February in NYS Boxing History


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On February 1, 1965, Floyd Patterson won a 12-roound unanimous decision victory over George Chuvalo in what many deemed the Fight of the Year at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It was also the richest non-title fight to date in boxing history. Patterson resided in Brooklyn, NY during his career and spent his later years in New Paltz, NY.

On February 2, 1977, former Welterweight and Middleweight Champion of the world, Emile Griffith scored a 10-round majority decision win over Irishman Christy Elliot at New York's Madison Square Garden. This fight turned out to be Griffith's last win of his professional career. He finished with a professional record of 85 wins (23 by knockout), 24 defeats, two draws and one no contest. Griffith fought a total of 40 bouts in New York State, including in Latham, Syracuse and Saratoga Springs, on top of his numerous bouts in New York City.

On February 3, 1938, Emile Griffith, who won titles in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions, was born Emile Alphonse Griffith in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although not born in the Empire State, Griffith came to the United States and made his home here before passing away in Hempstead, NY at age 75 in 2013. He finished with a professional record of 85 wins (23 by knockout), 24 defeats, two draws and one no contest. Griffith fought a total of 40 bouts in New York State, including in Latham, Syracuse and Saratoga Springs, on top of his numerous bouts in New York City.

On February 10, 1962, a young Cassius Clay, who would later go by the name Muhammad Ali, fought in New York for the first time in his professional career. He recovered from a first round knockdown at the hands of Sonny Banks to score a technical knockout victory over Banks at Madison Square Garden. Ali fought a total of 11 times in the Empire State, including his first two bouts with “Smokin’” Joe Frazier at the Garden. Ali finished his iconic career with 56 wins (37 by knockout) versus five defeats.

On February 10, 1930, Buffalo, NY native James Slattery won the NYSAC World Light Heavyweight Title with a 15-round majority decision over Lou Scozza at the Broadway Auditorium in Buffalo. He finished his career with 114 wins (51 by KO) against 13 losses and two no contests. He was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.

On February 16, 1970, (Smokin') Joe Frazier knocked out Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round to win the WBC and WBA Heavyweight Titles while retaining his NYSAC Heavyweight Title at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

On February 16, 1985, Kingston-NY born Billy Costello won a unanimous 12-round decision over Leroy Haley to retain his WBC Super Lightweight Title at the Midtown Neighborhood Center in Kingston. Costello fought a lot of his early professional bouts around the Hudson Valley-NYC area. He went on to fight all over New York State, including Long Island and Syracuse. His career record was 40 wins (23 by KO) against two defeats.

On February 23, 1945, Sugar Ray Robinson, who made his residence in Harlem, scored a unanimous decision victory over Jake LaMotta, who was born and raised in The Bronx, at Madison Square Garden, in the fourth of their six epic fights. Their first meeting in 1942 also took place at Madison Square Garden. Interestingly enough, four of their bouts all took place in the month of February.