He was a North End hero "not because he 's the greatest boxer in the world, which he ' s not ", wrote a sports reporter, "but because he's so brave ".
Tony De Marco, welterweight 1950s and pride of the largely Italian North End of Boston, although he held a world championship for only 70 days, died Monday in Boston. He was 89 years old.
His death was announced by the International Boxing Hallof Fame, which inducted him in 2019.
Sometimes called the Miniature Marciano, for undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, De Marco was always sure to unleash a furious barrage of punches, win or lose.
"The boy is bursting with courage and determination," wrote Boston sports columnist Dave Egan. “Like the Marines in Iwo Jima and the pasta in Verdun. He's so remarkably popular not because he's the world's greatest boxer, which he isn't, but because he's so brave. welterweight championship away from Johnny Saxton on April 1, 1955, at Boston Garden, when the referee stopped the fight in the 14th round with a dazed Saxton on the ropes after De Marco knocked him down with an attackue à deux mains.
"When it comes to real boxing, Tony showed no finesse ", The Hfrance.fr "He is doubtful he used a left blow. He simply stepped forward, hooking his left to the head and body and trying to hit the body up close. "
But De Marco's most memorable fights were his brawls with Carmen Basilio .
Basilio won the De Marco's championship on June 10, 1955, stopping him in the 12th round of a furious fight at the War Memorial Auditorium in Syracuse, NY. Year.
De Marco was ahead on all three cards after the eighth and ro of this second fight, and Basilio's left hand had been broken. But De Marco was exhausted from the flurry of blows he had given, and the referee stopped the bout after De Marco was knocked down in the 12th round and could not get up.
De Marco a won victories over top welterweights like Chico Vejar, Kid Gavilan, Gaspar Ortega (who also beat him twice) and Don Jordan. He retired in 1962 with 58 wins (33 by KO), 12 losses and a draw. Image De Marco fought George Araujo at Fenway Park in Boston in 1954. He won by technical knockout in the fifth round, one of 58 career wins. Credit ... Peter J. Carroll / Associated Press
From Marco was born Leonardo Liotta on January 14 1932 in Boston. His father, James, whoi owned a shoe repair shop in the North End, and his mother, Giacomina, were Italian immigrants.
When he was 11 years old, Leonardo, as was was calling fr, started boxing for a boys club in Boston, and won the State Boys Championship for 100 pounds. At 15, he trained with the pros, but he was three too young to get a professional license. He solved this problem with the help of a priest and an 18-year-old friend whose identity he took.
"I went down to the parish to see Father Mario, who gave me a false baptismal certificate and I 'borrowed' the name of another child named Tony De Marco for the certificate ", he told the Cyber Boxing Zone website in an interview in 2011.
"Of course Father Mario - a fine man. 'he was - thought I was using this to find a job, pas to become a professional fighter at the age of 16.
"Anyway, soon after, the real Tony De Marco told me he was turning pro. I said, "What name are you fighting under? He said, "Tony De Marco. I told him, "You can't have it!" Pick another name. ”So he took the name of another kid named Michael Termini, who also wanted to be a pro, but had to take his brother's name. So there were three of us fighting, all from the same neighborhood, all using someone else's name.
De Marco turned pro in October 1948, when his real age was 16.
Her teenage idol was the middleweight champion Jake La Motta .
"I tried tobeat like him, just by bullying and crowding, ”De Marco told Boxing.com. “I am not a boxer. Never has been and never will be. I just don't feel good about stinging and blocking and trying to be fancy. I tried it when I started and almost got killed. "
De Marco was a liquor salesman for several years after retiring from the ring, then moved to the Phoenix area, hoping the hot, dry climate would relieve his 8-year-old son Vincent's asthma, and opened a cocktail bar there.
In June 1975, Vincent, then 14, was stranded and killed by an automobile while riding his bicycle. De Marco then returned with his family in the Boston area and became a state house security guard.
His survivors include his wife, Dorothy, according to Bosyour Boxing Promotions.
De Marco has not been forgotten in the North End, where there is a Tony De Marco Way. In October 2012, a bronze statue of him throwing a left hook was unveiled, a creation of sculptor Harry Weber.
De Marco a declared to the crowd in honor that day, "Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen to me.