History | Jul 16 2019

On This Day: Somebody up there likes Rocky Graziano as he beats Tony Zale in rematch

On July 16, 1947 Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale engaged in part two of their legendary trilogy, by George Zeleny
rocky graziano

NEARLY a year after their first sensational clash, Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano met again in Chicago. A then-indoor record crowd of 18,547 turned out on a stiflingly hot night to see Graziano, one eye closed and cut, gain revenge by hammering Zale so unmercifully in the sixth round that the referee had to stop the mayhem.

The return matched their first encounter in its ferocity and crowd appeal. Zale took the fight to Graziano from the start, punishing him to the body and raising a lump over his left eye. In the second Zale switched his attack to the head, targeting the damaged eye. The wounded challenger hit back with his trademark smashing right and towards the end of the round caught Zale so hard the champion staggered and went to the wrong corner at the bell.

Zale got back on top in the third. His accurate shots bounced off Graziano’s head and he scored a flash knockdown. Rocky was hurt and took a pounding on the ropes as the round ended. Zale was now forging ahead on all the scorecards and Graziano spent the fourth wiping the blood from his damaged eye while hunting the champion down. Zale did go to the canvas but more from a slip than a punch.

Graziano and Zale go to war in an unforgettable brawl