"Youmans’s descriptions of bouts, such as the legendary tussles with Boston hero Tony DeMarco, are enough to conjure vivid memories of the Gillette-sponsored ‘Friday Night Fights,’ on which Basilio would frequently appear. Thick with eye-catching photos, the book nails the brutish and criminal politics of the postwar fight game."—Boston Globe
"To be a good boxer you have to have a type of mentality that is rare. You could say boxers are rare people and Carmen Basilio is the rarest of boxers. There has never been anyone quite like him. A stand-up guy who would outwork anybody to achieve his goal. He’s number one in my book."—Angelo Dundee
On September 23, 1957, Carmen Basilio moved up in weight class to challenge the great Sugar Ray Robinson, pound for pound the greatest boxer of all time, for the middleweight championship of the world. Basilio, the ultimate warrior, set the stage for a classic matchup between two of the sport’s best fighters. Leading up to the title fight, Robinson had angered his opponent with his arrogance and one-sided demands. Basilio entered the ring with one goal in mind: the destruction of Sugar Ray Robinson. The matchup was much more than just a battle for a world championship. This fight was “personal.”
This inspiring story recalls boxing’s golden age in the 1950s and two fighters who rose from abject poverty to become boxing legends. Gary B. Youmans traces the remarkable story of Carmen Basilio, who as a boy toiled in the onion fields of Canastota, New York, and dreamed of one day becoming a boxing champion. His difficult journey to the top of his sport is a riveting tale of survival and perseverance. Basilio’s stubborn determination and refusal to deal with the mobsters who controlled boxing in the 1950’s is a testament to his personal integrity and commitment to living an honorable life on his own terms.
Gary B. Youmans is a sports marketing consultant and has owned a minor league basketball team. He is coauthor of ’59: The Story of the 1959 Syracuse National Championship Football Team and ’63: The Story of the 1963 World Championship Chicago Bears, both distributed by Syracuse University Press.
Distributed for Cambell Road Press, Inc.
6 x 9, 232 pages, 39 black and white illustrations