Inducted on November 14, 2002
Joe Miceli came from the Mulberry Street section of New York’s lower east side. A neighborhood where the law of survival was the only law rigidly enforced. At 17, Joe elected to survive through fighting.
A converted southpaw, he became known foe a vicious left hook that, when delivered on target, meant “goodnight” for his opponent. He was one of the most popular fighters of boxing’s television era. Primarily a lightweight, he fought the best of3 divisions. Of Miceli’s 112 bouts, 37 were televised ranking him behind Kid Gavilan (47) and Tiger Jones (45) for the most bouts televised in the 1950’s.
The List of some of his opponents reads like a roll call of boxing legends: like IKE WILLIAMS (Lightweight Champion), WALLACE BUD SMITH (Lightweight Champion), KID GA VILAN (Welterweight Champion), Johnny Saxton (Welterweight Champion), JOHNNY BRATTON (Welterweight Champion)” DON JORDAN (Welterweight Champion), CURTIS COKES (Welterweight Champion), VIRGIL ATKINS (Welterweight Champion), GENE FULMER (Middleweight Champion). He was ranked in the welterweight top 10 from 1950 to 1956, but was never granted a world title bout.
Today, Miceli, now 72, lives in Brentwood, LI. In 1993 he had quadruple-bypass surgery and doing fine. He is a very active member of Ring 8, New York City’s chapter of the Veterans Boxing Association. Two years ago they honored him as the UNCROWNED CHAMP presenting him with the BELT. In April of 1997, he was inducted into the SUFFOLK SPORTS HALL OF FAME.
Joe Miceli Gallery
Joe Miceli fought twelve World Champions during his professional career, yet he himself never received a title shot. After his boxing career ended, he was an active member of Ring 8–New York City’s chapter of the Veterans Boxing Association, which honored him as the “Uncrowned Champion,” presenting him with a belt. In April of 1997, he was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame on November 14, 2002.
Miceli had three siblings: Dominick, John, and Marie. He was married 53 years to Catherine Tuzzo, his high-school sweetheart; they had two sons, Anthony and Joseph.
Friday Night Fights boxer Joe Miceli dies at age 79
Monday, July 21, 2008, 8:24 PM
As one of the stars during the “Friday Night Fights” era on television, Miceli met 12 champions in the ring but never fought for a title.
Miceli’s son, Joe Jr., said his father went peacefully. “When we left him at the Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, he looked and felt the best we’d seen him in months,” said Joe Jr.
Miceli, a tough kid from Mulberry St., fought the great ones – like Ike Williams, Kid Gavilan, Gene Fullmer, Johnny Brattan, Joey Giardello, Gil Turner, Wallace Bud Smith, Bobby Dykes and Curtis Cokes, his last bout.
Miceli honed his boxing skills from a street fighter level. Joe Jr. tells how his father had the reputation of being the toughest kid on Mulberry St..
“It was the neighborhood where you had to be tough and my father was always in a fight,” said Miceli’s son.
It’s the classic story where an old-timer takes the kid aside and tells him that if he’s so good with his fists, he shouldn’t wasting his time fighting for nothing. “There’s money in your fists, kid,” the wise man says.
Joe took the advice and in no time Joe Miceli, the street fighter, became Joe Miceli, the professional fighter.
By his son’s records – he has a scrapbook to prove it – Miceli had a record of 70 wins and 30 losses. Some of those wins came against the best.
Miceli beat such good ones as Smith, Danny Giovanelli, Tony Riccio, Williams and Jesse Flores and he TKO’d Johnny Saxton, a former lightweight champ. He also got off the floor to beat the highly regarded Dykes in a Garden 10-rounder.
With that famous left hook, he flattened many an opponent. This was the most peculiar punch I had ever seen a man deliver in the ring.
You see, it wasn’t just a left hook – he combined it with an uppercut and it looked like he was uncorking a bottle of vino. Some fans saw it as a grandstand kind of punch but it wasn’t. This was the Miceli special. It went like this: Up, hook and smash. A beauty that fans came to see.
In a Garden battle against Gavilan, Joe was outpointed in 10 but Gavvy had to work for this one. Miceli, a lanky guy for a welter, started strongly and finished with such a flourish that the ref awarded him the bout. The other two officials voted for Gavvy but I personally thought Joe had won.
Against Bratton, that slick battler from Chicago, Miceli showed his gumption and iron will. Almost out in the first round of a scheduled tenner, Miceli rebounded with a vicious attack that put him ahead.
Miceli hit his peak in the sixth round, when he knocked Bratton silly, forcing him to back off. But, Johnny himself staged a rally and saved the night for himself with an eighth-round KO. After the fight, Bratton said that he had never been in there with such a tough opponent.
He was gritty, this kid Joe Miceli from the lower East Side, and I’m going to miss my friend at “Ring 8” meetings of the Veteran Boxers Association.
Boxing Record: click