Where in the Hudson Valley Contest: “Packing a Punch” Boxer Billy Costello Statue
A Valley city honors its pugilistic native son
Photograph by Clark Richters
It’s not uncommon for local motorists to see statues — usually of war heroes — alongside various roads in our region. Statues of boxers, on the other hand, are a rarity. This six-foot-tall white granite sculpture, situated at the intersection of three well-traveled roads in a northern Valley city, catches the eye of daily commuters and visitors alike.
The carved image at right honors former welterweight boxing champion Billy Costello. Born in 1956, Costello was one of nine children and a lifelong city resident. He grew up playing baseball; but after a run-in with the law, he was kicked off his high school team. Ironically, his unlawful experience led to an extraordinary career: At 19, Costello entered a boxing gym for the first time, and never looked back. He turned professional four years later after winning a Golden Gloves championship; his debut fight as a pro was a victory over Angel Ortiz. Standing well under six feet tall — but with a 71-inch reach — Costello won 40 bouts, 23 by knockout, and lost only two throughout his 20-year career. His greatest claim to fame was his 1984 knockout over Bruce Curry, which made him the World Boxing Council light welterweight champ — a title he successfully defended three times. At 43, Costello fought for the final time, ending his legacy with a victory over Juan Laporte. He retired back to his hometown, where he opened a gym to train kids in the ring, volunteered at the city’s boxing club, and refereed at various New York State fights.
Sadly, Costello was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010, and died one year later. A committee of his family and friends raised funds to build this memorial in honor of the fighter’s professional and volunteer accomplishments. In November 2012, the completed statue was erected in an area of the city that would provide maximum exposure. It has become a constant reminder of a man who fought his way to the top, while never forgetting where he came from.
Do you know the name of the town where this strapping statue stands? Submit your answer as a comment in the box below (answers hidden for contest). The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!
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