Insurance broker Richard Settipane can remember “like it was yesterday” when, as a youngster, he sneaked inside the Boston Garden and sat in the front row to watch the legendary Boston Bomber, boxer Tony DeMarco, win his welterweight championship bout. And he also remembers when sitting in the convertible at the championship parade that travelled throughout the streets of Boston, while sitting next to his soon to become lifelong friend. Throughout his boxing career, DeMarco fought eight champions, never fearing anyone in the ring. So it was fitting that Settipane, along with his family and hundreds of fans, would be standing alongside the champ this past Saturday for a ceremony unveiling a 6-foot bronze statue sculpted in the champ’s honor where it will stand at the “gateway” to the North End, at the corner of Hanover and Cross streets.
The statue was created by designer Harry Webber – famous for his “flying” Bobby Orr statue outside the Boston Garden and the Doug Flutie statue at the Boston College campus.
Settipane, who grew up in the North End akin to his hero, said that the statue was a well-deserved honor for the former undisputed welterweight world champion.
DeMarco, whose real name is Leonardo Liotta, used a friend’s birth certificate at age 15 to get his first boxing license. He was an under-aged fighter when he knocked out Meteor Jones in the first round, setting up the April 1, 1955 welterweight championship bout beating Johnny Saxton in the 14th round. He then followed that up with a battle known as the greatest welterweight title fight of all time when the Bomber battled Carmen Basilio as half of the “Fight of the Year” card.
DeMarco was inducted into the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
“Now there’ll be two statues in the North End – one of Paul Revere, and the other of Tony DeMarco,” said Settipane, who enjoyed the ceremony with his family, friends, and fans honoring, “The Flame and Fury of Fleet Street”.