The Rockys Were Real



The Rockys Were Real

On my Kindle right now is a real-deal labor of love, a book laying out the strong professional pugilism foundation laid down by Italians in the first half of the last century.

Rolando Vitale wrote “The Real Rockys: A History of the Golden Age of Italian Americans in Boxing 1900-1955,”
and right away taught me something I didn't know: Italians won more world titles between 1900 and 1955 than any other nationality.

Vitale digs deeper than the names you know, the Grazianos, Basilios and Marcianos, and offers solid evidence that more credit should be given to these sport builders.

Vitale explained a reason why acknowledgement of Italian prominence in prize fighting isn't more robust. “Italian American success stories were usually concealed under an assumed nom de guerre.” That's because they battled bias issues, in getting fights and public acclaim.

Vitale worked his tail off here, it is clear. Evidence of this includes the presence of material such as charts detailing head-to-head boxing match results between the most prominent ethnic groups.

You might want to pick up this effort by Vitale because his diligence resulted in an exhaustively researched and informative document.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.

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