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Rocky Graziano Biography

Rough-and-tumble Childhood, Professional Debut In 1942, Classic Series With Tony Zale


American boxer

In his ten years as a professional boxer, Rocky Graziano held the title of World Middleweight Champion for less than a year; yet he remained one of the most famous athletes in the sport through the time of his death in 1990. Indeed, the 1955 film adaptation of his autobiography, Somebody Up There Likes Me, a series of appearances on comedy shows and television advertisements, and his work as a Republican Party spokesman kept him in the public eye far beyond his athletic career. Even those who were not boxing fans immediately recognized Graziano's New York City attitude and accent—not to mention his battle-scarred face—and enjoyed his pronouncements on fame, fortune, and just about any other topic under the sun. His down-to-earth sensibility also helped him maintain a proper perspective on the ups and downs of his various careers. As he concluded in his 1981 autobiography Somebody Down Here Likes Me Too, "Do me two favors. First, if your kid needs a friend, buy the kid a dog. And second, in the years to come, if you see me making my way down First or Second Avenue in New York City, please don't kick the cane out from unner me. I never really hoit nobody."

Sketch by Timothy Borden

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Famous Sports StarsBoxing