Inducted on February 24, 1984
A tiger in the ring, but a gentleman outside, Nick Cocuzza won the admiration of the Selection Committee of the Hall Of Fame not only thru his Boxing prowess, but also his conduct in solicitation of procedures to embellish the ‘Hall … Always in attendance, always contributing his expertise for improvement … Yes, we of the Selection Committee found his election unanimous …
Nick was born in Newark, in the 14th Ward. It was a “hot-bed” for boxers, very tough, very competitive. Many of the Garden States greats emerged from that Garden Ring. The three Griffin boys, Al and Mickey Delmont; The Donnelly’s, Benny Cross, Danny Tauriello and the Palecco’s. (One being honored tonight also.)
“We trained the correct way,” answered Nick. “Smoking, drinking and late hours were not our general routine for remaining in fine condition. No, Boxing was too tough, matches scarce. We had to win to eat … A splendid condition was an absolute necessity. Too many of us were hungry. Million dollar gates, you ask? Why, there was only one. Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey. A fifty dollar or one hundred dollar payday was the best at that time.”
His many titles included New York as well as New Jersey. As an amateur he won four straight titles at the Newark Athletic Club. His opponents, Bobbie Rerrington, Eddie Baltz, Johnnie Crane; As a Pro he competed in one hundred and more bouts. His opponents included Tony Orlando, Johnny Litt, George Levy, Mannie Tillman, Lou Greenberg, Henry Cheatum and Frankie Litt. “I found Eric Rossie a tough competitor … Mickey Moran, John Naparano, Lenny Banks, Rocky Stone, Tony Vitanzo and Johnny Juliano also were amongst Jersey’s best who kept me stepping.”
From this description, one may notice the reluctance of Nick to comment on his excellent record in Boxing. However, I wish to add, that our research of his history also indicated excellence in combat with our U.S. Marine Corps. We are proud of his contribution.
Mario J. Centi President
Boxing Record – Nick Cocuzza