Mt. Carmel St. Cristina Society

Willie Pep

 Did you know...

Willie Pep? Willie Pep was born September 19, 1922 in Middletown and his real Italian name was Guglielmo Papaleo. Willie Pep was one of the greatest boxers of all time. A two-time World Featherweight Champion, he won his first championship in 1942 at the age of 20 years old. Pep turned professional at the age of 17 and proceeded to win his first 63 fights. Incredibly, he lost only one of his first 135 fights. Willie Pep had a lifetime record of 230 wins (65 were KO's), only 11 losses and one draw.

Pep was nicknames "Will O", "The Wisp", and the "Artful Dodger" because he was so fast and elusive. In fact, legend has it that Willie Pep once won a round without throwing a punch to Jackie Graves on July 25, 1946.

In 1977, Pep was elected to the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame. He died November 23, 2006 in a nursing home suffering from dementia pugilistica. He was buried in Rocky Hill, CT and he had 4 children.