Name: Charley Burley
Birth Name: Charles Duane Burley
Birthplace: Bessemer, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 1992-10-16 (Age:75)
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Height: 5′ 9″ / 175cm
Reach: 75″ / 191cm
Boxing Record: click
- Managers: Phil Goldstein (1936-1940), Luke Carney (1941), Tommy O'Loughlin (1942-1946), Morris Slutsky (1945-1946) Charley Rose, then Lew Burston & Jersey Jones (1946-1948), George Armstrong (1948-1949), Harry Roth (1949-1950)
- Trainer: Hiawatha Grey
- Photo #2, Photo #3, Photo #4, Photo #5, Photo #6
- At age 12, Burley joined the Kay Boys Club in Pittsburgh where he took up boxing under the tutelage of local trainers Leonard Payne and Howard Turner.
- Burley won a Golden Gloves Junior title at lightweight and a Golden Gloves Senior title at welterweight.
- Burley lost to Leo Sweeney in the welterweight final of the National AAU Tournament.
- In 1936, Burley was invited to Chicago to attend the box-offs for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but declined as he objected to the racial and religious persecution taking place in Germany. Instead, he received an invitation to represent the United States at the Workers' Games, which were being held in Barcelona, Spain as an alternative to the Olympics. However, the Workers' Games never took place because of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
- Defeated Cocoa Kid by a fifteen-round unanimous decision to win the "Colored" World Welterweight Championship in 1938.
- Defeated Jack Chase by a ninth-round knockout to win the California Middleweight Championship in 1944.
- Defeated future World Champions Fritzie Zivic, Billy Soose, and Archie Moore.
- Fought Holman Williams seven times between 1939 and 1945. Burley won three, Williams won three, and one was a no contest.
The Black Murderers' Row
- Burley was among a group of feared and avoided black fighters in the 1940s referred to as "The Black Murderers' Row," a term coined by writer Budd Schulberg. The group included Eddie Booker, Jack Chase, Cocoa Kid, Bert Lytell, Lloyd Marshall, Aaron "Tiger" Wade, and Holman Williams.
- George Gainford, manager of Sugar Ray Robinson, admitted that he "bypassed" Burley "because his style was such he would have counteracted Robinson's." He asked Ray Arcel, "Can't you get me someone besides Burley?"
- Johnny Ray, manager of Billy Conn, shouted at matchmaker Art Rooney, who proposed Burley as an opponent, "No! No! No! I don't want Burley. You can have him for Christmas, for New Year's, or your Aunt Tillie's birthday. But never mention his name again."
- Fritzie Zivic, who lost two out of three fights to Burley, had his manager, Luke Carney, take over Burley's contract to ensure he would never have to face him again.
- Fought a scheduled eight-round exhibition on October 18, 1949 against Jack Burns of Reno, Nevada. Burley, weighing 158, knocked out the 198-pound Burns in four rounds.
- Fought two exhibitions on October 21, 1949 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Burley knocked out Jack Brennan of Kansas City, Missouri in three rounds and knocked out George Hayes of Creston, Iowa in one round. The bouts were part of a barnstorming trip in which fighters were offered a purse to go the distance with Burley.
Honors & Recognition
- Inducted into The Ring Magazine Boxing Hall of Fame in 1983
- Inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1987
- Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992
- Ranked 39th on The Ring Magazine's 2002 list The 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years
- Ranked 86th on The Ring Magazine's 2003 list The 100 Greatest Punchers of All-Time!
- Ranked 6th on The Ring Magazine's 2004 list of The Greatest Middleweights of All-Time
- Ranked 4th on The Ring Magazine's 2008 list of The Greatest Welterweights of All-Time
- Legendary trainer Eddie Futch said, "Charley Burley was the finest all-around fighter I ever saw."