RIP Carmen Basilio

Earlier today, boxing legend Carmen Basilio passed away at age 85. As a former welterweight and middleweight world champion, Basilio was famous for his relentless, action packed style. It was rare that he took a step back. He constantly came forward, looking to inflict damage on the inside with short hooks and uppercuts.

It is rare that a fighter will ever be involved in a Ring Magazine Fight of the Year, but Basilio was five years in a row. In 1955, he fought Tony DeMarco in a war. In 1956, he earned the honors in a battle against Johnny Saxton. A year later he beat Sugar Ray Robinson. Their rematch in 1958 also earned Fight of the Year honors.  His 1959 fight against Gene Fullmer did so as well. If there was ever a crowd pleasing fighter, it was Carmen Basilio.

In his own words,

“I gave them action. They loved to see action. I moved in on fighters all the time.”

A brief highlight of his career can be seen below.


Further highlights of his epic first fight with Sugar Ray Robinson can be seen next.


Lastly, an hour long documentary about Carmen Basilio and the mob’s involvement in boxing can be found below. It’s well worth a look for any fan of the sweet science.


“You got to pay the price. You got to make yourself tired of working and training, because if don’t do that you ain’t going to do nothing.” – Carmen Basilio

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  1. I’ve read this guy had to be one of the hardest training fighters of all-time. Unbelievable stamina. Kind of reminded me of a little Rocky Marciano. Although not as devastating of a puncher as Marciano but just a little buzzsaw that never stopped coming forward, and like Marciano could take tremendous punishment and wear down bigger men. Beat the much bigger Ray Robinson and even aquitted himself well in the rematch despite an eye injury that has to be seen to be believed.. Of course Robinson was a few years removed from his prime but he was still a formidable fighter. Very valiant efforts against the bull like Fullmer, but Gene was just too big and too strong for Carmen. Rocky Graziano, like Basilio was on the small side for a middleweight and if Graziano and Basilio could’ve met in their primes it would have been an interesting fight. Of course Graziano’s time was a few years before Basilio but it would’ve been a good fight. Both Graziano and the former welterweight champion Basilio were never much more than junior middleweights even at their heaviest. RIP Mr. Basilio. One of the toughest men to ever fight in the ring.

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