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Boxing | International

Hundreds say goodbye to Basilio



Several hundred people packed a New York church on Monday to say final goodbyes to Carmen Basilio.

The former world middleweight champion, who was 85 when he died last week, was buried after a church service in Irondequoit, a suburb of Rochester.

Basilio won the world title from legendary Sugar Ray Robinson in 1957 before losing a rematch six months later.

He was being treated for pneumonia before his death at a Rochester hospital last Wednesday. At his funeral service, the Hall of Fame boxer was described as a gentle and kind man.

He is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Basilio took the world welterweight title from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and added the middleweight belt near the close of a 13-year career.

Only 1.67 m tall, Basilio bored relentlessly into opponents and wore them down with body blows. His battles with the likes of Billy Graham and Kid Gavilan riveted the US during the age of black-and-white television.

Basilio was among the first Hall of Fame inductees in 1990, a group that includes Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Jake LaMotta.

He retired in 1961 with a record of 56-16-7, including 27 knockouts. He was voted Fighter of the Year twice by boxing writers.

Basilio also fought in four bouts that were voted the best fights of the year. Two of these were against Robinson.



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