By Jim Amato

For a decade ( 1952-1962 ), Joey Giambra was a mainstay among the middleweight  elite, yet he never received a shot at the middleweight title. In fact, he  received his only title shot at the tail end of his career battling for the  newly created junior middleweight division. However, he was not successful.  Nevertheless, in his prime, he was as good as any middleweight contender in the  world.

Joey turned pro in 1949 and went undefeated in his first  seventeen fights. His first loss was to tough veteran Johnny Ceserio in 1951. He  then reeled off ten straight victories before losing a 1952 decision to the  great Joey Giardello. Giambra would come right back to beat Giardello in a  rematch.

Giambra then won nine straight  before losing to the clever Bobby Dykes. Joey had five more wins before dropping  a verdict to Carl “Bobo” Olson. Giambra then went unbeaten in his next ten  bouts, including two wins over the rugged Rocky Castellani and a victory over  Philadelphia’s tough Gil Turner. Joey then lost a points call against rough Rory  Calhoun.

Giambra would not be denied and  he would rally to win seventeen straight including revenge victories over  Calhoun and Giardello in their rubber match. Throw in a win over Ralph “Tiger”  Jones. In 1961, he was outpointed by Yama Bahama. In 1962, he dropped one to  Farid Salim. Joey would bounce back again to score a kayo over the dangerous  Florentino Fernandez. That led to a bout with Denny Moyer for the newly  introduced junior middleweight division title. The cagey Moyer won the judge’s  votes and the title.

In 1963, Joey reached  the end of the line losing decisions to Luis Rodriguez and Joe DiNucci. In all,  he had 77 fights, walking away a winner 65 times. He scored 31 knockouts, simply  remarkable considering the competition he faced. More than that, Giambra was  never stopped. He was truly an “uncrowned champion.”

Jim Amato

Filed under: Boxing


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