This card is the ultimate boxing rarity - boxing's equivalent of the T206 Honus Wagner, but clearly tougher. Rocky Graziano, the former middleweight champion of the world and one of the era's most powerful punchers, is best remembered for his three classic duels with Tony Zale. Despite losing to Zale twice, the three battles resulted in
some of the greatest action ever witnessed at the professional level, including seven knockdowns between the two boxers. This trilogy cemented Graziano's reputation as a fierce brawler. He finished his career with 67-10-6 record, including 52 of his victories coming by way of knockout. Graziano was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. This card is one of the scarcest on the entire list and in the hobby, with only a handful of examples known at the time of this writing. Why is this card so rare? No one seems to know for sure, but the leading theory amongst hobbyists is that there was a contractual dispute between the parties. Whatever the reason may be, all we can do is wish you luck in finding one.
“Rocky” Graziano (January 1, 1919 - May 22, 1990) born Thomas Rocco Barbella – grew up as a street fighter on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, ruling schoolyards, reformatories and parks with his iron fists and granite jaw. Graziano was the son of boxer “Fighting Nick Bob” who, each evening, put his sons toe-to-toe with boxing gloves on to entertain his friends as they polished off buckets of beer. These early familial bouts made Rocky a powerful puncher and developed his ability to “take a punch.” Graziano was a short, lean and strong fighter who at 18, Rocky won the New York Metropolitan A.A.U. welterweight championship. He began his amateur boxing career fighting under the names Joe Giuliani and Robert Barber, but continued to have run-ins with the authorities and the military, the latter of which occurred when he went AWOL after punching a superior officer. Rocky took his grandfather’ name, Graziano, once he went pro, immediately making his mark on the welterweight and middleweight classes. He was a ferocious puncher who was impossible to knock down, but he lacked the discipline to train and prepare for upcoming matches. He was successful out of the gate, taking out would-be title contenders and quickly working his way through the ranks, but he is most known for his three bouts with Tony Zale in the late 1940s.
In September 1946, standing Middleweight Champion Zale endured a brutal beating from Graziano, but was eventually victorious with a six round knock out. The July 1947 rematch was again a street fight as Rocky was almost retired due to a severe cut over his eye, but emerged as the winner by a sixth round knock out of Zale to become the Middleweight Champion. In the rubber match in June of 1948, Tony Zale took back his crown with a third round TKO. Following the Tony Zale triumvirate, Graziano continued to fight to get a chance at the title once more going 20-0-1 in 21 bouts leading up to a matchup with Middleweight Champion Sugar Ray Robinson. Robinson dispatched Graziano in a third round knock out virtually ending Graziano’s very successful career. Robinson later stated, “No one ever hit me harder than Rocky.” Rocky Graziano retired with a 67-10-6 record with 52 career knockouts. Graziano was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991