Pair to celebrate 55th Anniversary of 1955's 'Fight of the Year'
The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced March 22 that former ring rivals Carmen Basilio and Tony DeMarco will celebrate the 55th Anniversary of 1955's "Fight of the Year" at the Banquet of Champions on Saturday, June 12 at the Syracuse Oncenter. The banquet is part of festivities planned for the 21st Annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend set for June 10-13.
On June 10, 1955, Basilio and DeMarco waged a welterweight title war that saw Basilio score a dramatic 12th round TKO to capture the belt. It was instantly the leading contender for "Fight of the Year." But lighting struck twice as the two warriors fought another epic contest in the November 30 rematch. Basilio again scored a 12th round TKO to retain his title. The rematch was named "Fight of the Year."
"The two Basilio and DeMarco fights are truly legendary battles in boxing history," said Hall of Fame director Edward Brophy. "Boxing fans will surely enjoying recalling these two battles -- including their "Fight of the Year" - with them at the Banquet of Champions."
Basilio, nicknamed "The Upstate Onion Farmer," was born in Canastota. He twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Robinson for the middleweight crown in 1957. With an aggressive, charging style and a powerful left hook, Basilio scored wins over Lew Jenkins, Ike Williams and Billy Graham among others during his career. His pro record reads 56-16-7 (27 KOs). In 1990, he was elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
The fighting pride of Boston, MA, DeMarco captured the welterweight title from Johnny Saxton in 1955. During his career, he fought eight world champion and registered wins over Paddy DeMarco, Wallace "Bud" Smith, Kid Gavilan and Don Jordan. He also defeated top contenders Chico Vejar and Gaspar Ortega. His pro record reads 58-12-1 (33 KOs).