(Canastota, NY – Jan. 2013) A memorial mass for Canastota’s welterweight and middleweight boxing champion Carmen Basilio will be held at St. Agatha’s Church in Canastota at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Rev. Kevin P. Maloney will officiate the memorial mass.
Born in Canastota on April 2, 1927, Basilio passed away on Nov. 7, 2012 at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester at the age of 85.
Basilio, nicknamed “The Upstate Onion Farmer,” twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the world middleweight championship in 1957.
With an aggressive, charging style and a powerful left hook, Basilio scored wins over Lew Jenkins, Ike Williams, Billy Graham, Gil Turner, Art Aragon, Gasper Ortega and Don Jordan among others during his career. He incredibly engaged in five consecutive fights of the year: 1955 (vs DeMarco), 1956 (vs. Saxton), 1957 (vs. Robinson), 1958 (vs. Robinson) and 1959 (vs. Fullmer). His pro record reads 56-16-7 (27 KOs).
In 1990, Basilio was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
St. Agatha’s Church is located at 110 Wilson Ave. in Canastota.