Al Certo

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Name: Al Certisimo
Alias: Al Certo
Hometown: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Birthplace: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Died: 2018-12-26 (Age:90)
Pro Boxer: Record


Al Certo was born September 28, 1928 in Hoboken, NJ, and was delivered by a midwife named Dolly Sinatra, who was the mother of singer Frank Sinatra. One of 13 children, Certo grew up on 519 Monroe Street in Hoboken, a block away from the household of Frank Sinatra. Certo’s father, who went by the name of Al Cosley, was a well-known bandleader who often played at political meetings hosted by Sinatra’s mother.

Before boxing caught his attention at age 19, Certo had another form of footwork in mind. “I never wanted to be a fighter. I wanted to be a dancer,” said Certo, who grew up idolizing Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.

Certo was undefeated as an amateur, winning the 135-pound New Jersey Golden Gloves title, according to his bio in the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, and turned pro in 1953 under his birth name Al Certisimo. Certo went 9-1 (4 knockouts) in just under a year as a junior welterweight, fighting at the long-gone venues Laurel Garden and St. Nicholas Arena until, the HOF writes, “Certo’s career was cut short when he cut his hand with a saw while helping his brother remodel a car wash.”

He was a New Jersey-based trainer and manager, best known for his work with Light Welterweight and Welterweight world champion James (Buddy) McGirt. He also worked with Andrew Golota, for Golota's "No-Contest" with Mike Tyson, in which Golota elected to quit after three rounds. Certo trying to get Golota to fight, could be seen forcing Golota's mouthpiece into his mouth while his fighter quit. He also trained Mustafa Hamsho, Vinny Maddalone, Edwin Viruet, Adolfo Viruet, Darren Maciunski, Ramon Ranquello, Isidro Perez.

Certo also took over the managerial reins of 1980s middleweight Mustafa Hamsho after the death of Hamsho’s manager, Paddy Flood, who was one of Certo’s closest friends.

Al Certo passed away in his native New Jersey at the age of 90. The cause of death was complications following recent surgery for a broken femur. Certo and his wife Lee had daughters Sandra and Kim, as well as several grandchildren.