From Bitter Rivals to Best of Friends Italian Style - Doghouse Boxing News
From Bitter Rivals to Best of Friends Italian Style
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Feb 23, 2013) Doghouse Boxing (Photos © Gary Purfield)
Chuck Mussachio
Tony Ferrante
In a time when you read about Floyd Mayweather calling out Manny Pacquaio and others like Zab Judah bad mouthing injured Danny Garcia, I want to tell you about something good in boxing between two bitter rivals who became best of friends.

There’s something about two white fighters fighting each other that seems to bring out the best in them. Gatti and Ward! Do I have to say any more? Then when you get a pair of Italians fighting each other look out!

At Joey Eye’s (Intrieri) promotion on January 26th at Harrah’s Philadelphia (Chester, PA), Al Mussachio (Chuck Mussachio's dad and trainer) came up to me all smiles and said “you’ll never guess who’s best of friends with Chuck?” (Top Photo) As I was wondering he said “Tony Ferrante!” (Bottom photo) Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. “Thank God they are friends,” said I. I had known Chuck for years since he was a friend of Dennis Hasson at Northern Michigan University having sparred hundreds of rounds together. Hasson would always talk about Chuck.

I had just witnessed a week before at Madison Square Gardens Theater where Ferrante was putting the first loss on Kazakhstan’s Isa Akberbayev who was 10-0 by stopping him in the 10th and final round. It wasn’t supposed to end that way with fellow KAZ WBA Super middleweight and IBO world champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin on the card. The Kazakhstan flags were in one area and Ferrante’s fans in the other area. “The guy looked down on me height wise (6:03) and as a person. I knew I was going to beat him for that. I got very emotional after the fight wanting to prove to my fans what I could do and did it,” said Ferrante.

The fight between Mussachio and Ferrante took place at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on June 4, 2010 for the World Boxing Foundation United States light heavyweight title. Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante had won the vacant title in July of 2009 at the South Philly Arena over Billy Bailey who at the time was 9-3 and Ferrante 7-0 ending in a majority decision over 8 rounds. In Ferrante’s first defense he was 9-0 coming into the home area of a popular Wildwood, NJ, boxer named Chuck “The Professor” Mussachio who was 15-1-2. Mussachio’s dad was a former Philadelphia police officer before moving the family to Wildwood. Mussachio was a two-time college champ with many fights before fighting at Lock Haven and NMU.

One of the conflicts when this fight got signed was both used Joey Eye as their cut-man. Eye was also an advisor for Mussachio so that’s the corner he would work. It reminded me of when Ali fought Jimmy Ellis and Angelo Dundee trained both of them.

At the press conference Tony stood up and said “I’m in the best shape of my life and have a head like a brick”. I stood up and said “are you done yet? I can go on all night”, said Mussachio. And Tony sat down. There was a misunderstanding that Ferrante made a crack about Mussachio’s wife. “I don’t know how it got started but I never said anything like that,” said Ferrante.

“It was one of the funniest nights of my life. The place was rocking before the fight and it was a great feeling with each others fans on opposite sides. The game plan was stick and move. I ran across the ring, sticking more, moving less. I saw his uppercut coming and thought this is going to hurt! I had told the kids at school (teacher) I would bring in the belt when I won. I saw him months later at Harrah’s and cheered for him giving his opponent an 8 count. I yelled go get him. He saw me and seemed surprised, smiled and ko’d the guy. After the fight Marc Abrams (GoFightLive) called me into the ring. Tony said “I guess we’re friends now”!

I worked Tony’s corner for the Omar Shieka fight. He doesn’t listen for shit. He had him hurt and needed to step to right and hit him on the side of the head. He did it once and hurt him. Ferrante’s long time trainer Chris Rottella (10 years) got a new job and couldn’t work with him anymore. Mike Cassell and Sean Thomson would take over that roll. “Chris taught me all I knew and there are no hard feelings. With the new job and new baby in the family I understood,” said Ferrante.

“One day Chuck said Tony is coming down. I said Tony who? He said Tony Ferrante. I said I hope you’re not going to fight here in the house,” said Al Mussachio. “I was at Chuck’s house when he was on the phone with his dad. It was funny,” said Ferrante.

“We spent the Irish week-end hanging out together. Me and Chuck talk all the time and text each other. He’s a straight up, cool dude and a good friend. We’re there for each other,” said Ferrante.

I looked over my coverage of the fight and started by saying “there are fights that get hyped up that fizzle before the second round. Friday night at the Tropicana in AC was not one of them. They started 4th of July a month early.” It was Mussachio’s fight to lose going into the 9th round. Ferrante was cut in the 2nd round and Mussachio in the 7th round under his left eye. Mussachio had built up a lead by boxing him after starting off being the aggressor. Ferrante had only gone beyond 8 rounds once but seemed the stronger. In the 9th round Mussachio suffered another cut, this under his right eye and his nose bleeding badly.

In the 10th and final round Mussachio came out trying to hug Ferrante instead of touching gloves. Ferrante would have none of it. “I was still hurt from the 9th round and was biding my time not trying to give a friendly hug. It was a close round but Ferrante took it. The scores were 96-94, 98-92 and 97-93 but were very deceiving considering the last 2 rounds.

“I was hurt earlier in the fight and saw stars. This was the hardest fight I have ever had, “said Mussachio. “He was busier. I had him hurt at the end,” said Ferrante. Joey Eye was walking back and forth to both dressing rooms after the fight as they were side-by-side. He was administering to both fighters wounds. Ferrante was receiving ice for swelling and Mussachio’s nose was still bleeding. “I wanted a rematch but once we became friends that wasn’t going to happen. ‘I’ve since moved up to cruiserweight where I belong,” said Ferrante.

This is a true story of bitter rivals to best of friends Italian style. Tony “Boom Boom” and Chuck “the Professor” with a little help from Joey Eye!

Also from recent from Ken Hissner:
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Broner Defends WBC Title Against Rees in Atlantic City on Saturday
Garrett "Ultimate Warrior" Wilson Prepares for Alekseev Feb 22nd
Boxing Results: Filippone and Robinson Win in Wilmington Ken Hissner, David Ruff
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Philly’s Danny Garcia and Dennis Hasson out this weekend!
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