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Thomas William McNeeley, Jr
. (February 27, 1937 – October 25, 2011) was a heavyweight
Heavyweight is a division, or weight class, in boxing. Fighters who weigh over 200 pounds are considered heavyweights by the major professional boxing organizations: the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Association, the World Boxing Council, and the World Boxing...
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...
in the 1950s and 1960s. He hailed from Arlington, Massachusetts
Arlington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, six miles northwest of Boston. The population was 42,844 at the 2010 census.-History:...
, and played football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...
for Michigan State University
Michigan State University is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer land-grant institution and served as a model for future land-grant colleges in the United States under the 1862 Morrill Act.MSU pioneered the studies of packaging,...
. McNeeley had his first professional bout at the Norwood Stockcar Arena July 17, 1958.
On December 4, 1961, McNeeley challenged Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson was an American heavyweight boxer and former undisputed heavyweight champion. At 21, Patterson became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title. He was also the first heavyweight boxer to regain the title. He had a record of 55 wins 8 losses and 1 draw, with 40 wins by...
for the world heavyweight championship
. McNeeley was on the November 13, 1961 cover of Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...
. McNeeley served eight years as the boxing commissioner of the Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...
State Boxing Commission.
Tom McNeeley's son Peter McNeeley
"Hurricane" Peter McNeeley is a former heavyweight boxer, best known for his 1995 fight with Mike Tyson in which McNeeley had famously vowed to wrap Tyson in a "cocoon of horror." McNeeley fought aggressively and was knocked down twice within the first two minutes as a result...
and father, Tom McNeeley, Sr., were also boxers.
Tom McNeeley died on October 25, 2011 at the age of 74 of complications from a seizure.