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|Real name||Thomas Rocco Barbella|
|Nickname(s)||The Rock / Rocky / Rockaby|
|Weight(s)|| Welterweight |
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Reach||68 1⁄2 in (174 cm)|
|Born||January 1, 1919|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died|| May 22, 1990 71) (aged|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Wins by KO||52|
Thomas Rocco Barbella (January 1, 1919– May 22, 1990), better known as Rocky Graziano, was an American professional boxer who held the World Middleweight title. Graziano is considered one of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, often displaying the capacity to take his opponent out with a single punch. He was ranked 23rd on The Ring magazine list of the greatest punchers of all time. He fought many of the best middleweights of the era including Sugar Ray Robinson. His turbulent and violent life story was the basis of the 1956 Oscar-winning drama film, Somebody Up There Likes Me , based on his 1955 autobiography of the same title.
The Ring is an American boxing magazine that was first published in 1922 as a boxing and wrestling magazine. As the sporting legitimacy of professional wrestling came more into question, The Ring shifted to becoming exclusively a boxing oriented publication. The magazine is currently owned by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Enterprises, which acquired it in 2007. Ring publishes boxers annual ratings since 1924.
Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional boxer who competed from 1940 to 1965. Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create "pound for pound" rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. He is widely regarded as the greatest boxer of all time, and in 2002, Robinson was ranked number one on The Ring magazine's list of "80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years".
The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry, given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar". The award was originally sculpted by George Stanley from a design sketch by Cedric Gibbons. AMPAS first presented it in 1929 at a private dinner hosted by Douglas Fairbanks in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Graziano was the son of Ida Scinto and Nicola Barbella. Barbella, nicknamed Fighting Nick Bob, was a boxer with a brief fighting record. Born in Brooklyn, Graziano later moved to an Italian enclave centered on East 10th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A in Manhattan's East Village. He grew up as a street fighter and learned to look after himself before he could read or write. He spent years in reform school, jail, and Catholic protectories.Barbella, who got occasional work as a longshoreman, kept boxing gloves around the house and encouraged Graziano and his brothers to fight one another. When he was three years old, Barbella would make him and his brother, Joe (three years his senior), fight almost every night in boxing gloves. At age 18 he won the Metropolitan A.A.U. welterweight championship. Despite the fame and money that professional fighting seemed to offer, he didn't want to become a serious prize fighter. He didn't like the discipline of training any more than he liked the discipline of school or the Army.
Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.
Graziano heard from a couple of his friends about a tournament going on with a gold medal for the winner. He entered under the name of Joe Giuliani and was trained by Tobias (Toby) Zaccaria of Kings County (Brooklyn), NY. He fought four matches and ended up winning the New York Metropolitan Amateur Athletic Union Boxing Competition (1939). He sold the gold medal for $15 and decided that boxing was a good way to make cash.
A couple of weeks into amateur fighting, Graziano was picked up for stealing from a school. He went to Coxsackie Correctional Facility, where he spent three weeks, with boyhood friend Jake LaMotta, and then he went on to the New York City Reformatory where he spent five months. After he got out of the reformatory, he headed back to the gym to earn money and while there, met Eddie Cocco who started his professional career. He entered the ring under the name Robert Barber. A couple of weeks later, Graziano was charged with a probation violation and sent back to reform school where he was charged with starting a minor [ clarification needed ] riot. He was then sent to Rikers Island. [ citation needed ]
Coxsackie Correctional Facility is a maximum security state prison in Coxsackie, Greene County, New York. It currently houses approximately 900 inmates. It is classified as a maximum security general confinement facility and detention center for men.
Giacobbe "Jake" LaMotta was an American professional boxer, former world middleweight champion, and stand-up comedian. Nicknamed "The Bronx Bull" or "Raging Bull", LaMotta was a rough fighter who was not a particularly big puncher, but he would subject his opponents to vicious beatings in the ring. With use of constant stalking, brawling and inside fighting, he developed the reputation for being a 'bully'; he was what is often referred to today as a swarmer and a slugger.
When Graziano got out of jail he enlisted in the military but went AWOL after punching a captain. He escaped from Fort Dix in New Jersey and started his real boxing career under the name of "Rocky Graziano". He won his first couple of bouts. After gaining popularity under the name of Graziano, he was found by the military. After his fourth bout, he was called into manager's office to speak with a couple of military personnel. Expecting to be prosecuted and sent back to the military or jail, he fled. He returned to the military a week later. He turned himself in, but he was pardoned and given the opportunity to fight under the army's aegis.
Fort Dix, the common name for the Army Support Activity located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is a United States Army post. It is located approximately 16.1 miles (25.9 km) south-southeast of Trenton, New Jersey. Fort Dix is under the jurisdiction of the Air Force Air Mobility Command As of the 2010 United States Census, Fort Dix census-designated place (CDP) had a total population of 7,716, of which 5,951 were in New Hanover Township, 1,765 were in Pemberton Township and none were in Springfield Township.
As he grew older and seeing no other way to raise his standard of living, Graziano signed a few boxing contracts, but the rigors of training disinterested him. He and his early managers went their separate ways but eventually, he was picked up by Irving Cohen who had the sense to give him a long leash. Cohen changed the young fighter's name from Barbella to Graziano (his grandfather's surname) and lined up a fight. Refusing to train much, Graziano nevertheless showed his killer instinct and won by a knockout. Other fights were lined up with Cohen trying, in his subtle way, to overmatch Graziano, get him defeated, and thereby show him the value of getting into condition. He even demanded a match against Sugar Ray Robinson.
In March 1945, at Madison Square Garden, Graziano scored a major upset over Billy Arnold, whose style was similar to that of Sugar Ray Robinson; he was a slick boxer with lightning-fast combinations and a knockout punch. The Ring magazine and various newspapers across the United States touted Arnold as the next Joe Louis or Sugar Ray Robinson. Arnold was a heavy favorite to defeat Graziano and then to go on to fight for the world title, but Graziano absorbed a beating in the early going, before going on to batter and knock Arnold out in the third round of the scheduled eight-round bout. [ citation needed ]Following his defeat to Graziano, Arnold was never the same.
Graziano fought three middleweight title bouts against Tony Zale. In their first match (September 27, 1946), after flooring Graziano in the first round, Zale took a savage beating from him, and was on the verge of losing the fight by TKO. However, he rallied and knocked him out in the sixth round to retain his title. The rematch, a year later in Chicago (July 16, 1947), was a mirror image of their first fight. The referee almost stopped the second fight in the third round because of a severe cut over Graziano's left eye, which would have awarded the victory to Zale, but Graziano's cutman, Morris ("Whitey") Bimstein, was able to stop the bleeding to let the fight continue. Graziano was battered around the ring, suffered a closed eye and appeared ready to lose by a knockout, then rallied and knocked Zale out in the sixth round, becoming world middleweight champion.Their last fight was held in New Jersey the following year (June 10, 1948). Zale regained his crown, winning the match by a knockout in the third round. The knockout blows consisted of a perfect combination of a right to Graziano's body, then a left hook to his jaw. He was knocked unconscious. His last attempt at the middleweight title came in April 1952, when he fought Sugar Ray Robinson. He dropped him to his knee with a right in the third round. Less than a minute later, Robinson knocked him out for the count with a right to the jaw. He retired after losing his very next fight, a 10-round decision to Chuck Davey.
In 1946, Graziano was suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) for failure to report a bribe attempt. In 1948, Abe Green, then-National Boxing Association's President, announced that they were indefinitely suspending him in all parts of the world under NBA supervision, following similar action by the California State Athletic Commission. This was due to his "running out" on a scheduled December 1 bout with Fred Apostoli. The suspension covered all of the American States, Great Britain, the European Boxing Federation, Cuba, Mexico, and Canada. Boxing promoter Ralph Tribuani got him a license to box in Delaware, which led to his reinstatement by both the NBA and NYSAC and Rocky's return to prosperity. [ citation needed ]
After his retirement from boxing, Graziano cohosted a short-lived series, The Henny and Rocky Show (1955) with famous comedian Henny Youngman. He was a semi-regular on The Martha Raye Show , as Raye's boyfriend. [ citation needed ]He appeared as a regular on the United Artists TV series Miami Undercover for its entire run, and appeared in several series and shows, including The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom , Car 54, Where Are You? , and Naked City . He portrayed Packy, an ex-boxer, in the 1967 film Tony Rome .
In the 1960s, Graziano opened a pizza restaurant, Rocky Graziano's Pizza Ring, on Second Avenue in Kips Bay, Manhattan, creating a modest franchise for the restaurant in the New York City area. [ citation needed ] He became the celebrity spokesman for Lee Myles Transmissions in the New York City area, appearing on dozens of television commercials from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. [ citation needed ]
Graziano married Norma Unger of German-Jewish descent, on August 10, 1943. They remained together until his death from cardiopulmonary failure on May 22, 1990 in New York City at age 71. They had two children. Graziano's funeral was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral.He is interred at the Locust Valley Cemetery.
|67 Wins (52 knockouts), 10 Losses (3 knockouts), 6 draws|
|1952–04–16||For World Middleweight title.|
|Loss||47–8–5||KO||3 (15)||1948–06–10||Lost World Middleweight title|
|Win||46–7–5||TKO||6 (15)||1947–07–16||Won World Middleweight title|
The Ring Fight of the Year
|Loss||43–7–5||KO||6 (15)||1946–09–27||For World Middleweight titles|
The Ring Fight of the Year
|1945–06–29||The Ring Fight of the Year|
| World Middleweight Champion |
July 16, 1947– June 10, 1948
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