Name: Rocky Graziano
Alias: The Rock
Birth Name: Thomas Rocco Barbella
Hometown: New York, New York, USA
Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
Died: 1990-05-22 (Age:71)
Pro Boxer: Record
Trainers: Whitey Bimstein, Al Silvani
Managers: Irving Cohen, Jack Hurle
Rocky Graziano Gallery
- Rocky Graziano, is considered one of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, having the capacity to take any of his opponents out with a single punch. Sugar Ray Robinson, who fought Graziano in 1952, said, "No one ever hit me harder than Rocky." The Ring ranked Graziano 23rd on their 2003 list of The 100 Greatest Punchers of All-Time!. In the ring he was one of the most exciting boxers in boxing history, fighting in the Ring Magazine's first three Fights of the Year. Bert Sugar, who ranked Graziano #98 out of 100 in his book Boxing's Greatest Fighters, wrote that Graziano was "raised on New York's lower East Side where both sides of the tracks were wrong." Graziano overcame coming from a disadvantaged background to rise to the top of the ring and entertainment world.
- Graziano's father, Nick Barbella, boxed under the name Fighting Nick Bob.
- During a brief amateur career, Graziano won the New York AAU Metropolitan Welterweight Championship. Graziano later said, "I got a medal, which I hocked for $15, and thought this can't be too bad a racket."
- Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942, but he soon went AWOL after punching an officer. When he turned professional, he took the last name of his sister's boyfriend, Graziano, in order to avoid detection by the Army. He fought eight times before getting caught. He served ten months in prison and was dishonorably discharged.
- Fought Tony Zale in New York City for the World Middleweight Championship on September 27, 1946. Zale retained the title with a sixth-round knockout. The Ring named the bout Fight of the Year.
- Had his license revoked by the New York State Athletic Commission in February 1947 for failure to report a $100,000 bribe offer to throw a fight against Reuben Shank on December 27, 1946. Graziano pulled out of the fight with Shank three days before it was scheduled, claiming a back injury.
- Had a rematch with Zale in Chicago, Illinois on July 16, 1947. Graziano won the World Middleweight Championship with a sixth-round knockout. Like the first fight, the bout was named The Ring Fight of the Year.
- On September 29, 1947, the Illinois Athletic Commission barred dishonorably discharged servicemen from boxing in the state. an order commission member Roy D. Keehn said referred to Graziano. Keehn said the commission had attempted to get Graziano's record from the War Department before his July 16 fight with Zale, but the request was refused. Governor Dwight H. Green said if the information had been available then, the fight would not have been permitted.
- Defended the title against Zale in Newark, New Jersey on June 10, 1948. Zale regained the World Middleweight Championship with a third-round knockout.
- Scheduled to face Fred Apostoli on December 1, 1948 in Oakland, California but withdrew a week before the fight. Graziano said he was "homesick" and "too mixed up mentally" to train properly. The National Boxing Association suspended Graziano in all parts of the world, following similar action by the California State Athletic Commission.
- On April 9, 1949 Jack Hurley, Vince Foster's manager reported a $50,000 offer for a bout with Graziano from Tournament of Champions which turned up promotional warfare with the 20th Century Sporting Club and the International Boxing Club, all of which were scrambling for the bout. The location wasn't specified although the general assumption was it would be in the greater New York area where the T. of C. was the strongest. To put the bout in the Polo Grounds T. of C. would first have to get the local boxing Commission to lift the ban on Graziano. None of the promoters where successful in having the ban lifted. Ralph Tribuani was influential in acquiring a license for Graziano in Delaware, shortly afterwards the NBA reinstated Graziano's license.
- Had his New York State license restored in May 1949. Shortly after New York's reinstatement announcement, Abe Green, president of the National Boxing Association, said the NBA would lift its suspension as soon as California removed its ban, which it did after Graziano reimbursed the Oakland promoter $7,200. Illinois also lifted its ban on dishonorably discharged servicemen.
- Scheduled to face Jake LaMotta for the World Middleweight Championship on June 28, 1950, but the fight was canceled after Graziano fractured his left hand.
- Fought Sugar Ray Robinson in Chicago, Illinois for the World Middleweight Championship on April 16, 1952. Robinson retained the title after being knocked down in the third.
- He was immensely successful on both television programs and commercials for several decades, performing on the first ever color television program to go on the air after the FCC approved color television.
- Autobiography, Somebody Up There Likes Me, was made into an Oscar winning movie in 1956.
- Became friends with United States President Ronald Reagan, who appeared with him on the cover of his 1981 book Somebody Down Here Likes Me, Too.
- In the 1960s and 1970s, he owned a restaurant in North Miami, Florida called Rocky Graziano's.
- Acted in the Frank Sinatra movie Tony Rome and appeared on the TV series Naked City, Car 54, Where Are You?, and Mod Squad. Graziano also appeared on a number of variety shows.
- In his later years, Graziano was a renowned artist. His paintings were displayed in numerous individual shows at prominent New York art galleries.
- Became a speaker and spokesman for various businesses, including Claridge Casino.
- Suffered a stroke in April 1990 and died a month later at age 71.
- "Leave Your Worry on The Doorstep" by Ira Berkow, New York Times May 26, 1990
- "Rocky was a champ...and a character" by Bob Diskin, ESPN
- Boxing's Greatest Fighters by Bert Sugar, 2006
- IMDb credits
- Find A Grave
| World Middleweight Champion
1947 Jul 16 – 1948 Jun 10