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Cousin Carnera (Sequals, October 25, 1906 – Sequals, June 29, 1967) was an Italian boxer, world heavyweight champion. Very popular in his time, he came to inspire a cartoon character: Dick Fulmine.
Born in Sequals, near Udine, Italy, in 1906, from his birth it could be observed that Primo Carnera was going to be an uncommon character, since he weighed, at birth, no less than 8 kg. He left school early and acquired the trade of carpenter. In 1924, at 18 years old, he was 2.05 m tall and weighed more than 125 kg. On that date he emigrated to France, where he worked in a circus in the role of strongman; There he was discovered by a veteran boxer, Paul Journée, who proposed that he be a boxer. Once convinced, he presented it to Leon See, Parisian promoter, whose hand began to box. His style was crude and lacking in any technique, but his devastating punching soon made him famous. He fought in the main European capitals.
First stage in the United States
With the fame acquired in his European combats, he traveled to the United States. Just arrived, the mafia that controlled boxing at that time saw in Carnera a gold mine. With proper propaganda, he celebrated almost 30 fights in a single year, all of them against second-rate fighters or bribed to let themselves be won. Soon began to speak of tongos, but the reputation of Carnera was on the rise, until his career was cut short by a boxer named Jim Maloney. Maloney was a good fighter who could not reach high for having a fragile jaw, but his good knowledge of boxing was enough to inflict on Carnera a humiliating defeat.
Return to Europe
The defeat against Maloney was a serious disappointment for Carnera himself, whose trumped-up triumphs had led him to believe that he was a great fighter. Dejected, he returned to Europe, where he devoted himself to taking boxing classes. In that phase, he boxed in Barcelona with Paulino Uzcudun, whom he won by points. In Europe there were not many class fighters, and soon it was small.
Second stage in the United States
In this second stage, Carnera was already a more polished boxer. Without being exquisite, at least he boxed with sense, and his blows were not punches thrown right and left, but blows that always sought to hurt. In 1931 they began to consider him seriously for the fight for the world title. However, the champion at that time was Max Schmeling, and it was not considered opportune, in the interwar period, to face two fighters from friendly nations.
In 1933 Carnera’s career would be tinged with tragedy. In February, he faced Ernie Schaaf, champion of the US Navy, at Madison Square Garden. Schaaf had previously fought against Max Baer, who gave him a tremendous beating. Still not recovered from it, he climbed into the ring before Carnera. The combat had no color; Schaaf constantly shied away from Carnera, and the public began to protest. In a stroke not very strong, Schaaf collapsed. He died three days later. The press soon found bait, and began to apply to Carnera the nickname of giant assassin, which catapulted him into the fight for the world title.
On October 12, 1931, Jack Sharkey had defeated Carnera but this achievement rematched years later.
The clash with Sharkey filled Long Island on June 29, 1933. Carnera knocked down his opponent in the sixth round and was proclaimed champion. They were months of glory, until on June 15, 1934 Max Baer defeated him in an epic battle, which ended in round 11 with the two fighters lying on the canvas. Carnera finished in the corner, defeated. Here began the decline. Joe Louis lasted just six rounds. Carnera retired from boxing and began practicing American wrestling and intervened in brief roles as a strongman in Hollywood movies. He died of cancer on June 29, 1967.
In the funeral procession, all Sequals was present. A good man had left. Not in vain did his compatriots call him the good giant.
The film of 1956, The tougher fall, which denounced the corruption in the world of boxing, starring Humphrey Bogart and whose role was his last appearance on the big screen, was inspired by Carnera’s pugilistic history.
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