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The all-time top 10 Italian American boxers

By Rolando Vitale, author of The Real Rockys: A History of the Golden Age of Italian Americans in Boxing 1900-1955

10. Billy Petrolle

Years active: 1922-1934

Fight Record: 89-21-10, 66 KO

Championships: None

Billy Petrolle (William Petrolla) was considered too much of a risk by the lightweight champions during the mid-late twenties. The “Fargo Express”, as he was known, wooed crowds with his displays of powerful body punching and breath-taking toe-to-toe exchanges. His fearlessness, fighting courage and KO punch prompted Nat Fleischer to write that “fighters of his ability come but once in a lifetime.” Petrolle beat eight world champions including Tony Canzoneri and Jimmy McLarnin. Elected into Boxing’s Hall of Fame in 1962, he is widely recognized as one of the best boxers never to have won a world title.

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