
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 5 5
    1937-10-18 158 Bobby Gerry 0-2-1
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 2 4
    1937-10-11 159½ Billy Brown 172 0-0-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 1 4
    1937-09-17 Elby Johnson 1-3-0
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W TKO 3 4
    1937-08-16 Emanuel Davila 0-0-0
    Marigold Gardens Arena, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 4 4
    1937-07-26 160 Elby Johnson 160 1-2-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 4 4
    1936-04-13 Jack Moran 3-9-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA D PTS 5 5
    1935-07-02 159 Dave Clark 162 1-0-0
    Comiskey Park, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 5 5
    1935-05-06 157 Johnny Phagan 154 12-9-4
    Midway Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA L KO 6 10
    1935-03-27 159 Frank Glover 161 12-3-0
    Music Hall Sports Arena, Cincinnati, OH, USA L KO 9 10
    1935-03-11 154¾ Max Elling 158¾ 8-4-2
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 8 8
    1935-02-25 161½ Young Jack Blackburn 159 1-3-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 6 6
    1934-12-28 160 Joey Bazzone 155 26-15-3
    Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 6 6
    1934-12-17 160 Jack Gibbons 159 19-0-0
    Midway Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 10 10
    1934-11-26 157 Kid Leonard 162 30-10-1
    Peoria, IL, USA L PTS 10 10
    1934-11-05 Jack Charvez 20-13-1
    Midway Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 8 8
    Charvez was floored twice.

    1934-10-29 159½ Jack Schwartz 156 4-1-0
    Auditorium, Milwaukee, WI, USA W TKO 4 6
    1934-10-22 159 Frankie Misko 157 23-6-2
    Chicago, IL, USA W KO 6 0
    1934-10-08 165 Young Jack Blackburn 162 1-2-0
    Midway Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 8 8
    1934-09-17 Mickey Misko 9-2-1
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 4 8
    1934-09-03 161 Mickey Misko 157 8-2-1
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 8 8
    1934-08-27 Wilbur Stokes 2-6-1
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 8 8
    1934-08-15 George Black 9-0-1
    Auditorium, Milwaukee, WI, USA L PTS 6 6
    1934-08-13 Billy Hood 2-9-1
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA L PTS 6 6
    1934-08-07 165 Bruce Wade 165 0-0-0
    Peoria, IL, USA W KO 3 8
    1934-07-30 Bobby Millsap 2-3-0
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 4 4
    1934-07-16 Einar Hedquist 0-5-3
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 4 4
    1934-07-09 159 Lou Bartell 161 1-0-0
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 4 4
    1934-07-02 Ossie Jefferson 0-0-0
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 3 4
    1934-06-25 Johnny Liston 4-1-1
    White City Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 3 4
    1934-06-21 Bobby Millsap 2-2-0
    Bacon's Arena, Chicago, IL, USA W KO 1 4
    1934-06-15 Johnny Simpson 3-3-0
    Northwest Stadium, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 4 4
    1934-06-11 Eddie Allen 0-2-0
    Marigold Gardens, Chicago, IL, USA W PTS 4 4

  20. #20
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    Tony Zale vs Freddie Steele

    Freddie Steele
    Sex Male
    Nationality US American
    Alias Tacoma Assassin
    Birth Name Frederick Earl Burgett
    Hometown Tacoma, WA
    Birthplace Seattle, WA
    Division Middleweight
    Date of Birth 1912-12-18
    Date of Death 1984-08-22
    Age at Death 71
    Reach 72 inches
    Stance Orthodox
    Height 5' 10½
    Trainer Johnny Babnick
    W 125 (60 ko's) | L 5 | D 11 | Total 142



    Lb St:Lb Kg | Date | | Wiki





    date Lb opponent Lb wld last 6 location
    1941-05-23 160 Jimmy Casino 161 19-16-11
    Legion Stadium, Hollywood, CA, USA L TKO 5 10
    ~ Time: 2:20 | Referee: Charley Randolph ~
    Referee Randolph stopped the bout after Steele took several unanswered shots along the ropes. Steele's eyes were beginning to swell shut at the time of the stoppage, according to the Tacoma News-Tribune.
    This is Freddie Steele's final career bout.

    1938-07-26 159 Al Hostak 158¾ 44-1-9
    Civic Stadium, Seattle, WA, USA L KO 1 15
    ~ Time: 1:43 | Referee: Jack Dempsey ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    The crowd of 35,000 saw Steele knocked down four times. He was counted out at by Referee Dempsey, former World Champion. Some ringside observers accused Steele of coming out against Hostak with his hands down, thus getting KO'd in the first round. But Steele had been hampered by a cracked breastbone, which prevented him from lifting his gloves high to where they belonged -- according to his chief sparring partner, Davey Ward.

    1938-06-14 161½ Solly Krieger 164 67-14-6
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W UD 10 10
    1938-02-19 159 Carmen Barth 159¼ 32-9-2
    Public Hall, Cleveland, OH, USA W TKO 7 15
    ~ Time: 2:19 | Referee: James J. Braddock ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    ~ NYSAC World Middleweight Title ~
    The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) afterward withdrew its recognition of Steele as its world champion, when Steele reportedly refused to defend against Fred Apostoli.

    1938-02-08 158 Bob Turner 162 24-25-6
    Rochester, NY, USA W KO 1 10
    ~ Time: 2:17 ~
    Steele floored Turner three times. The crowd of 2,500 started booing when Turner hit the floor the first time and kept it up for ten minutes. Major Gen. John J. Phelan, chairman of the NYSAC, who witnessed the bout, said Turner's share would be withheld and an investigation would be launched by the commission.

    1938-01-07 158¾ Fred Apostoli 161½ 27-2-0
    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA L TKO 9 12
    ~ Time: 0:54 | Referee: Arthur Donovan ~
    Steele broke his breastbone during this bout, which was to hamper him for some time to come.

    1937-09-11 157¼ Ken Overlin 160 74-10-1
    Civic Auditorium, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 4 15
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    ~ NYSAC World Middleweight Title ~
    After 10 seconds of the fourth round Steele "took advantage of his first real opening. He hit Overlin with a left to the chin that staggered him, followed up with another left that sent the challenger falling and then finished him with two bullet-like rights as he was dropping." (Associated Press). This was Steele's first bout without his longtime manager and mentor Dave Miller, who had died suddenly two weeks before. More than 9,000 people packed the venue--the largest crowd ever to see an indoor boxing match in the Pacific Northwest to date. Tacoma News Tribune

    1937-07-21 159 Charley 'Hobo' Williams 161 6-2-3
    Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC, USA W TKO 8 10
    Williams was down for the first time in his career in the first round. He took no count but was down twice in the eighth before the bout was stopped. (New York Times)

    1937-05-11 156 Frank Battaglia 159¾ 82-17-6
    Civic Auditorium, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 3 15
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    ~ NYSAC World Middleweight Title ~
    Battaglia was down in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounds.

    1937-03-02 158 Paul Pirrone 162 85-28-3
    Philadelphia, PA, USA W TKO 1 10
    ~ Time: 1:57 ~
    Pirrone down five times

    1937-02-19 157 Babe Risko 158 40-13-8
    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA W UD 15 15
    ~ Referee: Arthur Donovan ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    ~ NYSAC World Middleweight Title ~
    Scoring: 11-4, 11-4, 11-4

    1937-01-01 157 Gorilla Jones 153 89-20-11
    Auditorium, Milwaukee, WI, USA W UD 10 10
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    ~ NYSAC World Middleweight Title ~
    Jones was down in the 7th

    1936-12-08 157½ Young Stuhley 161 45-18-2
    Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA, USA W PTS 10 10
    ~ Referee: Jack Kennedy ~

    1936-11-27 158 Al Rossi 163 25-18-6
    San Diego, CA, USA W KO 1 10
    ~ Time: 1:36 ~
    "Stung into action by two hard, right-hand punches, Steele nailed Rossi with a one right to the chin and the count was only a formality." Tacoma News Tribune

    1936-11-17 159 Gus Lesnevich 163 27-1-3
    Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA, USA W TKO 2 10
    ~ Time: 1:12 | Referee: Charley Randolph ~
    "Steele used up something like half dozen assorted left hooks and right crosses before a towel floated into the ring from the Lesnevich corner. The referee used it to wipe the blood off Lesnevich's face.... Lesnevich drew a tremendous cheer even in defeat." Tacoma News Tribune. The promoter of this show, Joe Waterman, would tell the Tacoma News-Tribune shortly before his death in 1949 that Steele's performance was the finest he ever saw in his over 40 years of boxing.

    1936-10-21 162 Allen Matthews 158¾ 54-13-2
    Seattle, WA, USA W UD 10 10
    "'That boy's a real champion,' was Matthews' only comment. 'And that was my toughest fight,' said the champion.'" Tacoma News Tribune

    1936-09-03 160 Young Stuhley 162 45-16-2
    Armory, Spokane, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    ~ Referee: Walter Wall ~
    According to the Spokesman-Review, Steele knocked Stuhley out of the ring in the 3rd round with a left hook. Stuhley was nearly stopped in the 8th round. Steele finished the bout with a swollen left eye. This bout was promoted by prominent Seattle promoter Nate Druxman, who was filling in for Spokane's boxing promoter, Al Morse who was recovering from hip surgery and illness.

    1936-08-20 160½ Jackie Aldare 162 57-34-12
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 2 10
    1936-07-11 156¾ Babe Risko 158 37-11-8
    Civic Stadium, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 15 15
    ~ Referee: Tommy McCarthy ~
    ~ National Boxing Association World Middleweight Title ~
    ~ NYSAC World Middleweight Title ~
    Score: 93-72,92-73,91½-74½
    Referee: Seattle car salesman Tommy McCarthy
    Originally scheduled for July 10th, but postponed a day, due to rain.

    1936-04-28 157 Tony Fisher 160 5-8-1
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    1936-03-24 161 Babe Risko 162 36-9-8
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    Attendance: 9,000

    1936-02-25 155 Young Stuhley 160 44-13-2
    Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA, USA W PTS 10 10
    ~ Referee: Jack Kennedy ~

    1936-02-04 155 Henry Firpo 161 64-38-13
    Crystal Pool, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 2 10
    ~ Time: 0:58 ~
    Steele almost had a knockout in the first round, but Firpo was saved by the bell at the count of three. The KO blow "spun him on his heels and pitched him into the ropes. The center strand bounced him back onto the floor of the ring where the count was tolled over him." AP

    1936-01-23 155½ Meyer Grace 154 63-31-7
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 1 10
    Grace was knocked down three times.

    1935-11-19 156¾ Young Stuhley 160¼ 44-12-2
    Civic Auditorium, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    Stuhley was knocked down twice in this bout. Shortly after this bout, on the 29th, Steele was driving when he crashed into a stalled vehicle on the Tacoma-Seattle highway, near the Fife junction. He received a painfully cut head. Two companions in his car, Ted Clark and Walter Squire, received minor injuries. Steele had been taking a vacation from boxing to allow an injured wrist to heal. The accident delayed his return to training.

    1935-10-25 155 Indian Mike Payan 155 29-18-6
    San Diego, CA, USA W KO 5 0
    1935-10-18 154 Swede Berglund 161 31-16-9
    Legion Stadium, Hollywood, CA, USA W TKO 6 10
    ~ Referee: Jack Kennedy ~
    "Referee Jack Kennedy stepped between the fighters with Berglund reeling helplessly against the ropes and blood streaming from a deep gash over the right eye." United Press

    1935-09-17 157 Gorilla Jones 156½ 86-19-10
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W UD 10 10
    ~ Referee: Tommy McCarthy ~

    1935-07-30 155½ Vince Dundee 160½ 113-17-13
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 3 10
    ~ Referee: Tommy McCarthy ~
    Referee McCarthy stopped the bout midway through the round after Dundee, the former middleweight champion of Baltimore, had been knocked down eleven times. Dundee hadn't landed a single effective blow. He sustained a slight concussion and a broken jaw on the left side, between the second and third molars, clear through. He was taken to Seattle's Providence Hospital, where he recuperated about a week. Doctors advised him not to fight for three months or longer.

    1935-06-11 155½ Al Rossi 160½ 23-12-6
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 2 10
    The referee didn't bother to count when Rossi made his fourth trip to the canvas and awarded Steele a knockout victory. Steele is the state middleweight champion.

    1935-05-16 158½ Indian Mike Payan 155½ 28-16-6
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    1935-04-23 156¼ Sammy O'Dell 154¼ 34-9-5
    Civic Auditorium, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 1 10
    ~ Time: 1:31 ~
    "O'Dell seemed frightened by the reputation of his opponent... The Akron fighter made little effort to defend himself. He staggered, knees shaking, then went down. He got up and Steele floored him again. It was all over." (UP)

    1935-04-01 157 Fred Apostoli 157 6-0-0
    Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, USA W TKO 10 10
    ~ Referee: Frankie Burns ~
    Apostoli was knocked down in the 9th by a left hook. He was barely on his feet, approximately a minute into the round, when the bout was stopped.

    1935-02-21 156 Indian Jimmy Rivers 160 9-16-7
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 9 10
    Rivers was down in the seventh and eighth rounds, both for nine-counts. He was fouled by Steele just as the third ended, but the fight was ordered resumed after a five-minute rest period.

    1935-02-12 155½ Indian Jimmy Rivers 161 9-15-7
    Auditorium, Portland, OR, USA W TKO 5 10
    ~ Time: 2:58 | Referee: Tom Louttit ~
    According to the Portland Oregonian, the bout was even through the first five rounds. In the fifth Rivers cracked Steele with a hard right to the jaw, before Steele responded with a left hook to the body. After landing the punch Steele took a knee, and appeared dazed. Rivers then pounded Steele during a period of infighting. All of sudden Rivers dropped to his knee in a neutral corner and whispered something to Referee Tom Louttit, who stopped the bout.
    Joe Waterman's first main event of his third stint as a matchmaker/promoter in Portland.

    1935-01-24 156½ Baby Joe Gans 153½ 105-21-8
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 3 10
    1935-01-10 156¾ Tommy Rios 158¼ 26-29-6
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    1934-12-20 155½ Andy DiVodi 153¼ 92-32-9
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 6 10
    1934-12-05 Jack Hibbard 8-3-7
    Walla Walla, WA, USA W TKO 4 10
    A Christmas charity show. Steele scored five knockdowns. Tacoma News Tribune

    1934-11-13 156 Jimmy Evans 149½ 41-16-12
    Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 4 10
    ~ Referee: Adolph Schacht ~
    Steele is the Northwest Middleweight Champion. Referee Schacht stopped the bout to save Evans from further punishment.

    1934-11-01 156¼ Andy DiVodi 151 92-31-9
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    1934-10-26 156 Joe Glick 154 135-71-30
    Armory, Yakima, WA, USA W KO 1 10
    ~ Referee: Windy Knight ~
    According to the Yakima Herald the bout was over in less than a minute.

    1934-06-29 155¾ Bucky Lawless 156½ 55-39-6
    Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 2 10
    Referee McCarty stopped the bout.

    1934-06-22 156½ Sammy Slaughter 159½ 37-16-6
    Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, USA NC NC 1 10
    ~ Referee: Toby Irwin ~
    Referee Toby Irwin chased the boxers from the ring after Slaughter had fallen ten times in less than two minutes, eight times without being hit. Irwin started to count the last time Slaughter fell, but changed his mind, and ordered the two out of the ring. Promoters tried to bring the boxers back to resume the fight, but Irwin refused to referee, and no other official could be found. Steele and Slaughter were later rematched in San Francisco, but Steele ran out on the bout when he injured his shoulder. After he left for Tacoma without checking with commission doctors, the California Athletic Commission suspended Steele, as well as his second Joe Waterman and manager Dave Miller.

    1934-06-08 155½ Babe Marino 154 28-8-3
    Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, USA W PTS 10 10
    "[T]he impressive fashion in which the local trial horse was trounced last night convinced fans the youth from the Northwest is one of the best prospects to appear here in a long time. Making the third 10-round battle of his career, Steele battered Marino's face into almost unrecognizable shape, dropped him for a seven count in the fifth and won eight of the sessions with a combination of boxing and punching skill that could not be denied." AP

    1934-05-22 156¾ Gorilla Jones 151½ 86-17-9
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA D PTS 10 10
    1934-04-26 154½ Joe Cardoza 159½ 55-33-11
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 2 10
    1934-04-10 152¾ Eddie Murdock 160 44-17-19
    Civic Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 4 10
    "Steele Impressive in Spectacular Kayo" "Electrifying Performance" Tacoma News Tribune headlines; Murdock down in the 3rd and 4th rounds.

    1934-03-08 151¾ Vivencio Alicante 151¼ 5-5-1
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 2 10
    1934-02-27 151½ Johnny 'Bandit' Romero 148½ 67-19-2
    Crystal Pool, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 2 10
    1934-02-15 150¾ Leonard Bennett 148½ 28-23-9
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 8 8
    First bout for Steele -- the newly-crowned Washington State Welterweight Champion -- after a four-month layoff due to a kidney infection. "To many, knowing that Steele has no love in his heart for Bennett, it appeared as though the Tacoman purposely allowed the Detroit welter to stay the limit so that he could administer as much punishment as possible." Tacoma News Tribune

    1933-10-12 151 Petey Mike 150 12-8-5
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 10 10
    Later this month, Steele is "forced on the shelf" after a serious kidney infection returns.
    Washington state legalized prize-fighting, effective June 8, 1933. On Dec. 11, George Adams, chairman of the state athletic commission, named the very first state champions of each division. (There was no middleweight champion selected, however.) Steele becomes the first Welterweight Champion of Washington.

    1933-08-08 150¾ Frankie Petrolle 147½ 17-24-5
    Civic Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 3 10
    1933-06-27 150 Eddie Ran 147¼ 31-12-2
    Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1933-06-22 147½ Joe Glick 148 135-58-28
    Spokane, WA, USA W PTS 8 8
    Glick was down twice

    1933-06-06 150½ Alvin Lewis 146 25-5-10
    Seattle, WA, USA W KO 3 6
    1933-06-01 147 Tiger Lee Paige 147 14-11-4
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Steele scored five knockdowns.

    1933-05-18 147 Gilbert Attell 149 35-31-22
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 3 6
    Steele's return bout after a four-month lay-off caused by a broken jaw. "A well-timed one-two punch sent Attell down for a nine-count in the first round, and the San Franciscan went down for the count in the third from a hard right uppercut to the chin." (AP)

    1933-01-17 Leonard Bennett 21-18-6
    Crystal Pool, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Pacific Northwest Welterweight Title
    Steele's jaw was fractured in two places. After setting it, Drs. J.S. Thomas & H.T. Buckner recommended that Steele allow it to heal for several months before resuming boxing. Two months later, on March 24, Steele was involved in an automobile accident in Tacoma. He was driving a light roadster along the street when it plunged into the parked car of H. B. Veith, Seattle, in front of the Sierra Apartments. Steele's car catapulted into the apartment building and caught fire, and sent flames through Mrs. Glenn Gross's apartment. She escaped. Donald Piper, Steele's passenger, pulled him out of the burning car. Steele suffered a brain concussion and was hospitalized.

    1932-11-17 147½ Battling Dozier 149¼ 50-15-11
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1932-11-03 Millio Millitti 18-9-5
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1932-10-26 148½ Tommy Herman 150¾ 43-22-6
    Crystal Pool, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Herman down from a right to the jaw in the 2nd round.

    1932-09-27 149 Tommy Herman 150½ 42-22-6
    Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA, USA L PTS 4 4
    According to the Los Angeles Times, Steele nearly floored Herman in the 1st, but was knocked down in the 4th by a right hand from Herman.

    1932-09-20 149 Ceferino Garcia 145½ 17-6-5
    Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA, USA W KO 2 4
    ~ Time: 2:53 | Referee: Harry Lee ~

    1932-09-07 149 David Velasco 145½ 11-15-3
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1932-08-26 149 Billy Townsend 142 53-16-13
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Steele fought "a cool, heady battle for five rounds, and then opening up in the sixth,... won the decision... and thereby bounced himself into the championship contender class of the welterweight division. Only in the second round did the Vancouver boy slow Steele up. Off balance in a not quite successful effort to dodge a vicious right, Steele went down for a no-count from a wallop in back of the ear, but came right back to explode a torrid left hook on Billy's chin. The Tacoma youngster fought a smart fight throughout. He parked lefts on Billy's face time and again, and never gave the Canadian a chance to counter-punch. Usually dangerous in close, Townsend was kept tied up most of the time. Steele showed a willingness to gamble in the last session, and the two boys boomed away toe-to-toe. Left hooks to the head staggered Billy and a right to the jaw drove him against the ropes. Townsend swung but couldn't land effectively and Freddie continued to throw vicious rights and lefts to take the round by a good margin." Everett Daily Herald.

    1932-08-11 147 Alfonso Gonzales 147 5-6-2
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1932-08-03 Tiger Lee Paige 9-7-1
    Spokane, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1932-07-20 148 Ralph Chong 150½ 8-3-1
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 6 6
    ~ Referee: Tommy McCarthy ~

    1932-06-30 146 Larry Murphy 148 36-28-26
    Arena, Dishman, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1932-06-01 147 Alfonso Gonzales 148½ 4-4-2
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    ~ Referee: Tommy McCarthy ~
    "The Tacoma two-fisted puncher captured every round and floored Gonzales for a nine-count in the second. The Californian appeared afraid to open up and Steele gave him a severe beating." Everett Daily Herald.

    1932-05-24 147 Frankie Stetson 143 45-11-8
    Auditorium, Portland, OR, USA W PTS 6 6
    Steele shook up Stetson in the first round with a series of left hooks. In the 2nd, Steele continue landing the left hook, prompting Stetson to take a knee. Stetson clinched with Steele for much of the remainder of the bout.

    1932-05-18 145 Ceferino Garcia 142 15-4-4
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 2 6
    "The Tacoma youngster rammed a hard right to Garcia's mid-section and as the Filipino dropped his guard Steele drove the left to the chin. Garcia took the count sprawled out on his back and Steele helped carry him to his corner." Everett Daily Herald. Garcia was out for nearly five minutes.

    1932-04-27 146¾ Tony Portillo 146¾ 39-16-15
    Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Pacific Northwest Welterweight Title
    "Steele sent a barrage of smashing straight lefts at Tony that bounced him to the canvas three times, cut his upper lip severely and battered him soundly in every stanza to win a [$500 diamond-studded] gold belt, emblematic of the mythical Pacific Northwest welterweight crown." (AP)

    1932-04-07 146 Bobby Vincent 10-7-7
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Steele scored two nine-count and one eight-count knockdowns.

    1932-03-24 146½ Matt Calo 140¼ 24-12-10
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1932-03-16 Tiger Lee Paige 7-5-0
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    "Steele tried to make the going interesting but Page thought otherwise and 'climbed on his bicycle.' Freddie couldn't catch him and consequently there wasn't any damage done." (UP) Reported as being Steele's 65th bout by The Tacoma Times, March 22. Also, Page was dropped in the 6th round. Centralia Daily Chronicle

    1932-03-03 Freddie Goldstein 6-1-0
    Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    This is Steele's first bout after a three-month layoff due to a kidney infection. Reported as Goldstein's 114th bout (with no KO losses). Tacoma Times

    1931-11-30 Matt Calo 21-11-10
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1931-09-23 Cowboy Sammy Evans 5-5-0
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1931-08-20 Johnny Woods 35-16-14
    Arena, Dishman, WA, USA W TKO 3 6
    1931-07-30 146 Don Fraser 142 58-21-13
    Arena, Dishman, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    "Thank the Lord there's only one Freddie Steele," commented Fraser afterward. Bellingham American

    1931-07-16 Al Gracio 147 50-21-9
    Arena, Dishman, WA, USA W TKO 3 6
    The referee stopped the bout. Former World Champion Jack Johnson fought a three-round exhibition with Dee Richmond of Chemelah, Washington, on this card.

    1931-06-10 145¾ Jimmy Owens 146 9-6-0
    Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1931-05-27 146½ Jimmy Owens 144½ 9-5-0
    Seattle, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1931-05-13 Joe Townsend 6-4-7
    National A.C., Seattle, WA, USA W KO 2 6
    1931-05-07 Esten Hunter 16-20-9
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Steele scored six knockdowns.

    1931-04-22 Teddy Palacios 4-10-2
    Civic Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W KO 1 0
    ~ Time: 0:45 ~

    1931-04-16 Ritchie (Sailor) King 33-27-16
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 1 6
    Often incorrectly recorded as occurring in Seattle.

    1931-04-08 Nels Ferguson 8-3-4
    Civic Ice Arena, Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 2 0
    Referee McCarty stopped the bout after Ferguson had been on the floor three times in quick succession.

    1931-03-26 Nels Ferguson 8-2-4
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1931-03-06 Mickey Cochrane 0-0-1
    Knights of Columbus Gym, Yakima, WA, USA W KO 2 6
    "The knockout blow was a short right jab that came shortly after the opening of the second round." Yakima Republic

    1931-02-18 142½ Joe Townsend 141¼ 6-4-6
    Crystal Pool, Seattle, WA, USA D PTS 6 6
    ~ Referee: Adolph Schacht ~
    Originally declared a win for Steele by Referee Schacht. But, as the bout was to be scored under the Australian system, which required a win by a three-point margin, the decision was changed to a draw.

    1931-02-12 Mickey Trad 4-4-5
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1931-01-01 Tony Portillo 23-9-6
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1930-12-17 Tony Portillo 22-9-6
    Seattle, WA, USA L PTS 6 6
    "Steele tried to cut-box Portillo while on the run last night and his backing up tactics cost him the fight. It was the Tacoma lad's first defeat." Modesto News-Herald

    1930-12-11 Tony Portillo 22-9-4
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA D PTS 6 6
    1930-10-30 Joey Coffman 20-18-8
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    "Steele landed some hefty blows and several times it looked as though Coffman was groggy and about to bow before the twin gods of Morpheus wrapped up in the Tacoma boy's mitts. But no; Coffman hung on for a moment, shook the gathering cobwebs from his brain and, when he squared off again, seemed as fresh as a daisy." Tacoma News-Tribune

    1930-10-16 Al Gracio 50-18-9
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W TKO 1 0
    Gracio was floored for a nine-count 10 seconds into the bout by a right uppercut. His seconds tossed in the towel soon afterward.

    1930-10-02 Leslie (Wildcat) Carter 59-16-9
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W TKO 5 6
    Carter was unable to continue when his jaw-bone was broken stopping several of Steele's hard blows. Carter had been expected to provide Steele with a test, but Carter had shown up out of shape, according to the Tacoma News-Tribune.

    1930-09-11 Jimmy Farrar 7-3-2
    Seattle, WA, USA W TKO 3 0
    1930-07-10 Tommy Fielding 9-9-4
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1930-06-26 Tommy Fielding 9-8-4
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1930-05-22 Joe Townsend 5-1-5
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1930-05-08 145 Joe Townsend 5-0-5
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1930-04-25 Joe Townsend 5-0-3
    Seattle, WA, USA D PTS 6 6
    ~ Referee: Adolph Schacht | Judge: Eddie O'Neill | Judge: Carl Reiter ~

    1930-03-06 Jimmy Britt 15-5-10
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA D PTS 6 6
    1930-02-27 Jack Red Rondeaux 4-3-0
    Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 4 6
    1930-01-23 Jack Nash 21-18-13
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 2 0
    1930-01-09 Frankie Monroe 5-3-7
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Reported by the Tacoma News-Tribune as Monroe's first loss in 40 bouts.

    1929-12-19 140 Jimmy Pavolic 8-6-5
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    Steele's first main event appearance. "Steele won almost every round, taking the first four with monotonous regularity. Boxing beautifully, Freddie scored repeatedly with straight lefts to the face, left and right hooks to the stomach and an occasional right cross to the chin." Tacoma News-Tribune

    1929-11-21 Paddy Ryan 0-0-1
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 1 4
    Ryan was reported by the local Everett Daily Herald newspaper as being from nearby Fort Lewis, Washington. Thus, this likely is the "Soldier Ryan" bout listed in records of Steele's fights lacking an exact 1929 date. According to the Tacoma News-Tribune: Steele "is being brought along with care, consideration and ability by Dave Miller.... Let that boy get an even break of things and in a few years you stand a great chance of reading about him as a REAL FIGHTER. So far he has revealed EVERYTHING, EVERY NATURAL ability."

    1929-11-14 Harry Davis 1-1-0
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W TKO 2 0
    Davis was knocked down 10 times before the towel was tossed into the ring.

    1929-10-08 Johnny Lussier 0-4-0
    Northwest A.C., Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Although the Oct. 8 Tacoma News Tribune announced the boxers on this scheduled card, neither it nor any of the Seattle papers published the results.

    1929-10-01 Honey Melody 3-7-1
    Northwest A.C., Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 3 0
    Melody was disqualified in the second for going down without being hit, but the bell saved him. The only pro bout on an amateur card.

    1929-08-05 Arnold Smith 0-0-0
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 1 4
    "It was hectic while it lasted. Smith, a wild swinger, caught Freddie low early in the round, but after a couple of seconds rest, they continued. Steele caught Smith a right to the chin and floored him for nine and put the big crush on him a moment later with another right to the chin." (Also on this card, reportedly for 50% of the gate receipts, future World Heavyweight Champion Max Schmeling boxed two two-minute, two-round exhibition bouts with Herman Hellar and Walter Sells.) Tacoma Daily Ledger.

    1929-06-27 Ralph Smith 3-3-5
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    The crowd believed Smith had won, and gave "the most determined amount of booing a Tacoma ring has heard in years." Steele's "nose bled and his face looked like the inside of a watermelon." Tacoma News-Tribune

    1929-05-09 Ed Foster 0-0-0
    Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 2 0
    "Steele revealed everything a great fighter in the making needs. Give him time and proper breaks and some day the kid, who will grow into a heavy or light heavy, will write plenty of ring chapters." Tacoma News-Tribune

    1929-04-01 Floyd (Soldier) Brown 0-0-0
    Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Uncertain of Date

    1929-03-15 Len Lockren 0-1-1
    Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Uncertain of Date

    1929-03-01 Harry Davis 0-0-0
    Bellingham, WA, USA W KO 1 0
    Uncertain of Date

    1929-03-01 Len Lockren 0-1-0
    Tacoma, WA, USA D PTS 4 4
    Uncertain of Date

    1929-02-01 Eddie Harmon 0-2-1
    Bellingham, WA, USA W KO 1 0
    Uncertain of Date

    1929-01-01 Jimmy Pavolic 3-1-1
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA D PTS 4 4
    Steele "gave away some four or five pounds, but he boxed like a little master and used ring brains that were simply unusual. He is only a boy of 16 years old last month." Tacoma News Tribune

    1928-11-22 Johnny Leonard 0-4-2
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Leonard was floored twice. Steele is described as a "Jason Lee school boy" by the Tacoma Times.

    1928-10-01 Eddie Harmon 0-1-1
    Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 2 0
    1928-09-20 Ralph Smith 0-0-0
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Smith's professional debut, after being a star amateur boxer at Tacoma's Starlight A.C. (Often incorrectly recorded as a draw.)

    1928-09-01 Jimmy Warfield 4-1-0
    Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 1 0
    Uncertain of Date

    1928-08-10 Larry Hannon 2-0-0
    Skating Rink, Centralia, WA, USA D PTS 4 4
    Often incorrectly recorded as a win for Steele.

    1928-07-04 Harry (Young) Ketchel 14-6-3
    Centralia, WA, USA W KO 1 0
    1928-06-12 Eddie Harmon 0-1-0
    Chehalis, WA, USA D PTS 4 4
    Uncertain of Date but there was a big fight program scheduled for Chehalis on this date.

    1928-05-18 Young Tex Vernon 1-6-1
    Legion Hall, Olympia, WA, USA W PTS 6 6
    1928-05-03 Billy Quilter 9-22-11
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 2 0
    "What a prospect this Steele is. He's only 16." Tacoma News-Tribune

    1928-03-15 Bud Weaver 9-4-3
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W TKO 4 4
    After Weaver had been knocked down once in the first round, and twice in the third and fourth rounds, the towel was thrown into the ring.

    1928-03-01 Billy Edwards 0-0-0
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W KO 4 0
    Steele, a 15-year-old bantamweight, "looks like a comer." Tacoma News-Tribune.

    1928-01-12 Hermosa (Hermo) Villa 0-0-0
    Greenwich Coliseum, Tacoma, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Steele fought from the first round with an injured right hand. Steele's first Tacoma bout: He "made his start here... and won handily[.]" Tacoma Times.

    1927-04-27 Nick Vonda 0-0-1
    Liberty Hall, Bellingham, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Fourteen-year-old "Steele took the first two cantos handily, [sic] he was slightly bested in the third after he took a couple on the solar plexus. The white boy then came back to win the fourth by a hair and was awarded the decision." The Bellingham American. This was the final card of the Bellingham boxing season. Being an in-door sport, boxing was scheduled to resume in the autumn.

    1927-03-16 105 Jimmy Britt 105 4-1-2
    American Legion, Bellingham, WA, USA D PTS 4 4
    Fighting at 105 pounds each, they provided "the most entertaining engagement on the bill." The Bellingham American.

    1927-01-05 George Wilson 0-0-0
    Bellingham, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    On Jan. 1, The Bellingham American, at p. 6, said: "Steele is the classiest 100-pounder in these parts, and he is a big favorite with the fans." A few days later, on Jan. 4, p. 6, the paper reported: "Freddie Steele is the third member of the McAllister stable that will show on the card. Steele is believed by many fans to be a little bit the best looking boxing prospect uncovered here in a decade. The little 100-pounder has plenty of natural class which is coupled with an ability to use his head. He will be paired with George Wilson in the deuce spot."

    1926-12-08 Mocus Canning 0-1-0
    Liberty Hall, Bellingham, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    The "curtain raiser." Steele "made a big hit with the throng. Canning was dropped for a three-count in the first, but came back to hold Steele on even terms in the next two rounds. The fourth was Steele's by a small margin. Both boys showed lots of class." The Bellingham American.

    1926-11-24 Jimmy Britt 2-1-0
    Liberty Hall, Bellingham, WA, USA D PTS 4 4
    ~ Referee: Harold Jones ~
    "[A] draw decision although the bout did not go the four rounds. Just before the final bell was due Steele protested that he had been unintentionally fouled. As Jones did not see the foul he proceeded to call the match a draw as Steele previously had built up a fairly good margin. Britt showed improvement and he kept Steele going at top speed." Bellingham American.

    1926-11-10 Jimmy Britt 2-0-0
    Liberty Hall, Bellingham, WA, USA W PTS 4 4
    Future World Champion Freddie Steele's professional debut.
    "Both boys showed lots of speed and each packed a healthy sock. Steele landed a majority of the pokes and he had the best footwork."
    Bellingham American.

  21. #21
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    A piece on Steele by our own Mike Casey

    Mike, any input regarding the specifics of Steeles breastbone injury? When it took place and what bouts Steele was hindered in? I'm coming up with conflicting info from what Yogi has provided me with and was wondering if you had any insight on this.

    Thanks.

    Hawk

    Tacoma Assassin: Power Punching Freddie Steele
    By Mike Casey

    Now here’s one for you. When people sit down to talk about the great middleweights, how come the name of Freddie Steele so rarely enters the conversation? Like a ghost trying to make its presence felt to mortals, Freddie seems to hover in a vacuum that is tantalisingly out of reach. Up there in the celestial heights, he must feel sorely tempted to get his booming left hook out of mothballs and throw a few shots in desperation. He hears people talking about the Michigan Assassin, the Pittsburgh Windmill, the Toy Bulldog, the Harlem Flash, the Shotgun and Marvelous Marvin.

    But no Tacoma Assassin. That’s what they called Freddie Steele, the wiry, thunder-punching kid from the Evergreen State of Washington. This writer makes no case for Freddie being one of the elite middleweights of all time, as in top three or top five material. He might not even be a top ten candidate. Let us remember that the middleweight division is the richest and most fertile ground from which to select our favourites. Try fashioning your own all-time Top 20 without feeling that you have insulted a host of genuinely great boxers by leaving them out. Believe me, you can work up quite a guilt complex about it if you genuinely love and care for the many magnificent men who have graced the stage.

    I have never truly known where Freddie Steele stands in the great historical pantheon, but I am a little miffed that he seems to have become the invisible man.
    Ah, but there are always the guardian angels looking out for the straggling sheep that get divorced from the flock. In planning this tribute to Freddie, I knew that I had something of a spiritual brother in Dan Cuoco.

    Dan, who heads up the esteemed International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO), has long been a great fan and champion of Freddie Steele.

    “Freddie is one of my all-time favourites. He has never received his just dues as a great champion and one of boxing’s all-time great punchers. His resume of knockout victims is quite impressive: Ken Overlin, Vince Dundee, Gus Lesnevich, Ceferino Garcia, Fred Apostoli, etc.

    “Freddie’s overall record of losing only five fights out of a career total of 162 is outstanding. And his list of opponents is a virtual who’s-who of his era.”

    Big punchers invariable have a lean and languid look about them, and Freddie Steele was almost wiry in appearance when he first started out in the professional ranks. But the glint in his eye, the solid chest and the classic sloping shoulders were indicative of the great power he carried in his fists.

    California Hall of Fame member, Hap Navarro, matchmaker at the old Hollywood Legion Stadium between 1953 and 1955, has always had the highest regard for Steele. Says Hap: “Freddie was a gangly sort as a fragile welterweight at the start of his pro career, long before he hit it big. But he could box with the best and had a devastating punch. Check out the film of his two round annihilation of a rising Gus Lesnevich at the LA Olympic Auditorium.”

    Steele did indeed make a terrible mess of Lesnevich in that short-lived fight on November 17, 1936. Freddie was the reigning world middleweight champion at the time and in his glorious pomp. The opening paragraph of the United Press report gave only a hint of the violent story that Freddie had written: “Freddie Steele, world middleweight boxing champion, snapped lethal punches with both hands last night to technically knock out tow-headed Gus Lesnevich of Hackensack, NJ, in the second round of a 10-round overweight match.”

    A crowd of 10,400 at the LA Olympic saw Steele twice hammer the tough Lesnevich to the canvas in the opening round and inflict two severe eye gashes.

    Gus had been campaigning for four years as a professional and had never previously been floored. But he was immediately in distress against Steele, hitting the deck for the first time from a ramrod straight left. Freddie had already cut Lesnevich’s right eye, and so deep was the wound that the blood showered over Gus’ head and shoulders.
    Gus took a nine count on one knee and showed tremendous fighting spirit on rising.
    He roared back to shake Steele with two fast lefts, but Freddie just shook his head and drilled Gus again. Lesnevich was toppled for the second time, although he was up quickly and didn’t take a count. Once again, Gus showed his pluck and determination by fighting back, and he belted Steele with a solid shot to the chin before the end of the round.

    But the game prospect from New Jersey, who would go on to win the light heavyweight championship, was living on borrowed time at the LA Olympic. Freddie wasted no time in wrapping up business in the second round. His sharp punches inflicted another deep cut, this time over Lesnevich’s left eye, and then Gus was toppled for another nine count as the ferocious blows kept coming. Gus’ handlers threw in the towel as blood covered the face of their brave charge. Freddie, weighing 158lbs, had spotted Gus five pounds without being remotely inconvenienced by the disadvantage.

    Tougher

    Boxing was tougher in Freddie Steele’s time. It just plain was. The competition was so fierce and so consistent that fighters in general had a considerably shorter career span than their counterparts of the present era. Consider these sobering facts: Freddie Steele was a retired fighter by the age of twenty-eight, having had his first professional fight at fourteen. He campaigned for nearly fifteen years, won the world middleweight championship and regularly clocked up more than twelve fights in a calendar year.
    Was he any the worse for wear when he hung ‘em up? No. He became a very successful actor and a very shrewd businessman.

    Dan Cuoco picks up the early story of the Tacoma Assassin: “Freddie Steele was a boxing prodigy. As early as age six he dreamed of a career as a boxer. His parents hoped he would outgrow the idea. But he didn’t. Every day after school his friends would find him in his backyard, imitating the style of his idol, Tod Morgan.

    “At age twelve, against his parents’ wishes, Freddie started attending a local gym in Tacoma, Washington. At first the gym’s proprietor, Dave Miller, didn’t take Steele seriously. After all, Freddie was just a scrawny, under-age adolescent.

    “But Freddie was very determined and continued to show up at the gym every day. He studied the fighters in the gym and began imitating their moves. They took an immediate liking to him and began helping him whenever they could. Within months, their help started to pay off. “Freddie began hitting the heavy bag with authority and making moves that surprised everyone in the gym, including Dave Miller. Miller was so impressed, he took young Freddie under his tutelage.

    “After six months of extensive instruction, Freddie began sparring with the older professionals in the gym.”

    Steele’s progress astounded everyone. He was quite obviously a natural, which presented Dave Miller with the age-old problem of how best to handle the wonderfully talented youngster in his charge. It doesn’t matter whether a prodigy is a gifted boxer, footballer or pianist. Do you give him full rein or keep him wrapped in cotton wool? Miller decided to let Freddie Steele off the leash, and how Freddie sprinted! He was just nineteen and a fully-fledged welterweight when he was matched with future middleweight champion, Ceferino Garcia, in a six-rounder at the Civic Ice Arena in Seattle.

    Dan Cuoco writes: “The murderous punching, twenty-six year old Garcia was an established main eventer and was heavily favoured over his youthful opponent. But Steele, a murderous puncher in his own right, surprised everyone with a second round knockout. Six months later he proved the victory wasn’t a fluke by again knocking out Garcia in the second round.

    “By his twentieth birthday, Freddie had engaged in 82 professional fights and his future looked bright. He had compiled a brilliant record of 72-2-8, with 29 KOs. He had avenged both of his decision losses in return matches.”

    Fred Apostoli

    It was against another future middleweight champion, Fred Apostoli, the so-called Boxing Bellhop, that Freddie Steele really got tongues wagging. Still eight months shy of his twenty-third birthday, Steele was already being described by the sport’s writers as a veteran. And indeed he was in terms of battles fought.

    He and Apostoli waged a tremendous contest in the latter’s hometown of San Francisco on April 1, 1935, which won them a thunderous ovation from a crowd of more than 6,000 at the Civic Auditorium.

    Both boys weighed 157lbs, but it was Steele’s greater experience that tipped the scales in his favour. Not that Freddie had an easy ride. The tough and clever Apostoli was a former national amateur champion and already a highly accomplished ring mechanic at the age of twenty-two. Employing a crouch, Apostoli perplexed Steele considerably in the early rounds.

    After six stanzas, the fight was an even, thrilling duel as the young tigers stood toe-to-toe and winged punches to the head and body. It was in the sixth, however, that Freddie began to turn up the heat. Putting more steam into his punches, he really began to punish Apostoli hard to the body. The San Franciscan took the shots well, but Steele’s constant body attacks began to reap dividends.

    Gradually, Apostoli was weakened by the consistent onslaught, to the point where he twice dropped to the canvas in the ninth round without being hit. The brave San Franciscan’s resistance was being viciously chiselled away by the stream of quality punches that were slamming into his midsection. One minute into the tenth round, referee Eddie Burns waved the fight off to save Apostoli from further punishment.

    Steele’s reputation as a damaging puncher reached a frightening crescendo in Seattle just three months later. His third round destruction of former middleweight champion, Vince Dundee, could only be described as a slaughter. Referee Tommy McCarthy seemed to freeze like a rabbit in the headlights as he allowed the hapless Dundee to be savagely punished and floored eleven times. Finally McCarthy stopped the carnage after Steele threatened to quit.

    Recalling the fight in 1969, Steele said, “I begged the referee to stop the fight in the second, but he wouldn’t do it. The fans were screaming that the fight should be stopped. In the third, after Dundee had been on the deck eleven times, I told the referee that if he didn’t stop it, I would leave the ring. He stopped it. Dundee wasn’t the same after that.”

    Vince was taken to the nearby Providence hospital with a triple fracture of the jaw and concussion. He spent the entire night trying to regain his bearings and struggle free of the vacuum into which Steele’s blows had rendered him. Dr HT Buckner advised the shattered Dundee not to box for three months or more.

    Freddie Steele could not be stopped and his coronation as middleweight champion was just a year away. On July 11, 1936, before his own adoring fans at Seattle’s Civic Stadium, Freddie challenged Eddie ‘Babe’ Risko before a crowd of 27,000. Local reporters described the contest as the biggest fight staged in the Pacific Northwest since Jack Dempsey had outpointed Tommy Gibbons at Shelby, Montana, thirteen years previously.

    Steele was ready for the challenge and in peak form as he controlled the fight all the way. But what tough men they all were in Freddie’s day. Fighters shrugged off major defeats with the resigned and philosophical air of a horse flicking away the flies. Seven months before, Risko had stumbled into an absolute nightmare at Madison Square Garden in a non-title bout against the fearsome Englishman, Jock McAvoy, whose nickname of the Rochdale Thunderbolt said pretty much everything about him. The Babe was scuttled by the first punch of the contest, a terrific right, and proceeded to visit the mat a further five times before McAvoy blasted him out of the fight in two minutes and fifty-eight seconds.

    Steele threatened to finish Risko in similarly quick fashion. In the first round, Freddie uncorked one of his big left hooks to deck the Babe for a count of seven. The omens were not good for the defending champion, yet thereafter he survived the storms that raged around him with admirable grit and skill.

    Steele was consistently ferocious through the fifteen rounds of battle, mounting one withering body attack after another. Lesser men than Risko would surely have crumbled under the savage pummelling. Freddie’s sharp punches to the face so often had the effect of a slash from a sabre on his many opponents. One reads constantly of how the Tacoma Assassin’s blows would not merely tear the other man’s skin. They would open deep and damaging cuts.

    He opened cuts over both of Risko’s eyes, but the Babe was determined to hang in there and keep punching. Steele, seemingly tireless, rarely slackened his pace. Risko was stunned again in the tenth round when Freddie doubled up with a left hook to the chin and a left to the body.

    But Steele was much more than merely an attacking force. He also displayed excellent blocking skills, preventing Babe from scoring effectively with short lefts to the head.

    Risko, showing a world champion’s pride, never stopped trying to the end. His work improved in the later stages of the contest as he engaged Freddie in toe-to-toe warfare with some success. But the Babe had given too much away and simply couldn’t overcome the wide points deficit.

    The Associated Press was glowing in its summation of Freddie: “Steele has done all his boxing on the Pacific coast. Just twenty-three years old, he has the height, reach and hitting power of a heavyweight.”

    The Funny Side

    For all his fiery determination, Freddie Steele was a man of great humour who could never help chuckling at boxing’s funnier side. When he made the first defence of his title against the canny and funky Gorilla Jones, Freddie was ready for the Gorilla’s tricks. They had met previously, and although Freddie had beaten Jones by decision, the Gorilla had suckered him with what appeared to be a bad technical flaw. Jones would jab and then drop his left low.

    Explained Freddie: “He left the left side of his jaw exposed. He was wide open for a right hand. I waited until about the fifth to throw my right. It was too good to be true. I threw it. But Jones was ready. He stepped back on his right foot and threw a right hand counter that almost tore my head off. I didn’t throw another right the rest of the fight.”
    Steele would discover that Gorilla Jones had a sense of humour too when they clashed again for Freddie’s championship. In the seventh round of that battle, Freddie turned the tables by jabbing with his left and then dropping it. When the Gorilla took the bait, Steele dumped him on the canvas with a cracking right to the chin. Jones got up, fell into a clinch with Freddie and said, “You don’t forget, do you?”

    Freddie Steele was flying, a man of destruction at the peak of his powers. Two more successful defences of his title quickly followed when he decisioned Babe Risko again and then knocked out Frank Battaglia in three rounds. But perhaps Freddie’s power was never more chilling or sudden than in his fourth round decimation of the clever and skilful Ken Overlin at the Civic Auditorium in Seattle on September 11, 1937.

    Steele took some time to figure out Overlin, who stormed from his corner in the opening round and fired a succession of left hooks to Freddie’s stomach.

    Steele boxed cautiously, knowing that he was up against a classy operator. Steele seemed to be waiting for Overlin to blow himself out, but Ken was all business and kept attacking, slamming a hard right and a left to Freddie’s body.

    Overlin was obviously gambling plenty on a fast start and he maintained his hot pace at the start of the second round. He jabbed fast and forced Steele to give ground. Steele was patient, weighing up Ken and looking for the one opening that would turn the tide. But the champion couldn’t quite get his timing right and missed with a jab as Overlin scored with two solid left hooks to the head.

    The Seattle crowd must have wondered in the early going if their Freddie had met his match. Overlin continued to jab effectively to close out the second round and enjoyed further success in the third as he repeatedly found Steele’s jaw with jarring lefts. Then came the first sign that Freddie was waking up and finding the range. He momentarily staggered Ken with a vicious right uppercut, but the man from Virginia continued to look a picture of confidence as he glided around the ring firing off classy shots. Steele’s progress was checked once more as he was struck by a hard right and a left to the stomach, and nobody could have foreseen the thunder and lightning that was to follow from the champion in the electric fourth round.

    The roof caved in on poor Ken Overlin with shocking suddenness. Finally, Steele saw the chink of light he had been waiting for and unleashed a devastating combination that left Overlin in no man’s land. A big left to the chin staggered Ken and a similar blow set him falling. Two more terrific lefts to the chin from Steele caught Overlin in mid-flight and provided the coup de grace. It was a classic, stunning knockout.

    Overlin crashed down on his back and rolled onto his face before bravely rising to one knee and clinging to the bottom rope as referee Tommy Clark counted him out.

    Halcyon

    It seemed in those halcyon days of his raging prime that Freddie Steele could not be derailed. Then he ran into a wall. All at once the gods seemed to rain on the poor kid with everything they had.

    A broken breastbone and the sudden death of his beloved mentor, Dave Miller, were massively contributing factors in the story of an unstoppable fighter suddenly losing his way. But perhaps other little devils were at play too. In these much softer and more cushioned times, we tend to forget how often men of Freddie Steele’s calibre fought, how many remarkably hard fights they had and how suddenly the accumulative punishment could abbreviate their careers.

    Even the toughest of men have a breaking point. If their durability doesn’t expire, then their desire does, however sub-consciously.

    Whatever the reasons for his sudden decline, Freddie Steele met old foe Fred Apostoli again in a non-title match and got sucked into a brutal and unforgiving maelstrom. Freddie was stopped in the ninth round of that 1938 battle at Madison Square Garden, and by the time he staggered from the fray his breastbone was broken and his face horribly misshapen.

    Dan Cuoco provides this newspaper report of the brutal fight, which graphically illustrates its savage intensity: “Blood came in a cascade from Freddie Steele’s left eye, the right was just a slit and in the middle of his face was a ring of red where once a nose had been. At times he was bent double, like a small boy peering through a knothole in a fence. That was the lurid scene, as presented before 8,000 spellbound witnesses at Madison Square Garden last night, when mercifully they stopped the fight after 54 seconds of the ninth round to save the middleweight champion of the world from further punishment.

    “It was one of the wildest, most boisterous evenings ever put on at the Garden. For sheer savagery there have been few fights like this one. They faced each other with lips curled back in a snarl and belted each other ceaselessly with both hands. It was the greatest middleweight fight seen around here in a generation, topping even the Greb-Walker brawl by many a sanguinary punch and of course, will have to be repeated outdoors next summer, this time with the title riding along.”

    Steele and Apostolic never did meet again, which was probably just as well for Freddie. The end was nigh for the thrilling Tacoma Assassin. He bounced back admirably to retain his world title with a seventh round stoppage of Carmen Barth in Cleveland, but now the hard fights and a troubled mind were taking their toll on Freddie. He had another tough one in capturing a decision over hard man Solly Krieger, before the big bomb finally dropped out of the sky. It was delivered by a devil of a natural puncher in the intimidating Al Hostak. Freddie was all out of steam by the time he defended against Al at the Civic Stadium in Seattle in July 1938. A disappointed crowd of 35,000 witnessed the quick execution of a fine champion Still recovering from his breastbone injury, which hampered him from holding his guard at a safe height, Freddie was also drained of motivation following the sudden death of Dave Miller.

    Such handicaps were simply too much to overcome against an ambitious, major league hitter of Hostak’s class. Al brought the curtain down in the opening round and the top-flight career of Freddie Steele was over.

    Ain’t Human!

    Now then, how many other fighters turned successful actors would consider giving it all up to sell whiskey?

    Here is writer Oscar Fraley from 1945: “Freddie Steele, the former middleweight champion turned actor, just ain’t human. With the manpower crisis reaching the point where the gals sigh and swoon in front of men’s haberdashery shops, the handsome and well-built Freddie wants to leave Hollywood’s panting pulchritude and go to Alaska as a whiskey salesman.”

    Freddie, who always had an eye for business and had already owned a cigar store, was impressed by the news coming back from his folks in Juneau that they were doing great business at their drinking emporium.

    Steele was thirty-two and described by Oscar Fraley as a smaller edition of John Wayne. Freddie was enjoying a very successful acting career, but there were drawbacks.

    He had to grow a beard for his part in The Story Of GI Joe, which led to some baiting when he stopped off at a restaurant. A couple of mischievous characters kept giving him the eye and sniggering.

    But there was no booming left hook from Freddie in the exchange that followed. “What’s so funny?” Steele asked.

    “Your face with those whiskers,” one of the guys replied.

    “Well, perhaps, but anyhow I’ve got it over you,” said Freddie. “You see, I’ll be able to shave this off. But you two have to stand behind those faces the rest of your life.”

    Mike Casey is a boxing journalist and historian and a staff writer with Boxing Scene. He is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) and founder and editor of the Grand Slam Premium Boxing Service for historians and fans

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Hawk, it has always been my understanding that Steele got the breasdtbone broken in the war with Apostoli in January 1938, though I don't exactly know how. That was a torrid, brutal fight, but Freddie kept taking other fights before the injury had healed - as those guys did and often had to.

    Against Hostak, reporters noticed that the persistent injury was preventing Freddie from holding a high guard - not a good thing against Al!

    As to Steele v Zale, I think it might have come down to Tony's edge in ruggedness. Tony's war service robbed him of his best years, don't forget - he would have been even greater but for that.

    Then again, I might change my mind tomorrow!!

    Mike

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    Mike

    Thank You for Weighing in here.

    Some more digging to be done!

    Thanks everyone.

    Hawk

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    Bump

    Mr. Casey's article is reprinted here.

    Hawk

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    Re: Benny

    Quote Originally Posted by Yogi
    Hawk, I may be somewhat inaccurate (or incomplete) because I can't recall all the details offhand, but I seem to remember reading Steele originally having his breast bone injured (fractured or cracked) while training in the late months in the year previous to facing Apostoli again, and in fact, I'm recalling that Steele had to put off the scheduled date for the rematch with Apospoli because of that very injury sustained in training.

    I believe it was in and around November of '37 when the breast bone injury first appeared, and for what it's worth, one of Steele's post fight comments after the rematch with Apostoli was that he "was bothered by an old injury" in that fight.
    I was told by a boxing historian that he first suffered the broken breastbone in a sparring session with Hobo Williams.

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    Hm

    Davey Ward's account of the damage just seems to conflict the suggestion that it was damaged prior to the second Apostoli bout.

    As he was Steele's chief sparring partner, I'm thinking his insight to when it originally happened and when it was again damaged in sparring, leads me to lay more credence in his version of the events.

    But at the same time, I'm certainly not intimately familiar with him to the degree that I find HIS version an unimpeachable source.

    Thanks eveyone for your info. This has really got me intrigued.

    Hawk

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    Bump

    Re Hap's Recent comments on Steele in the Lamotta Thread.

    Old Home week!

    Sweet!

    Hawk

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    The steele of the lesnevich bout wins a close decision over zale, and certainly over apostoli (despite billy conn's more than vaguely patronising opinion of his ability).

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    Re: Tony Zale vrs Freddie Steele

    Jock McAvoy beats the two of them, look at the big boys McAvoy had to fight because he wasn't allowed a shot at the MW title! Do cross record checking to see; who fought who, beat who, the rounds involved or who competed well with who... and ask would Steele or Zale have done the same?

    these were the greatest MWs in history for about a 20-25 year period, the continental divide wasn't so wide then and Jock McAvoy it could be argued was the "best" of the lot!

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    bump for surf

    Hawk

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