Inducted on November 9, 1990
Joe Curcio, a middleweight contender In the 1940’s; fought -four world champions In a career that spanned nine years.
In 102 pro bouts, Curcio was a winner 77 tlmes against only 19 losses and six draws. He won 35 fights by a knockout and was stopped only five times himself, four of which came to future or former world champions.
Curcio won a 10 round decision over former welterweight champ Fritzie Zlvlc at the Elizabeth Armory on November 13, 1945.
Curcio’s stamina was considered a tremendous factor In his fights.
Curcio was knocked out In the second round by five-time middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson In 1946. Robinson considered by boxing experts the greatest fighter pound-for-pound In boxing history, went on to win the world welterweight title later that year and held It until he vacated It In 1951 alter winning the middleweight title, which Is held five different times.
Of the Robinson bout on July 12, 1946, Newark sportswriter Willie Ratner wrote ·Joe Curcio, who was knocked out by Ray Robinson with a punch that landed simultaneously, or a fraction of a second later, with the bell ending the first round, Is rippln’ and rarln’ to get Into action again.
What’s more, he want a another crack at Ray. Maybe he will get It, for most of the ringside experts who saw the Robinson episode agreed that the punch was a questionable one. The blow which knocked out Curcio was not a right cross to the chin, but a right to the Adam’s apple, according to the fighter. Ray got Joe on the ropes, and shot a left hook
to the head and then the right. Curcio heard the bell after the left hook landed, so he dropped his guard and turned sideways to the right toward his corner. That’s all he remembers.·
But Curcio never received he return bout with the great Robinson.
Curcio fought middleweight champion Rocky Graziano twice, getting knocked out in the fourth round in 1943, and ending his career In 1950 when he was knocked out in the first round.
Curcio was also KO’d by Kid Gavilan, who went on to win the welterweight championship three years later, In the second round in 1948.
Besides the memorable victory over Zivic, Curcio scored several other big victories In his career.
Giving away 10 pounds to highly regarded William ‘Bee Bee’ Washington, the two had two memorable fights. The first bout was a draw on November 18, 1946 In New York City and he then beat Washington In 10 rounds on January 3, 1947 at Madison Square Garden.
In the 10-round victory, Newark reporter Willie Ratner said ‘Curcio put up one of hla best lights. He had to come from behind, and had to launch an offensive strong enough to win and at the same time protect a cut over his left eye sustained In the sixth round. And that he did sufficiently
well enough to pile up a lead big enough to overcome a knockdown scored by Bee Bee In the final round. Joe was up without a count.”
‘Raw gamesmanshlp triumphed for Joe Curcio when everything else had seemed to fail him here last night: wrote Anthony Marenghi of the Star-Ledger. ‘Outpointed over the first five rounds, the portslder came thundering through the late three rounds to capture a close 10-round decision over Bee Bee Washington of Washington D.C., a brawny middleweight who ha held him to a draw months ago at the St. Nicholas Arena.’
Another big victory for Curcio was an upset 10-round victory over Freddie Archer on April 11, 1945, at the Elizabeth Armory.
Joe Is survived by his wife, Angela, daughter of the late Frank Paula, light promoter and a son, Frank.