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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Gate attraction

     January 20, 1948 -- It's almost difficult to picture a major arena in Buffalo packed to the absolute rafters for a boxing card. There have been good crowds over the years, but these days the sports has suffered a decline in popularity.

     Thus we have to go back to the "good old days" to find such a night. In this case, it was Memorial Auditorium which didn't have any, or at least many, empty seats for boxing. A crowd of 11,432 set a attendance record for the sport.

     They saw what supposedly is one of the greatest bouts in Buffalo's heavyweight boxing history. Local product Phil Muscato took a 10-round decision from Joe Matisi of Endicott. Muscato knocked down Matisi twice, but the decision wasn't overly one-sided.

     Muscato was born in Dunkirk and later moved to Buffalo. The Aud was practically his home away from home for boxing over the years, as he fought there 11 times in 1947 alone.

     Muscato finished 56-23 for his career, but that included a seven-fight losing streak at the end. In 1949, he fought two of the all-time greats: Rocky Marciano and Archie Moore.

--- Budd Bailey

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