Charley Burley

Charley Burley (September 6, 1917 – October 16, 1992) was an American boxer who fought as a welterweight and middleweight from 1936 to 1950. Archie Moore, the light-heavyweight champion who was defeated by Burley in a 1944 middleweight bout, was one of several fighters who called Burley the greatest fighter ever.[1][2] Burley was the penultimate holder of both the World Colored Welterweight Championship and the World Colored Middleweight Championship.

Charley Burley
CharleyBurley.jpeg
Statistics
Real nameCharles Duane Burley
Weight(s)Middleweight
Welterweight
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1917-09-06)September 6, 1917
Bessemer, Pennsylvania
DiedOctober 16, 1992(1992-10-16) (aged 75)
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights98
Wins83
Wins by KO50
Losses12
Draws2
No contests1

Early lifeEdit

He was born Charles Duane Burley in Bessemer, Pennsylvania on September 6, 1917 to a mixed-race couple: his father was a black coal miner and his mother a white Irish immigrant from County Cork.[3] Raised in Bessemer, the only son of seven children, the family moved to Pittsburgh when his father was killed in an industrial accident in 1925.

He began boxing at the age of 12 at a Boys Club and, as a lightweight, won city, state and national junior boxing titles and a Golden Gloves junior title. As a welterweight, he won a Golden Gloves Senior and lost the 1936 National Senior Championship finals. That same year, he refused an invitation to participate in the Olympic trials due to his objection to the Nazi regime. He did accept an invitation to attend a scheduled 'Workers Games' to be held in Republican Spain as a protest to the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, but the games were cancelled by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Burley had also excelled at baseball. He reportedly was offered a contract by the Homestead Grays, the local Negro leagues franchise.

Pro Boxing CareerEdit

The 5'9 ½ Burley fought at weights between 145 and 162 lbs. He made his pro debut on September 29, 1936, fighting as a welterweight at 150¾ lbs., at Pittsburgh's Moose Temple. He knocked out George Liggins in the fourth round of a four-round bout.[4] Less than two years later, on August 22, 1938, Burley met the Cocoa Kid at Hickey Park in Millvale, Pennsylvania for the World Colored Welterweight Championship. He won a unanimous decision in the 15-round bout, knocking the Kid to the canvas three times and defeating him decisively, taking his title.

Burley did not defend that title, possibly as part of a strategy to win a shot at Henry Armstrong's World Welterweight title. He won the World Colored Middleweight Title in a ninth round technical knockout against Holman Williams at Victory Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana on 14 August 1942. In their rematch for the title two months later at the same venue, Williams won a 15-round decision. Jack Kincaid of the Times-Picayune reported that Burley had won nine rounds of the fight and had been the aggressor throughout.

Burley was never granted a world title shot by any of the world welterweight and world middleweight champions of his era and was avoided by many of the top white contenders. Among the fighters who "ducked" Burley were Hall of Famers Billy Conn (who fought Joe Louis for the heavyweight title), Frenchman Marcel Cerdan (who was supposed to face Burley in his American debut) and even Sugar Ray Robinson, considered by many boxing historians as the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time.

Of course, not everyone ducked the slick Pittsburgh warrior. Burley won two out of three matches against future welterweight champion Fritzie Zivic, defeated the great Archie Moore by decision, and easily defeated future NYSAC middleweight king Billy Soose. Burley also faced future heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles, but dropped two 10-round decisions to him (the bouts were contested within a five-week period, sandwiching a fight against Williams). Another notable Burley fight was the one against heavyweight J.D. Turner, who outweighed him by around 70 lbs. "Turner, face beaten to raw beefsteak in six rounds, failed to answer the bell for the seventh." (The Ring, June 1942).

Burley himself was never stopped in 98 bouts. He compiled a record of 83 wins (50 by knockout) against 12 losses and two draws with 1 "no contest". He also battled financial problems at times during his career (which is why he's thought to have lost some of the fights he did) and was forced to work as an aircraft mechanic and garbage man in order to earn enough money to live off.

LegacyEdit

Burley's second fight with Oakland Billy Smith in 1946 is the only known boxing film for him that is known to exist. It shows a conservative counter-puncher taming a much larger opponent with relative ease.[5]

Burley's former sparring partner A.J. "Blackie" Nelson offers this comparison: "I see a lot of Charley in this kid, Roy Jones Jr. Both had unorthodox styles, could hit you from any angle, both hard to hit. Charley jabbed more than Jones, if Jones would concentrate on boxing as Charley did, he would become an all-time great."

Eddie Futch, the great trainer, called Burley "the finest all-around fighter I ever saw."

Burley was named to the Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time, elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1983 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.

Burley was ranked 39th on Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years.

An exhibit at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at Pittsburgh's Senator Heinz History Center states that Burley was the model for the character Troy in August Wilson's play Fences.


Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
98 fights 83 wins 12 losses
By knockout 33 0
By decision 50 12
Draws 2
No contests 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
98 Win 83–12–2 (1)   Pilar Bastidas PTS 10 Jul 22, 1950   Plaza de Toros de Acho, Lima, Peru
97 Win 82–12–2 (1)   Buddy Hodnett KO 6 (8) Mar 2, 1950   Aragon Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
96 Win 81–12–2 (1)   Chuck Higgins KO 1 (8) Feb 2, 1950   Aragon Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
95 Win 80–12–2 (1)   Willie Wright PTS 8 Jul 25, 1949   Zivic Arena, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
94 Loss 79–12–2 (1)   Charley Doc Williams PTS 10 Apr 3, 1949   Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
93 Win 79–11–2 (1)   Lonnie Craft KO 3 (6) Mar 24, 1948   Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
92 Win 78–11–2 (1)   Larry Cartwright TKO 8 (10) Aug 8, 1947   Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
91 Loss 77–11–2 (1)   Bert Lytell UD 10 Feb 17, 1947   Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
90 Win 77–10–2 (1)   Bert Lytell UD 10 Aug 5, 1946   Zivic Arena, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
89 Win 76–10–2 (1)   Charley Banks PTS 10 Jul 16, 1946   Zivic Arena, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
88 Win 75–10–2 (1)   Oakland Billy Smith PTS 10 Apr 24, 1946   Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
87 Win 74–10–2 (1)   Paulie Peters TKO 2 (10) Apr 8, 1946   Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
86 Win 73–10–2 (1)   Charley Dodson TKO 3 (10) Mar 14, 1946   Aragon Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
85 Win 72–10–2 (1)   Oakland Billy Smith PTS 10 Oct 8, 1945   Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
84 Win 71–10–2 (1)   Speedy Duvall KO 4 (10) Sep 28, 1945   Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
83 Win 70–10–2 (1)   Dave Clark KO 1 (10) Sep 4, 1945   Music Hall Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
82 Win 69–10–2 (1)   Aaron Wade UD 10 Aug 20, 1945   Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
81 Win 68–10–2 (1)   Oscar Boyd KO 2 (8) Jul 26, 1945   Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
80 Loss 67–10–2 (1)   Holman Williams UD 12 Jul 11, 1945   Civic Stadium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
79 Win 67–9–2 (1)   Joe Carter UD 10 Mar 12, 1945   Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
78 Win 66–9–2 (1)   Jack Chase TKO 12 (15) Sep 11, 1944   Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S. Retained USA California state middleweight title
77 Win 65–9–2 (1)   Young Gene Buffalo TKO 5 (10) Aug 28, 1944   Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
76 Win 64–9–2 (1)   Frankie Nelson TKO 7 (10) Jun 23, 1944   Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
75 Win 63–9–2 (1)   Al Gilbert TKO 4 (10) May 12, 1944   Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
74 Win 62–9–2 (1)   Archie Moore PTS 10 Apr 21, 1944   Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
73 Win 61–9–2 (1)   Jack Chase KO 9 (15) Apr 6, 1944   Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S. Won USA California state middleweight title
72 Win 60–9–2 (1)   Aaron Wade PTS 10 Mar 24, 1944   Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
71 Win 59–9–2 (1)   Bobby Berger KO 5 (10) Mar 3, 1944   Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
70 Win 58–9–2 (1)   Bobby Birch PTS 10 Jun 26, 1943   Lane Field, San Diego, California, U.S.
69 NC 57–9–2 (1)   Herbert Lewis Hardwick NC 10 (10) May 14, 1943   Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S. The referee declared the fight no contest after one minute of the 10th round because of inactivity
68 Draw 57–9–2   Herbert Lewis Hardwick PTS 10 Apr 19, 1943   Pelican Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
67 Win 57–9–1   Aaron Wade PTS 10 Mar 3, 1943   Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
66 Win 56–9–1   Jack Chase UD 10 Feb 19, 1943   Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
65 Win 55–9–1   Harvey Massey TKO 9 (10) Feb 3, 1943   Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
64 Loss 54–9–1   Lloyd Marshall SD 10 Dec 11, 1942   Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
63 Win 54–8–1   Cecilio Lozada TKO 2 (10) Nov 13, 1942   Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
62 Loss 53–8–1   Holman Williams UD 15 Oct 16, 1942   Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. Lost world colored middleweight title
61 Win 53–7–1   Holman Williams TKO 9 (15) Aug 14, 1942   Victory Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. Won vacant world colored middleweight title
60 Loss 52–7–1   Ezzard Charles UD 10 Jun 29, 1942   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
59 Win 52–6–1   Holman Williams PTS 10 Jun 23, 1942   Crosley Field, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
58 Loss 51–6–1   Ezzard Charles UD 10 May 25, 1942   Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
57 Win 51–5–1   George Wilson KO 2 (10) Apr 30, 1942   Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
56 Win 50–5–1   Joe Sutka KO 4 (8) Apr 24, 1942   Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
55 Win 49–5–1   Phil McQuillan KO 1 (8) Apr 20, 1942   St. Nicholas Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
54 Win 48–5–1   Cleo McNeal KO 5 (10) Apr 9, 1942   Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
53 Win 47–5–1   Jay D Turner TKO 7 (10) Mar 13, 1942   Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
52 Win 46–5–1   Holman Williams UD 10 Feb 26, 1942   Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
51 Win 45–5–1   Shorty Hogue RTD 6 (10) Feb 13, 1942   Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
50 Win 44–5–1   Milo Theodorescu TKO 4 (10) Feb 6, 1942   Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
49 Win 43–5–1   Jackie Burke TKO 5 (10) Jan 23, 1942   Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
48 Win 42–5–1   Shorty Hogue TKO 10 (10) Jan 9, 1942   Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
47 Win 41–5–1   Jerry Hayes KO 4 (10) Dec 23, 1941   City Auditorium, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, U.S.
46 Win 40–5–1   Ted Morrison TKO 2 (8) Dec 12, 1941   Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
45 Win 39–5–1   Antonio Fernandez PTS 10 Sep 25, 1941   Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
44 Win 38–5–1   Otto Blackwell PTS 8 Aug 25, 1941   Gardens, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
43 Win 37–5–1   Young Gene Buffalo TKO 5 (10) Jul 14, 1941   Gardens, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
42 Win 36–5–1   Ossie Harris TKO 9 (10) Jun 2, 1941   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
41 Win 35–5–1   Eddie Ellis TKO 5 (8) Apr 18, 1941   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
40 Win 34–5–1   Babe Synnott TKO 5 (8) Mar 31, 1941   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
39 Win 33–5–1   Vince Pimpinella PTS 10 Nov 11, 1940   Turner's Arena, Washington, D.C., U.S.
38 Win 32–5–1   Ernest Peirce PTS 10 Oct 17, 1940   Butler Street Sports Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
37 Loss 31–5–1   Jimmy Bivins UD 10 Sep 3, 1940   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
36 Win 31–4–1   Kenny LaSalle UD 10 Aug 19, 1940   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
35 Draw 30–4–1   Georgie Abrams PTS 10 Jul 29, 1940   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
34 Win 30–4   Carl Dell PTS 10 Jun 17, 1940   Valley Arena, Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.
33 Win 29–4   Sam Edwards KO 2 (10) Apr 26, 1940   Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
32 Win 28–4   Baby Kid Chocolate TKO 5 (10) Apr 12, 1940   Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
31 Win 27–4   Nate Bolden PTS 10 Feb 12, 1940   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
30 Loss 26–4   Holman Williams PTS 15 Dec 1, 1939   Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
29 Win 26–3   Mickey Makar KO 1 (10) Oct 23, 1939   Moose Temple, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
28 Win 25–3   Jimmy Leto PTS 10 Aug 28, 1939   Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
27 Win 24–3   Fritzie Zivic UD 10 Jul 17, 1939   Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
26 Loss 23–3   Jimmy Leto SD 10 Jun 20, 1939   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
25 Win 23–2   Sonny Jones TKO 7 (12) Jan 10, 1939   Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
24 Win 22–2   Billy Soose UD 10 Nov 21, 1938   Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
23 Win 21–2   Werther Arcelli KO 1 (10) Nov 3, 1938   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
22 Win 20–2   Herbert Lewis Hardwick UD 15 Aug 22, 1938   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S. Won world colored welterweight title
21 Win 19–2   Leon Zorrita UD 10 Aug 2, 1938   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
20 Win 18–2   Fritzie Zivic UD 10 Jun 13, 1938   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
19 Win 17–2   Mike Barto TKO 4 (10) Jun 1, 1938   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
18 Loss 16–2   Fritzie Zivic SD 10 Mar 21, 1938   Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
17 Win 16–1   Art Tate KO 2 (6) Mar 3, 1938   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
16 Win 15–1   Carl Turner UD 4 Feb 10, 1938   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
15 Win 14–1   Johnny Folio PTS 4 Feb 3, 1938   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
14 Win 13–1   Tiger Jackson KO 2 (4) Jan 27, 1938   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
13 Loss 12–1   Eddie Dolan UD 8 Sep 9, 1937   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
12 Win 12–0   Sammy Grippe TKO 6 (8) Aug 16, 1937   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
11 Win 11–0   Remo Fernandez TKO 7 (8) Aug 9, 1937   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
10 Win 10–0   Mickey O'Brien PTS 10 Jun 24, 1937   Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
9 Win 9–0   Keith Goodballet TKO 2 (8) May 27, 1937   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
8 Win 8–0   Sammy Grippe PTS 6 May 3, 1937   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
7 Win 7–0   Ray Gray PTS 6 Apr 19, 1937   Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
6 Win 6–0   Johnny Folio TKO 5 (8) Apr 15, 1937   Palisades Rink, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, U.S.
5 Win 5–0   Ray Collins TKO 5 (8) Feb 8, 1937   Oil City, Pennsylvania, U.S.
4 Win 4–0   Ralph Gizzy KO 2 (8) Jan 22, 1937   K. of C. Hall, Oil City, Pennsylvania, U.S.
3 Win 3–0   Eddie Wirko TKO 5 (6) Nov 9, 1936   Moose Lodge, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
2 Win 2–0   Ralph Gizzy PTS 6 Oct 22, 1936   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
1 Win 1–0   George Liggins KO 4 (4) Sep 29, 1936   Moose Temple, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Cocoa Kid
World Colored Welterweight Championship
August 22, 1938 - Unknown
Succeeded by
Cocoa Kid
Preceded by
Unknown
World Colored Middleweight Championship
August 14, 1942 - October 16, 1942
Succeeded by
Holman Williams

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Charley Burley". Cyber Boxing Zone. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Charley Burley". cyberboxingzone.com. Boxing Cyber Zone. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Charley Burley". Cyber Boxing Zone. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ "Charley Burley". BoxRec. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Charley Burley vs Okland Billy Smith Part 1". YouTube. Retrieved 10 May 2015.