By Austin Killeen
If club fighters are the grass roots of boxing, then Barry Allison was definitely part of the grass roots of boxing in New England during the 1950’s. Never more than a welterweight, Allison twice held the N.E. middleweight title. While stationed at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts in 1952, Allison made his pro debut at the Holyoke Valley Arena. This was the beginning of a pro career that spanned 7 years and included 4 fights with three world champions. One theme repeated itself through Allison’s career: victories over area club fighters around New England and losses to big name opponents when he tried to move up in competition. Don Williams, Sammy Walker, Willie “Pineapple” Stevenson, Tony Veranis, Buddy Cochrane and Wilbur Wilson were among his victims, while losing to Johnny Saxton, Benny “Kid” Paret, Garnet “Sugar” Hart and Emile Griffith. Allison became discouraged when he lost a controversial split decision to Saxton in a rematch held at the Valley Arena. Both newspapers covering the fight had Allison a clear winner. Allison had 3 more fights and retired for good when he was unable to get a fight with Walter Byars for the N.E. welterweight title.