Legendary boxer Carmen Basilio has passed away at the age of 85.

The fighter died on Wednesday (07Nov12) at a hospital in Rochester, New York following a battle with pneumonia.

After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War Ii, Basilio made his professional debut in 1948 and fought his way to the top in 1957 when he stripped Sugar Ray Robinson of his world middleweight title during a landmark match in front of more than 38,000 fans at the Big Apple's Yankee Stadium.

However, the excitement was short-lived and he was forced to surrender the crown to his former opponent only six months later.

Throughout his career the champion boasted 56 wins and only 16 losses and in 1961 Basilio entered into retirement and began teaching physical education at Le Moyne College in Syracuse.

In 1990 he became one of the first stars inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, alongside icons such as Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano.