1946-09-27 Tony Zale w co 6 (15) Rocky Graziano, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1946-09-27 Tony Zale w co 6 (15) Rocky Graziano, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Ruby Goldstein. In one of the most savage contests seen in the gloved era, the champion knocked the wild swinging Graziano (154) out at 1.43 of the sixth round. Zale (160) had been on the brink of defeat several times. Graziano, who had been knocked down for ‘four’ by two heavy blows to the jaw in the opening round, came right back at Zale to smash him to the floor at the end of the second session. Having been out of the ring for well over four years, Zale came out for the third and was forced to sustain a tremendous bombardment before fighting back in the fourth despite sustaining a broken thumb. The fifth had Graziano all over Zale and how the champion made it back to his corner still standing was remarkable as he had been belted non-stop from pillar to post. Coming out for the sixth with all the money on Graziano to complete the job, Zale took the challenger out after landing with a heavy right under the heart and a cracking left to the temple. Graziano tried desperately to get up before the ‘ten’ had been called but his body had been numbed and that was that.

With a return signed up for New York in March 1947 almost before the final punch was delivered, both Marcel Cerdan, the European champion, and Jake LaMotta were seen to be the outstanding contenders but would have to wait until this one got sorted.

Unfortunately, Graziano was suspended in New York in March 1947 for not reporting a bribe to throw a fight with Reuben Shank and the fight was off. Graziano’s excuse that he thought it was a joke was not accepted by the NYSAC. However, the NBA decided not to accept the sentence, allowing Graziano free to box in any other State outside of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and a fresh hunt for a new venue was on. Intended to be held at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois on 16 July, it was eventually moved indoors keeping the same date.