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Miguel Cotto takes the great welterweight challenge vs. Martinez

Fighters Network

Carmen Basilio

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Basilio, one of the most rugged and iron-willed fighters of the 1950s (or any decade), got the most out of his athletic ability and sinewy 5-foot-6 frame as he battled to five consecutive RING magazine Fight of the Year awards (from 1955-1959). The well-conditioned onion farmer from Canastota, N.Y., fought the best fighters of his era, including Robinson, Gavilan, Graham, Williams, Gene Fullmer, Tony DeMarco and Johnny Saxton.

Won welterweight title(s): On June 6, 1953, earning the New York State version of the title by beating Billy Graham via 12-round decision; and on June 10, 1955, stopping Tony DeMarco in the 12th round of the Fight of the Year for the world title. Lost the title to Johnny Saxton via 15-round decision on March 14, 1956, but regained it by stopping Saxton in Round 9 of their rematch on Sept. 12, 1956.

Fought for middleweight title(s): On Sept. 23, 1957, outpointing Sugar Ray Robinson via 15-round split decision. Basilio, who lost the title via split-nod to Robinson in their rematch, challenged Gene Fullmer (for the vacant NBA title) on Aug. 28, 1959, and again on June 29, 1960; and Paul Pender on April 22, 1961. Basilio lost to Fullmer via 14th– and 12th-round stoppages; and lost to Pender via 15-round decision (in the final bout of his career).

Hall of fame induction: 1990



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