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Wed Mar 5, 2014, 09:05 AM

Carmen Basilio

An old friend called me yesterday; he said he needed to stop by my house. I put a pot of coffee on, and waited. When he got here, he handed me a beautiful framed picture of Carmen Basilio, the great welterweight and middleweight champion. It was autographed, with a nice message from the Champ.

My friend is a retired carpenter, who still does some work from time to time. He had been cleaning out an old house for a friend, and found the photo in a pile of trash. He said he knew I'd like it, as he associates my family with boxing. And he thought there was some connection that he couldn't remember.

My great uncle had trained Carmen in his early career. In fact, Uncle Pat had promoted Carmen's first five professional bouts in Sherburne, although they do not show up on his "official" record. Old copies of Sherburne's newspapers record the bouts, though, and I talked to Carmen about them. Uncle Pat also co-promoted Carmen's early fights in Binghamton, where his recorded career began.

Carmen was a frequent guest at Uncle Pat's house. Basilio would always give Pat tickets to his fights. The family would travel all over to watch Carmen; this included his most important fight, where he took the middleweight crown from Sugar Ray Robinson.

Carmen worked my brother's corner in his pro debut. My brother-in-law twice fought Carmen's last fighter, heavyweight Greg Sorentino. And Carmen came up into the ring to congratulate me after I won a big amateur tournament. Even when he was old, and not in the best condition, Carmen remembered Uncle Pat.

It's funny: last Friday, my son and I met Floyd Mayweather, Jr. On our ride home, we discussed how Floyd would have done against past greats. All speculation, of course, but a fun mental game. I said that Carmen might well have matched up best against Floyd. We pass through Sherburne on our ride, and we have our own little tradition of stopping for a visit to Pat's grave.

On Saturday, before watching the televised card, we continued our discussion of a dream fight between Carmen and Floyd. And we talked about the times I introduced my son to Carmen, who was one of the nicest, funniest people you could hope to meet.

Two days later, I got this autographed picture. It will be a nice addition to my son's collection!

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Reply Carmen Basilio (Original post)
H2O Man Mar 2014 OP
Kingofalldems Mar 2014 #1

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Mar 5, 2014, 02:41 PM

1. He was one tough SOB.

I hope he kept his faculties while he was alive. He took a lot of punches to the head.

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