It’s been two years since six valuable championship belts were stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY and the case remains open.
The theft took place after hours at the Hall, which is located about 25 miles east of Syracuse.
Four of the belts were won by Carmen Basilio, a welterweight and middleweight star of the 1950s, who once defeated Sugar Ray Robinson. The other two had been loaned to the Hall by the family of Tony Zale, who famously fought Rocky Graziano three times over a 21-month period in the 1940s, winning twice.
The thefts happened quickly with the belts being removed and the thief or thieves escaping in the two minutes it took local police to respond to the burglary. The combined value of the belts is believed to be at least $300,000, making it the biggest heist of boxing memorabilia in history and “the work of professionals” according to investigators.
The FBI has been working on the case as well as other thefts tied to sports museums such as the one that took place at the Roger Maris Museum in Fargo, ND.
Both fighters whose belts were taken have passed away but their families are still hoping tips from the public can help. Despite rewards worth a combined $20,000, no arrests have been made in the case.
Zale’s niece, Haley, continues to lead a “Bring Back the Belts” campaign.
“It’s changed our lives dramatically of course,” she told WSYR-TV on Sunday. “I understand that my uncle Tony’s legacy still lives on and that those belts have not changed his place in boxing history. But, we still want those trophies back. They are our family heritage, our family heirlooms.”
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