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Old 08-16-2012, 05:03 PM   #1
Senor Pepe'
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Default Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Franco De Piccoli,

The Great Italian Heavyweight.

1960 Olympics Gold Medal Winner

22 year-old - 6' 2' - 215 lbs. -'Southpaw Heavyweight'

Turned professional after the 1960 Rome Olympics,

Was expected to challenge for the Heavyweight Championship by
late-1963.
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In 1959 and 1960, Franco De Piccoli stopped 'American' Pearcy Price
'twice' in Italy vs. U.S.A amateur tournaments.

The same Pearcy Price who 'easily' defeated Cassius Clay in a 1960 Olympic
Trials Heavyweight box-off.

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Old 08-17-2012, 09:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Giovanni,

Franco was being 'groomed' for the European Heavyweight Championship first,
not the World Heavyweight Championship.

They were trying to put together a bout with former European Heavyweight Champion
**** Richardson for January 1963.

By the end of 1962, the 25 year-old Italian was 22-0-0 (18 KO's)

Biggest wins,
11/19/62.....KO 1........John Riggins
11/30/62.....KO 3........Wendell 'Fig' Newton

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Old 08-17-2012, 11:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Jogging the memories here Senor Pepe.Recall that as a gold medallist,and a pro with such a brilliant start,big things were expected of Franco.Always thought he was taller than six two but anno domini and all that.Think Wayne Bethea beat him first,then Joe Bygraves.
Any idea what happened after that,SP,or the reason for his decline?I think both the latter two opponents probably past their best.Bit of a mystery.Anyone?
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Ted 882,

Franco was listed at 6' 2", but he was taller, as per Italian Boxing News.

He was listed as 6' 3" and 220 lbs.

He fought much like a 'southpaw' Duane Bobick, and had the same physique.

A well-muscled body, but somewhat of a 'plodder'.
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By March 1963, Franco De Piccoli is 25-0-0 (20 KO's), and ranked as the #9 Heavyweight.

The 'Flop of the Year' in 1963

March 22, 1963

Palazzetto dello Sport - Rome, Italy

In front of 15,000 Italian boxing fans, Franco swatted 'faded veteran' Wayne Bethea
around for 3 Rounds.

Then, late in Round 4, Bethea unleashed a two-handed flurry, capped off by a wild
right-hand that dropped Franco. De Piccoli tried to climb to his feet but stumbled
back to the canvas, to be counted out at 2:42 of Round 4.

Before the bout, the Italian's regarded the veteran 31 year-old - 6' 0" 210 lb. New York
Heavyweight as an 'extremely' safe opponent. With a 'spotty record' of 25-17-2 (9 KO's),
Bethea had gone 4-4-0 (1 KO) in his last 9-bouts, dating back to January 1961, and he
had not fought in 6-Months.

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Old 08-17-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Wayne Bethea after flattening Franco De Piccoli,

'It was the best right hand I ever landed. Nobody, not even Sonny Liston
could have taken that punch.'

'I was going to retire after this bout. I honestly did not expect to win.
The Italians have offered me alot of money to stay here, and fight the
best of their lot.'

Franco De Piccoli (translated),

'I have never been hit that hard. One second I'm throwing a jab, and the
next second I'm looking up at the referee.'

'I will ask the American for a rematch. He hit me good, that I can I say.'
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Thanks Senor Pepe.Guess he never got his rematch.I suppose other than Primo Carnera,Francesco Damiani the most successful Italian at the weight.Seen a bit of him on TV lately.Know anything about the Joe Bygraves match?
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Ted 882,

Franco De Piccoli was managed by Umberto Branchini, who also managed Nino Benvenuti.

After the Wayne Bethea 'disaster', 2 1/2 months later

Franco De Piccoli was 'stopped (L KO 5) by 'Jamaican Joe' Bygraves.

The 32 year-old - 6' 1" - 208 lb. - British Heavyweight, 40-21-2 (20 KO's) was getting
beat up by Franco.

But in Round 5, a wild counter right-hand by Bygraves found the mark (De Piccolo's chin)
and Franco 'crashed' for the second straight bout.

Franco De Piccolo, now 25-2-0, and at age 25 1/2, retired for 'one-year'. He didn't
come back until May 1964.

The Italian Press really 'ripped' Franco, stating that his 'flimsy' chin was made from old abandoned Italian Army Tanks.

Flimsy or "frivolo"
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Thanks Senor Pepe for the reports

I remember seeing De Piccoli in the 1960 Olympics. He was a very big heavy for that era but wild. He had a big punch. I remember him being compared to Firpo.

I guess they found out about his glass jaw the hard way.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Franco had a good chin, but both of those 1963 'knockout losses' were a result of Franco walking into punches.

Umberto Branchini had visions of Franco fighting - a) **** Richardson, b) Brian London and c) Henry Cooper in 1963,
and winning the European Heavyweight Championship.

Then shooting for Floyd Patterson at Madison Square Garden for early-1964.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX8EVnZbdu4[/ame]

Is this the Bethea fight?
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:52 AM   #11
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Some footage of him here at the Olympics by the looks of it (and Benvenuti) in very good quality.

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJBKpzb6CVg[/ame]
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Flea Man,,,,,,

Muy excellente'

Yes, that video is the March 22, 1963 bout between Franco De Piccoli vs. Wayne Bethea

Wayne Bethea was from Dillon, South Carolina.

He sure was happy, jumping over those ropes.

Buon Giorno !!!
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Thanks Flea Man.
Thought I heard commentator in the Bethea fight say ''Groggi no".Dont know what it means in Italian but in English would have thought "Groggy,yes".
Benvenuti looked great,even as an amateur.Think it took Monzon to stop his run.
Recall Jim Wicks on TV calling Franco ''Piccolo''!
Thanks for starting this,Pepe,been great.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Didnt see 1960 olympics,but also thanks for that to Edward.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:27 PM   #15
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Default Re: Franco De Piccoli '1960 Heavyweight Gold Medal Winner'

Franco De Piccoli,

Scored a '12-second' Knockout over Howard 'Honeyboy' King on January 18, 1963.

Franco just walked out of his corner, and bang, one right hook.

Boxing Promoter/Manager - Umberto Branchini wanted Ingemar 'Ingo' Johansson to come
out of retirement, to face Franco next.
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