The Onion Picker: Carmen Basilio & Boxing in the 1950s
Boxing grew to be one of the most popular sports in America in the early 1950s. Thanks to television, fans tuned in each week, rooting for their favorites, watching the best fighters in the world battle on Gillette's Friday Night Fights. These were the Golden Years of boxing - the ring echoed with the names of all-time legendary champions: Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Robinson, Kid Galivan, Jake LaMotta, Gene Fullmer, and a tough guy from Canastota, New York, Carmen Basilio. middleweight championship of the world. His remarkable career is a story of survival and perseverance during a fascinating time in boxing history. Basilio's story celebrates the power of the human spirit to triumph over pain and self-doubt. A man of great integrity and drive, Carmen Basilio deliberately moved up in weight class for the opportunity to challenge the great Ray Robinson for his title. His belief in himself and his insistence on being treated fairly is a testament to his core value of living an honorable life, one in which he refused to compromise his principles. His story is a compelling look back at one of the most magical periods in sports history.
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The Onion Picker
Joseph Basilio in Italian military uniform
A young Carmen Basilio circa 1935
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Angelo Dundee Arthur Wirtz beat began Blinky Palermo Bobo Olsen body bout Canastota career Carmen Basilio championship fight Courtesy of Carmen crowd decision dollars donnie hamilton Boxing fans fighter fought Frankie Carbo Gene Fullmer Genovese Giuseppe going guild hamilton Boxing Historian hard heavyweight Ingber International Boxing Club jabs Jake La Motta James Norris Joe Louis Joe Nitro John DeJohn Johnny Saxton Julius Helfand Kid Gavilan knew knocked knockout later left hook Madison Square Garden manager match Mendel middleweight champion middleweight title moved never Norris and Wirtz opponent percent promoter punch Randy Turpin referee rematch Ring Magazine scored shot sparring sport Stillman Sugar Ray Robinson Sugar Ray's Syracuse talk television Tiger Jones told Tony DeMarco took tough Trainer Truman Gibson wanted welterweight welterweight champion welterweight crown welterweight title winning Writer Yankee Stadium York State Athletic