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September 8, 2017

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PAGE 12 BOSTON POST .,#LZETTE, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss TONY SHUCCO One of Boston's Greatest, He Should Never Be Forgotten A dapper Tony Shucco I remember getting to know Tony Shucco when I was a young amateur boxer training at the New Garden Gym in Bos- ton. He would climb the stairs to the fourth floor of the legendary gym many a day to watch the fighters work out. He was usu- ally quiet, but it was obvious he enjoyed being there. Boxing had been and still was his life. It is sad that such a great fighter, a man who defeated five world champions -- including two heavyweight champs -- is not better remembered. Shucco was among the best boxers to fight out of Boston and deserves to be recognized for that. Not long ago, I spoke with his daughter Angela and she allowed me to look at a box filled with letters, photographs, and news clippings of her father's career. She is very proud of her father and hopes more people will learn about his career. Tony Shucco was born June 13, 1911, and grew up in Boston's North End where he lived most of his life. His original name was Anthony Sciucco, but he changed it to the more easily pronounced Shucco when he began boxing. After an outstanding amateur career that consisted of nearly a hundred bouts and numerous championships, Shucco moved onto the professional stage with his first fight in 1928. He would remain undefeated for 18 fights before dropping a decision to the great Johnny Indrisano at the Boston Arena. At that time, Shucco was campaigning as a welterweight but would begin moving up through the weight classes. And like so many great boxers who start off at lower weights, he retained the speed and skills that are rarely seen in the heavier fellows. Shucco was a brilliant boxer who possessed one of the best left jabs in the business. And, though he rarely weighed over 180 pounds, he fought many of the leading heavyweights of his day. He defeated Natie Brown, Lee Ramage, Tuffy Griffiths, and two heavyweight champi- ons, Jack Sharkey and James J. Braddock. He also scored wins over champions Maxie Rosenbloom, Bob Olin, and LOu Brouillard. Tony Shucco was a solid top contender for years and it is unfortunate he never got a shot at a title. He certainly had the credentials for it, but back in those days there were so many outstanding fighters competing you really needed to be con- nected to get a shot. In 1938, Shucco traveled to Europe where he had an English representative by the name of Tom Hurst. He was a making a name for him- self across the Atlantic with fights in England, Ireland, and Germany. In letters he wrote home, he began signing his name "English" Tony Shucco. While there he became close friends with American Flyweight Champion Jackie Jurich, who was also represented by Hurst. The clouds of war were starting Shucco packing for Germany to gather and it was difficult being separated from his wife Etta and young son Anthony, so Shucco returned home. He was immensely popular with the European fans and surely could have built a great reputation on the Continent had he continued fighting there. When he returned to the States, he dropped a close deci- sion to top-rated heavyweight Bob Pastor and then went on a winning streak. It is at this point in Shucco's career where he just couldn't catch a break. In 1940, Heavyweight' Champion Joe Louis agreed to defend his title in Boston. The logical opponent for Joe would have been Tony Shucco, who was on a six-fight winning streak. He was back from Europe, in good shape, WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.C()M Tony missing his family Tony hitting the bag and full of confidence. Unfortu- nately, the title shot was given to A1 McCoy, who had lost three of his last six fights, including two consecutive losses leading up to the Louis fight. I am not sure why McCoy was chosen over Shucco, but it should have been Shucco in the ring on that December night. I am not arguing Shucco would have beaten Louis, as there wasn't a man on the planet who could have taken "him back then. But, I will make the case Shucco had the style to give the Brown Bomber some trouble. It is also highly pos- sible Shucco could have lasted the distance. It is a shame he did not get the opportunity to fight for boxing's biggest prize against its greatest champion. I can guarantee you he would have been remembered for that and would have made Boston proud. It is interesting to note that after the loss to Pastor, Shucco continued without a loss until he retired in 1942. In spite of this great record, he would never get that elusive shot at the rifle. In 1944, Shucco embarked on a comeback. He had seven bouts, winning three and losing two with one ending in a draw. He retired for good in 1944. Tony and pal Jackio Jurich When I got to know Shucco, he was showing the effects of the punches he took later in his career. I remember being told at the time that his managers, one of whom was a relative that I shall not name, kept him fight- ing to cash in on his reputation. At that point, Shucco's legs were not what they used to be and he was taking punches he eas'fly would have avoided as a younger man. Once again, that dark side of boxing reared its ugly head. I spent many an afternoon talking with Shucco in the New Garden Gym. He always (Continued on Page I0) NEWLY :ATTIRBD -- When the Boston Celtics open the regular season in October, they l sport a new look -- and it won't be just concerning the roster makeover that took place during the summer. While much attention has been focused on the player per- sonnel moves the Celtics have made, theyll also have a new look in attire as well, wearing freshly designed uniforms that are gradually being introduced. The new designs have come about in the aftermath of the NBA's switchover to Nike as the official uniform provider. There will be new uniform designs for all 30 NBA teams. Each team will have four new designs. In addition, eight teams also will have "classic" uniforms to wear at various points throughout the season. One of the major changes is that the Nike Swoosh Logo will appear on the uniforms of 29 teams. The logo of the previous provider (Adidas) did not appear on the uniforms. The uniforms for the Charlotte Hornets will be adorned with the Jordan "Jumpman" Logo, a nod to the former NBA super- star and his majority ownership of the team. Another change is that many of the league's teams have sold space on the jerseys for sponsorship logos. The General Electric "GE" logo will appear on all Celtics uniforms this season. In another change, the des- ignation of "home~ uniforms and "road" uniforms is being eliminated. Or is it? In an offi- cial press release, Nike noted that at the start of the season, each team will choose a uni- form that will be worn at all its home games. Visiting teams will choose a uniform of contrasting color. But as the season gets under- way, there initially will be only two uniforms for each team. One is called the Association Edition and is essentially the home white uniform that NBA teams have worn over the decades. The second is called the Icon Edition and was, as the Nike release states "pre- viously known as the road uniform." It is dominated by the team's primary color -- that is green in the case of the Celtics. The two additional uniforms that each team will eventually acquire include one that will be "inspired by the mindset of the NBA athlete" while the other will reflect "the communities that support their teams." The "Classic Edition" cel- ebrates some of the most iconic uniforms in league history and can be worn at each team's dis- cretion. We think that both the Celtics and the New York Knicks will qualify since they are the only two original NBA teams still playing in their original franchise cities. The new uniforms will be a blend of yarn and recycled polyester, with each uniform using material from 20 recycled plastic bottles. Nike says that the new uniforms will wick away sweat 30 percent faster than the uniforms used last year. Looking online at the two ver- sions that have been released so far, I don't see that much of a difference between the new uniforms and those of recent years. Online prelimi- nary sketches of the other two versions didn't seem to be that different, either (other than pe :haps dark colors). It doesn't appear that radical design changes are in store. The mate- rials used in making the uni- forms may change somewhat, but the designs do not seem to be a radical departure from the past. However, no sketches were available for the "Classic Edi- tion." Those could truly be spe- cial. We will just have to walt and see what is unveiled when the time comes. NOEL SIGNS WITH DALLAS -- Everett's Nerlens Noel will be a member of the Dallas Mavericks for the entire 2017- 2018 season after signing a $4.1-million contract in late August. Noel had been traded to the Mavs by Philadelphia back in February at the trading deadline. After his arrival in Texas, he averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots while playing center in 22 games. Born in Malden to parents of Haitian heritage, Noel played two years at Everett High School before transferring to the Triton School in Tilton, New Hamp- shire. A top college recruit, the 6-11 center played one year at Kentucky before leaving for the 2013 NBA Draft. Although he suffered a torn ACL knee injury in February 2013 while at Kentucky, he was taken sixth by the New Orleans Pelicans, who promptly traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers. It can take a significant period of time to heal and rehab after ACL surgery. In Noel's case, it caused him to miss the entire 2013-2014 NBA season. Thus, the 2014- 2015 campaign became his rookie season. He responded by playing in 75 games, aver- aging 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds. In his second season (2015-2016), he upped his scor- ing average to 11.1 while his rebounding average remained the same at 8.1. Last year, his knee flared up again at the start of the sea- son. He only appeared in 29 games, mostly as a substitute, before being traded to Dallas on February 23,d. In his first game for the Mavs, he recorded nine points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Pelicans. A few days later, in his first start, he tied his career high in rebounding with 17 and added 15 points in a victory over Memphis. The Celtics will play at Dallas on November 20th. They will host the Mavs at the Garden on December 6th in what will be a homecoming for Noel.