View Full Version : Tony Zale ''The Early Years''


JB16
10-16-2009, 11:33 AM
Back there in the 1920's and 30's, it seemed as though every male child born in Indiana city of Gary was destined to work in the steel mills. ''It seemed like I worked in there ever since I was weaned'. he burnt air, catching the hot rivets that could burn a hole right through you if you missed'.

So I went to the Gym one saturday to watch my older Brother box, and the sweat around the punch bags and in the ring smelled like Chanel No.5. I knew then that this was the way out for me.

So my brother took me to the men who ran the fight club and one of them said to take my shirt off. ''You say you've been working in the mills'' he said ''You look like you're made out of steel'' Thats how I got my nickname remembered ''The Man Of Steel'' remembered Zale.

I was taught how to box by my brother Johnny, Johnny Zale who was a great amature boxer. I was coached by him, all through my amature career and part of my professional career.

Zale won the Chicago Golden Gloves championship in 1934 and was seleected to box in the intercity meet with New York at Madison Square Garden. Gus Lesnevich was the Middleweight on the New York team and he was considered unbeatable. So they moved Zale up to Light Heavyweight to improve Chicago's chances.

But they reckoned without Tony's New York opponent. He was Melio Bettina, a hairy chested southpaw who would go on to win the world title as a money fighter. Bettina took the decision over Zale in one of the best bouts on the card. ''He was to big for me'' remembered Zale. ''and he beat me to a pulp'' He won by hitting me in the kidney's, I learend from that.

I practised jerking my elbow out at the right moment to crack my opponent on the wrist.

When he went ot New York with Chicago team, Tony got to know the coach, Harry Shall. 'After my New York fight, Shall talked me into turning pro and we signed a two year contract.