One Ton Tony

By Clarence George on January 1, 2014
One Ton Tony
Tony Musto, the 5'7½" heavyweight who fought from 1937 to 1946, was unusually small.

Would just another four inches or so have made a difference to his rather lackluster record of 37 wins, 13 by knockout, 30 losses, and three draws?

“Short People got no reason
To live”
—Randy Newman

At the 1960 Golden Globe Awards, Mickey Rooney stepped on stage to accept an award for an absent Cantinflas, the accolade presented by Jayne Mansfield. Barely coming up to the high-heeled beauty’s armpits, 5’2” Rooney had an enviably up-close-and-personal view of her justly renowned 40-D bust, observing, “Who wants to be tall?”

Perhaps Tony Musto. At 5’7½”, the heavyweight who fought from 1937 to 1946 was unusually small, even by the standards of a time when few heavies attained the 6’4” mark of Abe Simon, never mind the 6’7” of today’s Vitali Klitschko. Would just another four inches or so have made a difference to his rather lackluster record of 37 wins, 13 by knockout, 30 losses, and three draws? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean that the crouching “Blue Island Tank” (a native son of Blue Island, Illinois) wasn’t as tough as he was diminutive.

Musto fought hard boys. Though he lost to Clarence Burman (“A savage 10-round scrap,” reported the Associated Press), Arturo Godoy, Tami Mauriello, and Buddy Walker, and drew against the redoubtable Turkey Thompson, he beat Johnny Risko, Hardrock Harden, Jimmy Bivins, and Lee Savold.

One of Joe Louis’ “bums,” Tony faced the “Brown Bomber” at the Arena in St Louis, Missouri, on April 8, 1941. Most gave short shrift to “One Ton” Tony, so nicknamed because of his battered-down resemblance to fellow heavy “Two Ton” Tony Galento. Wrote Bob Considine in the St. Petersburg Times: “Musto is expected to sink into a large lump of protoplasm as a result of his chin coming in violent contact with two blunt objects known as Louis’ left hook and short right.”

Louis won, of course, and by stoppage. But the “Baby Tank” was only knocked down once, in the third, and survived until the ninth, when referee Arthur Donovan stopped the fight because Tony was badly cut. Not a bad showing, despite Considine’s choice of “epitaphs,” sour like an old lemon is sour: “It Musto been something I et” or “Beat me in St. Looie, Looie.”

Tony Musto died age 78 on September 30, 1994. Dead and apparently forgotten. Look up Blue Island, Illinois, and you’ll see certain favorite sons listed, including baseball player Curtis Granderson, Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame, and actor Gary Sinise. Nary a mention of One Ton, who’s most definitely not to be confused with Won Ton Ton, the dog who saved Hollywood, or so the plot goes. Suit yourselves, you blue-jawed denizens of Blue Island, Illinois, but any man who stepped in the ring with the greatest heavyweight of all time is a tall man in my book.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

1960 Golden Globes Jayne Mansfield Mickey Rooney Full Clip

Read More Blogs
Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Daniel Musto 06:03pm, 06/27/2016

    Mario, will get you info on Uncle Tony. Here’s my e-mail. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  2. Mario 02:59pm, 06/27/2016

    My mother’s maiden name was Musto and Tony was her nephew..we were born in Ripacandida would be nice to know more information on the ancestry of Tony Musto..and a coincidence is that I am also 5’7 1/2.tall and similar build to Tony

  3. Clarence George 04:39am, 08/06/2014

    Hard to believe, Dan, but not impossible.  I don’t think there’s film of Joe Louis-Clarence Burman either.  Alternatively, such footage may have once existed, but is now lost.  And I think there’s sometimes licensing issues.  Every now and then, film of Tony Galento-Al Ettore makes an appearance, only to be quickly withdrawn.

  4. Dan Musto 11:51pm, 08/05/2014

    Clarence, for years I’ve been told there is no film of the Lewis/ Musto fight. I can not believe Lewis ever entered a ring and wasn’t photographed or filmed…

  5. Clarence George 04:59am, 07/25/2014

    By the way, Daniel, if you could tell me where your uncle’s buried…if at all possible, I’d like to pay my respects.  I haven’t been doing this enough, not even having made it out to Orange, New Jersey, to visit the gravesite of my absolute favorite, Tony Galento.

  6. Clarence George 07:19pm, 07/24/2014

    Honored by your visit, Daniel.

  7. Daniel L. Musto 04:00pm, 06/13/2014

    Say what you want, I always looked up to my Uncle Tony for his performance against Lewis, how many guys never lasted 9 rounds, Uncle Tony was a fighter and one heck of a good man. R.I.P. God Bless.

  8. Clarence George 01:28pm, 01/05/2014

    Always glad when you visit, Eric.

    Actually, I did mention One Ton’s draw with Turkey Thompson, referring to him as “redoubtable,” which he certainly was.  I think Thompson was 5’8½”.  In the last 10 years or so of his career, he usually weighed in between 200 and 220 pounds.  He fought from 1938 to 1952, and had a record of 54 wins, 39 by knockout, 15 losses, and two draws.  He was only stopped twice, by Al Hart and Willie Bean.  He took on, among others, Teddy Yarosz, Bandit Romero (193 bouts!), Bob Pastor, Abe Simon, Pat Valentino, Gus Dorazio, Elmer Ray, Arturo Godoy, Jimmy Bivins, Lee Q. Murray, Rex Layne, and Clarence Henry.  He died 30 years ago at age 64.  Another in a seemingly interminable line of largely forgotten boxers.  But not by you, Eric—well done!

  9. Eric 12:07pm, 01/05/2014

    Another short heavyweight contender around the same time period was Turkey Thompson. I’ve seen Thompson listed anywhere between 5’7 1/2” to 5’ 8 1/2” depending on the source. Thompson and Musto did fight each other to a draw by the way.

  10. Ted 03:57pm, 01/02/2014

    Of course, Satterfield KOd Cleveland Williams in one.

  11. Clarence George 12:55pm, 01/02/2014

    Thanks very much, Pete, and very well put…“additional lift to that tall man” is right.

    I know I’ve done something right, Beaujack, when one of my articles elicits a comment and reminiscence from you.  Hell, maybe I should have mentioned Gomez in the article itself!  I almost did, but went instead with the even more forgotten Buddy Walker.  Not exactly God’s gift to the Sweet Science, but tough, experienced, and able.  He deserved, he needed, to have his name mentioned.  I wonder what happened to him.  He’d be about a hundred, and is probably long gone.  Anyway, I can understand, though not excuse, why he’s forgotten.  But Gomez?  It says something about how, well, uneducated is much of today’s fandom.

    Nicely done, Ted, but I notice you were careful not to mention that, ahem, my man Lee Oma stopped Gomez by first-round KO.  Not only ahem, but aha!  I feel irresistibly compelled to point out as well that another of my guys, Clarence Henry, stopped Satterfield by first-round TKO.  So there.

  12. Pete The Sneak 12:06pm, 01/02/2014

    ” but any man who stepped in the ring with the greatest heavyweight of all time is a tall man in my book.”

    ...and to go 9 hard rounds in the face of those 2 murderous ‘blunt objects’ a prime Louis possessed added some additional lift to that tall man…Great stuff CG…Peace.

  13. Ted 12:01pm, 01/02/2014

    Like many other fighters of the late 1940s and early 1950s (including Bob Satterfield), he was a World War II veteran, but he was more. He was a Purple Heart recipient, who had been wounded sixteen times in Germany. Tommy Gomez was one tough hombre.

  14. Ted 11:59am, 01/02/2014

    Gomez vs. Satterfield was an all-time classic as were many of Bob;s fights.

    Every kid who boxed or followed boxing after World War II had his favorite fighter. Joe Louis was just about a unanimous choice, but I was the exception. My favorite was not called “the Brown Bomber”; he was called “Rapid Robert,” and he was a heavyweight out of Chicago by the name of Bob Satterfield. He was the Chicago City Golden Gloves 147-pound champion in 1941 and served in the United States Army from 1942-45.
    In 1950, Satterfield met another savage bomber, “Tampa Tommy” Gomez (75-8-2, 65 KOs), who had an astonishing KO percentage of 87 percent coming in. Gomez, who was a brutal hitter for his size of 5’10”, sustained a fractured rib in the first round but refused to give up. Satterfield scored four knockdowns; he decked Gomez for an eight count in the first round, and twice in the seventh round, and again in the ninth for a nine count. Gomez was out on his feet at the end of the seventh and ninth rounds but managed to last out the full ten rounds. This was a great display of courage on his part and brutal savagery on the part of Satterfield. It’s no wonder Gomez retired after losing the UD. The fight was held at the Chicago Stadium, but unfortunately, I missed it.

    Gomez had turned pro in 1939 and was ducked by many of the contenders of his time due to his fierce knockout power. In fact, he was named to the Ring magazine list of the 100 Greatest Punchers. He was number 72; Satterfield was number 58.

  15. beaujack 10:02am, 01/02/2014

    Clarence, bringing up the forgotten name of Tommy Gomez was music to my ears…I saw the 180 lb puncher but once in 1946, when the 10 pound heavier Jersey Joe Walcott tko’d Tampa Tommy Gomez at MSG….But Gomez shook up the best edition of Jersey Joe, but to no avail. Tommy Gomez was a murderous puncher for his weight and was a holder of the Purple Heart for his many wounds in Europe which laid him up in an Army Hospital for 6 months…..Yes he kod Tony Musto, Gunnar Barlund, and 63 others for a total of 65 kos in 75 wins…One of the greatest percentage of ko victories in history…

  16. Clarence George 08:57pm, 01/01/2014

    Is that from the Longfellow poem, Irish?  Longfellow…d’oh!

  17. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:19pm, 01/01/2014

    Old Indian Proverb: Big man no dick….Little man all dick.

  18. Clarence George 07:10pm, 01/01/2014

    Thank you, Doctor.

    Ha!  Well, not necessarily dirty, Ted.  And petite women have their appeal.

  19. Dr, YouTube 06:57pm, 01/01/2014

  20. Ted 06:55pm, 01/01/2014

    Short people have dirty little hands

  21. Clarence George 06:51pm, 01/01/2014

    So glad you enjoyed it, Bob.  “Tall Tony”—I like that.

    Another heavyweight who’s neglected is Tommy Gomez.  Particularly ridiculous in his case because he was outstanding (he also beat Musto, by the way).  There so many of them.

  22. Bob 06:32pm, 01/01/2014

    Great story, Clarence. Thanks to you Tall Tony is not forgotten and has received the recognition he deserves.g

  23. Clarence George 04:24pm, 01/01/2014

    Thanks very much indeed, Irish.

    Yes, I’m delighted both Rooney and Wallach are still with us.  Amazing, isn’t it?  I once saw Tuco at Zabar’s.  That must be 15 years ago, when he was “only” 83.

  24. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:14pm, 01/01/2014

    Clarence George-Great way to start the year! Love it! Guess what? Mickey is still alive and kickin’  at 93 and get this…Eli Wallach born in 1915 is still above ground at 98 and counting!

Leave a comment