During the 1970’s, long before professional sports arrived, boxing was king in Sacramento and the Memorial Auditorium was legendary. One of the reasons for that was Pete Ranzany. Pete was the biggest star and attraction in the capitol city because of his crowd pleasing style and character.
Ranzany was born and raised in Sacramento and attended Sacramento High School. He turned to boxing as a teenager when he watched legendary fighters on TV and read Ring Magazine. Being true to his heritage and following the likes of Italian great Nino Benvenuti, Pete was hooked on the “sweet science.”
At age 16 he won the Diamond Belt Championships in San Francisco. After his first fight, kids were asking for his autograph. At this time Pete knew he had something special.
The next year he won the Golden Gloves Championship. In 1970 he joined the Army and won the All Army Boxing Championship. With only 19 amateur fights under his belt Pete was on his way to the Olympic Trials to attempt to claim a spot on the United States Olympic Team. He beat future World Champion Carlos Palomino and went to the final. He lost a close decision to Sugar Ray Seals who went to win the gold medal in the 1972 Olympic Games.
Pete turned pro in 1973 and knocked out his first five opponents. He won 38 of his first 39 fights and was becoming a legend fighting almost all of his bouts at the historic Memorial Auditorium. Pete was putting Sacramento on the map in the world of sports as he fought in front of packed houses and fighting the biggest names in his division. He ducked no one and fought legendary opponents Sugar Ray Leonard, Pipino Cuevas and Wilfred Benetiz. Pete defeated tough fighters like Randy Shields, Sal Lopez and Sean O’Grady.
Overall Pete won 59 professional bouts with 38 knockouts. His eight loses came against some of the best the ring has ever seen. Pete fought for the love of the sport. He knew he was fighting for the people of Sacramento. He wanted to bring back the spotlight to boxing making it more popular in his day than it was before. He loved fighting in Sacramento evident by his 55 fights in the city; 20 at the Memorial Auditorium plus 2 outdoors at Hughes Stadium.
At a time when there weren’t any professional sports in the city, our franchise was Pete Ranzany. The people of Sacramento loved his aggressive style and passion to be the best. Pete loves Sacramento so much, he has never left the area. Since retiring, he has been a California Correctional Peace Officer.
He and his wife, Rose, have been together since 1972, and have one son.
Pete will always be known as a local icon and one of the true pioneers of professional athletes who performed their craft in front of the hometown fans.
Thanks to Vintage Boxing Arvhives