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Funeral for Boxing Great Zale on Monday

March 23, 1997|From Associated Press

PORTAGE, Ind. — Tony Zale will be buried Monday not far from where he was born and worked in the steel mills before embarking on a boxing career that took him to the world middleweight championship.

Zale died Thursday at a Portage nursing home after several years of battling Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. He was 83.

His funeral will be at the Stilinovich and Wiatrolik Funeral Home in Merrillville, followed by a Mass at St. Andrew's Catholic Church. The burial is to be at Calvary Cemetery in Hobart.

Born in Gary, Ind., as Anthony Florian Zaleski, Zale held the National Boxing Association middleweight title for eight years after defeating Al Hostak in July 1941. He was best known for three fights against Rocky Graziano, and was the first to knock out Graziano.

While Zale had a gentle demeanor, that changed when he stepped into the ring, said a nephew.

"He was a killer. He wanted to destroy his opponent and he did that," Raymond Zale said.

Zale is survived by two daughters.

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