|Birth: ||May 29, 1913|
|Death: ||Mar. 20, 1997|
Professional Boxer. A two time middleweight champion, and considered one of the greatest middleweights in History, he will be best remembered for his incredible 3 fight series with Rocky Graziano. Born in Gary, Indiana, he worked in the steel mills and boxed as a youth. He left the steel mills when he turned pro in 1934. Nicknamed "The Man of Steel," he progressed steadily through the ranks defeating Jack Moran, Bobby Lamonte, and Jimmy Clark, and became known for enduring much punishment and coming back to win time and time again. In 1940, he was afforded the opportunity to fight Middleweight Champion Al Hostak and scored a 13th round knockout. Tony Zale then defended his title against Steve Mamakos, a rematch with Al Hostak, and Georgie Abrams. But when World War II erupted he joined the Navy as Middleweight Champion. He served in the Navy until 1945 and returned to the ring in 1946, still Middleweight Champion of the World. He rattled off several impressive victories, scoring knockouts in less than 6 rounds, but he was considered rusty and likely to be dethroned by a top contender. Late in 1946, he met the rising New York slugger Rocky Graziano at Yankee Stadium. In what became a classic match up of the puncher versus puncher, Zale and Graziano exchanged furious blows and both men were staggered numerous times. Graziano appeared to be getting the upper hand in the 6th round but Zale showing true grit came back to knock out Graziano with a huge left hook. Their second fight in Chicago in 1947 was just as brutal and this time Graziano scored a 6th round knockout and took Tony Zale’s title. Their 3rd fight in Newark, New Jersey was perhaps their most brutal of all. Tony Zale came out fast from the start and knocked Graziano down in the first round and continued to pummel him until knocking him out in the 3rd round. After winning the title back from Graziano he would lose the title in his next fight against Marcel Cerdan via an 11th round knockout. Zale then retired with a record of 67-18-2 with 45 knockouts. He then served as head boxing Coach for the Chicago Catholic Youth Organization from 1949 to 1970. In 1970, he joined the staff of the Chicago Park District teaching boxing to countless youngsters. In 1991, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. When died on March 20, 1997, many boxing venues around the world tolled the 10 count in honor of the great Middleweight Champion.
GPS (lat/lon): 41.57388, -87.19951
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Nov 15, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 6956
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