Tony Zale vs. Rocky Graziano (1st meeting)

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Tony Zale (left) vs. Rocky Graziano

1946-09-27 : Rocky Graziano 154 lbs lost to Tony Zale 160 lbs by KO at 1:43 in round 6 of 15

World Middleweight Title

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  • Graziano was a slight betting favorite.
  • Graziano was down for a five-count in the first round, but he came back and dropped Zale at the end of the second round for a three-count. Graziano continued to pound away savagely, and after five rounds, Zale looked like a beaten fighter. But then came the unexpected in the sixth round. Showing the heart of a champion, Zale, who injured his right hand in the second round, gathered the strength to fire a terrific right to Graziano's solar plexus and followed it up with a left hook to the chin. Graziano went down and didn't rise until just after referee Ruby Goldstein completed the count of ten.
  • Zale had to be propped up and led around the ring carefully as he waved to the crowd after the knockout. The Associated Press wrote that Zale "looked like a man who had been in hand-to-hand combat with a buzzsaw, and somehow, much to his own astonishment, had come out ahead."
  • There was a crowd of 39,827 and the gross gate was $342,497.
  • Named The Ring "Fight of the Year".
  • The Ring ranked the fight fifth on their 1996 list The 100 Greatest Title Fights of All-Time .

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See Also