1957-02-22 Carmen Basilio w co 2 (15) Johnny Saxton, The Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, USA - WORLD

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1957-02-22 Carmen Basilio w co 2 (15) Johnny Saxton, The Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, USA - WORLD. Referee: Tony LaBranche. Although Basilio had decisively beaten Saxton last time out to regain his title, with another contract for a return in place the two men met again. This time Basilio (147), showing no sign of the injury to his right hand that had forced a postponement, marched straight into Saxton (147), throwing in hooks to the head and body in relentless fashion. Tearing out for the second, Basilio reproduced what he had done in the first, smashing away at his opponent until a big right found the mark. Down went Saxton, as if shot, and although he made a desperate effort to get up he was counted out with 18 seconds of the session still remaining.

Basilio relinquished the title on becoming world middleweight champion after outpointing Sugar Ray Robinson at the Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York on 23 September, and a World Boxing Committee, which was set up to organise a series of eliminators, named Virgil Akins, George Barnes, Vince Martinez, Isaac Logart, Gaspar Ortega and Gil Turner to take part.

In the meantime, Massachusetts who felt strongly about Tony DeMarco being left out of the eliminators, matched him with Akins to contest their version of the championship. Since losing the title to Basilio, DeMarco had won seven of nine contests, reversed two defefeats by Ortega and also beaten Wallace Bud Smith, Arthur Persley, Martinez, Kid Gavilan, Larry Boardman and Walter Byers. His opponent, Akins, had been a pro since 1948, winning 45 of 63 contests, but had fought the best, defeating the likes of Smith (twice), Tommy Campbell, Freddie Dawson, Luther Rawlings, Joe Brown, Henry Davis, Ronnie Delaney, Joe Miceli, Logart, Hector Constance, Al Andrews and Garnet Hart.