Former local boxing great Jerry Pellegrini dies

Jul 17, 2022 1063

BY: Lenny Vangilder

Jerry Pellegrini, one of the top professional boxers ever to come out of the New Orleans area, died Tuesday. He was 78. Pellegrini’s daughter Dawn confirmed his death in a Facebook post Thursday morning. Pellegrini began to fight professionally as a teenager, but that came a year after he started his other profession as a barber, which gave him the nickname “The Battling Barber.”

Pellegrini, who fought primarily as a welterweight, held the Southern Welterweight title in 1967, stopping Freddie Martinovich in the ninth round to take the title, and was ranked as high as No. 3 by the WBC. For Hall of Fame boxing writer and New Orleans native Bernard Fernandez, the Pellegrini-Martinovich fight was his first in person. “I will miss him,” said Fernandez, who befriended Pellegrini in his later years, even driving to Slidell for haircuts to catch up.

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