Inducted on November 9, 1995
Louis Agnello, better known in Bayonne boxing circles as Lou Angelo, was born in the same area and prides himself in the fact he was also a fair baseball player. Lou played against Joe and Yogi in sandlot and schoolyard ball and also went to school with them.
When Lou was 14, his parents moved to Bayonne and it was then that his interest turned to boxing. He fought as an amateur at the tender age of 15 and when his teacher read the newspaper and passed it on to the principal, Angelo’s boxing career came to a temporary halt. He was persuaded to postpone additional boxing until his graduation.
Angelo later enlisted for the golden gloves competition and won his first amateur bouts via the knockout route. His career included 80 bouts between 1940 and 1947, and was interrupted by a hitch in the US Navy during World War II.
In his first 22 Pro fights, Lou scored 21 knockouts. Listed among the vanquished foemen were Pat Murray, a two-round knockout of Robert Monez of New York; a kayo over Jersey City’s Hal Gullufson; Jerry McGee of Harlem; Johnny King; Artie Levine, Phil Enzenga, Clem Fitpatrick and Mickey Rea. Among his most memorable bouts was a 1942 skirmish with Paterson southpaw Joey Haddad in the Jersey City grotto. Haddad had defeated Bayonne fighter Mickey Makar three times, Tommy Roman and Angelo twice.
The fight attracted over 2000 to the Grotto and although many observers believed that Angelo had won the decision, referee Frank Manna awarded the decision to Haddad. The crowd went into a frenzy at the announcement and the police had to restore order. Boxing writers at ringside scored 4-3 in favor of Angelo. It was a reversal of form for Angelo, who in his first bout with Haddad had been knocked down 11 times prior to losing by a TKO in the third round.
Angelo’s big battle with Makar drew a record crowd to Union City’s Roosevelt Stadium July 15, 1942. A wartime ban on nighttime outdoor events forced the bout to be held at twilight. The Bayonne rivals battled 10 rounds to a draw. Referee Paul Cavalier based his decision on Angelo’s strong finish and conceded that Lou had the better of the milling in the closing rounds. Despite the fact that Angelo and Makar were rated heavy hitters the only near knockdown came in the opening round, when Angelo went down on a combination of a punch and a push. There was no count. Angelo also suffered a cut over his left eye in the first rounds and was bleeding form the nose and mouth in subsequent rounds. Makar was unmarked. Heavyweight Billy Conn, who found Joe Louis, was said to have interested in purchasing Angelo’s contract from Pat Amato after watching Angelo train at New York’s Roxy gym. He felt Angelo was championship timber.
Lou also fought a six-rounder against Johnny Dudley of Des Moines March 19,1943, when the featured bout was Willie Pep and Sammy Angott in Madison Square Garden.
Married to the former Jean Rowe, the Angelo’s make their home in the midtown area and have two children, Stephen and Valerie, who is the wife of Bayonne dentist Dr. Edmund Zaleski. Angelo is employed as a Stevedore at the Military Ocean Terminal.
At a time when Bayonne was producing more than its share of talented boxers, Lou Angelo ranked with the best.
Boxing Record – Lou Angelo