This Day in Boxing

Johnny Saxton Beats Carmen Basilio for Welterweight Crown March 14, 1956



Johnny Saxton Beats Carmen Basilio for Welterweight Crown March 14, 1956


  • Carmen Basilio 146 lbs
  • Johnny Saxton 146¾ lbs
  • UD 15
  • Location: Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Referee: Frank Gilmer 142-144
  • Judge: Ed Hintz 138-145
  • Judge: Jim McManus 140-147


The odds favored Basilio 11 to 5.

The crowd of 12,145 generated a gate of $104,288.

The United Press polled ringside reporters after the fight: 11 had Basilo winning and 7 had Saxton winning.

For more than five minutes, the crowd booed the decision. The roars were reminiscent of when Saxton won the welterweight title from Kid Gavilan in 1954. [1]

Johnny Saxton recaptured the world welterweight championship tonight with an effective hit-and-run tactic that won a unanimous 15 round decision over Carmen Basilio. Many of the fans apparently resented not only the verdict against Basilio, but also the work of referee Frankie Gilmer, who broke the fighters from clinches too often in the judgement of Basilio supporters. Although Basilio forced the fighting in every round against Saxton, it was Johnny’s left jabs, left hooks and combinations of punches in the exchanges that won the votes of the three officials. There were no knockdowns, but Saxton was knocked back onto his heels four times in the 2nd round with rights and lefts to the head. Although Saxton was less noted as a puncher, he drove Carmen onto his heels several times in the 11th, 12th and 13th rounds.

Unofficial UP scorecard – 145-142 Basilio

Unofficial AP scorecard – 145-142 Saxton

Purses – Each fighter received 30% of the net gate and 30% of Radio/TV for a total of $39,902 for each fighter.

The U.S. government immediately filed a notice of levy with Saxton and the IBC for the amount of $17,875.37 on Saxton’s purse due to back taxes owed them from Saxton’s manager Blinky Palermo. Saxton argued Palermo had nothing to do with this purse and that he was acting as his own manager because Palermo held no license in Illinois or New York

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