Primo Carnera KOs Jack Sharkey This Day June 29, 1933
Primo Carnera – 6 foot 6 inch Italian wins the heavyweight Crown.
Jack Sharkey 201 lbs
Primo Carnera 260½ lbs
KO at 2:27 in round 6 of 15
Location: Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, USA
Referee: Arthur Donovan
Judge: James Buckley
Judge: Charley Lynch
Ring Announcer: Harry Bellow
World Heavyweight Championship (1st defense by Sharkey)
This was the second fight between Sharkey and Carnera. They first fought on October 12, 1931, with Sharkey winning by a 15-round unanimous decision at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The Associated Press reported: “Before the Boston sailor’s hand was raised in token of victory after 15 rounds of spectacular milling, Sharkey had floored Carnera for one nine-count, closed one of the Italian’s eyes and had given him so savage a beating that Primo was on the verge of a knockout on a half dozen occasions.”
The fight took place at the Madison Square Garden Bowl. It was nicknamed “The Graveyard of Champions” because no titleholder had ever successfully defended his title there.
The Associated Press reported that there was a “scant crowd of 40,000.”
The United Press reported that the gross gate was $202,279.50.
Introduced in the ring prior to the bout were former World Heavyweight Champions Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney.
Carnera knocked out Sharkey with a right uppercut to the chin.
Some believe the fight was fixed. The Associated Press reported: “Skeptics pointed to the shift in betting odds to 6 to 5 in Carnera’s favor, shortly before the fight, marking the first time a title challenger ever had crawled through the ropes a favorite.” However, according to the New York Times, the late money was actually skewed toward Sharkey. The Times reported that Carnera was a 6 to 5 favorite when Broadway bookies closed shop at 6 P.M. An hour later, bookies working the crowd were quoting Sharkey the favorite at odds of 7 to 5.
Officials from the New York State Athletic Commission said they saw no reason to doubt the genuineness of the outcome. Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney and Max Baer were ringside for the fight, and they all stated their belief that Carnera won legitimately. Of all the sportswriters at ringside—including Damon Runyon, Westbrook Pegler and Frank Wallace—the only one who expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the fight was Bill Cunningham of the Boston Post. “It looked questionable to me,” he said.
Sharkey always denied that he threw the fight. “I’d never have done anything like that. I was raised Catholic. I was raised to be honest,” he said late in life. He added, “I was on top of the world. Why would I purposefully lose?”