Brick City Grudge Match

Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano Battle in Newark, 1948


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SKU: 9781476689432 Categories: , Tag:

About the Book

On June 10, 1948, the eyes of the sporting world were focused on a minor league ballpark in Newark, New Jersey—the unlikely venue of a much-anticipated rubber match between the two men at the top of boxing’s prestigious middleweight division, Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano. They had met in the ring twice before, each winning one bout. In their third fight, Zale, a clever and powerful puncher, hoped to regain his title from Graziano, a knock-out artist six years his junior. This book tells the story of the greatest middleweight trilogy of boxing’s Golden Age, a championship battle Newark hoped would catalyze brighter days for a city rife with political corruption and organized crime and grappling with the beginning of deindustrialization.

About the Author(s)

Rod Honecker is a civil litigation attorney who resides in Brielle, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Rod Honecker
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 203
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8943-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4772-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. The Precinct Captain and the Redhead 5
2. Noir City 11
3. From the Open Hearth 20
4. Black Sheep 32
5. A Fighting Champion (Zale Graziano I—Yankee Stadium, September 27, 1946) 43
6. Never Lay Down for Any Man 51
7. Blood and Thunder (Zale Graziano II—Chicago Stadium, July 16, 1947) 58
8. Born Dead with a Black Eye (Jersey Pugilistica) 63
9. Landing the Big Fight 77
10. Racing ­Head-On into the Night 90
11. Newark Grudge Match (Zale Graziano III—Ruppert Stadium, June 10, 1948) 108
12. Postfight Autopsy 119
13 Last Round in Jersey City 126
14 Trial of the Redhead 132
15. Somebody Up There Likes Me 140
16. Brick City 148
17. Requiem for a Middleweight 155
Appendix: Career Records of Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano 163
Chapter Notes 171
Bibliography 185
Index 189

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Brick City Grudge Match serves as an entertaining biography of [Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano] as well as capturing a wider cast of characters including Jake La Motta and Marcel Cerdan. [It] is also the story of a city and of boxing at a particular time. Honecker was drawn to writing about this fight partly to answer why this classic fight took place in a minor league stadium in Newark of all places. He captures the time and place in vivid fascinating detail. Overall, Brick City Grudge Match is a really enjoyable slice of boxing history.”—All Sports Book Reviews

• “A reminder of what boxing can be and once was.”—The Sweet Science