Rest in Peace, Carmen Basilio, Toughest Onion Farmer Ever

BY The Sweet Science ON November 07, 2012
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basilioCANASTOTA--International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its flags will fly at half-staff in memory of Canastota’s welterweight and middleweight boxing champion Carmen Basilio. He passed away this morning at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, NY at the age of 85.

Carmen-Basilio

1990 Hall of Fame Inductee Carmen Basilio

“Carmen put Canastota on the worldwide boxing map and gave the village’s residents a sense of pride that couldn’t be matched anywhere in the world,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy. “During the 1950s and 1960s Carmen was everyone’s hero. They talked about him in the coffee shops, grocery stores, gas stations and barbershops all the time. And they still talk about him today. He was loved, respected and idolized. His career and memories will last forever in the Village of Canastota.”

Check out Michael Woods' write-up about the Hall of Famer here.

Basilio, nicknamed “The Upstate Onion Farmer,” was born in Canastota, NY on April 2, 1927. He twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the world middleweight championship in 1957. With an aggressive, charging style and a powerful left hook, Basilio scored wins over Lew Jenkins, Ike Williams, Billy Graham, Gil Turner, Art Aragon, Gasper Ortega and Don Jordan among others during his career. He incredibly engaged in five consecutive fights of the year: 1955 (vs DeMarco), 1956 (vs. Saxton), 1957 (vs. Robinson), 1958 (vs. Robinson) and 1959 (vs. Fullmer). His pro record reads 56-16-7 (27 KOs).

Mike Milmoe, board member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the editor and publisher of the Canastota Bee Journal newspaper during Carmen’s fighting days, said, “Carmen was the best known and most famous native son in community history. He gave credibility to the Boxing Hall of Fame in its formative years with his participation and support. When he received the Hickok Award as Pro Athlete of the Year in 1957 after defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight championship, he brought worldwide recognition to this community. Wherever he lived or visited his heart was always in Canastota. He was a wonderful individual and our best community ambassador.”

In 1990, Basilio was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Comment on this article

Radam G says:

Much luv, Carmen Basilio! I'll see you at the crossroad. Holla!

dino da vinci says:

Many years ago I remember reading an article about Carmen in Ring magazine. They interviewed a State Trooper who didn't wish to give his name for the record. Pertaining to Carmen he said, "Yeah, I know him. He's a punk, and he's beatable, but you'd better pack a lunch because it's going to take you all day."

I also remember his hands were so bad (brittle), they let him down time and time again. He almost walked away from the sport. Of course it's what he did against Tony De Marco and Sugar Ray Robinson that we'll remember him for.

'Concrete' Carmen, you were that boxing rarity: A Champion's Champion. It's time to rest. RIP Champ.

ali says:

R.I.P thanks for the memories..

brownsugar says:

Many years ago I remember reading an article about Carmen in Ring magazine. They interviewed a State Trooper who didn't wish to give his name for the record. Pertaining to Carmen he said, "Yeah, I know him. He's a punk, and he's beatable, but you'd better pack a lunch because it's going to take you all day."

I also remember his hands were so bad (brittle), they let him down time and time again. He almost walked away from the sport. Of course it's what he did against Tony De Marco and Sugar Ray Robinson that we'll remember him for.

'Concrete' Carmen, you were that boxing rarity: A Champion's Champion. It's time to rest. RIP Champ.


So true.. Dino.
There was no quit in that guy.
RIP Carman.

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