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Carmen Basilio

Canastota Says Farewell To Carmen Basilio

CANASTOTA, NY – FEBRUARY 11, 2013 – Despite frigid temperatures in the mid-teens and fresh snow compliments of the nor’easter that blanketed the Northeast, the sun was shining brightly as hundreds braved the elements to say goodbye to Canastota’s world boxing champion Carmen Basilio at a memorial mass held at St. Agatha’s Church in Canastota on Saturday, February 9th. Continue reading

R.I.P. Carmen Basilio

The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its flags will fly at half-staff in memory of Canastota’s welterweight and middleweight boxing champion Carmen Basilio. He passed away this morning at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, NY at the age of 85.

“Carmen put Canastota on the worldwide boxing map and gave the village’s residents a sense of pride that couldn’t be matched anywhere in the world,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy. “During the 1950s and 1960s Carmen was everyone’s hero. They talked about him in the coffee shops, grocery stores, gas stations and barbershops all the time. And they still talk about him today. He was loved, respected and idolized. His career and memories will last forever in the Village of Canastota.”

Basilio, nicknamed “The Upstate Onion Farmer,” was born in Canastota, NY on April 2, 1927. He twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the world middleweight championship in 1957. With an aggressive, charging style and a powerful left hook, Basilio scored wins over Lew Jenkins, Ike Williams, Billy Graham, Gil Turner, Art Aragon, Gasper Ortega and Don Jordan among others during his career. He incredibly engaged in five consecutive fights of the year: 1955 (vs DeMarco), 1956 (vs. Saxton), 1957 (vs. Robinson), 1958 (vs. Robinson) and 1959 (vs. Fullmer). His pro record reads 56-16-7 (27 KOs). Continue reading