In sad news, it has been reported how Pete Rademacher, the Olympic gold medal boxer from the 1956 Games, has passed away at the age of 91. A good fighter who is perhaps best known for the manner in which he made boxing history, Rademacher passed away at a nursing home in Ohio yesterday. Rademacher had been suffering from dementia for some years. The fighter’s family says his brain will be donated for medical research purposes.
Born in Tieton, Washington, in November of 1928, Rademacher went on to have a most accomplished amateur career. Going 72-7 overall at amateur level, Rademacher won the Seattle Golden Gloves as well as the US Amateur Championship. Rademacher twice fought Zora Folley, winning one and losing one. Rademacher also won the Chicago Golden Gloves. Then, boxing in Australia in 1956, Rademacher brought home the Olympic gold medal.
The unique piece of boxing history Rademacher made came in his very first pro fight. Rademacher believed he could add the world title to his Olympic title and the 29-year-old managed to lure heavyweight king Floyd Patterson into agreeing to defend the crown against him in August of 1957. Rademacher actually managed to deck Patterson in the 2nd round (legend has it, this brief sensation caused two stunned ringside fans to collapse, each having a heart attack), but he was ultimately beaten soundly, knocked down seven times and stopped in the sixth.
To this day, no other man has ever fought for the world heavyweight title in their pro debut.
Rademacher fought on, eventually facing such big and recognizable names as Zora Folley (who he had met at amateur level), Brian London, LaMar Clark, George Chuvalo, Doug Jones, and Archie Moore. Rademacher managed to defeat big puncher Clark and the teak-tough Chuvalo, but he was beaten by London, and he was KO’d by Jones and Moore.
In his final fight, a 33-year-old Rademacher decisioned former world middleweight champ Bobo Olson, this in April of 1962. Rademacher’s final career reads 15-7-1(8).
Rademacher was no great, not at pro-level anyway, but he was a good, brave, take on the best warrior who gave his all in the ring. And of course, Rademacher managed that massive masterstroke of a pro debut.