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January 24, 2013

Step Back in Time: Jan. 24, 2013

The Daily Star

---- — Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.

50 years ago

Jan. 24, 1963

Professional boxing may be heading to its final bout but to a bunch of kids who gathered Tuesday night in the basement meeting room of St. Joseph’s Church in Worcester, it is bigger and greater than ever.

Boxing champ Carmen Basilio saw to that as he shook hands, signed autographs and chatted with sons and fathers about boxing, its past, present and future.

“He’s not so big,” said a happy youngster after meeting Basilio and getting a big, warm bear hug from the champ.

Dad smiled at his happy son and said, “Well, all boxers aren’t big. They don’t have to be if they’re good and Carmen was one of the best.”

The fighter of 79 professional bouts and one-time holder of both the world welterweight and middleweight titles shared well over an hour of ring talk with over 100 well-informed ring fans.

“Mr. Basilio,” a youngster in the front row asked, “who was your toughest opponent?”

“My wife,” the champ replied good-heartedly.

Then the older but no less attentive members of the gathering turned to the more serious side. What does Basilio think of the present and future of boxing?

“The future of boxing in New York State will soon be decided in Albany. As we all know there are lots of politics involved. What politician wants to knock a few boxing commissioners out of their jobs?

“When all is said and done they will have accomplished nothing.”

What does Carmen think of boxing?

“I’d be a hypocrite if I were against.”