Tom Barnes's Reviews > Charley Burley, the Life & Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion

Charley Burley, the Life & Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion by S. Rosenfeld Allen
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Nov 05, 2010

it was amazing
Read in February, 2010


Charley Burley's boxing career spanned the better part of two decades of turmoil and history.
Bread lines were still a part of the American experience in 1936 when his fight career took off. The end came about the time the Korean War was was getting under way and the final days of the depression and World War II fell in between.
Ring writers of the era liked to say Pittsburgh produced two products - steel and middleweights.
Charley Burley came from the small town of Bessemer, Pennsylvania and even in his early armature days in Pittsburgh the young welterweight was getting the attention of boxing aficionados and making a name for himself.
Allen Rosenfeld's book 'Charley Burley - The life and hard times of an Uncrowned Champion' sticks mainly with life in the ring.
Burley came close to making the 1936 Olympics boxing team but didn't, he did however, travel to Spain with a classy bunch of amateurs. They arrived in Barcelona just in time for the Spanish Revolution, but were quickly transported to Paris and eventually back home.
A couple of his professional fights in the fall of 1936 Burley faced off with Ralph Gizzy and according to one report he buffeted Gizzy about like a cork. And in the second fight against his old rival Eddie Wirko who was making his pro debut Burley attacked Wirko's body for four rounds and Wirko failed to come out in the fifth.
These two fights were typical of Charlie Burley's early career as he fought his way across the country and back again giving the fans more than their money's worth.
Rosenfeld tells the story as a narrator supported by local sports writers at every boxing venue.
Burley was a quiet man in every way except when he put on the gloves and stepped into the ring. By 1945 Burley had 70 fights with 35 knock outs. And he kept up a good pace until his retirement.
Charley Burley represented the best in his weight class - that group of outstanding boxers that never won a title.
Those were the boxers that were the under card on boxing night, but they provided fight fans a great evening of entertainment. Some of the prominent names in the fighting arena during that period were Henry Armstrong, Barney Ross, Ezzard Charles, Ray Robinson, Billy Conn, Tony Zale, Jake LaMotta, Archie Moore, Rocky Graziano and of course one of the most popular heavyweight champions of any era Joe Louis.
If you're a boxing fan or just an interested observer pick up a copy of Charley Burley, The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion by Allen S. Rosenfeld.
Tom Barnes author of 'Tungee's Gold - The Legend of Ebo Landing.'
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